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10 Common Behavior Problems in Dogs

Updated on May 1, 2012


Aggression in dogs is not a typical wanted reason, however, some breeds are predisposed to having aggression towards other dogs and/or animals. For family pets though, aggression is not a desired reaction. It can be towards other dogs, animals, strangers or any person. This is a major problem in most cases and can be either avoided or corrected if handled properly.

The main way to avoid a dog's aggression all together before any issues arise is to socialize your dog very early. Puppies and young dogs learn quickly what is and isn't acceptable. And the first year is the most important time for socialization of dogs. You must allow your dog to become familiar with meeting new dogs, new people and how to play or act when around kids. To do this is simple, have an older dog that is dog friendly (usually belonging to a friend, family member or neighbor) approach your dog and let them introduce themselves. When the dog behaves correctly (showing interest but no aggression) praise them, reward your dog for good behavior.

In a short awhile your dog will learn that rewards are good and that when they do what you want them to do they get the rewards.

House training

Puppies need to be trained to go to the bathroom outside, not on the carpet or in the middle of the hallway. House training a puppy is like potty training a toddler. Each dog is different and it may take a bit longer for some dogs as apposed to others. However, this should still be a fairly easy task if you are consistent and provide rewards for when they do go to the restroom outside.

To house train dogs you need to be very observant and aware of the signs that dog needs the go. With puppies, you should allow them outside every 30 - 45 minutes, this will eliminate having to stare at them. They need to be praised when they do go outside so they correlate going to the bathroom outside with pleasing their owner.

You need to keep an eye on dogs when you are training them not to go to the restroom in doors. You will notice your dog doing things before they go and when they start doing things like sniffing around a lot or starting to squat say "no" in a firm voice and immediately take the dog outside. Don't wait and see what happens, or get lazy about it. If you don't want to step in it in the middle of the night you have to put in the work. Most dogs can be fully house trained within a week.

Separation Anxiety

Anxiety due to separation is another problem people have been seeing, especially in one dog families. This occurs when a dog becomes very attached to one or more people in the home and becomes stressed when they are left alone. Common results of separation anxiety are destruction of household items, uncontrollable barking, some dogs can even become physically ill.

To correct the problem, owners should speak with their vets about anti-anxiety medication. They should also invest in toys that the dog could be entertained with while their owner is out.

Destructive Behavior

Dogs that exhibit destructive behavior are often suffering from separation anxiety or are merely bored and looking for something fun to do. This behavior normally occurs when the dog is alone. Because we have all been bored, we can easily see why the dog is bored. You can prevent most of the destruction by only allowing the dog to dog friendly areas in the home when they are left alone. Bathrooms are great for this because most are linoleum floors and are easily cleaned up due to size. Crate training is also good way to confine dogs when they are alone. Hiding toys and toy treats in their area can provide them with hours of fun. Leaving a radio on is something else that experts suggest. The noise can sooth the dog.


Dogs that bark too much can be a real problem, not just for their owners but also for neighbors. Dogs that excessively bark need to learn the "quiet" command. When your dog begins to bark, remove the dog from the area or put them in "time-out." Once they are calm, reward them for being quiet, then return them to where they were. If the barking starts again, repeat.

Barking when your not home is just as annoying for neighbors as well. To prevent this, only allow access to areas where the dog can't see the neighbors or bark triggers. Also, provide your dog with activities such as toys to keep them entertained while you are away.


Digging can be a big problem especially if your dog is also a runner. Digging is a natural activity for dogs but most do it when they are bored. So again, allow them access to an area where they can dig in the yard. Such as a fenced in part that is only for the dog. Provide toys and activities when you are away to prevent boredom.

Jumping Up

This is a common problem for dogs that get overly excited. They will jump up on people for attention. As long as your dog knows the basic "sit" command then correcting this behavior is fairly easy for most dogs. Once you enter the area where you dog is and you see him begin his excited behavior tell him to sit. As soon as your dog sits, give him mild attention and praise. Showing praise by your excitement will likely result in your dog jumping up again. By leaning over and petting your dog for sitting you are showing him that he will not receive the attention he wants by jumping but rather by sitting calmly.


Dogs tend to be quick and when they are in the mood to run they can often sneak by you. If your dog is tempted by an open gate then be sure that everyone who regularly visits your property knows to be sure the gate is closed. This can also be achieved by posting a small sign on your gate or fence that simply states "Close the gate" or "Be sure it latches." These are just visual reminders to everyone to ensure your gate is never accidentally left open.

If your dog is a climber, digger or jumper then the gate is kind of a moot point. Dogs that climb fences or simply jump over fences need more structure. They are generally tempted by something on the other side or by the freedom of running. These types of dogs need basic perimeter training. This is where you walk your dog while using a leash around the perimeter of the area they are allowed to be in. You need to use either praise and/or reward when the dog stays inside the area without getting distracted by something outside of it. Electronic collar systems are designed to correct this type of behavior and may need to used.

Diggers often escape by digging under the fence. To prevent this refer to the "Digging" section. Always provide things for dogs to do inside their area that are more entertaining then the behavior you are trying to correct. Going back to basic training may also be an option for dogs that escape. Sit, stay, heel and come may save you from a big headache the next time your dog decided to take himself for a walk.

Getting In The Trash

Dogs are fascinated by new smells and that may cause them to start rooting through the trash both in the house and outside. The simplest solution is to make sure lids are securely placed on the trash cans and that any loose bags are tied up. But that may not always deter a dog. when you are in the home be sure to watch the dog when it is in area where a trash can or bag of garbage is located. Many dogs will response to "no" or "out" rather quickly but if that doesn't work or its not an option you may want to consider keeping the trash in a "no-dog" area.

If your dog is getting into trash that is outside then you need to put the trash in a trash can container (generally a box type container, large enough to hold two trash cans side by side. Another way to prevent your dog from getting into the trash when it is outside is to put the trash on the outside of where your dog is contained. If you dog has free range of your yard then put your garbage in the garage or just move it to the other side of your fence.

Begging for Food

Dogs are like babies and toddlers, they want what mommy and daddy have. But begging for food is a bad habit that usually is either never learned or never broken. Dogs respond very well to food related training and that is why once you start giving your dog "little bites" of your dinner they want some every time you have a plate in your hand.

If your dog does exhibit this behavior the "sit and stay" commands could be used when you are getting ready to eat a meal. Another good idea is to give your dog an area where they must be while you are eating. This is often their own bed. Train them by saying "bed" or "bedtime" and waking them to their bed. Once they are standing on their bed they need to know what to do. "Lay down" "lay" or "sleep" can be taught so your dog knows that he is suppose to be on his bed for a period of time. "Sit and Stay" will work as well. the longer the dog stays on his bed the more bored he becomes and will usually result in the dog laying down.


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    • Nature by Dawn profile image

      Dawn Ross 

      7 years ago

      Yep. So very very true. All the dogs in my life have had almost every one of these issues. Some took longer to overcome than others. One thing I've never had a problem with is begging. With my first dog Cassie that I had when I was 10 years old, I taught her by accident. She was a Sheltie and very perceptive of what I did and didn't want her to do. So when I got Smokey years later I found the begging very annoying and taught him not to beg. Every dog I've had since then has been taught not to beg. It is actually pretty easy to teach.

      Great information and thanks for sharing! :0)

    • danijean99 profile image

      Jessica Miranda 

      7 years ago from NYC

      Oh cool, I admire you, I was always interested in training, and dog behavior as well, but it does take dedication! I learned so much about animals!

    • kgarcia1113 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kassi Garcia 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV, USA

      I have trained numerous dogs and I have worked with dog trainers and vets. Currently, I am preparing to start training two pit bull mix puppies that are 4 months old.

    • danijean99 profile image

      Jessica Miranda 

      7 years ago from NYC

      Hello, great hub, but where did you get your research, have your worked in a vet before, or know anyone who has? Or perhaps just your own research?


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