Think your dog is naughty? Here’s what 7 common behaviors could actually mean

Dog standing on hind legs looking out the window
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re finding yourself on the other end of all sorts of unwelcome doggy behaviors, you may be wondering what exactly is going on with your beloved canine companion. While it can be difficult to distinguish the cause, if you notice many of the behaviors are tied to your absence, it’s worth considering that separation anxiety might be the cause.

Thankfully, expert dog trainer Antonio Diaz (opens in new tab) has a wealth of experience in this area and has put together a handy video that outlines exactly what to be on the lookout for. You can check out the full TikTok video below:

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Founder of the K9 dog training school, Leader of the Pack (opens in new tab), Diaz says that behaviors typical of separation anxiety in dogs include destruction of furniture, excessive vocalization, scratching and biting at exit and entrance points, and being unable to eat when left alone.

However, Diaz points out that it’s important that pet parents don’t get these behaviors confused with others that look like separation anxiety but aren’t. 

“Constant demand barking for attention or throwing a tantrum when they’re not getting what they want,” is not about being apart from you, he says. “Behaviors like garbage raiding or chewing on furniture or destruction of items is usually about boredom and not separation anxiety.”

Watched close to 300,000 times, the footage has triggered much discussion amongst pet parents, many of whom express being at their wit's end trying to manage their dog’s distress.

“My Rottie… she sits at the exact spot where I walked out even if my husband is home and won’t move until I return. I don’t think this is good,” wrote one netizen, while another said “My Yorkie has very bad anxiety. I hate to leave him alone.”

While separation anxiety in dogs is something a lot of pet parents struggle with, knowing the difference between the behaviors caused by separation anxiety and behaviors that have other root causes is vital when it comes to helping your pup.

Behaviors that are being triggered by boredom require solutions that see more physical and mental enrichment being added to your dog’s day, whereas separation anxiety requires up to six months of training.

If you feel separation anxiety is what’s driving your canine companion's behavior, you’re in luck - Diaz has done a separate video in which he shares his five equipment-free tips for easing your dog’s separation anxiety.

We understand that separation anxiety can be an isolating experience to deal with as a pet parent and can leave you feeling trapped in your own home. If you feel you and your pup would benefit from some 1:1 support, we recommend seeking out the advice and guidance of a professional dog trainer who specializes in separation anxiety. 

Kathryn Rosenberg

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.