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What is Misbehaving?

A common complaint with many dog owners is misbehavior. Their dog does not behave properly or simply will not listen to them. What many people do not realize is the amount of time and energy that needs to be put into your dog to ensure that they stop misbehaving. Some dogs will misbehave because they are bored and have not had enough exercise, others lack proper training. A dog who is feeling anxious may also exhibit behavior that appears to be a case of misbehaving.

When you bring a new dog into your home be sure to research the breed so you are fully aware of the breed’s characteristics. Some breeds are high energy and require a lot of room to run and play. Other breeds are extremely stubborn and require extensive training. If you are unsure about which breed is best for your family, speak with dog professionals about the different breeds you are interested so you are more informed before making a decision.

Some dog owners reinforce the bad behavior because they think their dog is being cute. However, when the misbehaving dog gets positive reinforcement for the behavior, they will continue the behavior even when it becomes undesirable to the owner. Possible reasons why your dog is misbehaving are:

  • Lack of training
  • Lack of exercise or boredom
  • Reinforcing bad behavior
  • Unfamiliar with breed characteristics
  • Unfamiliar with adolescent dog behavior
  • Canine anxiety

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Why Misbehaving Occurs in Dogs

Lack of Training

Some dogs are simply laid back and do not require a lot of formal training. However, there are also some dogs that will benefit from formal training so they learn what behaviors are desirable and what behaviors will cause them to get into trouble. If your dog is misbehaving constantly, look into hiring a professional trainer who will work with you and your dog one-on-one. If there are only one or two areas where your dog needs training, then you may be able to accomplish this at home without the help of a professional. Be consistent and do not reward your dog when they misbehave.

Lack of Exercise or Boredom

There are certain breeds that are classified as high energy. These breeds will require an intensive exercise program or they will begin misbehaving because they do not know what to do with themselves. Herding breeds do require a lot more exercise as do Terrier breeds. Research your breed and know what the exercise requirements are for your breed. Dogs that suffer from boredom will misbehave, not because they are willful or stubborn, but because they do not know what to do with themselves. Provide plenty of room to run and play and also invest in some interactive toys for your dog to provide stimulation and reduce their boredom.

Reinforcing Bad Behavior

When your dog misbehaves, many times you will unknowingly reinforce that behavior by rewarding them. A dog that barks for attention and receives attention, either in the form of petting or even yelling, has just been rewarded for that behavior. Dogs are smart animals and will learn how to play their owners to get what they want. If you do not want your dog to bark, do not encourage it and do not give them the desired attention they are seeking. 

Unfamiliar with Breed Characteristics

Many times a dog owner will bring home a dog because they are cute or they had sad eyes. But, that new dog owner probably did not research the breed before taking on the responsibility of the new dog. Toy dogs are harder to housetrain, herding dogs are more likely to chase cars, working dogs can become more aggressive, and each breed has their own special idiosyncrasies that makes them unique. 

Unfamiliar with Adolescent Dog Behavior

People do not necessarily understand that dogs go through an adolescent phase, similar to the teenage phase that people go through. Generally, dogs will go through their adolescent phase between 5 months and 18 months of age. During this time, your dog will test their limits and see what they can get away with. You will notice that your dog is misbehaving more often than usual and you have to stay consistent in your training.

Canine Anxiety

A dog who is anxious, perhaps due to separation or a phobia, may misbehave or act in a destructive manner. This may not be an intentional act. Punishment is not the answer; the reason for the anxiety or stress needs to be addressed.

What to do if your Dog is Misbehaving

Your dog misbehaving is not necessarily a health issue. A lapse in house training may be cause for concern and an examination by your veterinarian may be needed. Otherwise, misbehavior is generally caused by your dog’s inability to properly express themselves about their uncertainties, boredom, or anxieties.. Proper training is essential in having a well-adjusted companion. If you are not sure you know how to properly train your dog, a professional dog trainer can be hired or you can enroll your dog in a training class.

Dogs that are bored or need more exercise should be given plenty of social interaction, room to play and interactive toys for play. This will keep them sharp mentally as well as wear them out physically so they do not look for ways to occupy their time. This will drastically reduce, if not completely stop, the misbehavior.

Prevention of Misbehaving

Research your dog’s breed characteristics before you bring your dog home. Know exactly what the exercise requirements and training requirements are for that breed. Take your dog to a training class or hire a professional trainer for one-on-one training. 

Provide plenty of room for your dog to play and run. Social interaction with other dogs and people is very important to keep your dog happy and stop them from misbehaving. Interactive toys or even just time with you, playing games, can help them become more willing to please you and stop misbehaving.

Cost of Misbehaving

If your dog is suffering from a medical condition, costs will vary depending on the diagnosis and treatments provided. If it is not a medical condition and a professional dog trainer is needed, costs can range from $50 per hour to $150 per hour. Some trainers will offer a package of classes at a reduced rate.

Misbehaving Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Australian Shepherd border collie mix
4 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Not listening
All around misbehaving
Attacking other animlas
Getting into the trash
Starting fights

I just recently moved in with a friend due to mold in my apartment. Before moving my Aussie/Collie mix was one of the most well behaved dogs ever, now he’s constantly acting up. My heeler acts exactly how he did before. I’m at a loss of what to do with my Aussie. He only ever does it when I’m not home. He went from being well behaved and cuddly to consistently acting out, not listening and ignoring me.

Thank you for your experience. I have two Frenchtons. The oldest one, Blaze, is turning 2 next month. He was friendly and happy, well trained. He has suddenly started growling at people, snapping at them, and it scares me that he could bite someone. 😢
I just discovered Brain Training For Fogs last night and had signed up for it. Reading your comments gives me hope this may work for Blaze.

Your dog is misbehaving, there may be many reasons, some of them are given
lack of training.
lack of exercise.
lack of nutrition.
Boredom. (not having a partner dog or lonely for a long time in a day)
canine anxiety.
lack of sleep(rare)
These are the basic reasons why your dog misbehaves with you or your family members, friends & neighbors. A few years ago i also had this problem, my dog (named jimmy) used to bark at my neighbors and some of my friends. my dog was physically inactive. then I went to the nearest vet but the problem was not resolved, I also hired a pet trainer who charged me $70/day but nothing works. there was a time that I regret about having a dog at all. And then an old friend of mine discovered a course for dogs which I think it may work, but it was better than my expectation! my dog not only became well behaved he begin to follow my all commands like (“sit”,” run”,” come here jimmy”, etc). after months we together went for hiking and jimmy cooperated with me very well, it was an amazing trip. this was the pic of my jimmy during hiking he became so well behaved, interactive & obedient that I never expected. I’m glad that I got jimmy now we are best friends.
If you can relate from this story and your dog isn’t well behaved then you should try this course (here is the link-Brain Training For Dogs I can assure you won’t regret
just copy and paste this link on your browser if it’s not working.
Have a nice evening with your fellow met.:)

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Husky mix
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

eating all of the cats food
jumping the fence
Getting into trash
Pottying in the house

Hi, We took in a dog from a foster family about 6 months ago. She is just over 2 years old. When we got her, the first month was fantastic. She was very well behaved. She randomly started acting out. She was jumping the fence and going to the bathroom on my living room area rug. I ended up getting rid of the rug and started having to tie her up to go outside. All of her naughtiness stopped for a while and we started trusting her again outside. That lasted several weeks. Than it started again. She started getting into the trash (scattering it from one end of the house to the other and going potty on my oldest sons rug.... Got rid of the rug and scold her about the trash for a while and again it all stopped for several weeks... Now she is at it again... Going to the bathroom in no my youngest sons room, Into the trash and is now eating all of the cats food (which we keep on a tall dresser out of sight in our bedroom). I Have never delt with this before. Why would a dog keep going through this roller coaster of phases?

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Japanese Chin
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination

Now that I'm stuck working at home all day because of the coronavirus, my dog has suddenly starting misbehaving or behaving oddly in three main ways: 1) he asks to go outside much more frequently and when I take him out he only does a little bit of business or none at all, 2) he throws tantrums while in his crate when we go to bed like when he was a little puppy first being trained, and 3) he doesn't play on his own as much any more when he usually would love playing with his toys by himself for a while. He is almost 2 years old and is a Japanese Chin, if that helps.

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German Shepherd
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Pooping and peeing on the floor

Jasper and I recently moved. But, we’ve been settled in our new place with my boyfriend for over two months now. Jasper is just now acting out and sometimes refuses to go to the bathroom outside. He would rather have me stand out there for twenty minutes, and get back inside, to then potty on the floor, not even two minutes later. I’m starting to get a little frustrated and I don’t know why he’s doing this.

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German Shepherd
8 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Hip Dysplasia
Misbehaves outside

I have an 8 year old German Shepherd, Pandora. She has always been a well behaved dog and very obedient. We worked very hard with her to be a good dog throughout the years, constantly giving her challenges and play time. Recently, her hips have started to get bad. We have her on all sorts of healthy supplements to try and ease her pain. She used to be outside during the day, but now she can’t be because she will run around to much and make her hips sore and the next day she has trouble walking. Due to this, pandora wont come inside now at night and will run away from me when I call her in. She won’t even come in for dinner, and I don’t know what to do so that she will listen and come inside (especially when it’s bed time and freezing outside).

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Labrador Retriever
1 Year
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms


My dog was well behaved before I went out of town and left him with my roommate. Since then he’s been acting up and chewing everything. It started with pens if I left him when I went to work, now it’s chewing shoes and clocks if I leave the room for 10 mins. I’m at a loss of what to do. He just turned one.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
That is actually fairly common behavior for a Labrador, and he may be going through a phase. If you aren't able to confine him when you are gone, you'll need to get him chew toys that he likes, and puppy proof the house, putting anything he might chew on out of his reach until he is through this problem.

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