Dog Behavioral Problems – Do We Really Understand Them?

Dog behavioral problems

Dogs are returned to shelters for many reasons, mostly because of how they behave.  My goodness!  They bark when they are not supposed to.  They use the living room for a bath room.   They jump on us when we come home.  They jump on our guests when they come over. 

They chew on our expensive pair of shoes we just bought.  They dig unwanted holes in our back yard.

No wonder they are returned to the breeder or the dog shelter.  What terrible behavior!!  Dog Behavioral Problems

But of course, our dogs are just acting naturally.  They don’t know the behavior we want of them unless we teach them.

You probably know this.  Every one of the behaviors I mentioned above can be corrected.  We can teach our dog that this behavior is not acceptable.

I have owned several dogs in my lifetime.  They were all different.  But they all had something in common.  They all wanted to do what I wanted them to do.

Some were more active than others.  But they could all be taught the correct behavior.

I’m not saying that this training is easy.  It definitely takes time and effort.  But you will be so happy you did it.

So what I am saying here is that the dog behavioral problems are not so much with our dogs.  It is probably with us.

We need to understand our dogs.  We need to know how to train them.  We can look at the excellent videos at

I read a good article by Dr. Ian Dunbar, a highly respected dog trainer and veterinarian.  The article is in and is from his book “Ch 6: Behavior Problems.”  He discusses dog behavioral problems and dog owners.

Here is a quote from the article:

Why do dogs misbehave? Or, perhaps we should ask, do dogs misbehave? Certainly, dogs are dogs, and unless given appropriate guidance, puppies will grow up to behave like dogs. However, most behavior problems that irritate owners are, in fact, perfectly normal, natural and necessary canine behaviors. From a dog’s point of view, it is as normal to bark, chew, dig and urine-mark as it is to wag a tail or bury a bone.

Moreover, just as it is a physiological necessity for dogs to urinate and defecate, it is a psychological necessity for dogs occasionally to bark, howl, chew, sniff, dig, run, jump, chase and play. Obviously, dogs have an inherent need, desire, drive, or motivation to act like dogs. So, the dog’s behaviors per se are quite normal and utterly necessary, rather it is their manner of expression that is inappropriate. Well, here again, dogs might disagree.

I am lucky to be fluent in several canine languages — including Labradorian, Malamutian and Yorkiese — and Labradors have convinced me that they consider it perfectly appropriate to jump-up, knock over folding chairs, pounce in mud puddles, and socialize with a fallen leaf, just as Malamutes and Yorkies have taught me that it is entirely acceptable and even expected to howl in the middle of the night and to pee on carpets (so as not to get one’s feet wet). So, dogs consider their behavior to be both appropriate and acceptable, rather it is owners who consider some dog behaviors to be inappropriate and unacceptable.

Here is the entire article to read.

If you have owned a dog, you have probably dealt with dog behavioral problems.  What have you done about them?  Have you met these problems head on and taught your dog that this type of behavior was not acceptable.  Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

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