The 7 most common behaviour problems in dogs: is there a cure?

László Enikő

2023. October 7 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Dogs can have a number of behavioural problems. This can be frustrating not only for the owners, but also unhealthy for their four-legged companions. Here are the most common causes!


Most owners will have experienced a behavioural problem that has been extremely worrying, annoying or frustrating. Unwanted behaviour of the dogs is always an indication of a problem. They cannot be solved by scolding or punishment, but must be corrected through conscious education. But they should also not be ignored, as this will leave your pet with a lifetime of fear and suffering. The key is to find the motivation behind the behaviour. And once you have that, there is almost no problem that cannot be treated and corrected with the help of an expert.

Fear and stress are the cause of many behavioural problems.

Destruction due to anxiety

Destruction is a very common symptom of separation anxiety. Dogs can become stressed and tense when left alone. Some dogs can cause quite astonishing damage to equipment. They can tear down wallpaper, chew up sofas, pull out drawers and knock over objects. This can be a very unpleasant sight to come home to, but it’s not an unsafe or healthy thing for your dog to do. Destruction is not just a result of anxiety. To identify the source of the problem, consult a dog behaviour expert. If you suspect your pet is anxious when home alone, read more about the phenomenon and how to treat it in this article.


Chewing is a very common behavioural problem in dogs. It can be caused by the anxiety mentioned above, teething in puppies or even boredom and curiosity. The discomfort associated with your puppy’s teeth changing can be soothed by a good chew. But it doesn’t matter what he does. It’s important to have a variety of chews available, because if you don’t, your dog may fall victim to the table or chair.

If chewing is a symptom of separation anxiety, gradually get your pet used to being alone while keeping him occupied with a variety of developmental toys. The latter is also great for boredom relief. But it’s also important that your pet is mentally and physically exhausted every day. If this doesn’t happen, and he has too much pent-up energy, he’ll often take it out on other things, which you may not be happy about.

Constant barking

The incessant barking can be deafening and can be extremely annoying not only for you, but also for your neighbours. The never-ending barking of dogs is usually caused by boredom or stress. If your pet jumps at every little noise, it’s probably the latter. Physical and mental exhaustion can be a good option in both cases. From
in our article on the constant barking of dogs, you can also read more useful tips.

Pulling the leash

Walking with a dog constantly pulling and tugging behind you is no fun. However, the good news is that the behaviour problem can be eliminated with enough training. It’s important to be confident and not let your dog’s tension get the better of you. Besides the appropriate tool, a leash, harness and collar is also important. For teaching walking, many trainers use a looped leash around the neck, but a front-attachable anti-pull harness is also popular. Tense dogs that jump at every sound are usually problematic even when walking. But the problem is can be eliminated with training too.

Jump on

Some owners don’t mind, others do, when the dog jumps on them. On the one hand, when guests arrive, it can be a nuisance when your pet gets your friends all dirty or rips their tights. On the other hand, small children can easily be knocked over by a dog, which is very dangerous. One of the best ways to wean your dog is to ignore him when he jumps up and only speak to him and praise him when he has sat down.


Certain breeds of dogs (such as Terriers and Hounds) are more prone to digging. On the one hand, prevention is important, but on the other hand, it’s worth finding out why your pet is gardening. Digging can often be a sign of pent-up energy and boredom.

Possession aggression

Possessive aggression can be very dangerous behaviour of dogs, as your pet may bite you if you try to take his toys or food. This must be dealt with. Small dogs should also not be dismissed just because they are small and cannot cause serious injury.

Perseverance is very important during the training. You should not give up if the dog does not learn the desired behaviour within a few days. Everything takes time, remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. And thorough training will pay off many times over, your dog’s quality of life will improve along with yours if you solve the problems. After all, most of the time these problems are caused by anxiety or boredom.

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