Top 6 Most Common Dog Behavioural Issues

June 21, 2023
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common dog behavioural issues

Dogs are beloved members of our families, but they are not immune to the most common dog behavioural issues. From aggression and separation anxiety to excessive barking and destructive chewing, these issues can cause stress and frustration for both dogs and their owners.

It’s important to tackle these behavioural issues for the well-being of both the dog and its owner. Unaddressed behavioural issues can worsen over time and even lead to the relinquishment or euthanasia of the dog. Furthermore, tackling these issues can improve the dog’s quality of life and enhance the bond between the dog and its owner. With the right training and guidance, many of these issues can be successfully addressed, leading to a happier and healthier relationship between the dog and its owner.

Top 6 most common issues that dog owners face:

Aggression: This is one of the most serious and common behavioural issues in dogs. It can be directed towards other dogs, people or objects. Aggression can be caused by a variety of factors, including fear, territorial behaviour, and lack of socialisation.

Separation anxiety: Separation anxiety is a condition in which dogs become extremely anxious when left alone. This can cause them to engage in destructive behaviour, such as chewing or digging, or to vocalise excessively.

Barking: Barking is a natural behaviour for dogs, but excessive barking can be a nuisance for both the owner and neighbours. Excessive barking can be caused by boredom, anxiety, or territorial behaviour.
Chewing: Chewing is a natural behaviour for dogs, but destructive chewing can be frustrating for owners. Destructive chewing can be caused by boredom, anxiety, or lack of exercise.

Jumping up: Jumping up on people is a common problem in dogs, especially puppies. This behaviour is usually a sign of excitement or affection, but it can be problematic, especially for small children or elderly people.

Pulling on the lead: Dogs that pull on the lead can be difficult to control and can be dangerous for both the dog and the owner. This behaviour is usually caused by a lack of training or exercise.
Digging: Digging is a natural behaviour for dogs, but it can be destructive if done excessively. Dogs may dig to escape or to find a cool place to lie down. Boredom or lack of exercise can also contribute to digging.

Fear and anxiety: Fear and anxiety can manifest in many ways, including shaking, panting and hiding. Dogs may become anxious in response to loud noises, new environments, or changes in routine.
If you’re experiencing any of these behavioural issues with your dog, it’s important to seek help from a professional dog trainer or behaviourist. With the right training and guidance, many of these issues can be successfully addressed.

How to fix some of these dog behavioural issues

Proper training and behaviour modification techniques are by far the best way to fix common dog behavioural issues. The key is to start training and socialisation as young as 8 weeks old, set boundaries and teach your pup boundaries.

Missed the 8-week mark? No worries! Although it is easier to train a young pup, it is not impossible to teach an old dog new tricks.

Here are some basic tips for addressing some of the most common behavioural issues in dogs:

Separation anxiety: This is a common problem in dogs where they get anxious or distressed when left alone. To fix this, start with short periods of time away and gradually increase the duration. Also, make sure your dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation.

Aggression: Aggression towards other dogs or people can be dangerous and requires careful management and training. Consult a professional dog trainer or behaviourist for guidance.

Leash pulling: Dogs that pull on the leash can be frustrating to walk and may even cause injury to the owner or the dog. Use positive reinforcement training techniques to teach your dog to walk calmly on a leash.

Barking: Excessive barking can be a nuisance to neighbours and may be a sign of underlying anxiety or boredom. Training techniques such as desensitization and counter-conditioning can help.

Chewing: Puppies and some adult dogs may chew on furniture, shoes, or other household items. Provide plenty of appropriate chew toys and supervise your dog to prevent destructive chewing.

What type of training works best for my dog?

The type of dog training that works best for your dog will depend on their personality, temperament, the specific issue you are trying to address and also your dog’s breed. Positive reinforcement training is generally considered the most effective and humane approach to dog training. This involves rewarding desired behaviours and ignoring or redirecting unwanted behaviours. If you have tried everything, and you feel that the training is getting nowhere, check out our dog obedience, dog aggression & reactivity and dog breed-specific training pages.

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