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Common Dog Behavior Problems

There is an old phrase in the dog world “every dog is a good dog”, but they are only as good as we train them to be.

Some dog breeds might have an aggressive reputation. But, with the proper training, at a young age, dogs can be taught good behaviors.

Here are the ten most common dog behavior problems.

What Is Positive and Negative Reinforcement?

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is when you reward your dog for doing what you tell them to. For example, when potty training your dog you might use a dog doorbell.

When your dog hits that bell to let you know they must potty you should reward this behavior. This lets the dog know when they do this, something good happens to them.

For a deeper explanation, click here!

Negative Reinforcement

Like there is positive reinforcement there is also negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is when you punish your dog for doing something bad.

For example, if you tell your dog to chew on a dog toy and not your shoes. Then, you catch them chewing on your shoes you should crate them.

This tells your dog when they do something bad it will have a bad result.

What Are The Most Common Dog Behavior Problems?


Aggression can be in any dog regardless of their breed. Whether it is a golden retriever or a pitbull if the dog is not trained right they will be aggressive.

But, dogs with abusive histories will have a higher chance of being aggressive due to fear.

Common Reasons For Dog’s Aggression:

  • Fear
  • Being Territorial
  • Pain
  • Dominance

Make sure you take your dog to the vet and get their professional advice if your dog is acting too aggressive. Another choice is to seek help from a dog trainer.

You should get a trainer that handles dogs with serious aggression issues. They can train the bad habits out of your dog and replace them with proper behaviors.


A black and white picture of a dog barking

Barking is a common trait in all dogs that you don’t need to train out completely. This is only a problem when it becomes excessive.

That’s when it can become a disturbance to your peace or your neighbor’s peace.

Common Causes Of Dogs Barking:

  • Warning
  • Excitement
  • Desire For Attention
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Communication With Other Dogs

This behavior doesn’t need as intense reactions as some of the other behaviors on this list. But, you should try to stop this kind of behavior as soon as possible.

Or else, it could evolve into a much worse situation fast. Spend time with your dog, teach them when to bark and at what.

Also, teach them commands to stay quiet. But, encourage them to still use their voice in the right situations.


What do you do when your dog’s glossy eyes look up at you begging you for that piece of bacon? Do you give in to the cuteness of your dog?

If so, you should stop now these gifts can lead to digestive problems, obesity, and even refusal to eat dog food in the future.

When you give into their looks, you are making them think they can eat human food. This leads to jumping up on the counter and feeding their other bad behaviors.

If you want to avoid this, avoid the temptation in the first place.

Make your dog lay in their bed or crate away from the table. This avoids both the dog temptation to eat the food and your temptation to give them food.

Like all solutions, you should make sure that if it goes good you must reward them with treats.

Positive reinforcement is the best way to get your dog to adapt to good behavior.


Teething is like barking, dogs do this activity instinctually it’s all about training them what to chew.

This habit is harmless if you take care of it as soon as possible, but if you don’t, this can cost you hundreds of dollars.

A picture of a dog that ate a remote

Common Reasons For Dogs Chewing

  • Puppy Teething
  • Boredom
  • Anxiety

The best prevention for this is teaching your dog to chew on dog toys. Keep any valuable items on elevated surfaces.

If you are not home, make sure you put your dog in their crate, you don’t want your dog destroying the house while you’re gone.

When you find a dog chewing on something you should replace it with a dog toy. This will show the dog that they need to chew on their toys and not your furniture.


Many dogs will display this behavior, it’s something they do because it’s their nature. Terriers were hunting dogs in the past.

Because of this background, they have a higher tendency to dig holes. This behavior is harmless at first. But without proper treatment, this can become very destructive to your garden or yard.

This could also lead to your dogs getting very dirty and tracking dirt inside.

Common Reasons For Dogs Digging

  • Boredom
  • Fear
  • Hunting History
  • Comfort
  • Hiding Items

Find out what causes your dog to dig in the backyard. Then, spend time trying to stop that cause.

In general, spend time playing with your dog and make them comfortable. Cut out that extra energy that they have every day.

You will see fast results, your dog won’t dig holes if it is resting after a long walk or playing fetch.

Your dog doesn’t need professional help with this issue. Spend time with your dog every day it benefits your dog’s health and will stop them from digging.

Jumping Up

When dogs are young and small you can’t resist their love when you walk in the door and they jump on your leg.

But, when they are full-grown adults they might get used to old habits and knock you over as soon as you walk in the door.

It is important when dogs are young to teach them not to jump on people. This will avoid many bad situations in the future.

If you have to stop this block their actions with an arm or leg. If you want to stop this behavior in the future you should ignore your dog when they do this.

When they stop you should reward them with attention and treats. They will begin to learn that when they want attention they shouldn’t jump on you to get it.

Rough Play

Rough play is common in dogs. If this is not dealt with as soon as possible this can turn into a dangerous habit when they get older.

They bite, tackle, and usually start doing this when they are puppies with their other dogs. But, they will carry on these habits as adults without proper treatment.

This habit is especially dangerous if you have young children.

The best way to stop this is to stand up and keep your hands close to your chest and away from the dog’s reach.

If other people are present let them know to do the same. The dog will learn that they shouldn’t play rough like that with anyone.

When they finish trying to play rough you must put them in their cage, so they understand that what they did was bad.

The punishment for rough play is a long time in the crate if your dog doesn’t know what they did was bad they will continue to do it.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a problem found in most dogs. When their humans leave them they feel very alone and will sometimes even act out.

Check out this video that shows what dogs do when you leave the house.

Separation Anxiety can lead to:

  • Barking
  • Chewing
  • Urinating Inside And
  • Defecating Inside

Some signs of separation anxiety are:

  • The dog becomes anxious when their owner is leaving
  • The dog follows the owner around the house
  • The dog tries to make contact with the owner whenever the owner stands still

If your dog has intense symptoms of separation anxiety, you should seek a dog trainer. You could also get the professional opinion of a vet first before hiring help.

Submissive Urination

This behavior is something you will deal with in all dogs. Especially, when they are younger than 3 months old.

This can bring a terrible aroma to your house and not to mention it isn’t a great first impression for strangers.

Common Reasons For Submissive Urination:

  • Excitement
  • Submissive
  • Anxiety
  • Attention-Seeking
  • No Proper House Breaking

If your dog is older and still has this problem, you should consider getting the advice of a dog trainer or vet.

The longer you wait to deal with this issue the harder it will be to train it out of your dog.


Dogs biting is their primal instinct, so if you don’t train it out they won’t stop doing it.

Puppies often bite as a way of discovery and to also find out if they are the alpha dog of your house.

You must train your dog not to do this as a puppy, so when they grow bigger they don’t harm anyone.

Common Reasons For Dogs Biting:

  • Fear
  • Defense
  • Territorial Instinct
  • Pain
  • Dominance

All dogs have the opportunity to be good, well-behaved dogs it’s all in how you teach them.

If you can teach your dog at a young age when not to bite that is your ideal situation.

If you have an aggressive older dog that still has problems biting. You should see a professional trainer.


You can fix all these common dog behavior problems. The sooner you try to solve the problem the easier it will be. The longer you wait the harder it will get.

If you have an older dog with several harmful behavior issues see a trainer.

Before you hire any help you should always see your pet’s veterinarian. Get their advice first, then take action on what they say.

If you are patient and put in the time your dog will turn out a good dog. Let your actions teach your dog what they should and shouldn’t do.

Common dog behavior problem pinterest picture


I started this site because I am a dog lover. Most of my social feeds are full of dogs and I am always learning more about them. I also have a lifetime of experience with dogs packed with tactics, tips, and funny stories that I want to share with the world!

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