Dog Behavioral Problems And How to Handle Them

Many dog owners face dog behavioral problems that they are unable to address. They become increasingly frustrated and resort to harsh punishments, or giving up and dropping the dog off at the pound.

Dog Behavioral Problems

This is unfortunate because, in truth, most dog behavioral problems are quite easy to address.

It all starts with an acceptance that the dog is not being naughty, or difficult, or willfully destructive. These concepts simply hold no meaning for a dog.

Underlying every dog behavioral problem is a reason which, to the dog at least, makes perfect sense.

Once you understand the reason, the motivation for the behavior becomes clear. It is then usually fairly simple to address and correct it.

Common Dog Behavioral Problems and How to Address ThemBehavior: Jumping up

Possible reason: One of the most common dog behavioral problems. This is usually a submissive behavior by a dog who is trying to win favor from someone he sees as dominant, like his owner. The dog resorts to puppy like behavior by jumping up and trying to lick the owner’s face.

Remedy: Say No! in a sharp voice, then turn away and avoid eye contact. When the dog calms down command him to sit, then crouch to his level and greet him while praising his good behavior.

Behavior: Not coming when called

Possible Reason: The dog associates being called with something he dislikes, like grooming or being put on a lead.

Remedy: Form an association between being called and something the dog enjoys. For example, attract the dog with a favorite toy, then play a short game and praise him for complying.

Behavior: Destructive behavior

Possible Reason: Dogs left on their own often become bored and frustrated and will act out by chewing up anything they can get hold of, particularly objects which have their owner’s scent on.

Remedy: Firstly, do not give the dog old items of your shoes and clothes. To his mind this means anything with your scent on is fair game.

Also limit the number of toys he has and do not give toys that resemble household objects – that squeaky TV remote may be cute but guess what…

You may also want to consider confining your dog to a dog crate when you are out – dogs are generally calmer when confined to a smaller area.

Behavior: Stealing Food

Possible Reason: Dogs are natural scavengers and will eat most anything they find. If the dog successfully steals a treat from a counter or coffee table he receives and instant reward and if you don’t check the behavior he could become a habitual thief.

Remedy: Only feed the dog out of his own bowl, never from the table. Get him to sit before feeding him, so that he learns that he must obey your command before eating.

It goes without saying that you should not leave tempting treats within his reach – this applies doubly if the food is something harmful to dogs, like chocolate.

Behavior: Leg humping

Possible Reason: Unneutered male dogs, particularly those between the ages of one and two years often display this behavior as an outlet for frustrated sexual energy.

Remedy: Interrupt the behavior by spraying the dog with a water pistol or plant-sprayer. Timing is everything – the dog must associate the spray of water with the behavior.

Unless you intend breeding your dog you should strongly consider having him neutered. Neutered males are generally calmer and less aggressive.


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