8 Frequently Reported Pet Behavior Problems

A smiling dog lies on its back on a bed.

Besides the fact that pets are the love of our life and have so many wonderful qualities, there are behaviors that… well, annoy us. 

Pet behavior problems are the overwhelming reason why many pets end up in shelters. Behaviors can range from mildly problematic to even dangerous, when there is aggression. 

The simple fact, though, is that most behavior issues can be addressed and treated. This is where the team at Ten West Bird and Animal Hospital comes in to explain and offer some effective solutions to these problems.

8 Common Pet Behavior Problems 

All animals will display normal, instinctual behaviors because it’s their nature to exhibit them. There are some behaviors that are originally useful in the wild, but in domestic dogs and cats, can turn into compulsion or chronic behaviors. Some of them can be both destructive and unsafe for the pet or others. 

Here are some of the more commonly reported pet behavior problems.

  1. Hyperactivity – When a pet isn’t receiving enough exercise and stimulation, they may act out in hyperactivity and restlessness. Make sure you are giving your pet enough daily exercise. We recommend an hour a day of exercise and playtime, along with fun toys and games when you can’t interact directly.
  2. Roughhousing – This behavior is generally learned early on, when a pet is rewarded through laughter or encouragement when they play-fight. When your pet gets too rough or nips, yell “ouch” and get up and walk away. Redirect them with another game like feather chase or fetch.
  3. Territorial marking – This is one of the least pleasant behaviors a pet owner can face and can really cause damage to the home (and maintain an ongoing smell). Both cats and dogs need to be housetrained through positive rewards training. If your pet isn’t spayed or neutered, this can also increase the likelihood of accidents.
  4. Scratching the furniture – Many cat lovers lament their kitties have basically shredded furniture in the home and they can’t curb this destruction. Cats, by nature, will scratch. This releases the outer sheath of the nail so the new can grow in. Offer your cat plenty of scratching pads and posts, as well as cat trees. Learn to trim your cat’s nails to keep them at a good length (we can help!).
  5. Jumping up – Most dogs are especially exuberant when their person or people (or even strangers) greet them. This tendency to jump probably was rewarded in some way by the owner, but now has become an annoying habit. It can even cause an injury if your dog jumps on an elderly person or a child. Dissuade them from doing this by ignoring or turning your back until they settle down, using the command “sit”, and then offering them affection or a small treat as the reward.
  6. Excessive barking – Dogs do love to bark, and it is their way of expressing messages to you and other dogs. Unfortunately, the neighbors won’t appreciate this behavior. Since barking is often triggered by something, you will need to desensitize your pup to the cause. This involves the use of commands and rewards when your dog remains still through a former trigger.
  7. Jumping on furniture – This is another frustrating behavior done by both cats and dogs. The problem with this, is that many pets are simply confused about the rules, or they haven’t been well entrenched during their early training. With cats who love and need to climb, an easy solution is to offer several clear spaces, such as cat trees, window perches, and other cat friendly places for your cat to climb.
  8. Aggression – From nips to attacks, aggression in pets is one of the most serious of problem behaviors that need to be addressed. Aggression is usually the result of fear, and most pet caused injuries are related to lack of training and socialization, early trauma, or some form of anxiety. If your cat or dog is prone to biting or becoming aggressive, please contact us for a consultation.

If pet behavior problems are wreaking havoc on your home and putting your pet in danger, it is important to address this situation. We can take a look at what is motivating your pet’s issues and focus on redirection and treating the underlying problem. In most cases, it is a matter of returning to basic training and socialization, but we also want to look for any health related occurrences that may be a contributing factor. 

Please contact us to schedule an appointment.