Dogs are amazing, they enrich our lives in so many ways. But sometimes our sweet, adorable dog can exhibit behaviors that are destructive or undesirable. In some cases, these undesirable behaviors can be downright dangerous to both dogs and people! Here are 5 of the most common dog behavior problems and how to fix them.

5 COMMON DOG BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS AND HOW TO FIX THEM   Dogs with behavioral issues  Dog training, Most common dog behavior problems
5 Of The Most Common Dog Behavior Problems
and How To Fix Them



Dogs love to chew for a variety of reasons, it's inherent behavior in most dogs.  It's fine when what they're chewing is a toy or a stick. It's not fine when it's your most expensive pair of shoes or the arm of your couch!

The first day I brought Phoebe home, she was exploring the area and wandered underneath the kitchen table. I was horrified when she put her mouth on the leg of one of the chairs to chew it! I immediately said "No, Phoebe!" and she stopped. I quickly grabbed a chew toy and gave that to her instead.  

She loved that toy and enjoyed chewing on it for a long time. After that first day I made sure she had plenty of appropriate things to chew on, diverting her attention away from furniture and other objects. I watched her carefully and never let her start a bad chewing habit, so it never became an issue with her.

How to avoid dogs destructive chewing

🦴 Keep chewable temptations out of your dog's reach. Shoes, handbags, laptop cases and briefcases should be kept in a closet or drawer. If you leave those items laying around and accessible, it may be too tempting for your dog. 

🦴 Give your dog plenty of appropriate things to chew on that will be far more pleasant for her to chew. A chew stick, plenty of plush toys, and tough toys made for dogs that are heavy chewers will help divert chewing away from your possessions.

🦴 Work on training. Sometimes simply catching your dog at the very beginning of the act and giving them a firm No! or Ah-Ah! will give your dog the message that the furniture or your shoes are off limits. Be sure the training is consistent with everyone in the household and that there are no exceptions to items that shouldn't be chewed. 

🦴 Spray items you don't want your dog to chew on, with a taste deterrent. My favorite is Bitter Apple spray for dogs. I've used this successfully with many dogs over the years. Bitter Apple spray has a bitter taste that is very unpleasant to dogs. It's a safe and effective way to discourage inappropriate chewing.


If your dog is pulling you down the block when you walk her, walks will become unpleasant for both of you. Training your dog not to pull on the leash just takes a bit of time and patience, and the right walking gear. There are some helpful dog walking tools you you can incorporate. 

πŸ•For a dog that pulls excessively on leash, a simple collar and leash often isn't adequate. You may be better off using a Head Halter or No Pull Harness to help curtail leash pulling.  

A No Pull harness is different from the standard dog harnesses you see hanging in pet stores. Regular harnesses have the leash clip at the top. This type of harness can actually encourage pulling in some dogs!  A no pull harness has the leash clip in front, under the neck. This type of harness applies gentle pressure behind the front legs that discourages pulling.

I literally couldn't survive without our PetSafe Easy Walk No Pull Harness for Icy!  Switching from a standard collar and leash to a no pull harness and leash made all the difference on walks. We've been using this harness for years. PetSafe makes head halters for dogs too.

5 of the Most Common Dog Behavior Problems; Leash Pulling, No pull dog harness,  Dogs w/ behavioral issues
Icy wearing her purple sparkly No Pull Harness

πŸ• Have your dog wear a Dog Backpack on walks. Wearing a backpack adds a bit of weight and gives dogs a feeling of having a job to do. Dogs can wear a backpack alone or put some light weight in it.  Don't put more than 10% of your dog's body weight in the backpack or you could hurt her back. 

I recommend you begin training your dog not to pull on the leash separately from regular potty walks.  If you try to train while also getting your dog to potty, it will put stress on you both and may not be effective. 

Your dog should be calm before you reach for the leash. Avoid getting your dog excited, just calmly and quietly put her leash on and go. 

Once the leash & harness are on go out the door first, then invite your dog to go through behind you. Don't let her push you out of the way or race out ahead of you. Start the walk off on the right foot, or paw!

My dog Icy is a Husky so I have known the torment of a dog that PULLS! Read more about leash pulling, and how I got Icy to finally stop pulling on leash


Dogs jumping up on people one of the most common dog behavior problems I hear about
. It's not just irritating, it can actually be dangerous, especially to small children, elderly, or people who are frail.  

Dogs tend to jump on people when greeting them, they like to get up close to your face to say hello. Dogs jump on people to get attention, or simply because they're overly excited. 

My dogs always tried to jump on people when they came to the house. From what I could see they were competing for the attention of our guests. It was so annoying, some family members didn't want to come over anymore! 

I had to train both dogs to stay and sit quietly away from the door when people arrived.  

Here are some suggestions on how to stop dogs from jumping on people.

🐢 When your dog jumps up on you, pull your arms in and turn your back on your dog.  If he runs around you to face you again, repeat the process. Turning away from each other is actually a behavior that dogs use with each other to show their displeasure at the other dog, so it can be quite effective. My dog Phoebe actually used to do that to me if she was really upset with me! It was adorable and hilarious. Message received, Phoebe!

🐢 If you're sitting down and your dog jumps on you, stand up and turn your back on your dog.  If needed, repeat the process until he realizes that jumping up on people while they're seated won't get him any attention. 

Don't yell at your dog or push her off with your hands. Those actions constitute attention, or even play to your dog.

🐢 If these methods don't work, it's time to get more assertive. When your dog jumps on you, walk away from him. If needed, leave the room.  If he follows you and continues to jump on you, leave the room and shut the door behind you.  If it's one thing dogs hate it's being ignored or left out of the action! 

🐢 When you're out on walks or visiting someone, another way to stop your dog from jumping on people  is to simply step on your dog's leash so that he can't jump up. I did this constantly with my Husky, and sometimes still do if she gets overly excited.

🐢 One last method to prevent a dog from jumping on people is to walk right into him. A person walking into a dog who is up on his back paws will result in the dog putting all his paws on the floor, so he can get out of the way!


Running out of the house when someone opens the door, or Door Dashing, is one of the most dangerous habits for a dog to develop. If you open the door just to retrieve the mail, when visitors arrive, or when you leave the house for work each day, your dog can seize the opportunity for freedom.  

Running out of the house by themselves, unleashed puts dogs at risk of being hit by a car, attacked by another dog, getting lost, or even being stolen. 

You can stop this dangerous dog behavior by training your dog to Stay.  Re-enforce the Stay command regularly by making your dog Sit and Stay for meals as you place your dog's food bowl on the floor.

🐾 Use treats or a favorite toy to teach the Stay command. Have your dog sit for the treat/toy. Gradually increase the amount of time your dog stays in a sit before she gets the treat/toy.

Start the training with you right in front of your dog. Then slowly work up to increasing the distance between you and your dog.  Once you have your dog reliably sitting and staying with distance between you, move the training exercises towards the front door.  

Practice having your dog sit/stay several yards away from the door. Then have someone outside ring the bell or knock on the door.  As your dog tries to approach the door, make her sit/stay as you open the door for your guest to come in. Keep doing this until your dog will stay reliably when the door is opened.

Teaching your dog to Stay is one of the most important obedience commands you can teach your dog. It can actually save their life one day!

5 OF THE MOST COMMON DOG BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS AND HOW TO FIX THEM   Dog training, Most common dog behavior problems
5 Of The Most Common Dog Behavior Problems
And How To Fix Them


Resource guarding is a bad habit that can actually become dangerous.  If someone gets too close to the food or other object a dog is guarding, or tries to take it away from the dog the dog may bite them.

Guarding things that have huge value to a dog like food, toys, or even their human can happen with any dog.  The dog is afraid the object of their affection might be taken away from them. In my years of animal shelter volunteering I have seen shelter dogs exhibit this behavior.  It needs to be stopped or someone is likely to experience a dog bite.

Nicole Costanza, owner of Big Momma's Dog Training in New Jersey points out the dog body language signs that indicate resource guarding. This includes stiff body stance over the item, a hard stare, lifting the lips, low growling, or baring teeth.

Due to the danger of a dog biting, to stop resource guarding I recommend working with a dog trainer who is experienced working with dogs with behavioral issues.  This process may take some time and several sessions with a dog trainer, but it's important for the safety of everyone who comes in contact with a dog that is exhibiting resource guarding.

These are some of the most common dog behavior problems. If your dog has any of these issues, don't despair! With training, patience, and sometimes the help of an experienced dog trainer, these problems can be overcome.

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LaylasWoof said...

Great post especially for new dog owners as them knowing and understanding makes life so much easier for everyone in the long run

Tail Wag Wisdom said...

Great article with solutions for the most common issues dog parents face with their pups. I hadn't heard about putting a backpack on your dog for controlling pulling. That's a great idea. I have a wonderful no-pull harness and backpack. But I never thought about using the backpack to correct a behavior issue. That's a terrific idea! I will have to try that one. I'm also going to pass along your ideas for door dashing to a friend. Maybe seeing something in writing will get it to stick with her. Whenever I go over to visit her little yorkiepoo will rush out the front door and toward the street barking the whole time. I've looked for her off button, but I haven't found it. :D
Seriously, I think sometimes people just need to see things in writing and not from a friend for it to stick. I hope.
Great article! I'm passing it onto all my dog parents (and especially my friend).

M Dawson said...

There is so much helpful information here you could use it as part of an ebook for your mailing list!!

Thank you for providing helpful and practical advice that people can use. Sometimes people feel so harassed they can't think straight and they need a post like this!

FidoseofReality said...

Great post. So many incredible tips.

FiveSibesMom said...

Excellent post, Cathy! I used to always use the harnesses (double harnesses, actually!) with my five, but that door dash is something that I always worried about. While they "stayed" all bets were off if a squirrel or cat came by! So other than letting them look out the front door (that never had a screen in it!)...they had the whole Husky-proofed backyard! These tips are wonderful and something all dog parents should be aware of. I will be sharing!

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