Dog Behavior Problems: Types, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatments

Part of our role as a puppy parent is to teach our dog good behavior to ensure that they turn out to be well balanced and emotionally confident. Because our dogs are so dependent on us, they are often total sweethearts while we are around, but when left alone they can turn into destructive little monsters—not the adorable pet we fell in love with.

As with many dog behavior problems, separation anxiety is a common issue that affects all dogs, but especially pampered pooches or puppies are more prone to struggling with being away from us and behavioral issues usually stem from boredom, separation anxiety, and even a lack of exercise. If you have a high-energy breed that has suddenly become destructive, then you need to ask yourself whether he getting enough daily opportunities to rid himself of all that excess energy.

Typical Behavioral Issues in Dogs

Scavenging and aggression in dogs are both common behavior problems that are considered to be the most dangerous, even though all negative behaviors can be annoying. If your dog is starting to become aggressive, then this specific behavior needs to be stopped immediately, before another person or animal gets hurt.

Any drastic changes in your dog’s temperament or behavior could indicate a more serious issue with their health and you should seriously consider taking your dog to the vet for a check-up, before putting his behavior down to anxiety or fear.

Another important factor to consider is that some behaviors that are perceived as negative to some people are actually a positive to others. For example, many people like the fact that their dog barks when you get out his leash or when someone is passing their house, as their dog has been trained to guard the property. Others might find this behavior incredibly irritating and want to eliminate it entirely. In most cases, minor problematic behavior in dogs is a matter of personal preference. However, always be aware that aggression is never OK.

Here are a few of the most common problematic behaviors and symptoms in dogs and what you can do to stop them.

Common Problems, Types of Behavior & Symptoms

There can be many reasons behind destructive behavior or even aggressive behavior in dogs, from boredom and anxiety to injury and health problems. As devoted dog owners, we can also send the wrong signals by reinforcing negative behavior—if our dog is growling at another animal, we might try to soothe them by stroking them or picking them up. This sends the signal to our pet that this sort of behavior is acceptable or even desirable—because, ultimately, they ended up getting a cuddle!

The same is true of whining or excessive barking to get your attention. If you give in to their demands by stroking them or throwing the ball yet again, then all you are doing is rewarding bad behavior with a treat and it will only get worse.

Correcting Instinctive Behavior

Dogs will be dogs and behavioral traits like digging, ball obsession, and chasing cats are all instinctive to them. And while your dog might completely gross you out rolling in poop, to him it’s the most normal thing in the world. That aside, it is possible to teach your dog to obey commands and not to chase cats or eat cat poo, but you will need to approach training with the patience of a saint!

Eliminating Bad Habits

Toy guarding, jumping up at people, clingy behavior, and intensely begging for food are all bad habits that have been learned and now need to be resolved. Setting clear boundaries and being consistent is so important when it comes to teaching your dog new and positive behavior. So, if you decide that your dog is not allowed on the bed, you should never let him on the bed again, regardless of how much he whines or begs.


If your dog is not feeling well or in pain, then this can cause him to act out or suddenly show symptoms of aggression like growling. Separation anxiety is also considered to be a form of illness, as it can result in harmful behavior like becoming destructive. If you notice your dog is suddenly growling when you try to touch him in a particular place or peeing inside despite being house trained then a trip to the vet will be necessary to rule out serious medical conditions.

Barking and Whining

If your dog is barking or howling excessively while you are not home, then you are going to upset your neighbors pretty fast. And, if he cries all night long because you have shut him out the bedroom, then you will also become frustrated quickly. Stop your dog from barking by firmly saying “no!” and then ignoring him and never give in to whining that is clearly for attention.


Chewing is a completely normal thing for a dog to do and it can even be quite cute to see him chewing on his favorite bone. What isn’t so cute is returning home to discover that Fido has destroyed your shoes, handbags and your house looks like a bombsite.

How to Correct These Problems

Always be aware that reversing negative behavioral problems is going to take time and, during this time, you are going to have to keep your cool and stick to the plan. What works for some dogs, might not work for others—so you need to experiment a bit and use a combination of different tools to correct negative behavior.

The first thing you need to establish when it comes to training your dog is the fact that you are the pack leader and what you say, goes. If your dog doesn’t know his boundaries and he can’t see you as the alpha figure in your relationship, then he is going to assume that he needs to step up and take the role of leader and things can quickly go wrong when he starts trying to dominate you.

Training Options

Many people find that their dog’s behavior is too severe to cope with alone. If this is your case and you are unsure of your ability to correct negative behavior, then you can consult a dog behaviorist or trainer. This is especially important if your dog is showing signs of aggression or guarding resources. Separation anxiety can be resolved through crate training in certain cases, but only when it is implemented accurately.

Attending a training class with your dog, or booking an individual session with a reputable behaviorist is going to set you on the right track for building up an armory of tools and techniques that can help you deal with behavioral problems quickly and effectively.

Anti Anxiety Supplements

Homeopathic medicine is always evolving and more people are turning to natural solutions for their pets’ ailments rather than pharmaceuticals. In fact, many vets are already recommending CBD oil and CBD dog treats as a way of soothing anxiety in dogs. CBD dog treats are not only tasty; they are organic and have wonderful therapeutic effects, which is perfect for a pooch that is struggling with problematic behavior.


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