3 Ways to Encourage Good Behavior in Your Dog

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A brown and white dog sitting in tall grass
Kendall Abbott 3 ways to encourage good dog behavior

It’s the season of adopting puppies and as cute as puppies are, it’s not so cute when they chew on shoes, bark, whine a lot, and run away from you all the time. We as pet parents know it is bound to happen, and the best way to approach this behavior is knowing how to deal with it. Even our dogs that we have had for a few years can have these bad behaviors. These tips will help your dog learn good behaviors quickly and still love you at the same time.

Some of us have more free time right now than others and we should definitely take advantage of the time we have to share with our beloved family members.


1. Encourage Calm Behavior

Some dogs get very excited when their owners get up or start moving. This is a natural reaction that comes from their ancestors. Just like humans, we build up anticipation before something fun, like a party or a vacation. Dog’s have this built into their brain for hunting.

If your dog is addicted to feeding their natural impulses, they may always pull a leash while on your walk or bark at things they see outside the window.

How Can I Encourage Calm Behavior?

Dogs often get excited when we come home. Instead of greeting them with affection and words, use a calm greeting method, or don’t greet them at all. If your dog gets overly excited around mealtimes or walk time, vary the way or time you do things.

Try feeding them at different times, or pour the food somewhere else. For walk time, try picking up the leash and putting it back down, or if they get excited, read a magazine or watch t.v. until they calm down. This will encourage them to get calmed faster.

The point of this practice is to reward them for actions that you like. Rewards do not always need to be a treat, rewards to a dog can also be being petted, talked to, given a favorite toy, or even greeting the dog that you are heading towards on a walk.

For example, if you do not like your dog’s way of greeting you at the door, do not touch him, do not speak to them. Ignore and turn away from them. The moment they sit, stop jumping, or walk away you praise them or give them a treat if it is available. If you take this approach do not be surprised if they begin to jump again once you reward them, training needs to be repetitive and consistent, you will need to continue to repeat the process until the dog understands what it is they need to do to get what they want.


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2. How to help my Dog be Less Noisy

One of the most common problems we have with our dog is noise and barking. It can be hard to stop it and teach the wrong behavior because our automatic response can be to tell them to “stop” or “be quiet”, or even trying to distract them with a ball. This is rewarding the barking and noise with attention.

Ways to Stop my Dog from Barking

One way you can help your dog stop barking is with positive reinforcement. If your dog barks while they are in the kennel or locked downstairs, they are most likely trying to get your attention to be let out, open the door, or get food. The best way to deal with this is to ignore it. Once they are quiet, give them what they want or reward them with a treat.

If they bark when you have a toy or have a leash in your hand, wait for them to stop barking, even for a moment, and mark the moment with a firm “yes” and then throw the ball or connect the leash to them. Over the next few days, wait for the pauses between barks to be longer and continue to reward them for the silences.

Also, help by prepping their surroundings. If they are known to bark out the window waiting for a squirrel, bird, or another dog, you could close the blinds before you leave for work or keep them closed while you are home. If you want to leave the blinds open while home, just rewards them with a treat if they are being calm and laying down while looking out the window.


3."Come” and Improving Recall

It can be frustrating when our dogs don’t remember what to do when you say “come” or “here”. It’s not always because they are being disobedient, it can often be because they just don’t recall that phrase.

How can I Improve my Dog’s Recall? 

You might want to look into more special treats such as chunks of beef or chicken to help sharpen their memory.

Once you get home or sometime in the middle of the day you will use your phrase such as “come”, “here”, or whatever you like, and once they acknowledge that you said that and look over at you. You will toss them a treat. After a few of these, you can start dropping the treat at your feet. So say the phrase, and drop the treat at your feet. That way they learn to come to you when you say the phrase.


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Meet The Author 

Kendall Abbott

Kendall Abbott obtained her Bachelor's Degree at the University of Kansas, she then went on to pursue her education and love for animals by attending the Animal Behavior College. When she isn't working Kendall enjoys hiking with her two dogs Oscar and Tank. She also loves taking time out of her day to coach her nieces youth basketball team.