Why Is My Dog Acting Out? Dog Behavior Issues 101

Why is my dog acting out? This is a question that many dog owners ask when they notice their furry friend behaving out of the ordinary. It can be difficult to determine the cause of your dog’s strange behavior, but there are a few possibilities that could be to blame.  

Dog behaviour issues aren’t a new thing, and many dog owners are familiar with the topic. However, it can be pretty intimidating to navigate at first, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the terms. So, we’ve compiled a list of dog behaviors, the possible reasons why your dog is acting out, and ways to deal with them:

Why is my dog acting out?

Why Is My Dog Acting Out - Top Reasons

There are a lot of possible reasons why your dog is acting out. But before we tackle that, let’s discuss first what are the common weird behaviors that we fur parents find annoying.

#1 Distressed Barking And Howling

Dogs will be dogs, and barking is the primary sound they make. However, excessive barking and howling can be very problematic for you and your neighbors. 

#2 Digging, Even In Your Neighbor’s Backyard

Some dog breeds just love to dig, as they’re genetically predisposed to love it. But if your dog is digging at places other than your own backyard, you’ll want to train your beloved pet to lessen the digging.

#3 Chewing Various Items

Chewing is one of the most common problems many dog owners face. The damaged items can range from shoes, clothes, and pillows even to metals like spoons and bedside components. Learn how to limit the chaos by puppy-proofing your apartment.

Best Chew Toys for Dogs

#4 Feeling Separation Anxiety

Dogs with separation anxiety are chronically nervous. They will make a mess when their owners are away. Remember that your dog’s behavior is not intentional. Punishment is never the answer. Bring your dog to a veterinarian or a specialist to address the root causes of their anxiety.

#5 Urinating and Defecating Inside The House

If your dog is potty-trained, pooping and peeing on bed is a red flag! Bring them to a veterinarian, or at least monitor them closely and try making them utilize your house’s bathroom to minimize the mess. If the behavior continues alarmingly, bring your dog to a veterinarian.

#6 Incessant Growling And Biting

Growling and biting are the most signs of a dog’s aggression. If your dog is snapping at other animals and people, determine the cause and start training them right away. Your dog can be a risk to public safety if you can’t treat the roots of their aggression immediately. 

#7 Resource Guarding To The Extremes

It’s natural for dogs to be pretty aggressive when they’re in pretty vulnerable positions, including when they’re chowing down on their meals. The same goes for their fun time playing with toys. However, they can act out if they are provoked or even remotely bothered by other people or animals. This resource-guarding behaviour can get problematic if left unattended.

#8 Begging For Food, Heck, Even Stealing Your Own Food!

Why is my dog acting weird all of a sudden 2

Are you feeding your dog on a regular basis and yet they’re still begging for more, or worse—stealing your food? You’ve got to get your dog checked for that one, as even though most dogs eat in larger food portions, it shouldn’t mean an absolutely insatiable appetite. You also have to be careful in giving a diet of human food to your dog, as this can affect their nutritional intake and their appetite for unhealthy food.

#9 Jumping Unexpectedly Onto People

Depending on your dog’s size, this action can either be considered cute or lethal by visitors and loved ones. Either way, it’s a behavior that has to be trained and controlled to ensure the safety of other people around your dog.

#10 Being Antisocial And A Nervous Wreck

Dogs in general are a very social species of animals, and it’s very rare for them to exhibit antisocial behaviour. That’s exactly the reason behind their title for being ‘man’s best friend’. If they’re too nervous around people and other animals, they may have unchecked trauma that prevents them from socializing. Bring them to a veterinarian to figure out their issues.

#11 Eating Grass And Other Weird Plants

Some dogs just really enjoy munching on random grass they can get their nose on. The reasons for such behavior are many. Even though such behavior is natural and widespread, it could also mean psychological problems. This is something that you should look out for especially since there are plants that can be dangerous for dogs’ health, such as the foxtail weed. Since dogs can not expertly discern the plants that are poisonous to them, it’s also a good idea to get dog insurance in any case of an emergency.

#12 Leash-Pulling And Intensified Aggression

If the use of a leash is either non-existent or way too prevalent in a dog’s routine, they will hate the entire ordeal. It will definitely be a struggle to take them out for walks with all the leash-pulling they’re bound to do. And when you manage to do it, they will pull and make you run after them all the time. It’s a good idea to train your dogs as soon as possible to prevent this scenario.

#13 Getting Really Messy With Poop, Mud, And Dead Animals

Why Is My Dog Acting Out - Escaping and Running Away

Dogs will be dogs, and these creatures are truly the definition of a ‘beautiful mess’. Many dogs absolutely hate baths! Dogs prefer their natural odor, such as dirt, feces, and carcasses of smaller animals. This is rooted in their being natural hunters, and well, in their nature as dogs in general.

#14 Escaping And Running Away

Certain dogs like those from hunting breeds that maintained their strong primal instinct are likely to run away from you. This is especially true when they spot their prey or a possible mate.

Other factors such as their age, gender, the mating season, and their mood indoors can affect their running away. However, your dog is still your responsibility even outdoors so you should keep an eye out for behaviours like this. Trying out top rated GPS collars can help in tracking your dog down in case of their escape.

Best GPS Dog Collars

#15 Excessive Licking, Panting, And Drooling

Excessive licking, panting, and drooling are often signs of more worrisome health issues. If your dog is licking themselves, check the area they’re licking for signs of wounds or injuries. Your dog may be dehydrated if they’re continuously panting and drooling. This may also be one of the first warning signs for rabies, so beware! Take your pooch to a veterinarian to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible.

Why is my dog acting out? 6 Possible Reasons 

Dog Acting Out Best Possible Reasons

As a dog owner, you may struggle to deal with your dog’s behavior issues. Oftentimes, dogs get excited or distracted by various factors such as noise, people, and other animals. But firstly, we need to understand that whatever our dogs are doing is directly connected to our capacities as dog owners. Dogs are smart and sensitive creatures but as pet owners, we’re heavily responsible for a lot of what they do. 

Blaming a dog solely for their ‘misbehavior’ is escaping accountability as a more powerful human being that can make major decisions for their dog’s welfare. Instead, we should find out what we can improve or adjust and look into these possible reasons:

You’ve Been Labeling Your Dog as “Dominant.” 

Dominance is not a dog’s permanent personality trait; it’s a situation-specific behavior. True dominance aggression issues are extremely rare. According to dog behaviourists, dogs who are labeled dominant are often extremely insecure and afraid — in other words, the exact opposite of dominant.

Behaviors commonly considered a sign of dominance, such as humping or peeing to allegedly mark their territory frequently stem from insecurity or hyperactivity. In addition, pet owners who label their dogs as dominant often feel more justified using outdated and harsh training methods, such as alpha rolls and prong collars. However, these tactics do little to encourage long-term behaviour change and can foster fear of pet owners and humans in general.

You Assume That Your Dog Behaves Badly By Choice. 

Your dog behaves the way they do not out of spite, but because certain behaviors are innate to them. Most of the time, it’s also their environment and the reinforcement they receive that affects how they respond. Dogs are intelligent and sensitive, but they most definitely do not speak the human language. To truly act out of spite, your dog would have to be self-aware of the human psyche and be capable of communicating through human language.

Dog behavior issues aren’t measured through human morals! Dogs just don’t function that way; they are motivated by outcomes, not morals. That guilty behavior your dog shows after they do something you think of as bad? It’s a reaction to your behavior and has nothing to do with humanitarian penitence. You should lessen anthropomorphizing your dog and accept that dogs are dogs.

You’ve Been Punishing Your Dog For Being A Dog!

Chewing, barking, digging, and chasing are all-natural behaviors for a dog. Some dog behavior issues are not entirely, negative, but purely natural. Instead of punishing these behaviors, try giving your dog/s a proper outlet for their instincts.

For example, instead of punishing your dog/s for chewing on the sofa, try training them to chew their toys instead. You can put a stop to the yard-digging by designating a doggie digging pit. Put a stop to excessive barking by training your dog to speak and be quiet through nudges, cues, and signs. You don’t have to use violence to train your dog to be a better pooch.

Best Dog Training Treats

You Might Have Been Too Lax.

Lacking a structure when interacting with your dogs can mess with your dog’s routine and psyche. Without clear boundaries, a dog’s behavior can easily get out of control. Such can lead to confusion and extreme stress for your dog when they’re chastised for behavior that is tolerated at other times. Clearly expressing your expectations and training your dog about your preferred behaviors will result in constant good behavior.

Expecting Your Dog To Obey Just To Appease You Even Without Rewards.

A simple phrase of affirmation like ‘good dog’ and a fuzzy pat on the head work as a reward for most dogs. However, when it comes to major dog behavior issues that take a bit more effort on your dog’s part, praise and petting won’t be enough. Many pet owners frequently make the mistake of delivering little to zero rewards for good behavior which takes significant self-control from the dog. As a result, the behavior becomes less reliable or the dog lacks the willpower to accomplish the task entirely.

When you’re training your dog to do something that’s pretty taxing or exhibit perfect behavior in a highly distracting or emotionally-driven situation, the stakes should be immediate and worthy enough. Prepare yourself and pick a reward that has great value for your dog as you know them best. (it can be a special treat, their favorite game, or a chance to play at the yard for longer, etc.)

You’ve Been Trying To Do Everything On Your Own!

They say “it takes a village to raise a child”, and the same actually applies to dogs! You might have been arrogant about taking on the responsibility of caring for your dog. It’s easy to forget that your dog can also be influenced by other people and animals around them, but it’s natural to need help in dealing with their shenanigans. We’re not just talking about veterinarians, pet groomers, and pet specialists designated to help your furbaby. We’re also talking about neighbors, other dogs at the park, your family, and other members of your community that get to interact with your dog one way or another. If the only person that is safe around your dog is you and you alone, then there’s already a problem.

FAQ About Dogs Acting Out

We’ve brushed up on dog behavior issues, possible reasons behind it, and reasons for it. However, there are questions that are still looming in your mind. Don’t worry, we’ve probably heard it all before, so here are the answers to your FAQs:

Why does my dog has its tail between its legs acting weird?

When a dog tucks its tail between its legs, it is trying to make itself appear smaller. This is often a sign of fear or anxiety, as the dog is trying to make itself less noticeable in order to avoid potential conflict. Some of the most common reasons are they’ve done something bad like peeing on the bed. This may also mean that he knows that he has done something wrong and apologizes for it or there’s something new in the house that makes him feel anxious and scared. 

Does Buprenorphine cause my dog to act weird?

Buprenorphine is a medication that is sometimes used to treat dogs who are in pain. It is similar to morphine, and it can have some similar side effects. In some cases, dogs who take buprenorphine may act weird or agitated. They may also have trouble urinating. If you think your dog is acting strangely after taking buprenorphine, talk to your vet right away.

Why is my dog flinching and acting weird?

There are a number of reasons why your dog may be flinching. It could be that they are in pain, or that they are feeling fear or anxiety. If your dog is flinching regularly, it is important to take them to the vet to rule out any medical conditions.

Why is my dog acting out after haircut?

After a trip to the groomers, your dog may act strangely due to the stress of the experience. They may be shyer than usual or less responsive to commands. This is normal behavior and should dissipate after a day or two. In the meantime, try to give your dog some extra attention and reassurance. Let them know that they are still loved and valued, even if they look a little different. With a little patience, your dog will soon be back to their old self.

Why is my dog acting out after swimming?

Have you ever gone for a dip in the pool only to find that your skin feels weird and tight afterwards? It’s kind of like that for dogs, too. The water can strip away the natural oils in their fur, leaving their skin feeling dry and exposed.

And just like us, dogs can get cold after swimming, which can make them act a little weird. They may seem lethargic or even shiver, even though it’s not actually cold outside. So if you notice your dog acting strange after a swim, just give them a good rubdown with a towel to help dry off their fur and warm them up. And of course, always keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not too cold or uncomfortable.

How do I discipline my dog?

One of the best ways to discipline a dog is to stop giving them attention or give them a time-out. You can also use loud noises, toys, or other factors to distract them. Firmly saying ‘no’, or ordering them to sit can also help. You can use a quick leash snap or sway them quickly in your direction if your dog’s leashed. Other methods include taking away their favorite toys and holding back supposed rewards. But remember, violence is never the answer, never hit your dog. Patience is key.

Why is my dog suddenly being so aggressive?

If a usually pacified and non-aggressive dog suddenly turns aggressive, it’s possible that they might be experiencing pain, anxiety, or some sort of sickness. Dogs that are hurting will snap, growl, or bark at their owners whom they usually act sweet towards. This can be an urgent reason for you to take your dog to the veterinarian.

Why is my dog trying to bite me?

If you have a growing puppy, they might just consider it a rough play. If an adult dog is trying to bite you, it might be that they weren’t trained to see biting as wrong. Another possibility can be that the dog is feeling aggressive, or anxious. Rule out medical and other blatant reasons such as resource guarding first, and then address the possible issue.

Should I allow my dog to sleep on the bed with me?

Some may say that dogs are unhygienic, shed a lot of furs, might bring parasites, and don’t exactly smell good. But, your dog’s state is also dependent on how much you take care of them. If your dog is clean and healthy, and you’re fine with feeling warmer in your sleep, sharing your bed with your dog can be nice.

Why is my dog eating poop and messing around with it?

If your dog is eating poop, they’re either extremely hungry to the point that they’re messing around. Due to that, they may be trying to eat anything they can sniff remotely. Dogs also think that feces smells good so they indulge in it. It can also be a part of their primal instinct as wild dogs used to roll around in poop to mask their scent for hunting purposes.

Why is my dog acting out: Conclusion

In totality, there are many, many reasons why your dog is acting out. Luckily, there are also a lot of ways of dealing with dog behaviour issues you might be facing right now. Things aren’t helpless, a good first step is you have read this article to try and figure out what’s going on with your dog.

In the end, remember you’re not alone in raising your beloved dog. Seek professional and community help to give your dog the best care possible!

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