7 Behavioral Problems in Dogs

Behavioral problems in dogs have a lot of different causes. They can be related to fear, anxiety and stress. But what are their main causes?
7 Behavioral Problems in Dogs

Last update: 09 March, 2019

Dogs can suffer from different behavioral problems that, in addition to affecting their emotional health, may often put them in danger.

That’s because the disorder may make them want to escape from the house, or they might suffer from an accidental or self-inflicted injury. They may even try to get into a  fight with another animal.

Also, in some cases, it’s important to keep in mind that some behavior we find annoying or unpleasant is actually normal dog behavior. This can include compulsively marking their territory, biting or destroying different objects, or digging holes in the garden.

Two dogs playing in the sand.

And, we shouldn’t forget that some of the behavior could actually be caused by a disease your pet may be suffering from. 

Behavioral problems in dogs can have different causes. Keep reading to learn about the main ones.

Main causes of behavioral problems in dogs

We’ll now tell you the main causes of behavioral problems in dogs.

1. Poor socialization

Behavioral problems are common in dogs that haven’t been properly socialized. Among other things, the dog may be fearful and constantly feel intimidated by other animals, strangers, or sudden noises (thunder, explosions, fireworks, etc.).

Fearful dogs tend to respond to situations aggressively, or they may try to escape from the situation and hide. 

Lack of socialization, or none at all, has gotten worse in recent years. This is because of the increase in illegal pet farms. On these farms, pets spend the first few days of their lives confined in small spaces, without the opportunity to explore their environment. On top of this, they’re also separated from their mothers at a very early age.

2. Poor training and excessive humanization

You should show your pet what the rules of the house are in a clear way. It’s important that you don’t contradict yourself. If you don’t do this, the animal may be confused as to how he’s supposed to act.

Keep in mind that the first thing you have to do when training your pet is to learn how to interpret his body language.

Another issue is when the dog is treated like a person instead of a dog. This can also cause different behavioral and physical health problems. For example, using grooming and hygienic products made for humans, dressing him up in clothes and fashion accessories, etc.

3. Physical and verbal use

Abuse comes in different forms. If you punish a dog by hitting him, shouting at him, making aggressive gestures, keeping him locked in a cage or chained up, he may also start to become fearful. And, like we said before, that fear can turn into aggression or other behavioral problems. For example:

  • Urinating or defecating in inappropriate places
  • Destroying different objects in the home
  • Digging up the garden and destroying plants
  • Developing stereotypical behaviors (compulsively licking certain areas of his body, chasing his shadow or catching non-existent insects, etc)

4. Not paying attention to him

Dogs that spend a large part of their day alone, and that don’t receive the attention they need from their owners, can also develop behavioral problems. This could be a result of boredom or excess energy. It could also be a way of letting their owners know how they’re feeling, or because they’re suffering from separation anxiety.

When you decide to get a pet, you have to understand your responsibilities as a pet owner. You have to take him for walks and play with him so he can get his daily physical and mental exercise. And, of course, he needs a lot of love. 

5. Unexpected Situations

Behavioral problems in dogs can also be a result of a change in your pet’s daily routine. For example:

  • Moving home
  • A death or birth in the family
  • A new pet being brought home
  • Strangers in the home (plumbers, painters, etc.)

6. Diseases

Many physical problems can suddenly turn into aggressive behavior, even with the most peaceful dogs. This may be the case with animals suffering from:

  • Otitis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Degenerative osteoarthritis

Epilepsy may be another cause of behavioral problems in dogs. Cystitis could also be the cause of your dog beginning to urinate everywhere.

Also, constantly mixing breeds can often result in different diseases in those dogs. 

A sick dog laying down.

7. Aging

Additionally, just like with happy humans when they age, dogs also start to lose their patience. Because of this, they may become more aggressive in certain situations. 

However, progressive aggressiveness or new strange behavior in our dogs could be a sign of cataracts or a cognitive impairment, like Alzheimer’s. 

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The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.