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Understanding Common Dog Behavioural Issues edm

Understanding Common Dog Behavioural Issues


Understanding common dog behavioural issues reveals that at times dogs’ behaviours are often misunderstood.

Dogs are referred to as "our best friend" for a reason. Their loyalty, companionship, and boundless affection make them much-loved members of our families. However, just like humans, dogs can sometimes exhibit unwanted behaviour that can be frustrating or even dangerous.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of understanding common dog behavioural issues and provide tips and directions on how to improve them.

Unwanted Dog Behaviour: A Common Challenge

Unwanted dog behaviour can take many forms, from mild nuisances to serious concerns. Whether your dog is acting out, displaying aggression, or struggling with separation anxiety, it's essential to understand the root causes and effective solutions. You can read about  Addressing Unwanted Dog Behaviour: Effective Strategies for Pet Owners This blog will provide you with the strategies you need to help overcome unwanted dog behaviours. 

Understanding Dog Behavioural Issues

It's important to recognise that a dog's behaviour is not random or arbitrary; instead, it's influenced by a combination of factors, including instincts, emotions, and past experiences.

 Understanding this instinct is crucial for managing territorial aggression and creating a secure environment for your dog.


Dogs exhibit several instinctual behaviours that are rooted in their evolutionary history. 

First, the pack instinct is a result of dogs being descendants of pack animals, driving their need for social structure and hierarchy. Recognising this instinct can aid in establishing yourself as the pack leader through consistent training and clear boundaries. 

Second, their predatory instinct compels dogs to chase and hunt, which may lead to undesirable behaviours like chasing other animals or cars. Redirecting this energy positively through activities like fetch or puzzle toys can help manage this instinct. 

Lastly, dogs have a territorial instinct, prompting them to protect their home and space, often resulting in behaviours like barking at intruders or marking territory. 


Dogs have a wide range of emotions, though they express them differently than humans. Common emotions in dogs include fear, which can drive behavioural issues and lead to defensive actions like barking or growling; anxiety, which can be triggered by various situations and is evident through signs like trembling or destructive behaviour; and positive emotions like happiness and affection, which they convey through actions such as tail wagging, cuddling, and playfulness, contributing to the strengthening of the bond between dogs and their owners.

Past Experiences

A dog's past experiences play a significant role in shaping their behaviour. 

Negative experiences, such as abuse or neglect, can lead to fear-based aggression or shyness, emphasising the importance of understanding their traumatic history to provide the necessary patience and care for healing. 

Conversely, positive experiences during puppyhood, particularly proper socialisation and exposure to various environments, contribute to well-adjusted and confident adult dogs, highlighting the significance of early socialisation in raising a well-balanced canine companion.

Understanding dog behavioural issues goes beyond surface-level observations. It involves recognising that your dog's actions are deeply influenced by their instincts, emotions, and past experiences. 

By understanding these underlying factors, you can better address and manage your dog's behaviour, leading to a happier pooch and a harmonious relationship between you both. 

Read more about Respecting Dog Boundaries: Building Trust and Well-being

Causes of Dog Behaviour Disorders

Dog in trouble Understanding Common Dog Behavioural Issues by PetWell

Dog behaviour disorders can be not only challenging, but confusing for pet owners. 

It's important to understand that these issues often have underlying causes that need to be addressed. Common causes include:

Lack of Training

One of the primary reasons for undesirable behaviour in dogs is insufficient or inconsistent training. Dogs thrive on clear communication and boundaries. In fact, they need it to live happy lives.  Read more about
7 Practical Dog Training Techniques you can implement right away.

Fear and Anxiety

Fearful dogs may react aggressively when they feel threatened or anxious. Identifying and mitigating these triggers is crucial.


Some behaviour issues may have a genetic component, making them more challenging to address. Breeds with specific predispositions should receive specialised training and care.

Read more here about The Causes Behind Dog Behaviour Disorders

Tips for Training a Well-Behaved Dog

Training is the foundation of addressing and preventing unwanted behaviour in dogs. Here are some essential tips for training a well-behaved dog:

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement techniques involve rewarding good behaviour with treats, praise, or toys. This approach creates a positive association with desired actions.


Consistency in training methods and rules is paramount. Dogs thrive on routine and clear expectations.


Early socialisation is crucial. Expose your dog to various people, animals, and environments to promote healthy socialisation and prevent fear-based aggression.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Many behavioural problems stem from boredom. Regular physical exercise and mental stimulation through games, puzzles, and training can help prevent these issues. Read more the Mental Benefits of Dog Exercise

More details on these tips here > Addressing Unwanted Dog Behaviour: Effective Strategies for Pet Owners

Top Four Common Dog Behaviour Problems

Aggressive dog Understanding Common Dog Behavioural Issues by PetWell

Managing Aggression in Dogs

Aggression in dogs is a significant concern for pet owners. Understanding the aggressive dog behaviour triggers is essential for managing it effectively. Common triggers include:

  • Fear: Dogs may become aggressive when they perceive a threat or are afraid.
  • Territoriality: Protecting their territory is an instinctual behaviour in dogs.
  • Resource Guarding: Some dogs display aggression when guarding valuable resources like food or toys.
  • Lack of Socialisation: Poor socialisation can lead to fear-based aggression.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Dogs in pain may lash out as a defensive mechanism.

Read more about Dealing with Common Dog Behaviour Problems and What Causes Canine Aggression?

Behavioural Problems in Puppies

As the saying goes, "Prevention is better than cure." Starting early in instilling desired behaviours in puppies is the most effective way to ensure their development into happy and well-behaved dogs.

Puppy Behaviour Problems can start due to them being inquisitive and full of energy, which can lead to various behavioural problems. It's essential to address these issues promptly to prevent them from becoming ingrained habits.

We can all agree that puppies are adorable bundles of energy, but they can also exhibit challenging behaviours, including:

  • Biting: Playful nipping can escalate into a biting problem if not addressed early.
  • Chewing: Puppies explore the world with their mouths, leading to destructive chewing.
  • House soiling: Accidents are common during housebreaking.

Early training and socialisation are essential to prevent these issues from becoming an ongoing problem.  Read more on Dog Socialisation Tips

Read more about Dealing with Common Dog Behaviour Problems

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Separation anxiety is a common issue that many dogs experience when left alone. It can manifest in behaviours like excessive barking, destructive chewing, or even self-harm. Addressing separation anxiety requires patience and a gradual desensitisation process to help your dog become more comfortable with your absence.  

Read more here about Separation Anxiety in Dogs for tips and guidance on how to manage and overcome it.

PetWell CALM supplement and functional treats provide relief and relaxation for dogs with anxiety, promoting a happier and more peaceful pet.

PetWell CALM Anxiety Aid Supplement and Treats for Cats and Dogs

Behavioural Problems in Rescue Dogs

Rescue dogs may come with their own set of behavioural challenges. Due to their past experiences, many have experienced neglect or trauma, which can affect their behaviour. 

Socialising rescue dogs and gentle training are critical to helping them adapt to their new homes. Read more here for Dog Socialisation Tips

Understanding Dog Play Behaviour

Understanding dog play behaviour can be straightforward when we grasp how dogs naturally interact. Sometimes, dog owners misinterpret playful roughhousing as aggression, attributing human social norms to their pets. In reality, dogs have their unique way of playing, which might differ from our expectations. It's crucial to recognise and appreciate these differences to ensure harmonious and joyful canine interactions.

Read more about Understanding Dog Play Behaviour

Addressing  Behavioural Issues in Dogs

Dog on training course Understanding Common Dog Behavioural Issues by PetWell

There are various methods for addressing canine behaviour problems. As mentioned earlier, the initial step involves identifying the root cause and then retraining accordingly. 

Pet parents have multiple options at their disposal to choose the most suitable training or management method for modifying their dogs' behaviours. 

For more on Dealing with Common Dog Behaviour Problems, read this blog.

Here are some more methods to consider:

Behavioural Training for Canines

For dogs with persistent behavioural problems or disorders, behavioural training can be a game-changer. This specialised approach focuses on modifying behaviour and helping dogs overcome their issues. 

Behavioural training may involve techniques such as desensitisation, counter-conditioning, and positive reinforcement.

Dog Obedience Training

Obedience training is the foundation of good behaviour in dogs. This type of training teaches dogs basic commands like "sit," "stay," and "come." Obedience training not only enhances your dog's behaviour but also strengthens your bond.  Read more about 7 Practical Dog Training Techniques

Behavioural Modification for Dogs

Behavioural modification involves changing your dog's behaviour through a structured and systematic approach. This approach is particularly useful for addressing more complex behavioural issues like aggression, phobias, or compulsive disorders.  We recommend you seek professional dog behaviour help from a trainer who specialises in behavioural modification. 

Canine Behaviour Therapy

In some cases, dogs may require specialised therapy to address deep-seated behavioural problems. Canine behaviour therapy, often provided by certified behaviourists, delves into the psychological aspects of your dog's behaviour.

Where to Find Dog Behaviour Experts

If you find yourself struggling to address your dog's behaviour problems, it's essential to seek professional help.

Consider hiring a dog behaviour consultant or enrolling in the best dog training classes in your area. These experts can provide tailored solutions and guidance to tackle even the most challenging canine behaviour problems. 

In Summary

Understanding and addressing common dog behavioural issues is a crucial part of responsible pet ownership. By recognising the causes, implementing effective training techniques, and seeking professional help when needed, you can foster a loving and well-behaved dog. 

Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are your best allies in the journey toward a harmonious life with your dog.


The entire contents of this email and website are not to be taken as medical advice. The team at 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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