Canine Dysfunctional Behavior

What Is It and What to Do

Timothy A Rowland
4 min readFeb 19, 2023
Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

Canine Dysfunctional Behavior

If you’re a dog lover, you know that our furry friends can sometimes act out in ways that we don’t understand. But what if your dog’s bad behavior is actually a sign of a bigger issue? Today, we’ll be taking a look at canine dysfunctional behavior and how to spot it in your pooch. Stay tuned for more!

What Is Canine Dysfunctional Behavior?

Canine dysfunctional behavior is a term used to describe behaviors that dogs are exhibiting when they are under psychological and physical stress. These behaviors don’t necessarily have to be abnormal, and can often be mistaken by people as ‘quirky’ behaviors. Examples of canine dysfunctional behavior include sniffing or licking excessively, vocalizing (barking, howling or whining) out of context, pacing back and forth, or excessive arousal in response to stimuli such as new visitors or sounds outside. In order to help a pet that may be exhibiting these symptoms, it is important for their human family to identify the potential sources of their discomfort and work on strategies to help them cope with the situation.

Causes of Canine Dysfunctional Behavior

Many pet owners are familiar with dogs that display destructive behavior. Although it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint exactly why a dog may act out, there are several potential causes. Firstly, if a pet has been exposed to violence or neglect in its past, it is more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors due to anxiety or fear. Secondly, some pets may react badly if they feel a lack of leadership from their owner- if the owner does not establish themselves as the pack leader, the animal may become confused and respond by acting out. Lastly, boredom or psychological issues such as depression can also be a trigger for bad behavior- without proper mental stimulation, dogs can develop deviant coping mechanisms that take the form of destructive habits.

Tips to Prevent Canine Dysfunctional Behavior

When it comes to preventing canine dysfunctional behavior, the best advice is to start from the beginning and be diligent with your training. Set clear boundaries for your pup such as what behaviors are acceptable in certain situations. Spend time getting to know them and responding to their needs. Positive reinforcement techniques like treats and verbal praise help reinforce good habits that can replace negative ones over time. Socialization is also key for managing future behavior problems, as interaction with different people and other dogs helps familiarize a canine with new environments and teaches them how to better control their impulses. Finally, keeping up with routine veterinary visits ensures any physical issues are addressed quickly before they take over your pup’s wellbeing.

Photo by REGINE THOLEN on Unsplash

Ideas on How to Deal With Canine Dysfunctional Behavior

Dealing with a dog that exhibits signs of destructive behavior can be challenging, but there are certainly steps you can take to help them. Firstly, it is important to identify why they may be exhibiting this behavior; this could include boredom, anxiety or even wanting more attention from their owner. Once a potential cause has been identified, the next step is to provide an appropriate response. This could include increasing exercise and physical activities for your pup to stop them from becoming bored; providing mental stimulation in the form of puzzles or interactive toys; seeking professional advice from a certified animal behaviorist for assessment and additional guidance; or changing up daily routines to give them attention throughout the day and ensure that their needs are met. With patience and understanding, you can work together to create a better home environment for both you and your furry friend.

Should You Seek Professional Help?

Training a dog can be a challenging and overwhelming task for any dog owner. It’s easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed when your four-legged friend isn’t acting in accordance with the behavior you desire. Even experienced owners can have difficulty managing their pup’s naughty qualities, such as digging, barking, and aggression — but help is out there! If you’ve been struggling to manage your pup’s behavioral issues on your own, it might be time to seek out professional assistance from an experienced certified trainer. Such experts can provide owners with knowledge and tools on how to breed better canine manners in their furry friends. A good trainer will be able to suggest tailored solutions based on the specific needs of both you and your pooch. Don’t let yourself get too bogged down — find yourself a professional who can help take those lead reins!


Ultimately, canine dysfunctional behavior can be an incredibly trying challenge for pet owners to manage. Taking preventative measures such as adhering to a consistent training regimen and providing adequate mental stimulation and exercise can go a long way in helping dogs stay calm and better able to handle stressful situations. For those whose dog might already be exhibiting signs of this kind of behavior, the best approach is to seek professional help from a certified animal behaviorist or veterinary behavioral healthcare provider who can safely diagnose and find effective methods for addressing the underlying issues. Every dog is unique, so it’s important to remember that no two treatment plans are ever alike — make sure you choose one tailored specifically for your furry companion! Have advice of your own? Issues you’ve encountered while dealing with canine dysfunctional behavior? Share your knowledge and experiences in the comments so we can all learn together.



Timothy A Rowland

I’m an every day human Xennial living in the SE United States. I have many interest. For specific topics, check out each of my publications pinned on top post.