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Behavioral problems

- When things do not go according to plan ...

Behavioral problems can take many forms - e.g. aggression against dogs and humans, barking or destructive behavior when the dog is home alone. However, we all know by now that the problem rarely lies with the dog, but rather the conditions under which it lives. These include lack of exercise and stimuli, poor diet, too much alone time at home, misunderstandings in the communication between dog and owner, as well as the owner's lack of knowledge of the dog breed and its needs.

Nevertheless, many dogs are euthanized each year due to 'behavioral problems'. "In total, more than 15,000 dogs are euthanized each year in Denmark due to problems between animals and the owner, according to statements from the practicing veterinarians." (Kristeligt Dagblad), Euthanizations that might have been avoided if the owner had had a 'toolbox' of experience and good advice to draw on so that the dog's dissatisfaction could be avoided or removed.

We have gathered here a number of links to articles that shed light on the scope of the problem and the reason behind it.

Thousands of healthy dogs are euthanized

Kristeligt Dagblad, 4 August 2000

"Full-time work and dogs are simply very difficult to combine," says the Animal Fund's director, Jan Nielsen.


The understimulated dog

Gæreum Animal Clinic

"For that reason, the dog will often also lie in the basket and try to sleep his boredom away while we are busy with the chores we have."

“Almost half of the dogs are understimulated. Many dogs rest for 20 hours a day. This understimulation can cause and intensify unwanted behavior in the dog. The dog simply builds up too much energy, which results in a behavior in the dog that the dog's owner finds inappropriate.”

Thousands of dogs are euthanized because the owners cannot look after them

Berlingske Tidende, 2014

“A lot of people have not familiarized themselves with what it means to have a dog before they acquire one. They see a cute puppy online and focus more on its big brown eyes than about how much care, exercise and stimulation it requires. And it can end up completely wrong, "says veterinarian and chairman of the Danish Veterinary Association, Karina Ryborg to the newspaper.

Uncovering reasons for euthanizing family dogs

Jørgen Damkjær Lund, 2007, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

'The increase in the proportion of dogs where fear or anxiety was the cause or contributing factor to the euthanization should give cause for concern. If the dogs are not sufficiently socialized as puppies, it is the dogs and their family who will pay the price - the dogs often with their lives. Breeders should pay close attention to this so that they do not produce more puppies than they have time to ensure are adequately socialized. "

Prevention of problems

"Dog with respect" - is a campaign on the initiative of DSKVE (Danish Society for Clinical Veterinary Ethology) in collaboration with the Danish Veterinary Association, Section for Dogs, Cats and Small Animals. (

Dog with respect - 1. Show consideration towards others. Call your dog to you and hold it by the collar or on a short leash when you meet other people. Keep in mind that some people are afraid of dogs and feel insecure when they meet dogs in the wild or on the street. Therefore, keep your dog close to you when passing strangers, cyclists, runners or other dogs.

Dog with respect - 2. Greet in a good way. Never let your dog run towards strangers or foreign dogs until you are sure they want to greet you and your dog. It can be overwhelming for both humans and dogs to be approached by a loose dog, no matter how happy and friendly it is.

Dog with respect - 3. Practice a safe call. Make sure you have a safe call so you can call your dog to you at all times. Once you have called the dog to you, do not let go of it if there is a risk of it running after other people, cyclists and cars, or if it is hunting for game.

Dog with respect - 4 . Make sure your dog is socialized.

Dog with respect - 5. Get to know the dog's language. Your dog uses its body to communicate - with eyes, ears, head, tail and posture. The better you understand your dog's signals, the easier it is for you to prevent conflicts and unpleasant situations. Remember - all dogs are different!

Dog with respect - 6. Know your dog's personality. Only go to a dog forest or free-range area with your dog when the dog is ready and you know it is comfortable meeting other dogs. Only dogs that are well socialized and used to behaving among other dogs and humans should be taken on areas where one is allowed to let the dog run free.

Dog with respect - 7. Train your dog. Use training methods that are based on reward. It's about rewarding the dog when it does something you want - and ignoring or preventing it when it does something you do not want. Do not talk unnecessarily harshly to your dog and never use physical punishment. Continue to train your dog all his life - it is the key to a trusting and safe companionship.

Dog with respect - 8. Seek help for unwanted behavior. Seek professional help if your dog exhibits unwanted behavior. This may be if it is aggressive, anxious or nervous, or if it is generally disobedient. Never let your dog go with a behavior problem for a long time - the sooner it is taken care of, the easier it is to treat.

Dog with respect - 9. Meet the needs of the dog. Make sure you meet your dog's basic needs for contact, exercise, activation and experiences - if necessary with the help of family and friends. Many dogs that exhibit unwanted behavior are understimulated in their daily lives.

Dog with respect -10. Observe rules and orders. Keep your dog on a leash when walking it, if local regulations require it. Make sure to always pick up after your dog. The dog's leftovers are not only a big nuisance for everyone - they can also contribute to transmit infectious diseases and intestinal worms to other dogs. Never throw used garbage bags in the wild!

Tools for solving problems with your dog

Below are a number of links to pages, videos, etc., with tools to solve various behavioral problems.


DKK: intro film Do not shoot the dog

An introduction to the 9 films in the series "Do not shoot the dog", all of which are intended to help dog owners prevent and solve a number of common dog problems.

DKK: When the dog barks

A film about dogs and barking. Dog barking can be a big problem both for the owner and for others e.g. neighbors. This film provides insight into why dogs bark and what you can do to alleviate your dog's barking.

When the dog is aggressive

A film that shows why dogs sometimes exhibit aggressive behavior. Which explains how to prevent the dog from exhibiting aggressive behavior and how to deal with it if it happens.

Danish Kennel Club - 'When the dog is afraid of things or sounds'

A film that shows how to prevent problems when your dog gets scared of things and loud noises - and shows how you can help the dog in the event that it gets scared.

Danish Kennel Club - 'When the dog is afraid of people or dogs'

A film that shows how to prevent your dog from getting scared of people and dogs - and shows how you can help the dog in the event that it gets scared.

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