6 Common Behavioral Problems in Dogs

Dogs are known as man’s best friend, but even the most well-behaved canine can develop behavioural problems. As a responsible dog owner, it’s crucial to identify and address these issues to maintain a healthy, happy relationship with your furry friend. Let’s discuss some of the common behavioural problems in dogs and see what you can do to manage and prevent these issues.

6 Common Behavioral Problems in Dogs

  1. Barking:

Barking is a natural form of communication for dogs, but excessive barking can become a significant problem, especially in urban environments where close neighbours might be disturbed. Dogs bark for various reasons, including boredom, anxiety, fear, and attention-seeking.

6 Common Behavioral Problems in Dogs

What to do:

  • Identify the cause of excessive barking and address it accordingly.
  • Provide mental and physical stimulation to reduce boredom.
  • Use positive reinforcement to reward quiet behaviour.
  • Train your dog to follow a “quiet” or “enough” command.

Consult a dog trainer or behaviourist if the problem persists.

  1. Chewing:

Chewing is a natural behaviour for dogs and provides mental stimulation, helps clean teeth, and relieves boredom though some breeds like Maltese Puppies or Chihuahua are born chewers. However, destructive chewing can result in damage to furniture, personal belongings, and even injury to the dog itself.

What to do:

  • Provide your dog with appropriate chew toys and rotate them regularly to maintain interest.
  • Dog-proof your home by keeping valuable items out of reach.
  • Offer plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
  • Use positive reinforcement to redirect your dog’s chewing to appropriate objects.
  • Consider crate training when you cannot supervise your dog.
  1. Digging:

Many dogs, especially those from breeds with a strong digging instinct, may dig holes in your yard or garden. Digging can be a result of boredom, excess energy, anxiety, or even a dog’s natural hunting instincts.

What to do:

  • Ensure your dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation to reduce boredom and burn off excess energy.
  • Provide designated digging areas, like a sandpit, for your dog to satisfy its digging instincts.
  • Use positive reinforcement to reward your dog when it digs in the designated area.
  • Create barriers or use deterrents to prevent digging in unwanted areas.
  1. Aggression:

Aggression in dogs can manifest as growling, barking, snapping, or biting. It can be triggered by fear, territorial instincts, frustration, or pain. Aggressive behaviour can be dangerous for both humans and other animals and should be addressed promptly.

What to do:

  • Consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviourist to identify the root cause of aggression and develop a tailored treatment plan.
  • Use positive reinforcement and desensitisation techniques to modify aggressive behaviour.
  • Avoid punishment, as it can worsen the problem.

In severe cases, consider working with a veterinary behaviourist and discussing the possibility of medication. Sadly, some aggressive dogs may need to be rehomed or put down if they pose a danger to their owners. 

  1. Separation Anxiety:

Separation anxiety is a common behavioural problem in dogs that can lead to excessive barking, destructive behaviour, or house soiling when left alone. It is typically caused by an overattachment to the owner or fear of being alone.

What to do:

  • Gradually increase the amount of time your dog spends alone, starting with short intervals and building up over time.
  • Provide a comfortable and secure environment for your dog, such as a crate or a designated “safe space.”
  • Train your dog to associate your departure with positive experiences, like receiving a treat or a favourite toy.
  • Consider using puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys to keep your dog occupied when you’re away.

Consult a professional dog trainer or behaviourist for severe cases of separation anxiety.

  1. Jumping Up:

Dogs often jump up on people as a form of greeting or to seek attention. While this behaviour may seem harmless, it can become problematic, particularly with larger dogs that could potentially knock over or injure someone.

What to do:

  • Teach your dog an alternative behaviour, such as sitting, to replace jumping up.
  • Use positive reinforcement to reward your dog for keeping all four paws on the ground.
  • Ignore jumping behaviour by turning away and withholding attention until your dog stops jumping.
  • Train your dog to follow a “sit” or “off” command.

Encourage guests and family members to follow the same approach to ensure consistency.


Addressing common behavioural problems in dogs requires patience, consistency, and understanding. It’s essential to identify the root cause of the issue and tailor your approach to your dog’s specific needs. In some cases, seeking the guidance of a professional dog trainer or behaviourist may be necessary to achieve lasting results. By proactively addressing these issues, you’ll foster a harmonious relationship with your canine companion and ensure a safe, happy, and well-adjusted pet.