My dog has behavior problems

December 22, 2020 | Pet Guides | Cari Evans
Home / Blog / My dog has behavior problems

My dog has behavior problems

Is your dog a “bad dog”? We all have our weak moments, right? But are the behavior issues a weekly or even daily struggle? There could be many reasons for a pet’s behavior problems. Lack of training, boredom, and anxiety are just a few to consider.

It’s typical to consider a dog’s behavior “bad” if it is excessive and unwelcome, despite several attempts to correct the dog. Here is a list of common unwelcome behavior seen in dogs.

  • Barking
  • Jumping up
  • Begging
  • Whining
  • Digging
  • Counter-surfing
  • Biting or nipping
  • Chewing
  • Leash pulling
  • Chasing
  • Urine marking

An occasional occurrence of the behaviors listed above is not usually a big problem. However, ongoing, repetitive bad behavior can be a challenge to correct. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help control and fix a dog’s bad behavior.

Managing Bad Dog Behavior Problems

The first step is figuring out the root cause of the bad behavior. There are medical conditions that can lead to poor behavior. An example would be a dog with a bladder or urinary tract infection, urinating in the house. Stress, anxiety, or unfamiliar situations or people can also trigger bad behavior. Once the source of the bad behavior is uncovered, it is possible to control the dog’s response with different approaches. Let’s cover them now.


If you know the trigger for your dog’s bad behavior, and it’s possible, it may be easiest to try and remove that trigger. For example, if you’re expecting guests, ask them not to ring the doorbell and let your dog see them coming to the entry doorway as not to alarm the dog from sudden new people inside the home. Make sure not to give in, if your dog is begging for table scraps. Once you do it once, they will always believe they have a chance to get more, or they might wait and try to sneak it off the table when no one is looking. It’s meant for me, if my owner gave me some before, right?

Understand Your Dog

Learning how to understand what a dog is communicating to you, can be tricky. Bad behavior is likely a dog’s way of telling you their needs are not being met. You may get frustrated or even angry when your dog behaves badly, but they are not intentionally trying to upset you. However, they may be trying to get your attention. Once this is realized, it is easier to treat the cause and not the poor behavior. If a dog goes potty in the house, maybe they need more bathroom breaks, or if excessive they may need to be checked for a urinary track or bladder infection. It happens more often than you might think!


Exercise is not only good for physical fitness and heart health, but also allows your dog to burn off extra energy. Dogs are naturally active animals. If they are not able to get the exercise they need, it can lead to chewing, digging, or chasing. Playing fetch down the hallway or tug of war is a good indoor activity to get their heartrate up and exert some pent up energy.

Ignore the Behavior

If the bad behavior is solely attention seeking, ignoring may help curb the occurrence. Attention seeking behavior includes barking, jumping, or begging. To be effective you will not want to shout or punish the actions. Even avoiding eye contact for this tactic is ideal.


Stopping some behaviors completely may not be realistic. After all, several actions we consider “bad” or unwanted are instinctive. Instead, offer the dog more suitable choices. This tactic is simple, but the tricky part is catching the behavior right when it happens to redirect before the dog destroys furniture or digs a hole in your yard. Make it a point to reward the good behavior once you have redirected. This will teach them what is acceptable to you and they will repeat the good behavior for their reward.

Worried about over rewarding? It can’t be done. Remember, rewards do not have to be treats. Simply speaking in a high-pitched voice is rewarding to a dog. “What a Good Boy!” Also, belly rubs, couch snuggles, head pats, and the list goes on.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Use your happy voice! As tempting as it is when your dog is misbehaving. Do not use a demanding or stern tone. The best way to get the most cooperation is from a dog that wants to listen to you. You will get the most cooperation from a dog that wants to listen to you. No soul wants to be scolded or yelled at. A demanding voice is only a short-term punishment, not a long-term fix.

Socialize and Normalize

The poor litter pups of 2020. Socializing was not always a feasible option for dogs or humans this year. However, you can socialize your dog without close human contact. Taking your dog on walks will normalize sights, sounds, smells, and passerby’s. Trash trucks, flocks of birds leaving a tree, the wind blowing yard signs, are a few examples of things that could easily set off a nervous, anxious, or sheltered dog. The more often your dog is exposed to new or different surroundings, the better they will handle those experiences in the future.


Consistency is key! Repeat and reinforce training daily or as often as possible. Make sure other family members are using the same techniques and redirection to promote clear instruction. Giving your dog a consistent message also helps your dog identify you as the alpha in command.

Hire a Trainer

In certain cases, professional intervention may be required. A dog trainer will work with your dog day in and day out to curb bad behavior.

Please understand, it is unrealistic to always expect perfect behavior from your dog even after training. There will be accidents and mishaps. No dog is perfect, just remember your training. Keep working with your dog to minimize issues and bad manners.

A Ruff Start To A Happy Ending

Here is a story from our customer, Steve Carrillo. We hope you find it funny and informative.


Oh Mickey

We recently inherited our son’s 6 ½ year old male Great Pyrenees. The kids found out they were expecting twins, AND already had a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old. AND they lived in a 7th floor apartment AND things were about to get exciting up there. In our moment of delirious grandparent excitement, we said yes to taking Mickey. I feel I should mention he was not neutered.

Mickey was a very naughty boy and we discovered things like he was peeing on the Christmas Tree . . . after we took it down. Disgusting! So after 10 months of his shenanigans we decided that Mickey needed some obedience training and while we loved him, he needed to shape up or we were going to lose our marbles. His behavior problems, needed to be addressed.

My wife signed Mickey up for classes. But the first night she had a meeting and wasn’t able to take him. I grabbed the leash and treats and off to class we went. No big deal right. . . WRONG! I’ve never been more wrong.

Too Cool For School

Let me set this up by telling you that getting out of the car was a fiasco, and everything else thereafter. I opened the door and Mickey shot out like a rocket to attack, what I later learned, was the prize pupil. The Newfy looked down on Mickey from the back of the SUV like, “You’re a moron.” I finally got Mickey on his leash and pulled away to go in, forgetting the treats in the car.

Inside I had to fill out the sign-up sheet – you know, because it was the first night. And while I was standing there filling out the paperwork, I felt something warm running down my leg. I looked down to see Mickey peeing on me. I looked up to see everyone sitting in the lobby waiting to go in laughing at me. AND MY SHOE WAS COMPLETELY SOAKED!!!

There were so many thoughts running through my head . . . but I decided to let Mickey live and go on to class. I mean, it couldn’t get worse, right? WRONG!

The whole class experience was awful and we were made examples of the entire time of what NOT to do. . . like don’t EVER use a retractable leash when training a dog. Mickey barked the entire time making it virtually impossible to hear the instructor. Listen, when I say it was worse than getting urinated on – it was WORSE! I was so stressed, and that travels right down the leash to your dog and we were both a wreck by the time we left. Two strong guys in utter shambles – it was pathetic!

No Place Like Home

We got home and I was so mad I swore to my wife that I would never go back and went to take a shower – you know, to wash off the pee and sweat that was rolling down my back. And Mickey had diarrhea. . .

We never imagined that the class would be so stressful for Mickey. My wife gave him some Vitalize Recovery Gel and got his gut happy. And I made her rub my feet, so I was happier.

The next week she gave him some of that gel before going to class. He did great and 6 weeks in, I am happy to report that Mickey is doing incredible. We’re utterly shocked. His progress has been amazing and we’re so happy to be able to go to the dog park and visit our friends at UPCO.

So I guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. But a little of that Vitalize Recovery Gel can help too.

What is causing your dog’s behavior problems?

Thanks to our customer for sharing this great story on Mickey’s former behavior problems. Can you relate to Steve’s experience? The story above depicts one dogs journey to better behavior. However, your pet may have anxiety or even another health issue that prevents them from being properly trained.

CBD treats and oils are another option to try and help calm your pet from fear, stress, and paranoia. In some cases, professional training or direction is needed to fix behavior problems. Check out the blog “How to Calm Down a Dog” published by Honest Paws for more great tips and information on how to help your dog overcome some of their behavior problems.

UPCO has a knowledgeable staff with years of experience to help you find a solution that works best for you and your furry friend. Do you have a blog idea or story to share you think would be helpful to our pet owner readers? Send it to us at [email protected]

About UPCO Pet Supplies

Founded in 1952, UPCO® was one of the first retail animal supply companies in St. Joseph, MO.  A third generation, family owned and operated company boasting a knowledgeable staff and offering products from over 700 brands. UPCO® provides both pet and farm supplies to the local community and throughout the U.S. via their website and mail order services. Primary focus on friendly customer service and low wholesale prices, they are the animal supplier of choice, voted Reader’s Choice for the past 12 years.

Located at 3705 Pear Street, Saint Joseph, MO 64503

Sign up for our newsletter HERE.

Take a walk with us on social: Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.