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Causes Behind Dog Behaviour Disorders by PetWell

The Causes Behind Dog Behaviour Disorders


The causes behind dog behaviour disorders are not always clear-cut. Dogs can't express themselves through words, making it challenging for us to pinpoint the exact reasons behind their behaviours. It's a language that relies heavily on body language, barks, and subtle cues.  Read more about Understanding Dog Body Language

The complexity arises from the fact that what might seem like "bad behaviour" to us could be a manifestation of various underlying issues for our dogs. It's not always obvious and factors such as genetics, early life experiences, and health issues can contribute to behaviour disorders. Thus creating a web of interconnected influences.

Dogs are incredibly intuitive beings, often picking up on our emotions and reacting accordingly. A stressed or anxious household can affect a dog's behaviour, adding another layer to the mystery. It's a dance between nature and nurture, where each step is as unique as the individual dog.

Anxiety stands as the primary behavioural concern in dogs, often giving rise to fear, aggression, and avoidance. PetWell’s CALM Anxiety Aid supplement and LAMB + CALM functional treats are an ideal addition to your pet's daily diet. 

PetWell CALM Anxiety Aid Supplement and Treats for Cats and Dogs

Formulated by a pet naturopath, these products utilise all-natural ingredients rich in naturally occurring L-tryptophan, L-theanine, and other relaxing properties. Together, they deliver optimal benefits, offering stress relief and promoting well-being for your pet.

Causes of Dog Behaviour Disorders

Acknowledging the multifaceted nature of the causes behind dog behaviour disorders is the first step towards better understanding and, consequently, more effective solutions. 

Genetic Predisposition

Dogs, like humans, can inherit certain traits from their parents. Some breeds may be predisposed to specific behaviour disorders due to their genetic makeup. Aggression, anxiety, and compulsive behaviours may have a hereditary component, making it important for breeders to consider the temperament of parent dogs.

Early Life Experiences

The formative weeks of a dog's life play a pivotal role in shaping its behaviour. Puppies that do not receive proper socialisation during the critical period of 3 to 12 weeks may develop anxiety, fear, or aggression issues. Separation anxiety can also stem from early experiences of abandonment or neglect.

Puppy Causes Behind Dog Behaviour Disorders by PetWell

Environmental Factors

The environment in which a dog lives significantly influences its behaviour. Factors such as living conditions, exposure to stimuli, and the presence of other animals can impact a dog's mental well-being. A lack of mental stimulation, confinement, or exposure to traumatic events can contribute to the development of behaviour disorders.

Health Issues

Physical health is closely linked to mental well-being in dogs. Pain or discomfort caused by medical conditions can lead to changes in behaviour. For instance, a normally friendly dog may become aggressive if they are in pain. Hormonal imbalances, neurological disorders, and even certain medications can influence behaviour.

Lack of Training

Inconsistent or inadequate training can result in behavioural problems. Dogs thrive on routine and clear expectations. Lack of proper training can lead to disobedience, destructive behaviour, and anxiety. It is essential for owners to invest time and effort in positive reinforcement training methods to foster a well-behaved pet. 

Read more on  7 Practical Dog Training Techniques

Social Isolation

Dogs are social animals, and prolonged isolation can lead to anxiety and behavioural issues. Regular playdates, walks, and positive social experiences are essential for a dog's mental health.

Lack of social interaction with other dogs or humans may cause:

  • excessive barking
  • destructive behaviour
  • high anxiety
  • aggression

Traumatic Events

Dogs, like us, can suffer from trauma. Events such as accidents, abuse, or witnessing violent encounters can leave lasting emotional scars. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in dogs can manifest as fearfulness, anxiety, aggression, or avoidance behaviours.

Read more about Understanding Common Dog Behavioural Issues

What might seem like "bad behaviour" to us could be a manifestation of various underlying issues for our dogs.

In Summary

Understanding the causes of dog behaviour disorders is the first step toward effective prevention and intervention. Whether it's genetics, early life experiences, environmental factors, health issues, training, socialisation, or traumatic events, a holistic approach to canine well-being involves addressing each of these elements. 

Responsible ownership, proper training, and regular health care can contribute to a happier, healthier life for our best friends. By recognising and addressing the root causes, we can provide them with the support they need for a fulfilling and balanced life.


The entire contents of this email and website are not to be taken as medical advice. PetWell encourages you to make your own pet healthcare decisions based on your research and in partnership with a qualified pet healthcare professional.

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