If your dog has suddenly started misbehaving, this post will show you a number of likely reasons why and what you can do about it.

So, why is my dog suddenly misbehaving? Likely reasons why your dog is suddenly misbehaving are that it has an injury, the behavior has been encouraged, a change in its environment, intimidation or a change in its diet.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog might suddenly start misbehaving and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog is suddenly misbehaving

Below are some possible reasons why your dog has been misbehaving and what would make them more likely.

Injury

The cause could be that it has gotten an injury. This would be more likely if your dog has also started showing other signs of being injured such as limping or not moving around as much. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

Encouraging the behavior

It might also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it misbehaves, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

A change in its environment

The cause could also be that a change in its environment has been causing it to struggle to pay attention to you. This would be more likely if it has started doing it since there was a change in its environment such as if you got a new pet or you moved homes.

Intimidation

It could also be the case that someone or something has been intimidating it. This would be more likely if it has been misbehaving more when a certain person or pet is around or if it has been doing it more in situations such as when there are loud noises inside.

A change in its training

The cause could also be due to a change in how you have been training it. If your dog has started behaving differently since you started training it differently, it could help to change the way you have been training it.

If your dog started misbehaving since you stopped training it as much, the cause could also be due to you not training it. In this case, it could help to try “nothing in life is free” training which involves training your dog when doing routine activities such as while feeding it.

If you have been training your dog in a different environment and trying to get your dog to listen to you in a new environment, the cause might be that dogs don’t always carry training over well into new environments.

Boredom

It could also be the case that a lack of exercise has been causing it to be understimulated and unable to maintain its focus. This would be more likely if your dog has started misbehaving since getting less exercise and if it listens more after it does get exercise.

A change in its diet

It could also be the case that a change in its diet has been causing it to behave differently. This would be more likely if your dog started misbehaving since you changed its diet or if it does not listen to you when it eats certain food.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main cause.

What else happened when your dog started misbehaving

It would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started misbehaving since an event might have caused it to start. For example, if it started misbehaving since you started rewarding it when it did not do what you wanted, it might be the case that it learned that the behavior is rewarded. Whereas, if it started behaving differently since moving home, it could be due to a change in its environment.

The body language it shows

It would also help to consider the body language your dog shows when it misbehaves. If it has been doing things such as wag its tail, run around a lot and jump up at you, it would be more likely to be due to things such as being under stimulated or something causing it to get excited. Whereas, if it has been doing things such as hiding or crying, it might be due to a change in its environment causing it to be anxious.

What to do about your dog suddenly misbehaving

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Get help

If it seems like your dog has been doing it due to medical issues or it has been behaving very unusually, the best option would be to take it for a checkup. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out medical causes.

Ensure it is getting the right diet

It would also help to ensure that your dog is able to get the right diet, it has been eating the right amount of calories and that nobody else has been feeding it without you knowing.

Give it exercise

If your dog is healthy, it would also help to make sure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.

Give it training

It would also help to give your dog training so that it learns how to behave. Ways to give it training could include giving it positive reinforcement training or “nothing in life is free” training.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it misbehaves and to give it rewards when it does show signs of listening to you instead.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

If it seems like your dog has been being anxious, it would also help to limit reasons why it might be anxious. Ways to do so could include letting it stay in a room that is cool, quiet and not too bright and to let it outside to pee and poop before leaving it.

Get help from a dog trainer

If you are unable to get your dog to behave, another option would be to get help from a dog trainer in your area. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and how you can train your dog effectively.

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.