Common behavioural problems in dogs

(2 minute read)

There are many behavioural problems that dogs can exhibit, and many reasons underpinning them. Some of the most common issues include:

  • Aggression: Aggression in dogs can manifest in different forms, such as growling, biting, or barking. Aggression can be directed towards people or other animals and can be caused by a variety of factors, such as fear, territorial behavior (a desire to protect their space or famliar people), or lack of socialisation.

  • Separation anxiety: Separation anxiety (sometimes referred to as SA) is a common behavioural problem in dogs, especially in those that are left alone for long periods. Conversely, many dogs exhibit SA when they have become accustomed to having people around them for long periods, only for that to suddenly change. It’s for this reason SA has become common after the Covid-19 lockdowns. Signs of separation anxiety can include excessive barking, destructive behavior, and inappropriate elimination.

  • Excessive barking: Dogs may bark excessively for reasons including boredom, fear, or anxiety. If left unaddressed, excessive barking can become distressing for both the owner and their neighbours.

  • Destructive behaviour: Dogs may exhibit destructive behaviour, such as chewing or digging, due to boredom, anxiety, or lack of exercise. This can result in damage to property and even injury to the dog.

  • Jumping: Jumping on people is a common behavioural problem in dogs, especially in puppies. While it may be seen as an expression of affection, it can also be a nuisance and even dangerous in some cases. Remember, not everyone you encounter will be as comfortable around your dog as you are.

  • Pulling on the lead: Dogs may pull on the lead while walking due to excitement, lack of training, or dominance issues. This can result in difficulty controlling the dog and can even cause injury. Pulling can also be more common in certain breeds, such as terriers. Teaching loose lead walking is a good part of any training regime.

  • Inappropriate elimination: Inappropriate elimination, such as urinating or defecating indoors, can be caused by factors such as a lack of house-training, medical issues, or anxiety.

These are just some of the more common behavioural problems seen in dogs, and each one requires understanding and specific training and treatment to address. Hopefully this list helps to reassure you that if your dog does portray any of these behaviours, you’re not alone, and a solution may well be possible. If you are experiencing any of these issues with your dog, it is best to seek advice from a professional dog trainer or behaviourist to determine the underlying cause and develop an effective treatment plan.

Remember, training and behaviour change take time and effort (sometimes a lot of time and effort) but you will slowly start to see progress towards the behaviour and relationship you want.

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