Having a dog is an incredibly fun and rewarding addition to your family. They are great companions, very loyal and simply a joy to have around. While it would be lovely if your dog was always the model of perfect behavior, this isn’t always the case.
Unfortunately, many dogs suffer from a range of different behavioral issues. These can include barking, whining, biting, climbing on the counter, digging and several others. These can be quite annoying and frustrating to deal with.
Thankfully, you aren’t doomed to have a poorly behaved dog forever. Here are some tips to help you improve your dog’s behavior.
Train Them Successfully
The first tip to improve the behavior of any dog is to train them. Even training them with simple commands such as sit, stay or come can help reduce bad behavior. Through positive reinforcement training that provides a reward, your dog will eventually learn that they will be rewarded for doing the things you ask them to do. This will often spread to other areas of their life and behavior, beyond what you have specifically trained them on.
While you can train your dog on your own using treats and other rewards, it is not always easy. It can take some time, and there are no guarantees your dog will respond well to this kind of training. In some cases, it may be better to work with a professional dog trainer. For example, enlisting the help of a company like The Dog Wizard can take training off your plate, and ensure your dog gets the best training possible.
Provide Adequate Opportunities for Physical Activity
Physical activity is an important aspect of keeping your dog’s behavior on the positive side. Most dogs need a lot of daily physical activity, often between 30 minutes to 2 hours every day. Large dogs generally need more than smaller dogs do, and some breeds will require more than others.
If you don’t provide your pup with a chance to exercise, they may begin to act out because they are bored or become anxious. Many dogs will be destructive or fall into bad behaviors such as barking, biting, chewing or simply being hyperactive. There are several signs that your dog isn’t getting enough exercise.
Take time every day to walk your dog, play with them or let them run wild in the yard. It can work wonders for keeping them calm and well-mannered.
Be Consistent With Your Efforts
In order to see any real results in correcting bad behaviors, you must be consistent. If you are just starting to get things on the right track, and then stop with the training, your dog will likely regress and forget everything you were trying to teach. While slow progress can be frustrating, it is important to keep at it in order to eventually get noticeable results.
In addition to your being consistent and not giving up, the rest of your family or others who interact with the dog have to be on board, as well. For example, if you have a rule to never feed the dog table scraps, but your children do, your efforts to stop the dog from whining at the table will generally be futile. Everyone needs to follow the same rules for the dog to truly understand what is happening.
Reward the Right Things
Rewards are far and away one of the best ways to get your dog to do what you want. Every dog owner will give their dog some treats every now and then as a reward for being a good pup. However, you need to do your best to ensure you are rewarding appropriate behaviors.
While many people will reward their dog for doing things such as sitting or staying, these body positions don’t necessarily mean they are calm. Even if a dog is sitting still, they could be feeling very anxious or excited. They may believe you are rewarding that feeling, and not their body position.
Instead, do your best to reward attitudes. You want them to know that you respect and appreciate their calmness, and not only their ability to do what you say. A good way to do this is to give your dog a treat when they are doing something you want, without you having to force or command them. This could be waiting patiently to be invited inside the home, or even simply relaxing in the sun.
Of course, you can’t rely on treats forever. Eventually, you want to train your dog well enough that they will behave well, without being enticed by the treats.
Helping Your Dog Improve Their Behavior
By training your dog, rewarding the right things, being consistent and getting them enough exercise can help ensure their behavior improves. While it can take some time to change behaviors, it is certainly worth it in the long run.