List – Dog Behaviors

We would love to hear from you in terms of what behaviors you’ve dealt with and how and if you have something to add to our list.

Barking and howling

Excessive barking and howling can get very annoying, both for you and your neighbors. So you should put a stop on the behavior as soon as possible.


Some dog breeds just love to dig, it’s in their blood. But if your carpets or your garden are getting destroyed, you’ll want to try to train your pooch to stop digging.


Chewing is one of the most common problems when the object of your dog’s attention are your shoes, phone, clothes, etc. Learn how to limit the destruction.

Play biting

Play biting is especially common in puppies and it’s a form of a rough play. Your pooch doesn’t know better.

Separation anxiety

Dogs with separation anxiety will get nervous and destructive when their owners are away. Find ways to help your anxious canine deal with the issue.

Urinating and defecating inside

Eliminating inside the home can be a sign of a health problem if your dog is potty trained. Take your dog to the vet to check for medical issues and find treatment.

Growling and biting

Growling and biting are often signs of aggression. If your dog gets snappy at other animals or people, determine the cause and start training. Stop dog growling and biting before someone is seriously injured.

Resource guarding

Your dog might think that there isn’t enough food for them so they guard it with their life. Same goes for toys and their place on the sofa. The fun stops when the dog gets possessive aggressive and starts to act out.

Begging for food or stealing food

When dogs get their eyes on a delicious piece of food, they’ll do anything to get it. If you want your dog to stop begging for table scraps or stealing your dinner, you must take precautions.


Going after small prey is an urge some dogs can’t resist if they’re not trained well. Teach your dog to sit, stay, and come to prevent them from running away.

Jumping up on people

Pets will get excited when someone comes to visit and might jump on people they like. This may be cute at first, but some people don’t appreciate the gesture. Teach your dog good manners.

Eating poop

This nasty habit can form because of preference, boredom or malnutrition. Some of us will never understand or accept dogs eating poop as natural.

Climbing on furniture

It’s up to every owner to decide whether their pets should be allowed on furniture. But when they get on the kitchen counter to steal your food, that’s definitely an issue.

Clingy behavior

Some dogs are just more of a lap dog. But when you can’t even go to the bathroom without your pet, that’s a sign your fur baby is too clingy.

Leash aggression and pulling

If not introduced to the leash early, dogs can get very unhappy about being restrained. They will not let you put them on a leash. When you manage to do it, they will pull and run in front of you all the time.

Rolling in dirt, poop or dead animals

This one is a doggy favorite. Did you just bathe your dog and they’re all clean and fresh? Be careful when you go outside because some dogs hate getting baths as much as they hate the smell of their shampoo. They prefer the natural odor, such as dirt, poop, and dead animal roll-on.

Taking over your bed

It’s up to you whether you’ll let your pet in your bed. But when they get all grown up and start to push you off, you need to get them under control.

Running away

Certain breeds that have a strong hunter instinct are likely to run away when they spot their prey. Regardless of the breed, keep an eye on your four-legged lover boy during spring and fall when the females are in heat.

Excessive licking

Excessive licking is often a sign of a health issue. If your dog is licking themselves, they might be injured or have an infection. If they lick everything and everyone, there might be a less obvious issue. Take your pooch to the vet to get to the bottom of it.

Body Language and Diagnosis

It is sometimes possible to spot signs of aggressive or destructive behavior in dogs before it occurs. Learn to read doggy body language. Spot signs of discomfort, fear, or aggression. Prevent bad behavior before it happens. Direct your dog’s attention back on you or something else or take them out of a scary situation.

Here are some dog body language signals or tells you can learn to use to your advantage.

Shy or Nervous Dog

If your dog is shy or nervous, other than getting behind you, they may also yawn, lick their nose, shake off and pull their ears backward and flat against their head. If your dog is nervous around new people or other dogs, this might turn to aggression. If your pet feels threatened, instruct people to approach them carefully or not engage at all.

Fearful Dog

When your dog is scared or suspicious about something or someone, you can see the hairs on their neck and back go up. A suspicious dog will be stiff, with their head and neck raised, and tail high up. A fearful dog might try to pull back and start to growl or bark. The best approach here is to get out of the situation by walking the other way.


Whether it’s a toy or a bird or something else, if your dog is bowed, with a stiff tail, legs bent, and eyes wide open and fixed on a target, you can expect them to run off and start chasing whatever they’re after.

If your dog is well-trained, you’ll be able to call them back and redirect their attention. Yet, some dogs find this hunter instinct very hard to battle. They can run off and get lost. If you notice these signs and you’re not sure your dog will respond to commands, keep them on a leash.


When your dog wants to play, they might bark at you to get your attention and get into a play bow, very similar to the stalking bow described above. But in the play bow, your dog’s body will be more relaxed and wobbly, and there will be a tail wag.


Does your dog get nervous, anxious or super clingy when you’re about to leave? They might be showing signs of separation anxiety. When you get home, you’ll know for sure if that’s the case. There’ll be a trail of destruction waiting for you.

Begging for Food or Getting Ready to Steal

Is your dog around the table while you’re eating? Do they sit there like a good boy, licking their lips? You already know they’re after your food. Some dogs might even jump up, whine, or bark at you. Ignore the bad behavior if you don’t want to share every meal for the rest of your life with your furry companion. If ignoring them doesn’t work or it’s too difficult for you, try moving the dog to another room while you’re eating.

Training and Treatment

It’s best to start training your dog the moment they arrive in your home. You’re the one that sets the rules, and with the right stimuli, the pooch will make it their personal mission to obey. Dogs want to make us happy; most respond very well based on how we treat them. Sometimes we encourage bad behaviors by providing attention, comfort, and treats.

This, in turn, encourages the dog to keep it up as that behavior brought them a reward. The best way to stop the bad behavior is to ignore it. Punishment doesn’t work. It might show a short-term result. But your dog will get frustrated, which could lead to fear or aggression over time.

Set the Environment and Ground Rules

Set up the right conditions, provide enough food, set the rules, and exercise your dog to keep them happy and obedient. One more thing. You have to be consistent. If you’re not consistent, your dog will be confused and won’t know what you want, which can be even more stressful.

Teach a Few Basic Commands First

Dog’s basic needs and ensuring they are healthy, you have to teach them to come when called and to sit down. These two basic things can go a long way for further training.

Limit their access to these before they’re trained not to chew. Also, ensure they have enough exciting dog toys to play with so they don’t go after the forbidden fruit.

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