Common Dog Training Problems
and How to Fix Them

A vast array of dog training problems seems to be encountered by many dog owners at some point or another in their lives.

If you are dealing with some type of a dog problem, keep in mind that loads of socialization and a solid foundation of basic training can really make a difference.

Let's take a look at some of the most common dog and puppy training problems and figure out how to fix them...

Problem Behaviors or Natural Behaviors?

While young puppies, for the most part, are blank slates with little or no behavioral or training problems, it seems like at some point or another, some issues just seem to pop out of nowhere. Why is that?

Most likely, the puppy is just engaging in completely normal canine behaviors which are often perceived by dog owners as problematic. Nipping with shark-like teeth, chomping on shoes and urinating submissively on an expensive carpet seem quite unforgivable deeds.

Yet, these behaviors are innate and often even linked to survival.

For instance, at some point of their lives puppies begin to explore the world with their mouths, destroying just about anything they encounter. This healthy impulse should never be suppressed; rather, it should simply be redirected. Chewing helps puppies get relief from those sore gums and facilitates the process of teething; give your dog a safe chew toy to gnaw on!

Urinating submissively, on the other hand, helps the puppy acknowledge superiority and avoid potentially dangerous confrontations.

As you can see, puppies do not behave out of spite!

Guilty-Looking Dogs

Common Dog Behavior Training Problems

Many dog training problems are often just natural behaviors that are unacceptable in human society. The rest are, for the most part, caused by lack of direction and guidance from owners. To help these dogs succeed, the perfect recipe comprises some knowledge on how dogs learn, patience, good timing and consistency.

Following are examples of some top dog training problems:

Pulling on the Leash

Are you walking Rover or is Rover walking you? Leash training problems can be quite troublesome and embarrassing at times!

The best way to stop this behavior is by not giving in. In other words, the moment your dog reaches the end of the leash, stop in your tracks and wait. The moment Rover turns around to look at you and puts some slack in the leash, call him to you, praise and deliver a treat.

Loose-leash walking takes some practice, but the good news is, with lots of patience and consistency, any dog can be taught to walk on leash. Visit leash training a puppy for additional information and step-by-step instructions.

Ignoring Commands

Do your commands fall on deaf ears? If so, training your dog can be frustrating. Often, lack of attention is due to the fact that your dog has never considered training sessions worthy of his attention.

He may, therefore, find the distractions around him much more interesting and entertaining. According to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, when dog owners ask their dog to do something, the first thing that comes to their dog's mind is: "What's in it for me?"

To make training fun, rewarding and worthy of your dog's attention, invest in high-value dog training treats or toys, especially during the initial stages of training. By making training fun and worthy, your dog's attitude towards learning should improve dramatically.

Sniffing Crotches

Raise your hand if your dog has engaged in this embarrassing behavior!

Equipped with 20 times more the amount of nasal receptors found in humans, sniffing is a perfectly normal and natural behavior in dogs. If your dog has a habit of sniffing in inappropriate places, consider teaching him an alternate behavior.

For instance, tell your guests to stretch their arms slightly so your dog can sniff their hands before getting more personal. After having his or her hand sniffed, your guest can give a "sit" command and then pet the dog or deliver a treat. Because the dog is rewarded with attention and treats, he will soon learn that the act of sniffing the hand and sitting down is rewarding. This means your dog will engage more and more in these polite behaviors.

Running Away

Does your dog think he is a Houdini, running away and not wanting to come back? If so, there are several considerations to keep in mind.

If your dog is intact, he or she may be looking for a mate. If your dog is bored and frustrated, he will be eager to look for fun ways to entertain himself. Not to mention the fact that some dog breeds are not the most loyal; indeed, some breeds have been selectively bred for being independent.

The best solution for a dog running away requires two approaches: one entails preventing him from rehearsing the running away behavior, the other entails making his life much more rewarding so there is little or no need to seek entertainment elsewhere. Obedience training may also be effective in strengthening the dog and owner bond and helping Lassie stay at home.

And if your dog jumps a fence to escape, consider installing a taller fence. If that is not practical, get an invisible dog fence.

Acting Aggressively

There are several forms of aggression in dogs. Defensive aggression, territorial aggression, maternal aggression, re-directed aggression, inter-dog aggression, protective aggression are just a few of many.

Knowing the exact cause for a dog's aggressive display is crucial for the resolution of the problem. If your dog is aggressive, consider consulting with a dog trainer well versed in dog behavior or a dog behavior professional.

When dealing with dog aggression, proper management is important. For example, if your dog is reactive towards other dogs or humans, make sure he is unable to harm anyone. This often entails using a muzzle and avoiding close interactions. Visit training aggressive dogs for additional information and step-by-step instructions.

Preventing Problematic Behaviors

There are many things dog owners can do to reduce not only dog training problems but behavioral issues as well.

Something that is often overlooked is puppy socialization. In puppies, there is a brief window of opportunity during which encountering other dogs, people and life situations is crucial. This important puppy socialization phase takes place when the puppy is between 4 and 16 weeks. When well-socialized, dogs are easier to train.

Proper training also plays an important role in preventing behavioral problems in dogs.

Signing up a dog for classes can provide dog owners with invaluable experience that may help reduce the chances for future dog training problems. If you are having an issue training your dog, consulting with a reputable dog trainer can really make a difference. Learn how to choose a dog obedience training school.

Tools for Dealing with Dog Training Problems

Overwhelmed by dog training problems? There are fortunately some invaluable tools that can help you tackle some issues. Of course, keep in mind that no tool should be used as a replacement for training.

For instance, it is well known that electric dog training collars can be helpful when dealing with some dog training problems. But you must commit some time to training your dog so you can ultimately control him without the aid of such tool.

Dog clicker training can significantly help mark desirable behaviors you observe in your dog. Many timid and fearful dogs grow more confident after being clicker trained.

Last but not least, the use of training treats in food-motivated dogs can really help not only when dealing with behavior problems but also in training, especially during the initial stages of learning.

Final Thoughts...

As seen, fixing dog training problems does not happen overnight.

If you are a new dog owner and are overwhelmed by all these training and behavior problems, learning how to choose a dog obedience training school may be of interest to you. A reputable dog trainer will not only train your dog but will also provide valuable behavior training tips and help you implement basic dog training commands which can ultimately help you solve several of the most common dog training problems.

Related Articles

You may also wish to explore the following articles:

Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

The behavior and obedience training guide that I refer to often on this site provides additional advice on dealing with various dog behavior and training problems.


Find this article interesting? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and as always, your +1's, Shares, Facebook likes and retweets are appreciated.



Search this site or click here to search the Web


Dog Training Problems » Puppy Training Home

Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Professionals Member#: 73641
Puppy Rescue Adoption in your Area
Puppy Rescue Adoption in your Area

Featured Article

Puppy Training

Dog Flea Medicine Review

"Dog flea medicine can protect your pet from nasty parasites that can cause great discomfort to your pet. But there are so many..."
...continue reading