Common Dog Behaviour Issues & How to Stop Them

Common Dog Behaviour Issues & How to Stop Them

Hyperactivity –Dogs who don’t get enough exercise, playtime, stimulation or interaction will have pent up energy that can manifest in unruly behaviour. Depending on the breed, size, age and upbringing, dogs will have different levels of activity.

Some active breeds always feel the need to release all the extra energy or fight boredom regardless of location or situation.

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Rough Play - For the most part, some level of rough play is normal dog interaction. Dogs like to play with other dogs, with people and other animals. If the play turns rough, it can be an issue. Playtime can also sometimes switch to too rough play very quickly so if your dog is playing, keep an eagle eye.

Whenever your pup starts being rough with you during a playtime, stand up immediately and raise yourself above the dog's level.

Stop interacting with the dog, no making sounds, moving around or reacting to the dog's actions. Freeze entirely and keep your arms close to the body.

Your pet will soon realise that the game time is over.

This needs to be done immediately after rough play starts, and possibly followed with the command “No!”

Another part of these most common dog behaviour problems is when they play roughly with other animals in your household, like a cat.

If you spot this, carefully stop the playtime between the two without hesitation and block your dog from the other animal/play while trying not to interact with or excite him.

Chasing Moving Things – This is something that is a hard -wired instinct and can be hard to control. This can be a dangerous when it comes to moving vehicles and even people.

Chasing things is a predatory instinct, part of their prey drive. Depending on the breed's prey drive, chasing after moving things is one of those common dog behaviour problems that majority will have.

Your pup will likely enjoy chasing cats, cars, squirrels, joggers, bicycles, children and even other dogs.

Canine behaviourists know there is no way to stop a dog from chasing things completely, but you can try to prevent anything bad from happening as the outcome of your pet's need to chase.

You can also slightly decrease the need for the dog to chase and desensitize them to certain distractions.

  • Socialize your pet to desensitize them to the daily world and the environment. Get your dog comfortable to be around all these “moving things” so that your pooch understands they're part of the environment they're living in.
  • When outside in the environment that pose potential dangers such as cars or other animals, make sure to keep your dog on a leash (and that he's leash-trained).
  • Train your dog basic commands and to be good at listening to obedience ques, and especially “No”, “Stay” and “Come” when called.
  • Always be on the lookout for any possible triggers that will set off your pooch: cats, wildlife, bicycles, joggers, cars or other attractive and quickly moving distractions.

Inappropriate Toileting – Far more common in puppies and older dogs, inappropriate peeing and pooping can happen with all dogs. This is one of the worst dog issues as urine and faeces can ruin furniture/clothing/fabrics.

Understanding WHY your pup is having toilet troubles is absolute key to getting to bottom of and tackling the behaviour. Understand that inappropriate elimination in dogs can be not only a behavioural problem but a medical condition too, especially as incontinence in senior dogs.

It is crucial for you to discuss this case with your veterinarian as soon as you discover it.

Once your vet has ruled out any health problems as the reason for a dog's inappropriate elimination, there is only one thing you need to do to fix this difficult issue – training (or retraining) the dog.

Inappropriate elimination is a lack of understanding by the dog why they cannot relieve themselves anywhere they wish.

You would need to go back to housebreaking basics, same ones you've used for training a puppy, and go through with your adult or senior dog about appropriate ways of elimination.

Jumping Up on People – This is a behaviour that can really put people off dogs. If a person is phobic or afraid of dogs, it’s really common that they cite “not like them jumping up” as the reason.

So, why do dogs jump up on people? It’s a greeting of sorts. Dogs will greet and interact with another dog but sniffing their behinds and their faces. Our faces are much higher up than another dog, so they feel the need to jump up to “get the info”.

It can also sometimes be a sign of dominance.

To resolve this common dog behaviour problem, ignore your pooch when you come home until they stop trying to jump up at you. Do not shout, do not call for your dog to stop, and do not push them 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 their feet land back on the ground so that they learn that jumping up was the reason you were ignoring them.

Separation Anxiety – This problems is actually more common than you think. This issue is more of a mental health issue and can actually cause other unwanted behaviours such as chewing, toilet problems, excessive barking and aggression.

Check out our YouTube channel for music and Dog TV that is designed for pups with separation anxiety. It can really help!

Separation anxiety can be extremely uncomfortable for the dog, much more so than for the owner.

This issue needs to be addressed with training at first, but if that doesn't work, help of a professional behaviourist might be needed, as well as anxiety aids in the form of medication (some even suggest Prozac, the one prescribed for humans, as an effective medication) which are very effective at calming dogs down, and then anxiety vests to relieve the discomfort and other methods.

In terms of training, the best way to start dealing with this common dog behaviour issue is teaching your pet that you will always be back: start with leaving the room for 5 to 10 minutes, then come back; extend this time frame based on your dog's reaction.

Another way to fix this common dog behaviour problem is to get an appropriate dog crate and crate-train your pet, gradually.

Just note that crates aren't ideal for every dog with separation anxiety, and you must observe your pooch whether crating is helping with SA or actually does the opposite.

Excessive Barking – Dogs bark. They bark for many different reasons and that in itself isn’t an issue. It’s when it become excessive and inappropriate that things need to be done.

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 desensitize 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.

Nov 25 2022
by Claire