The 8 Most Common Behavioral Dog Issues

Barking, chewing, biting and digging are just a few common dog issues. Dogs may display these behaviors in early puppyhood before being trained or later in life, triggered by stress or other medical issues. Understanding your dog and his behavior can help you manage your dog and prevent future behavioral problems.

1. Barking

Barking, howling and whining are means of communication for dogs. However, barking in excess is a behavioral problem. The causes of excessive barking must be established before deciding on how to correct the behavior. The dog may be barking due to various reasons:

  • To alert the owner
  • When he wants to play
  • To express excitement
  • Seek attention
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • To interact with other barking dogs

Once the reason for barking is established, the behavior may be corrected applying suitable behavior training techniques.

2. Chewing

Chewing is normal for any dog, especially for puppies. Chewing can become destructive due to numerous reasons:

  • Teething
  • Boredom
  • Stress
  • Curiosity
  • Excess energy

Chewing can be solved by behavioral training and by giving your dog chew toys.

3. Digging

Digging is an instinctual behavior and if there is a proper place for digging such as a yard or garden, your dog will surely start digging. Some hunting dog breeds are more likely to develop this behavior, which may also be due to:

  • Curiosity
  • Boredom
  • Seek comfort
  • The need to hide or escape
  • Hiding his food or toys
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Excess energy

Dog dogging behavior may be controlled with training and by identifying the source of the behavior. If the dog lacks exercise, try to walk him more or to give him other activities to make him stay away from the yard or garden.

4. Inappropriate Elimination

Your dog may urinate and defecate in inappropriate places. This is normal when the dog is young and not used to your home, but may indicate a problem when this occurs after the dog has been properly trained.

Inappropriate elimination can be due to:

  • Excitement
  • Territorial marking
  • Jealousy
  • Seeking attention
  • Stress
  • Medical conditions (i.e. lower urinary tract infection)

5. Begging

Begging is frequent in dogs, as they always crave for food when smelling it, having a very acute sense of smell. Begging can lead to problems, as many human foods are not suitable for dogs and may also cause obesity.

Don’t encourage your dog to beg, so don’t feed him when he asks for your food; teach your dog that he should only eat food from his bowl.

6. Biting

Biting is an instinctual behavior. Puppies bite and chew to get familiar with their environment; however biting is not an acceptable behavior.

Dogs may bite due to:

  • Fear
  • Aggressiveness
  • Protectiveness
  • Pain
  • To establish dominance

Proper training and socialization can prevent your dog from developing biting behavior.

7. Jumping

Dogs jump as a form of greeting, also used when the dog seeks your attention. Ignoring your dog when he is jumping up can discourage him from developing this behavior.

8. Chasing

Dogs chase moving things out of instinct. This may be very dangerous, as dogs may get in traffic accidents or fights.

Chasing can be prevented though training.