How To Handle Dog Behavior Problems

Aggressive dog is barking. Young man with angry black dog on the leash.

Dogs are like toddlers sometimes. They get into messes and cause trouble occasionally. However, like children, you can teach your unruly pup to behave and do better. Letting their bad habits slide is the one thing you shouldn’t do as a dog owner.  

It’s best to curb a dog’s behavior problems while young. Although puppies have short attention spans, they’re like sponges when picking up and remembering new commands. You can even retrain older, uncontrollable dogs with enough patience.  

If your dog gives you many problems at home, there’s still hope to make them more manageable. Here are some helpful tips for turning your rowdy pup into a good, obedient pet.

  • Enroll In Obedience Training

First things first, you must train your pup. You may teach dogs and other domestic animals proper behavior through socialization and positive reinforcement training. You can do it at home or hire a professional dog trainer for regular visits.  

Obedience training is necessary for dogs, especially those working as service animals. It’s challenging since puppies have different personalities and abilities, like humans. So, if you’re not confident about training your dog by yourself, you can enroll them in classes such as those offered by Flash Dog Training in Portland Oregon.  

Trainers in obedience classes specialize in teaching dogs some basic commands and curbing severe canine behavior. When you enroll your dog in a course, you can expect their habit of pulling leashes and biting hands to lessen after several training sessions.

  • Get Exercising

Most dogs, if not all, are active creatures. They’ve descended from wild wolves, after all. So, even your pet toy dogs need frequent exercise. Remember that behavioral issues in dogs stem from the lack of exercise and mental stimulation. Dogs become bored and irritable and release their pent-up frustrations by chewing on furniture or soft objects like throw pillows. 

So, to protect your furniture from unnecessary damage, take your dog for a walk outside regularly. It’s an excellent exercise for you and your pup. Make sure you provide enough physical activities that suit your dog’s breed. However, some animals, like larger dogs, might need more activity than others.

  • Use Interrupt Commands

Dogs still undergoing training tend to repeat bad behavior from time to time. It’s something you should expect, especially from puppies. When these things happen, your best tool to solve them is a set of interrupt commands. 

Interrupt commands are words like ‘stop’ and ‘no.’ Phrases like ‘leave it’ or ‘drop it’ are also viable options to grab your dog’s attention. Remember to say them when your dog does something undesirable, such as biting a shoe or frequently entering your bedroom. Offer them a treat when they follow you. 

Furthermore, your tone of voice must also reflect the command. Be loud and assertive so your dog hears you and feels the weight of the situation. You may need to repeat the order for your dog to understand.

  • Redirect Specific Actions

Some canine actions like chewing and digging are innate in all dogs. That means they’re not something you can easily make them unlearn since they also need these skills to survive. However, they can usually go overboard and destroy clothes, furniture, and other objects. When it comes to that point, you may have to redirect your dog to do something else. 

Redirection is one way to curb negative behavior without teaching your dog not to do the action. Instead, you offer them an alternative. For instance, if your dog often digs in your vegetable patch, bring them to a spot where they can freely make a mess. Another case would be if your dog chews on anything. To solve this, give them a chew toy suitable for their size, as larger dog breeds can destroy a small chew toy in seconds.

  • Ignore When Necessary

Your first reaction to your dog’s bad behavior may be to react with an interrupt command. However, not all instances require that. In truth, some of the things your dog might be doing are only to attract your attention.   

Many dogs do this when they see their owners holding food. Since your dog may already have a strict diet and feeding schedule, it’s best to ignore them when begging or jumping. Stay consistent. They’ll eventually learn that they won’t get what they want and stop as long as you don’t give in to them.

  • Reward Desired Results

Many first-time dog owners make the common training mistake of giving their pets treats to preoccupy them. You must keep in mind that offering your dog these treats is not the best strategy to correct their negative behavior. In fact, it could enable your dog to continue since they think they’re doing something good.

For example, when your dog is showing aggression, you mustn’t distract them with their favorite treat. Instead, use your interrupt commands. If they listen and oblige, that’s the only time you should give them something. Rewarding them with praise and food for positive behavior will soon push the bad ones away.


Negative behaviors are common in all dogs, but with correct handling and training, these behaviors can be contained and eventually eliminated. You must also remember that whatever techniques you apply, you mustn’t hit your dog when they disobey. When they follow your commands, reward them accordingly.

It’s worth noting that consistency is a must. Dogs learn from repetition, and you must train them daily to eliminate bad habits. It takes lots of time and effort, but you and your dog will get there eventually.


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