Whether you are a new dog owner or not, realizing that your dog has a behavioral issue may not be obvious at first. Identifying an issue is the first step in fixing it, so here are the most common behavioral problems in dogs and how to spot them.


Aggression is the most common behavioral issue in dogs can manifest itself for different reasons.

Dogs May Show Aggression If They Are:

  • Territorial
  • Protective
  • Possessive
  • Fearful
  • Defensive
  • In Pain

Physical Signs Of Aggressive Behavior

  • Stiff and rigid body stance
  • Growling
  • Lunging
  • Snarling/showing teeth
  • Biting hard enough to cause injury
  • “Muzzle Punch” (the act of a dog “punching” you with their nose.)


Barking is one of a dog’s main forms of communication, so being able to differentiate when a bark is friendly versus when it’s aggressive is important.

Types Of Barking

  • Territorial barking
  • Attention-seeking barking
  • Separation anxiety barking
  • Barking due to illness or injury

Resource Guarding

Dogs are a little less subtle with their aggression when it comes to resource guarding. Resource guarding occurs when a dog is fearful that their “resource”, i.e. food, toys, water, person, will be taken from them.


Destructive chewing is another common problem in dogs, one that can occur for a few reasons.

Causes Of Destructive Chewing

  • Separation Anxiety
  • Hunger
  • Lack of physical or mental stimulation
  • Stress

Great ways to curb chewing is to make sure your dog is getting enough daily exercise, or buying chew toys for them to bite instead.

Separation Anxiety

When a dog is separated from their owner or other people they are attached to they can display destructive or other unwanted behavior.

Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety

  • Urination/defecation in the home
  • Barking/howling
  • Destructive chewing or digging
  • Escaping
  • Pacing


Whining is another form of communications that dogs do, but if your dog is whining excessively it be can really annoying and distracting.

Reasons That Dogs Whine

  • Anxiety
  • Attention seeking
  • Appeasement behavior
  • Greeting

Written by Vincent M.

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