Top 11 Most Common Behavioural Problems in Dogs

Barking control Puppy training

1.Unruliness and hyperactivity 

Most likely your dog is too energetic,hyperactive and unruly is because they're lacking exercise, playtime and stimulation or simply bored. Depending on the breed, size, age and upbringing, dogs will have different levels of activity, and some active breeds always feel the need to release all the extra energy or fight boredom regardless of location or situation.

What can I do?

Because every dog is different, in order to fix this fairly common dog behaviour problem, pet owners must address it in several ways to find the best solution:

Ensure sufficient exercise. Be aware of exercise requirements of your dog's exact breed. Make certain your pooch gets enough training, walking, running and playing on a daily basis to release that pent up energy throughout the day.

Clicker training. This is one of the more effective training methods for many other dog behavioural problems. While this technique doesn't always work with hyperactive dogs, using a clicker can help you calm the dog down every time they show signs.

Don't give into the dog's game. If this behaviour is not something you're comfortable with, avoid encouraging your pet's sudden energy outbursts and ignore them completely for a while until they understand that they won't get what they want.


2. Jumping Up on People

When dogs meet other dogs, they greet one another by sniffing each other's behinds and faces. Dogs would like to do the same thing with humans, but human faces are inconveniently located all the way at the top of our bodies. Jumping up on people, for dogs, is often an attempt to behave according to normal doggy etiquette. Sometimes, however, this can be a sign of dominance. Either way, this problematic behaviour is rarely welcomed by strangers and should generally be fixed before it becomes dangerous.

What can I do?

To resolve this common dog behaviour problem, ignore your pooch when you come home until she stops trying to jump up at you. Do not shout, do not call for your dog to stop, and do not push her away either. Any of those behaviours will likely excite the dog, and encourage jumping even more because it looks like a play to them. Start petting and praising your dog only after her feet land back on the ground, so that she learns that her jumping up was the reason you were ignoring her.

3. Excessive Barking

Barking by itself is not a problem behaviour in dogs – they bark for many different reasons and it's a natural way of communication for them. Some reasons for barking in dogs may even be useful to you as an owner. For instance, you may want your dog to bark to warn you that somebody is lurking in the backyard. Excessive barking is when this becomes a true problematic behaviour, when your pet continues to bark constantly and consistently without any good reason (obvious to you) to do so.

What can I do?

This is yet another case where obedience training, redirection and training of new habits in your dog is the most effective tool. To resolve unwanted and excessive barking in your dog, you must first establish the cause of it and what situations make your dog bark. After that, try to eliminate those causes first if possible.

Then, teach your pooch how to handle those situation more appropriately and/or desensitise the dog to those triggers. For example, if your dog barks when someone is at the door, turn that behaviour into a productive behaviour: teach the dog to bark a few times, and then wait quietly by the door to see who's there.

4. Aggressive Behaviour

Aggressive behaviour in dogs doesn't always need to come in the form of an attack. This common dog behavioural issue is very often a subtle demonstration of aggressiveness in your dog through showing teeth, growling and barking. And because your dog doesn't attack and bite, that doesn't mean that any tendency for aggressive behaviour in them is appropriate, especially if this aggression is often shown towards the owner or the family.

What can I do?

First of all, you should never deal with aggressive dog by yourself – if possible, hire a trainer with experience. If that's not possible, approach it very carefully. Demonstrate to your dogs that they're not in control of the situation and set the limits of how caprice they can get. Ignore their poor and aggressive behaviour and use positive reinforcement.

Monitor the progress of your pet's aggression and if none of the obedience training, setting limits, reinforcing positive behaviour methods work to deal with this behavioural problem, talk to the vet and a professional dog trainer. You might need to get your dog to understand how to live among people, and only a professional will be able to do that.

5. Constant Biting

There are many different reasons why dogs have the behavioural problem of biting. Dog experts agree that this is mostly due to their instincts of living in packs. Young dogs, on the other hand, bite everything and everybody as a means for exploring the world, understanding the environment and learning about their own place. Nonetheless, this dog behaviour should be prevented when possible, especially in puppies, because it's likely to become a much bigger problem as the dog grows bigger.

What can I do?

Although dog biting comes from the fact canines are still animals that use their mouth the way we use hands, regular proper training and socialisation can fix this.Spending time with your pet and letting them socialise with other animals and strangers will help in fixing this problem the most. Expose your dog to different settings, places and new things and whenever you'll see your pooch getting uncomfortable, don't ignore it and attempt to switch that around. In short, this is a habit that can be changed with some constant supervision and work.

6. Excessive Licking

Dog's behavioural problem of compulsive, excessive licking is one of the more difficult ones to fix, primarily because of how hard it is to notice and assess whether this is a problematic behaviour, or something normal. One of the signs of excessive licking problem in dogs is when they lick everything: from their paws to your furniture, you, carpets, cars, and more.

What can I do?

Since excessive licking in dogs can be caused by many different reasons – from psychological like anxiety to actual medical conditions (including allergies and injuries) – the first and most important step to fixing this behavioural problem is accurately determining the reason.

Monitor your dog's licking habits as well as any other common behaviour problems they have and start defining the problem through the process of elimination. Once you have a good idea of a few potential reasons, it's time to talk to a professional and see if this condition can (or should) be fixed.

7. Disobedience

One of the most frustrating common dog behaviour problems is disobedience. When dogs do not listen to their owners and do not come when called, this can become a root to a multitude of other behavioural issues. Dog experts separate disobedience issue into two categories: passive and active. Passive disobedience is when your dog couldn't care less for the fact that you just asked him to come, and active disobedience is when dogs enjoy not listening to you, which is a major problem.

What can I do?

To start the battle against your dog's disobedient behaviour, you must go back to obedience training basics and go through the whole process again. Do not chase after your dog, do not punish your dog, and do not try to bribe them either.

When it comes to this type of misbehaving, be strict with your canine and establish your dominance. Most of the time, negative reinforcement will not work on a disobedient dog, so if you find your training methods to be ineffective – it's time to ask for a professional's help. Fixing this behavioural problem is important and should be done effectively.

8. Leash Pulling

Being able to walk calmly with your dog on a leash is important for a pet owner. If a problem of your dog pulling on a leash occurs, you must address this by teaching your pooch on how to walk beside you. Before you take any action though, understand that dogs aren't doing this on purpose. Canines simply do not know how to walk on the leash the way you want them too. Once you teach your dog how this should be done, the problem will go away.

What can I do?

Start by purchasing a no pull harness to prevent injuries to your dog from pulling. Then, do frequent walking sessions with your dog on the leash and harness. Keep these sessions short and fun for the dog. When training against leash pulling, never allow your dog to do what you don't want him to do. Try to keep your dog leash short but loose enough so as not to hurt your animal.

The best way to go about training your dog to walk alongside you is to always have a bunch of tasty dog treats and use positive reinforcement. Also, try walking on faster pace and do go jogging with your dog on the leash. All of these methods will make the dog understand where you expect him to be when on a leash.

9. Humping

Even though such common dog behavioural issue as humping can draw a laugh from some, this is actually an issue that dog owners must deal with and try to fix it. Humping is a sexual expression of dogs; however, some dog experts say that canines might be doing this for other reasons, such as a sign of dominance or reaction to excitement. But not to worry, because dog humping is a normal behaviour which can be treated and fixed.

What can I do?

First, consider that the only reason you should fix dog behaviour problems like humping is only if they bother you or someone else. If this normal for dogs behaviour doesn't affect anybody, you really shouldn't worry about it. If, however, mounting behaviour in your dog is excessive, there are a few things you can do:

    • Always distract your dog. Once you see what your canine is about to do, find something else for him to play with
    • If your dog is intact, consider neutering him. Even though it doesn't stop from humping, it will reduce his motivation
    • React appropriate to your dog's mounting: push away, ignore, sit him down and use commands to control your dog                                                           

10. Escaping

There are plenty of situations when dog's desire to escape and run away from wherever she is can cause dangerous consequences. This problem will usually be caused because your pet is looking for a mate, was scared by something, needs socialisation, dislikes the environment, wants to roam and explore, and for many other reasons. The bad thing about it is obvious: when outside of your supervision and not in a safe environment, a dog can get herself in all kinds of dangers very quickly.



What can I do?

  1. Dogs may be afraid of something in the yard or at home. In this case, figure out what is scaring your pet and resolve the issue by removing the trigger.
  2. Some breads are very curious, and prone to wandering off in search of adventure. Make sure your yard is well-secured, and consider restricting yard time to when you are available to supervise.
  3. Other dogs may escape out of boredom or to seek social interactions. In this case, giving your dog more time to socialise with you, your family, and other people and dogs may reduce the problem.
  4. Finally, getting your dog spayed or neutered may help reduce the desire to wander off in search of potential mates.


11. Being Overprotective of Family

Dogs sometimes develop overprotective behaviours of their owners due to jealousy. While cute at first, this less common dog behavioural problem can lead to aggressive behaviour and thus must be resolved quickly. Canines can learn to relax by understanding that they don't need to defend their owners. In other words, overprotective dogs need to be re-socialised, like a new puppy.

What can I do?

Start by socialising your dog in easy social situations: one new person at a time, or a person and their friendly, well socialised dog. Slowly work up to more complicated social situations. At all times, maintain an air of confidence.

If your dog senses that you are worried, he will conclude that you are in danger, and will try to protect you. Even though their intentions are good, you must let your pooch know that this is inappropriate behaviour. Practice obedience training and positive reinforcement, too.

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