15 Bad Dog Behaviors-What They Mean & How To Correct Them
Dogs, like humans, can display various behaviors that may be considered "bad" or undesirable. However, it's essential to recognize that these behaviors often have underlying causes or meanings. Understanding why dogs engage in certain behaviors can help us address the root dog behavior issues and work towards finding appropriate solutions.
Here are some common bad dog behaviors and what they may mean:
(Click on any of the dog behaviors listed below)
Type of bad dog behavior: Excessive barking
If you notice excessive dog barking, it could indicate that your dog is suffering from some underlying cause like loneliness or anxiety. Here are some of the main causes for excessive dog barking.
- Loneliness or Boredom: Dogs may bark excessively when lonely or bored. It can be a way for them to seek attention or alleviate their restlessness.
- Fear or Anxiety: Excessive barking can also be a response to fear or anxiety. Dogs may bark to express their discomfort or as a form of self-defense.
- Territoriality: Dogs may bark excessively to protect their territory or warn of perceived intruders. It's their way of asserting their presence and guarding their space. This is a common rescue dog's bad behavior.
How to correct dog behavior for excessive barking?
To correct excessive dog barking, you must first identify the underlying cause and trigger. Once you identify the trigger, it will be easy to manage the bad behavior.
- Effective tools for addressing excessive barking in dogs include obedience training, redirection, and training new habits.
- Attempt to eliminate or address the root causes if possible.
- Teach the dog appropriate responses or desensitize them to the triggers through training.
Type of bad dog behavior: Chewing on furniture or personal items:
Pet parents often find that their beloved pooch is chewing, biting and tearing whatever they can find in the house. It could be clothes, cushions, slippers, and even furniture pieces. Here are some of the reasons why dogs chew items.
- Teething or Exploration:Puppies, in particular, may chew on furniture or personal items as part of their teething process or explore their environment. It helps relieve discomfort and satisfy their curiosity.
- Lack of Mental Stimulation:Dogs may resort to destructive chewing when not provided with enough mental stimulation or appropriate chew toys. It serves as an outlet for their excess energy
How to correct dog behavior for destructive chewing?
Managing excessive chewing requires patience from the pet owner. Use positive reinforcement to stop it. Here are some tips to help control excessive chewing.
- Provide ample access to suitable chew toys for your dog.
- Block off access to inappropriate chewing items like wires, cords, and papers.
- If inappropriate chewing persists, consider boredom or lack of exercise potential factors.
Type of bad dog behavior: Jumping on people
If your dog is jumping on people, it could be as harmless as attention-seeking behavior. However, if your dog is jumping aggressively on people, you must counsel a professional dog trainer. Here are some reasons for excessive jumping.
- Excitement and Attention-Seeking: Dogs often jump on people to display excitement or seek attention. They may see jumping as a way to engage in social interaction.
- Lack of Training: Jumping can also result from inadequate training or inconsistent reinforcement of desired behaviors. Dogs may not understand that jumping is unacceptable.
How to correct dog behavior for jumping on people?
- Ignore your dog upon arriving home until they stop jumping.
- Avoid shouting, calling, or pushing them away, as it may encourage more jumping.
- Begin petting and praising only when their feet are back on the ground, reinforcing proper behavior.
Type of bad dog behavior: Aggression
Some breeds of dogs are naturally aggressive, and proper training can help them calm down. However, there could also be other underlying factors for their aggressive behavior.
- Fear or Insecurity: Aggression in dogs is often rooted in fear or insecurity. They may display aggression as a defensive mechanism to protect themselves or their resources.
- Lack of Socialization: Dogs that haven't been adequately socialized may exhibit aggression towards unfamiliar people or other animals. They may perceive them as potential threats.
How to correct dog behavior for aggression?
The best way to deal with aggression is by hiring a professional dog trainer. Here are some tips to help you control aggressive dog behavior.
- Avoid dealing with an aggressive dog alone; consider hiring an experienced trainer if possible.
- Approach the dog cautiously and establish that you are in control of the situation.
- Set limits for their behavior and ignore aggressive actions, using positive reinforcement.
- Monitor progress, and if the issue persists, consult with a vet and a professional dog trainer.
Type of bad dog behavior: Separation anxiety
Dogs may suffer from separation anxiety due to their strong emotional attachment to you. When left alone, they experience distress and fear of abandonment, leading to behavioral issues. Here are some of the reasons why dogs feel separation anxiety:
- Fear of not seeing its owner around: Your absence triggers stress, causing them to exhibit destructive behaviors, excessive barking, or attempts to escape. Dogs are social animals that thrive on companionship, making the sudden absence of their primary caregiver a challenging experience. Addressing separation anxiety requires patience, training, and gradual desensitization to help dogs feel more secure when alone. Building a trusting relationship and providing mental stimulation can alleviate their anxiety during solitude.
How to correct dog behavior for separation anxiety?
Correcting dog behavior for separation anxiety involves a systematic and patient approach. Create positive associations with departure cues and try to keep calm during departures and arrivals. Avoid punishment for anxious behaviors and instead reward a quiet demeanor. Seek professional guidance and ensure the dog gets regular exercise and mental stimulation. Consistency, understanding, and a loving environment are key to overcoming separation anxiety.
- Start training by gradually leaving the room for short periods and coming back to teach your dog that you will return.
- Use toys to distract your dog from destructive behavior caused by separation anxiety.
- Leaving the TV or radio on can also help soothe your pet.
- Some dogs find comfort in having their own den (crate), which can alleviate stress from separation anxiety.
- Consider crate training gradually, but note that it may not work for every dog with separation anxiety.
Type of bad dog behavior: Asking for food/stealing food
Dogs may steal food due to various instincts and learned behaviors. In the wild, scavenging for food was necessary for survival. This instinct can persist in domesticated dogs.
- Natural Canine Instincts: Dogs have the instinct to scavenge and explore their surroundings, leading them to investigate and sometimes "steal" items that catch their interest.
- Lack of Proper Training: Insufficient training or inconsistent reinforcement of boundaries may contribute to a dog's tendency to take things within their reach.
- Attention-Seeking Behavior: Dogs may steal objects or food to gain attention from their owners, especially if they've learned that this behavior leads to interactions or playtime.
- Boredom or Lack of Mental Stimulation: Dogs might engage in stealing behavior when bored or not mentally stimulated, as it provides them with an activity to pass the time.
- Reinforced Behavior: If a dog has been rewarded with food in the past for begging, they will associate this behavior with receiving treats or scraps and continue to do so.
- Human Food Appeal: Dogs are often attracted to the aroma and taste of human food, leading them to beg for it when they see their owners eating.
- Pleading Reinforcement: Sometimes, pet owners inadvertently reinforce begging behavior by giving in to their dog's pleas and providing food from their plate.
How to correct dog behavior for stealing food?
Here are some simple tips to help you control your dog from stealing or begging for food.
- Teach your dog that begging won't lead to getting food.
- Ignore the dog's begging behavior and avoid giving them food while you eat.
- Be patient and consistent in your approach.
- Avoid reprimanding the dog for begging, as it may reinforce the behavior.
- Understand that it's an ongoing process; if you give in, you may need to restart the training from the beginning.
Type of bad dog behavior: Being clingy
Dogs may act clingy due to their natural social nature and attachment to their owners. They seek comfort, security, and attention, especially when anxious or unsure. Here are some of the reasons why dogs become clingy.
- Learned Behavior: Clinginess in dogs is often learned from human interactions. E.g. Puppies given constant attention during development may become fearful of being alone.
- Illness or Aging: Older dogs with sensory loss or cognitive decline can become clingy due to unfamiliarity. Similarly, ill or bored dogs may exhibit clingy behavior.
- Anxiety and Stress: Dogs with anxiety issues may develop clingy behaviors. Dogs can become clingy when sensing their owner's stress or anxiety. Changes in daily routine or household can cause dogs to become clingy.
- Clingy Dog Breeds: Some breeds, like Shih Tzus and certain working dogs, are prone to clinginess.
- Separation Anxiety: Clinginess can be a precursor to separation anxiety. Clingy dogs want to be around their owners at home but don't panic when left alone. Separation anxiety causes destructive and anxious behavior when left alone, such as whining, pacing, and inappropriate elimination. Seek professional behavioral help if clinginess progresses to separation anxiety.
How to correct dog behavior for clinginess?
With proper training and positive reinforcement, you can manage the clingy nature of your dog. Here are some tips to help you do it successfully.
- Provide proper obedience training to establish boundaries and reinforce independence.
- Gradually increase the time spent apart from the dog to build their confidence and reduce separation anxiety.
- Use interactive toys, puzzle games, and regular exercise to offer mental and physical stimulation.
- Use positive reinforcement to reward calm and independent behavior.
- Create a safe and comfortable space for the dog to retreat when they need alone time.
- Consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer for personalized guidance and support.
- If this becomes a typical dog behavior at night consider letting them sleep closer to you.
Type of bad dog behavior: Play biting
Dogs engage in play biting as a form of social interaction and communication. It's a natural behavior seen in puppies and young dogs during playtime. Here are some of the reasons why dogs play bite:
- Natural Canine Instinct: Play biting is a normal behavior in dogs as it mimics how puppies interact with their littermates during playtime and socialization.
- Exploration and Teething:Puppies often explore the world with their mouths, and play biting may be a way to relieve teething discomfort.
- Social Interaction:Play biting can be a form of communication and interaction with humans or other dogs during play sessions.
- Excitement and Energy:Dogs may indulge in play biting when excited or have excess energy to release.
- Mimicking Behavior: Dogs may imitate play biting if they see other dogs or animals engaging in similar behaviors.
Is your dog showing strange behavior?
You might want to read:
How to correct dog behavior for play biting?
Play biting is usually harmless. By spending more time with your dog, you can manage it easily.
- Spend quality time with your pet and encourage socialization with other animals and strangers.
- Expose your dog to various environments and new experiences while being attentive to signs of discomfort.
- Consistent supervision and effort can lead to positive changes in this behavior.
Type of bad dog behavior: Urinating & defecating inside the house
Urinating & defecating inside the home is common senior dog bad behavior. However, even younger dogs may do this due to lack of training. Here are some causes why your dog may be indulging in this bad behavior.
- Lack of Housetraining: If a dog hasn't been properly housetrained, it may not understand that it should only urinate outside the home.
- Submissive or Excitement Urination: Some dogs may urinate inside when they are feeling submissive or overly excited, especially during greetings or interactions.
- Marking Territory:Dogs may urinate inside to mark their territory, especially if they sense other animals nearby or if there have been changes in the household.
- Medical Issues: Urinating or defecating indoors can be a sign of underlying medical problems, such as urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal issues, or age-related incontinence.
- Anxiety or Stress: Dogs may defecate indoors when they feel anxious, stressed, or fearful, especially if they associate the outside environment with negative experiences.
- Lack of Outdoor Access:If dogs do not have regular access to the outdoors or are confined for extended periods, they may have no choice but to urinate inside.
- Changes in Routine:Changes in the daily schedule, household, or living arrangements can disrupt a dog's housetraining and lead to accidents indoors.
- Age-Related Factors: This is a common senior dog's bad behavior. Elderly dogs may have difficulty controlling their bladder and bowels due to age-related issues.
How to correct dog behavior for urinating & defecating inside the house?
Proper training using positive reinforcements is the best way to stop your dog from doing this. If your dog is aged, you may have to use diapers to avoid a mess inside the house.
- Inappropriate excretion can be a medical or behavioral issue, especially in senior dogs, so consult your veterinarian.
- Once health issues are ruled out, focus on training or retraining the dog for appropriate excretion.
- Return to housebreaking basics, like training a puppy, to reinforce proper excretion habits.
- Be patient, as fixing this issue may take time, especially for puppies under 12 weeks.
- Consider using dog diapers to manage soiling while working on the training process.
- This is a senior dog bad behavior that needs to be addressed with patience and compassion. Use diapers to avoid senior dogs from excreting inside the house.
Type of bad dog behavior: Leash aggression/pulling
Dogs pull their leash mainly due to natural instincts and excitement. Pulling can be a way for them to explore their environment, follow scents, or express enthusiasm. Proper leash training and consistent reinforcement of loose leash walking can help curb this behavior. Here are some of the reasons why dogs pull their leash.
- Fear:Leash aggression or reactivity is often triggered by fear, frustration, or a high prey drive.
- Leash Type: The nature of the leash itself can cause frustration and pain, hindering a dog's ability to investigate.
- Aggression: can be triggered or worsened by illness or injury, making the dog feel vulnerable and afraid.
How to Correct Dog Behavior For Leash Aggression
Correcting leash aggression in dogs requires a gradual approach. Start by desensitizing your dog to triggers from a safe distance and rewarding calm behavior. Use positive reinforcement training to redirect their focus and teach alternative behaviors. Seek professional help if needed and practice patience and consistency throughout the training process.
- Purchase a no-pull harness to prevent injuries from pulling.
- Have frequent, short, and enjoyable walking sessions with the dog on the leash and harness.
- Prevent undesirable behavior during training by maintaining control over the dog's actions.
- Keep the leash short but loose enough to avoid discomfort for the dog.
- Use positive reinforcement with tasty treats for training your dog to walk alongside you.
- Consider walking faster or jogging with your dog on the leash.
Dog bad Behavior after spaying
After a spaying procedure, female dogs commonly experience behavioral changes during the initial week of recovery, which may continue for a few weeks.
- Female dog behavior changes after spaying is common during the first week of recovery and may persist for a couple of weeks.
- Changes are usually related to pain and recovery, but permanent changes are possible.
- Common behavior changes include whining, sensitivity to touch, excessive urination, irritability with strangers or family, and resource aggression or nesting.
- Spaying mainly affects behaviors associated with the dog's heat cycle, such as flagging, wandering, and restlessness.
- Whining may result from boredom, sensitivity, or urination can be related to the surgery itself, and irritability may be due to hormonal adjustments.
- Increased fearfulness and sensitivity can also be related to spaying.
How to correct female dog behavior changes after spaying?
Correcting dog behavior changes after spaying requires patience, consistency, and understanding. Here are some essential tips to help address and manage these changes:
- Monitor behavior closely for any unusual changes.
- Create a calm environment for recovery.
- Stick to a consistent daily routine.
- Use positive reinforcement for good behavior.
- Address pain and discomfort with vet consultation.
- Gradually socialize to ease irritability.
- Manage aggression with professional help.
- Provide mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
- Allow sufficient rest during recovery.
- Be patient and understanding throughout the process.
If you notice persistent or severe behavior changes, consult your veterinarian or a certified dog behaviorist for personalized guidance and support. With love and proper care, most dogs can adapt and return to their usual selves after spaying.
Dog Bad Behavior After Neutering
Neutering male dogs is a standard surgical procedure for population control and health benefits, but it can impact their behavior due to temporary hormonal imbalances. Understanding these temporary effects can help dog owners prepare and address any behavioral challenges post-neutering.
- Neutering male dogs can lead to changes in male dog behavior due to temporary hormonal imbalances
- Some dog breeds are naturally more aggressive, and neutering may temporarily spike aggressive behaviors in predisposed breeds.
- The increase in aggression is usually a temporary effect of hormonal changes.
How to correct male dog behavior changes after neutering?
Correcting male dog behavior changes after neutering requires a thoughtful and patient approach. Here are some effective strategies to help manage and address these changes:
- Recognize that behavioral changes after neutering can be temporary and may be influenced by hormonal shifts. Allow your dog a few weeks to adjust to the new hormonal balance before expecting significant changes.
- Utilize positive reinforcement training techniques to encourage desired behaviors and discourage unwanted ones. Reward your dog with treats, praise, or affection when they display positive behavior.
- Stick to a consistent daily routine for feeding, walks, playtime, and rest. Consistency helps your dog feel secure and can aid in reducing anxiety or stress.
- Continue socializing your dog with other dogs and people in controlled settings. Proper socialization can help reduce potential spikes in aggressive behavior and foster positive interactions.
- If your dog exhibits aggression, consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to develop a tailored behavior modification plan. Avoid punishment-based methods and focus on redirection and positive reinforcement.
- Ensure your dog receives regular physical exercise to release pent-up energy and reduce anxiety. A tired dog is generally less likely to exhibit unwanted behaviors.
- Monitor your dog's diet and avoid overfeeding. Excessive weight gain can sometimes impact behavior and overall well-being.
Remember, every dog is unique, and the response to neutering may vary.
Type of bad dog behavior: Dog Bad Behavior After Boarding
Boarding can be a stressful experience for dogs, and their reactions may vary widely upon returning home. Two common behaviors dogs exhibit after boarding are distant behavior and clingy behavior. Distant behavior could be stress-related or perceived as sulking due to being left at the kennel.
- Clingy behavior may include sitting on you, following you around, and seeking constant attention.
- Some dogs may appear lethargic or have a reduced appetite after boarding due to stress or changes in diet and routine.
- A small percentage of dogs may display aggressive tendencies, often stemming from fear.
How to correct behavior changes after boarding?
- Create a calm and familiar environment at home.
- Spend quality time with your dog to strengthen the bond.
- Use positive reinforcement for desired behaviors.
- Gradually reintroduce regular routines and activities.
- Address any signs of stress or anxiety and seek professional help.
Type of bad dog behavior: Arrival of a new baby in the house
The arrival of a new baby can bring significant changes to a household, including its four-legged members. These behavior changes might manifest during pregnancy or after the baby's birth.
- Dogs may have pee or poop accidents after the arrival of a baby, sometimes targeting baby items or the nursery.
- Potty training accidents may start during pregnancy or after the baby's birth.
- Some dogs may become distant or avoidant towards their owners after the baby is born.
How to correct bad dog behavior after you welcome a baby at home?
Here are some effective strategies to help your dog adjust to the changes.
- Gradually introduce your dog to baby-related scents and sounds.
- Maintain your dog's regular routine for stability.
- Use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior around the baby.
- Supervise interactions between your dog and the baby at all times.
- Seek professional help if behavior issues persist or worsen.
Dog Bad Behavior After Grooming
Grooming is essential to maintaining a dog's hygiene and overall well-being. However, for some dogs, the grooming process can be a stressful and uncomfortable experience, leading to significant behavior changes afterward.
- Dog behavior changes after grooming may include signs of depression or withdrawal after grooming.
- Grooming can be a fearful experience for some dogs, leading to confusion and anger.
- Accidental fur shaving or causing pain during grooming can result in negative reactions.
- Rough handling or hair trimming on the tail can lead to fear and odd behavior.
- Dogs may sit down and drag their butt, appear confused, or show signs of anger after grooming.
- Grooming can make dogs feel different due to coat and nail trimming.
How to correct dog behavior changes after grooming?
Correcting dog behavior changes after grooming requires a patient and understanding approach. Here are some effective strategies to help your dog adjust and feel more comfortable after grooming.
- Use positive reinforcement to reward calm and cooperative behavior during grooming.
- Gradually desensitize your dog to grooming by starting with short and gentle sessions.
- Ensure groomers handle your dog gently and carefully during grooming.
- Create a calm environment and offer distractions during grooming to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Monitor your dog's behavior after grooming and promptly address any signs of fear or discomfort.
Recognizing the underlying meanings behind destructive dog behaviors is crucial for practical training and behavior modification. It is essential to approach these behaviors with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Seeking guidance from professional trainers or behaviorists can provide valuable insights and techniques to address these behaviors appropriately. By understanding the motivations behind these actions, we can foster a stronger bond with our dogs and work towards a harmonious and well-behaved canine companion.
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