Bad Dog Behavior Guide

My cat and dog don't get along. What should I do?

Usually, difficulty between cats and dogs is caused by the dog. Dogs like to chase fast-moving objects, and cats run when frightened. This pattern can be dangerous and lead to injury, so it is important to control it as quickly as possible.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Allow the cat to run and hide if they want
  • Restrain your dog and consider using baby gates
  • Teach your dog a command to sit to calm them when they become overexcited
  • Exercise the dog to calm them down before allowing them to interact with the cat

My dog doesn't come when I call. What should I do?

Teach your dog to expect praise when they come to you (whether or not you called them).


When you do call your dog over, if they don’t come – don’t chase them. If you do, they may think that you want to play. Instead, call your dog again and move in the other direction, away from your dog. Hopefully, your dog begins to move towards you as they realize you are not playing a game. If they still don’t come towards you, tell your dog to sit and go get your dog. The overall objective when training your dog to come is to make them expect something positive when you call.

It can be embarrassing and startling when your dog jumps on you or anyone else. When dogs jump on people, they are attempting to assert their dominance over them.

  1. The next time your dog jumps on you, do not give your dog attention unless all of their paws are on the ground.
  2. The you can calmly greet your dog.
  3. If your dog is not quick to come back down to their paws tell them to sit.
  4. Once they sit, you can greet your dog.

In general, if your greetings are calmer and less exciting, then your dog will be able to more easily control their own excitement.

My dog is an adult, but isn't housetrained.

Make sure your dog doesn’t have a medical or behavioral issue. If not, then you can try he following to housebreak your older dog.

  • Offer scheduled feedings and scheduled elimination times
  • Reward them when they use the bathroom outside
  • Startle your dog if you catch them eliminating indoors by clapping (don’t scare them)

My dog eats other dogs' food. Uh oh!

Sometimes it seems as though our dog’s stomachs are never-ending. In some cases, dogs will eat their food, then move over and eat the next dog’s food. When your dog is stealing other dog’s food, here are a few suggestions:

  • Train your dogs to eat on command
  • Separate the dogs during dinner time
  • Calm your dog at eating time by seating them first

My dog likes to sniff and eat trash on the street. What can I do?

Teach your dog the “Leave It” command!

  1. Offer your dog a treat in the palm of your hand.
  2. Your dog will try to pry the treat loose. Give the “Leave It” command, and close your fist.
  3. Your dog will probably still try to get his mouth around that treat. Wait until your dog’s attention has left the treat in your hand and say “Good”.
  4. Repeat this process, and with time your dog will learn that looking at you, instead of the intriguing smell is rewarded.

My dog digs in my garden. Save my tomatoes!

Terriers were bred to enjoy digging, so keep it in mind that some dog breeds have these natural tendencies. Otherwise, dogs may begin to dig out of boredom, anxiety, or fear. Sometimes, dogs dig holes to cool themselves from the heat. Does your dog dig holes randomly throughout the yard? They may be chasing something underground. Try giving them an area that they can dig in. Encourage them to dig in that area by hiding treats and toys there for them to find. If any of these reasons seem to be the cause of your dog’s digging, you can use relevant precautions to encourage them to stop.

My dog bit a stranger (or a friend)! What should I do?

Dogs typically only bite if they feel threatened or nervous. Was there an incident leading up to the event that could have triggered this nervousness for them? Also consider how you can socialize your dog to feel more comfortable around new people and environments. Also watch for signs that your dog is uncomfortable in order to keep you, your dog, and anyone nearby safe and free of injury.

My dog barks throughout the night. I need sleep - help!

Is your dog bored? Is your dog chatting with other dogs up at night? Does your dog hear things unknown to you?

  • The best fix for this behavior is to teach obedience training.

Yelling at your dog every night will not make the situation worse. In fact, they may chat more instead. Teach your dog not to bark through the night by teaching the “shhh” command, and rewarding them when they are quiet. You can also exercise your dog later at night to promote tiredness that will help them rest.

My dog is aggressive. What's wrong?

Usually, dogs are aggressive only if they are afraid or nervous. We recommend partnering with a professional trainer to identify what is triggering your dog. The professional trainer can also help you and your dog interact in a healthier way.

My senior dog has started to be aggressive. What has happened?

Sometimes, senior dogs become aggressive for a number of health reasons. If they are in pain, they may not enjoy being pet in the same spots they used to. In general, when they are in pain, they may be more aggressive. In some cases, senior dogs begin to lose their hearing or vision and are startled by sudden noises or people. Keep these in mind when you interact with your dog in the future. Also, observe your dog and notice any changes in how they interact with their environment. These could be indicators of how your dog’s body is changing. Then, visit the vet to see how you can help.

My dog chewed my new shoes. Why?

  • Some dog breeds (and dogs in general) simply love to chew.
  • Try offering a new chew toy to deter them from your new shoes.
  • Alternatively, you can train your dog not to chew the object by saying “no” when they do. Then, replace the object with a dog chew toy and praise them once they begin to chew it.

My dog pulls on the leash when we walk. It makes walks unbearable and frustrating. What can I do?

It is important to not let your dog pull on the leash when you walk. To get a better grip on your dog, keep your dog’s leash short and loose. When they began to roam, your dog will have guidance from the leash to “rejoin their pack”. If it becomes too tight, stop moving. Your dog will stop to see why you aren’t moving anymore. Once your dog comes back, reward your dog with praise and continue forward. This training may take a few days, so stay persistent.



Sharing is caring

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *