Dog Behavior Problems: Why, What, and How to Solve Them

Dog behavior problems are one of the leading reasons owners relinquish their dogs to dog shelters.  It doesn’t have to be like this. Most problems can be solved through some patience, perseverance and practical knowledge of dog behavioral training. 

Dog behavior problems

What are some of the most common behaviors a dog owner may face?

Common Dog Behavior Problems

  • Continual Barking
  • Chewing
  • Begging
  • Pulling on the Leash
  • Digging
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Biting
  • Whining for Attention

Some of these problems may be more common in some breeds than others, but no matter what the breed, any dog can develop one or more of these issues. 

Most people would judge these issues on a continuum from annoying to down right intolerable. The good news is that each one of these problems has a solution.  Even if a breed is predisposed to one of these issues through years of selective breeding, you can still control the urge to some degree.

Our friends at Greyhounds as Pets have graciously allowed us to feature their infographic which explores these problems in a concise way. Feel free to skip the explanations below and go directly to their infographic where you will also see why some of these behaviors develop. Best viewed on a desktop computer screen!


According to Stanley Coren, a psychologist and dog expert, in his book “Born to Bark; “barking is a dog’s way of communicating.  Dogs alert us to something unusual or dangerous coming to our front door.  

Some dogs bark to alert their owners that it is time to go outside or to let them know they are in pain. Hunters have relied on dogs barking along the trail looking for prey. 

Service dogs bark to alert their owners for a variety of different reasons. Barking is not, in itself a bad thing, but when a dog seemingly barks non-stop for no reason, it becomes a problem.


No one would argue that a puppy just like a human baby explores his world through his mouth. Chewing is a natural way that puppies relieve the pain of teething.  Once all the teeth have erupted, the desire to chew becomes less intense. 

Dogs will, however chew throughout their lives and we tend to reward them for this habit by giving them chew toys and various other types of chews.

When chewing becomes destructive, owners take notice.  Luckily there are ways to give appropriate chewing experiences to our dogs and save our furniture and other belongings.


Begging is a completely human created dog behavior problem. What’s wrong with a little tidbit from the table now and again? A bit of meat, a carrot, or scrap of bread couldn’t hurt the dog, could it? Those little treats are likely safe for the dog, but the act of giving these special rewards while you eat your dinner creates the start of a bad habit. Just as we have created the problem, we can also correct it with a little patience and will-power.

Pulling on the Leash

Who wants to be pulled down the road by an overly exuberant, strong 80-pound dog?  That takes all the fun out of walking your dog and if you are like me, it makes for an almost impossible situation.

It is important to teach your dog how to walk nicely on a leash without pulling, tugging or lunging forward.


You don’t have to own a terrier to know that digging can be seen as a fun activity for dogs.  It may be cute if your dog digs in the sand at the beach, but it is a different story altogether if he decides to dig up the flower bed you just planted. 

Digging is instinctual in some breeds and universal in all pregnant dogs as they prepare to whelp their puppies.  Even though it is inborn, a bit of training can help your dog find appropriate ways to funnel their urge to dig.

Separation Anxiety

This is a common dog behavior problem in many dog breeds and sometimes hard to reverse.  There are however, things you can do to make your dog more comfortable when you cannot be there with him.


Puppy nipping is one thing, but when an adult dog bites a person, that is an entirely different story. 

Whining for Attention

We all love our dogs but sometimes it is inappropriate or imposible to give them our full attention.  Most dogs will understand, but there are some who don’t seem to understand and will continually whine for our attention.  

Yelling is not going to help and hitting should never be an option.  There are positive approaches you can take to cure this little habit.

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