A puppy tugging on a leash

Dogs are full of energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity. They are much like toddlers that way, in the sheer fact that they can get into mischief in the blink of an eye. 

Dogs (of all ages) are also a quick study on which behaviors earn rewards – like your attention. This is all well and good, if they are taught they are taught proper communication and manners. If not, though, these sneaky, and sometimes naughty, behaviors can win out.

There are plenty of ways you can encourage good behavior in dogs. Animal Medical Hospital and 24-Hour Urgent Care is here to tell you more!

5 Ways to Encourage Good Behavior in Dogs

Early interactions in a dog’s development make for better behavior in them as adults. But that early training and socialization needs to continue throughout their life. 

Our ways of responding to them and how we teach them can sometimes be subtle, but there are daily changes to take to make for more positive behavior in your pooch.

1) Make sure your dog responds to commands.
The best indication that your pet has learned to react to you, is if they respond to your command the first time you say it. If you have to repeat yourself several times, they’re not fully trained, in the sense that they should listen and respond to your call at once. 

Patiently practice the basics consistently for as long as it takes for the lessons to sink in. Reward them when they respond on the first call with a small treat or clicker. Continue to work with your dog until they are clued into you and want to follow your lead. 

2) Discourage barking.
One of the biggest complaints among non-dog people is barking. Barking is a natural behavior among canine friends, but chronic barking is a definite no-no. You can help teach your dog not to bark if you can discover why they are doing it. 

If your dog barks at people walking by, open up the curtains in the back of the house instead. If they bark when excited, ignore them until they quiet down and sit. Practice the “sit” command with your pet, then reward them for this. Chronic barking is a sign of separation anxiety, if it occurs when you are gone. Give your pet plenty of attention and reward them when they are calm. Make sure they aren’t bored by providing lots of toys and things to do.

3) Keep your pet from barging or jumping up.
Another bad behavior in dogs is their need to bust through the door, or push ahead. This is a normal pack instinct, but they need to learn that you are the leader, not them. Keep them on a leash as you ease them into knowing that you’re leading them. Do this by stopping, when they forge ahead, and looking away from them until they sit down. Then proceed and command using the word, “slow” or “wait”. 

Keep an excited dog from jumping up by reinforcing a reward when they don’t do it. Teach them the command, “down” or “leave it” when they otherwise want to run up to people or pets. Reward them when they sit and are then instructed to come for a pat.

4) Give your pet plenty of exercise and attention.
If your pet is not getting the exercise they need, bad behavior will surely emerge. Dogs, like us, get restless and bored when they don’t get moving and find things to be interested in. Since dogs will slide into behaviors you don’t want when they aren’t directed, the best bet is to give them lots of things to occupy them mentally and physically. 

This is also a good way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog. A shared bond comes with paying attention (to good behavior) and interacting with your pet in a productive, upbeat way.

5) Educate yourself to become the best pet owner you can be. 
One of the best things you can do to ensure a polite pet is to be a responsible pet owner. Raising a well mannered pup relies on good training and socialization. You need to have the respect and attention from your pet for them to behave accordingly, which is why positive reinforcement is so beneficial. 

Other ways to raise a great dog is by providing them with the right diet, lots of exercise and mental enrichment, and wellness care by your veterinarian.

Raising a Perfect Pup

While there is no such thing as perfect, you can definitely achieve great behavior through these steps and your love for your dog. We know you want to enrich that bond, so if you have any questions about encouraging good behavior in dogs, please call us!