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Dogs Behavior Problems and Solutions: 6 of the Most Common

June 15th, 2020

Dogs can show problems in their behavior even after you have done everything right in terms of training, diet, and socialization. There are six common types of dog behavior problems: barking, chewing, separation anxiety, frequent urination, jumping, and aggression.

We are going to describe each of these common dog behavior problems and give you a solution that you can immediately put to use starting today.

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1. Barking


Barking is at the top of the list because it is the most common form of a behavior problem in dogs. It should be said that barking is essential for dogs. Barking is a dog’s only form of communication, so if a dog needs to alert its owner, it will do so in the form of barking. However, we are talking about a dog who barks for essentially no visible reason in terms of a behavior problem.


First, the barking may be what your dog uses to get exactly what he or she wants, so try not to reward a dog’s behavior by giving in to him or her to make the dog stop. Instead, redirect your dog to a different method of alerting you to what they want. For example, if they need to go outside, train them to sit by the door instead of barking.


Other forms of barking include barking when seeing other dogs, barking when visitors arrive or barking when separated from their owner. To solve this problem, teach your dog to be quiet by repeating the words “quiet” when calming your dog.


Also, if your dog is barking because of separation anxiety, you can give your dog a bone or treat to chew on while you are gone. This will be something your dog can focus their energy on instead of barking.


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2. Chewing


Dogs with behavior problems often find anything they can chew on to help them deal with anxiety. Dogs will chew shoes, rugs, furniture, and clothes while suffering from anxiety and behavior disorders. Dogs may also chew when they are bored.


To keep your dog from chewing on the things they are not supposed to, give your dog a safe dental bone or chew toy during these times. Dental bones, natural rawhide chew sticks, or other chewing toys will allow your dog to relieve his or her anxiety by chewing on items that are safe for him or her. Giving your dog one of these types of bones or chew toys means that your dog will not chew on items that are harmful to them or that may ruin something of yours.


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3. Separation Anxiety


Separation anxiety takes many of the common behavior problems in dogs and combines them into one overall behavior problem. Separation anxiety includes barking, chewing, howling/whining, urinating, scratching/biting, and anxiety/depression.


The most common sign that your dog has suffered from separation anxiety while you have been away include some type of destruction that has occurred within the home or the dog’s area. If your dog has a crate or pen, there will likely be signs of destruction in the area, indicating your dog’s anxiety. This can include bite marks on the crate or pen, destroyed toys, or chewed up items within the dog’s reach.


If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, you will notice a change in his or her behavior as you prepare to leave your house. Your dog will begin to follow you around, whimper, and stay near you as much as possible.


There is a variety of solutions to help your dog manage separation anxiety. You can give your dog calming medication before you leave the house so that your dog is relaxed while you are gone. You can secure an anxiety vest on your dog before you leave. The weight of the vest helps your dog feel safe and secure.


To truly resolve your dog’s separation anxiety, you should dedicate time to work with your dog by training him or her new behaviors to put in place. Training your dog how to relax during those times you will be leaving will help solve your dog’s separation anxiety behavior problems rather than treat them.


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4. Frequent Urination/Defecation


Behavior problems in dogs may show up as unexplainable urination or defecation. Puppies less than 12 weeks old should not be considered to have a behavior problem by way of frequent urination or defecation because of their age. This behavior problem is identifiable in older dogs, especially those who urinate out of excitement, fear, or for what appears to be no apparent reason.


Dogs who urinate out of excitement typically respond to the behavior they are exposed to. This means that when you come home to your dog, try to maintain a calm demeanor until you go outside; this will help your dog from urinating prematurely.


Dogs who urinate out of fear are often urinating submissively. The dog knows that you are the dominant one, so they show their understanding of this by urinating during training or direct eye contact. If this happens, try not to make direct eye contact with your dog and pet them underneath the chin.


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5. Jumping


Jumping is a natural occurrence in dogs, and you will see jumping in younger dogs than older ones, as younger dogs sometimes have to jump to nurse from their mother. Dogs sometimes continue to jump because of their inability to maintain anxiety and excitement.


To stop your dog from excessively jumping on yourself and others, simply turn your body and walk away. This will tell your dog that jumping will not cause you to give him or her attention. While pushing the dog down may seem like an effective way to break your dog from jumping, it essentially sends the message to your dog that jumping means he or she will be touched, even if it is negatively. For this reason, you should turn away from your dog when he or she jumps on you so that they learn that jumping does not mean they will receive attention.


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6. Biting/Aggression


Dogs bite for a reason, and usually, the bite is preceded by a growl, snap, or showing of the teeth. If your dog is displaying any of these behaviors, it is important to understand why this is happening so that you can handle it immediately.


The most common reason for dogs to bite is territorial. You should never approach a dog while they are eating or chewing on a bone. Dogs will mistake your friendly approach as encroachment into their space to take their food, and they will protect it by snapping, growling, and biting. This type of behavior is normal, and responsible pet owners need to respect their dog during these times.


If a dog is displaying biting and aggressive behavior as you are trying to bond, there may be an underlying issue the dog has suffered from, such as abuse. You will need to be patient, calm, and build a relationship with your dog so that your dog can trust you.


Don’t discipline your dog using force. Instead, give your dog a safe place for him or her to go during these times and then try again. Once your dog has begun to trust you, the likelihood of biting and aggression will subside.