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Unruly Behaviors in Dogs

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Jumping, Digging, Chasing, and Stealing Behaviors in Dogs


All of these actions are within the range of normal dog behaviors. However, a dog that is not kept active enough may behave excessively in one or more of these ways. This can be especially true of dogs that are normally high energy by genetic disposition or character. 



Jumping up excessively as part of a greeting, for example, can be associated with separation anxiety and the excitement of having the human companion return home. Digging can often be associated with other behavioral disorders, neurologic disorders, or abdominal pain.


Symptoms and Types


  • Jumping on people
    • During arrivals, departures or greetings
    • Exploring the contents of countertops
  • Digging
    • Along a fence line
    • In areas of recent gardening
    • At rodent holes
    • On interior flooring
    • Worn claws (nails)
  • Stealing
    • Items displaced, hidden
    • Food items missing from surfaces (i.e., tables)




  • Jumping
    • Excitement, encouragement of excited behavior
    • Separation anxiety
  • Digging
    • Following scent of rodents
    • Anxiety
    • Regulation of body temperature
    • Boredom or lack of adequate exercise
    • Hunting behaviors (food catching or retrieval)
    • Escape from confinement
    • Pain
    • Separation anxiety
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
    • Neurologic disease
  • Stealing
    • May be attempt to get your attention
    • Desire for a food item, lack of internal discipline
  • Chasing
    • Herding instinct
    • Hunting
    • Play
    • Defense




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