How To Encourage Positive Behavior In Your Dog [Guides, Tips and Tricks]

Dog smiling

Your dogs aren't evil; they are only misbehaving because they don't know how to act properly yet. Dogs need guidance and obedience training when it comes to positive behavior; otherwise, they become anxious and out of control. 

This blog post will discuss ways to help train your dog's negative behaviors into more acceptable ones through various techniques such as rewarding treats during activities like potty breaks, playing fetch at home or outside, or walking on a leash around other people and pets. 

Origins of dog behavior

Dog behavior is something that should be understood before any form of obedience training begins. Dogs are descendants of wolves and, as a result, still have many wolf-like tendencies. Wolves in the wild live in packs where each member has a specific role to play to ensure the pack's survival. 

The leader of the pack is the alpha dog and is responsible for providing food, protection, and guidance to the rest of the pack. In domestic situations, dogs no longer need to hunt for their food, so they often look to their human family members for direction. This is why owners need to establish themselves as the pack leader (alpha) early on to prevent unwanted behaviors from developing. 

Suppose your dog perceives you as being weak or indecisive. In that case, they may try to take on the role of pack leader themselves, leading to problems such as housebreaking accidents, destructive chewing, and aggression.

Degrees of misbehavior in dogs

A man sitting with his dogs

Try to categorize your dog's wrongdoings when he "misbehaves." There are various degrees of bad behavior. Below are some of them:

Category 1: Normal behavior range for the age and breed of dog {Annoying}

It's just natural for dogs to have some annoying habits. For example, puppies who have not yet learned how to chew unassisted will continue to chew whatever is available. This behavior is linked with teething, but it may also be due to boredom or an overabundance of energy from a new toy. As a pet parent, you need to handle this problem with reward-based obedience training. We suggest getting them high-value chew toys instead of your favorite running shoes.

Category 2: Behaviors that lie within the normal range { Problematic}

Some behaviors are problematic since they might be hazardous and difficult to control, even though they are normal.  For example, It's common for dogs to claim their territory by urinating on it, but peeing on a new sofa is not acceptable. Identifying the underlying cause of the behavior will assist you in deflecting it.

Category 3: Behaviors that lie outside the normal range { Considered dangerous)

Some behaviors are definitely abnormal. Serious behavior disorders may result from emotional issues related to insufficient early socialization, medical conditions, or genetic predispositions. Behavior problems like aggression require working with professionals who can provide training guidance and behavioral modification medications when needed.

Fortunately, most common dog behavior issues fit into categories 1 and 2, implying they are short-term or easy to fix. Below we discuss such issues and how to fix them.


Common behavior issues

Angry dog

If you're having trouble with your pup's natural tendencies, try finding a solution that works for both of you. Here are some typical behavioral issues that can be easily fixed so both you and your pet can live peacefully:

Barking: Almost every dog barks and dog owners are well aware of this. However, when barking becomes excessive, it can disrupt family activities and even bother the neighbors. 

There are a lot of reasons why a dog barks. If your pup is barking, first determine why it is. If it's barking to get your attention for no particular reason, simply ignore your pup for a while until he stops barking, then give him some love and praise when he's quiet. 

When someone knocks on the door, your dog will naturally bark as a means of defending its property. And shouting at your dogs to be quiet encourages them to bark louder. Instead, talk to them in a calm tone and assure your dogs that the intruder is not a danger. 

Another reason dogs might bark uncontrollably is if they are excited to see you home after you've been out the whole day. If your dog barks when you return home because he is excited to see you, ask him to sit and give him time to calm down before playing with him.


Chewing: Chewing is an everyday activity for dogs. This is because dogs explore the world with their mouths and may gently gnaw an object out of interest. 

And because pups are just learning about so many new items, they chew frequently. Not only that, biting and chewing helps to relieve aching gums. 

As stated earlier, chewing is a typical behavior that occasionally goes wrong.  To manage this behavior, we advise that you place valuable items out of reach to "doggie proof" your home. Also, offer chew toys or a tasty treat like peanut butter or their kibble to satisfy your dog's chewing urge.


Digging: Dogs dig for a reason: to make a comfortable place to sleep or hide their valuables. And in tropical climates, moving the topsoil is a way to expose cool earth beneath it. So always make sure your dog has a nice, cool place to relax outdoors.

Unless your dog digs excessively out of anxiety or boredom, digging is typical. Digging becomes an issue only if he damages the garden or his paws. To keep your dog occupied, increase their activity. Dog sports like obstacle courses or hide and seek can help get your dog out of boredom.


Chasing: The need to chase moving things or people comes from a dog's predatory or herding instinct. And this behavior endangers both the chaser and the person being chased.  You should train your dog to "freeze" on command and come when called. Also, keep her on a leash when walking and be cautious of potential triggers such as youngsters on bicycles or runners.  Another way to satisfy this urge is by playing fetch in the safety of your own backyard.


Biting: Pups might bite other dogs or people due to their inherited pack mentality. This is absolutely normal. But when biting persists beyond puppyhood or becomes harmful, it is considered abnormal behavior. Also, most dogs bite only when they are in pain, feel threatened or afraid, or are defending their turf. This is also understandable, but they can still be harmful. 

Dog barking

Some particularly aggressive dogs can be pretty dangerous and bite anyone that comes their way. This is a sign of dominant aggression and should be controlled as soon as possible. Constant owner vigilance, responsible breeding practices, early training, and socialization can reduce biting.


Peeing and pooping: Dogs will naturally relieve themselves when they need to. Because of their pack mentality, dogs may also urinate or defecate in a house as a sign of dominance over the humans living there. To avert this, potty train them.

There are a few different ways to potty train your dog. One popular method is crate training. You can also try using positive reinforcement or taking them outside regularly. Whichever method you choose, be patient and consistent with rewards! 


Separation anxiety:A dog with separation anxiety may be excessively vocal or engage in little misdeeds when you leave. It's a serious issue that leads many dog owners to become frustrated with their pets. There are lots of ways pet owners can spot separation anxiety in their dogs. Some of these include accidents when housebroken, excessive chewing, digging, scratching, obsessive pacing, excess barking, or whining.

Some of these behaviors are exhibited by most dogs from time to time, but a dog with separation anxiety will do them almost all of the time. So how do you take care of a dog with separation anxiety?Start by contacting your vet and asking them to if it is a medical-related problem, maybe medications? Besides that, make it a habit not to make a big deal out of arrivals and departures. Lastly, always leave your dog in a room with a window to let sunlight in and plenty of toys or clothes that smell like you.


Basic commands your dog should know

Dog learning to sit

Below is a list of commands the American kennel Club recommends your dog should know:

How to train a dog to sit

A common command that all dogs should know is "Sit". If you want your dog to sit down on its own, simply hold a treat near your dog's nose. Not too close, though! Dogs tend to jump if their favorite treat is directly in front of them. If your dog jumps, let it know that that was wrong by saying "bad dog"

As soon as your dog sits down, give them the treat and say, "Good dog! Good sit!" This will let them know that they did a good job.

If you want your dog to sit on command, do the same thing as mentioned above; hold a treat in front of them and say "Sit". Repeat this often until they catch onto it. 

Once your pup knows what the word means, you can start using the word without a treat. If they don't sit, gently push their behind down into a sitting position and give them the command "Sit". Once they've sat, give them a treat and say, "Well done".


How to train your dog to stay

The stay command is one of the most essential commands that your dog can learn. If you want your dog to stay in one spot, hold a treat in front of them and say "Stay". If they move from the spot, gently push them back into place and give the command "Stay" again. As soon as they stay put for a few seconds, give them the treat and say, "Good dog! Good stay!"

If you want your pup to learn the command in a different location, try it there. You can also use a leash if they don't listen properly when you're not holding one.


How to train your dog to come

The come command is another crucial thing that all dogs should know. If your dog is far away from you, say their name and the word "Come". As soon as they come to you, give them a treat and praise them for obeying. If your pup doesn't listen or comes too slowly, gently pull on the leash until they reach you and then give them a treat and say, "Good dog! Good come!".

These are just a few tips on how to train your dog. With patience and practice, your furry friend will be following commands like a pro in no time! For more detailed instructions, consult with a dog trainer. They can help create a training program that is tailored specifically for your pup so you begin training in no time. 


Tips and tricks for training your dog

A dog raising its hand

Not everyone is a dog whisperer, however with some basic dog commands and quality training sessions, you can train your furry friend in no time! This section will discuss tips that you can use to train your dog properly.

First, it's important to remember that you should never yell at your dog when training them. Yelling and screaming will only scare them and make the process much more difficult for both of you. It would help if you didn't try scaring or hurting your pet either, as they won't learn anything from this behavior. Instead, use positive reinforcement like treats and kind words to show your dog that they are doing a good job.

Some very useful commands for dog training include "sit", "stay", and "come". These basic commands can be used in a variety of situations, such as when you're feeding them or taking them outside. Make sure to practice these commands often with your pet until they have mastered them. The more you practice and are involved in the training process, the better they will be at learning these commands! Also, your training sessionsshould be short and to the point. Limit them to 15 minutes. 

Lastly, it's important to remember that not all dogs are the same. While some breeds might be harder or easier for certain commands, you should never be too hard on your dog if they don't learn quickly. Puppy training takes time and patience so make sure to stay calm throughout the process!


Final thoughts

A dog wearing glasses while reading a book

There are many ways to encourage positive behavior in dogs. It is essential to understand why your dog is exhibiting the behavior and then try to modify it using one of the methods mentioned above. With patience, love, and understanding, you can help your furry friend become a well-adjusted member of your family!

If you have any questions or concerns about your dog's behavior, please consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to help guide you in the right direction and provide resources for further training if necessary.

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