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Common Dog Behavior Problems

Dogs will be dogs. 

What we view as a dog behavior problem is often just a dog being a dog. The behavior is cute or bothersome depending on context. Take barking for example. We find it cute when our dog barks “hello” to greet us, we find it troublesome when they won’t stop barking or when the bark wakes our sleeping baby. 


Dogs have innate and learned behaviors, but they don’t have a moral sense of “right” or “wrong”. They do what they learn works for them. In other words, they do what we teach them. Problems arise when we inadvertently teach them behaviors we don’t actually want. For example, our dogs learn to beg for food when we give them table scraps, to bark at the mailman when we let them window surf, to jump up on us when we reward them with attention. In a few situations, behavior problems may mask an underlying physical issue. However, the majority of common behavior problems arise from misdirected or unintentionally rewarded natural behaviors. 


Twenty-Five Common Dog Behavior Problems

  1. Jumping up on people

  2. Not coming when called / general disobedience

  3. Fearfulness or anxiety 

  4. Excessive barking

  5. Nipping 

  6. Chewing

  7. Begging for food 

  8. Dog aggression / aggressive behavior 

  9. People aggression / aggressive behavior 

  10. Guarding / overprotective of property 

  11. Overprotectiveness of people

  12. Jumping on counters

  13. Knocking over the kids / rough play 

  14. Rushing out the door / Escaping / Wandering 

  15. Separation Anxiety

  16. Housebreaking / inappropriate elimination 

  17. Eating poop 

  18. Chasing 

  19. Puppy Training

  20. Hyperactivity 

  21. Jumping on furniture 

  22. Digging 

  23. Pulling on the leash / walking 

  24. Whining for attention 

  25. Humping 


Too often problem behaviors get to the point where they are almost impossible for owners to solve on their own. Aggressive behaviors especially, if left untreated, can become dangerous. Luckily there is help for exasperated owners and beleaguered dogs. There is a path to a more enjoyable relationship, a more obedient pet. 


An experienced, effective dog behaviorist, can teach you how to understand and interact with your dog at three distinct behavioral levels. 

Three Dog Behavior Levels

  1. Your dog as a canine - the underlying, innate behavioral patterns common to all canines, ie their survival skills 

  2. Your dog as a breed - the exaggerated or suppressed traits that were selectively bred to accomplish the specific tasks and physical characteristics associated with your dog’s breed 

  3. Your dog as an Individual - the combination of nature (your dog’s DNA) and nurture (your dog’s life experiences) that make up their unique personality, the reason we fall in love with them


Our dog’s cute, or annoying behaviors originate from natural instincts. They are then shaped by their life experiences. The good news is a good dog behaviorist can use those same natural instincts to redirect unwanted behaviors towards more acceptable ones. Instinct is both the cause and the cure for problem behavior. 


Luckily, there are people like John Rodriguez of Elite Canine who are skilled and willing to come into your home to assist with behavior modification and energy balancing. John is a world-renowned dog behaviorist who has been helping dogs and their owners for over thirty years. So if you find yourself struggling with problem dog behaviors and live in Connecticut, parts of New York, Massachusetts or the surrounding area you can take advantage of Elite Canine’s in home support.  


In addition to ‘in your home” programs, John also provides "Doggie Bootcamp" services where he welcomes your dog into his family for a few weeks to help nurture and foster a positive relationship, rebalance excessive and misdirected energy and treat undesired behaviors. Over the years, John has produced countless success stories. If you are looking for a smile or some hope check out some of the testimonials on his website,

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