Bad doggy.

You locked eyes with a Labrador mix at the animal shelter and instantly knew you’d found your ideal canine companion. But visions of your new friend strolling proudly by your side during long walks after work quickly dissolved after your first outing. He barked at people, bared his teeth at other pets, and wanted to chase every squirrel that scampered by. 

Everyone has an ideal image of pet ownership, but that’s not always the reality. Our team at Bowman Veterinary Hospital has put together some common pet behavior issues and how to handle them.

First, a Checkup

Some pet behaviors can signal that a pet is unwell, particularly if the behavior is sudden and uncharacteristic. Contact us for a thorough examination so that we can rule out medical conditions that could cause changes in your pet’s personality.


Aggression is a serious pet behavior issue that needs to be addressed immediately to keep other pets and people from being injured. When a pet is hissing, growling, or trying to bite others, contact us or seek professional, positive reinforcement training right away.


No pet is immune to an occasional bout of anxiety, but when pet anxiety impacts everyday life for your cat or dog, it’s time to act. Pets can experience separation anxiety, noise anxiety, and anxiety in response to environmental changes, such as moving to a new house or adopting another pet. Anxiety can take the form of destructive behavior, extreme clinginess, and potty accidents. Proper nutrition, plenty of stimulation, and daily doses of TLC can go a long way toward curbing pet anxiety. 

Improper Socialization

Pets that were never properly socialized can display a host of problematic pet behaviors, including destructive behavior, aggression, and even potty accidents. Gradually and continually exposing your pet to new people and experiences, scheduling daily playtime, and enrolling your pet in training classes or daycare can help.

Food Snatching

If your pet has been ransacking trash cans or counter surfing to commandeer snacks, it’s important to put a stop to food snatching before your pet ingests something that could be toxic for pets. Keep trash cans securely covered and clear away leftovers quickly. Make sure your pet is eating a nutritionally complete diet. 

Chewing, Scratching, and Digging

Destructive pet behavior like chewing up shoes or digging up the yard often stems from boredom. Keep your pet engaged with puzzle toys, plenty of stimulating play, and scratching posts, and contain your pet to “pet proofed” areas of the home while you’re away using baby gates.

Contact Us for Help

Many common pet behavior issues can be resolved by making sure your pet is healthy, eating a nutritionally complete diet, and getting plenty of exercise and attention. Use positive reinforcement and reward your pet’s desired behaviors, and keep your communication with your pet calm and encouraging. To schedule a behavioral consultation, contact us at (530) 823-6306.