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12 Dog Behavior Training Tips

Whether you’re a new dog owner with your first puppy or you have had experience with dogs and you’re stumped by a behavior problem, you can always use a few dog behavior training tips to get you through. We’ll go over twelve dog behavior training tips to get you started. Even if you’ve owned dogs before, you might learn a couple you didn’t know about.

1] Housebreaking: This is one of the first things a new puppy owner wants to take care of. One of the first things that needs to be established is a consistent schedule. A schedule means more than regular trips outside. It also means regular feeding and exercise times. Dogs innately want to please their owners, so they want to know what you want.

Establishing a regular schedule will not only let your puppy know what you want but will instill some security, as he’ll better know what to expect. This will go a long way towards making your puppy comfortable and cut down on some of the rambunctiousness that comes from feeling uneasy.

A dog crate is one of the most useful tools in housebreaking that you can use. While some people don’t like the idea of locking the puppy up in a crate, dogs naturally crave some sort of den or hiding place.

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The reason this helps with housebreaking is that dogs tend to be clean, and certainly don’t want a rug soaked with urine in their den. You’ll need a crate that’s large enough for the dog to be able to stand up and turn around and lie down comfortably. Too large a crate may encourage using one corner for a toilet.

When the puppy needs to go, he’ll usually let you know it. He’ll whine and scratch. Watch for this sign and take the puppy out right away. If you wait too long and he has to let go in the crate, he may start thinking that this is permissible.

Puppy pads or paper training is not the best idea. This is because the dog now has two options for elimination. There are some scenarios, however, that make these training aids a necessity, such as a working owner who has to leave the dog alone all day.

Puppies seem to have water that runs right through them, so be aware of this. It may be a pain to take the puppy out as many times as he’ll need while he’s little, but it’s important. Some good times to do this are after he wakes up in the morning or from a nap, after eating or drinking, after spending some time in his crate, and just before bedtime. The main thing is that you are trying to teach the dog that there are some places he may do his business and other places he may not.

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2] Excessive barking: With this problem, it’s important to find the cause. Dogs may bark because they are anxious, frustrated, feeling insecure or defensive, or just plain bored. Something is wrong when a dog barks too much; it’s a signal.

If your dog routinely barks at things going on outside, try to block some of the windows he can reach. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise and playtime. If your dog goes crazy anytime the doorbell rings, he can be trained by going to another part of the house with a treat and calling him. You may need a partner to ring the bell. After a few times, the dog will go to his “space” when the bell rings rather than bark.

3] Excessive whining: This is another signal that your dog is not getting something he needs. He may need a walk or food. If he’s on a schedule, this will prevent these problems. However, if family members routinely slip him table scraps or extra treats, he’ll get used to this and whine for them. Make sure the whole family knows that the dog has to stick to his feeding schedule to avoid problems.

Your dog may just need some playtime. If he’s bored, he may whine. If he’s still bored, he may just take it out on your shoes or furniture. Make sure he has adequate exercise and playtime.

Your dog may be in pain. It’s important to note what he’s doing when he whines, so you can be aware of something like whining when he jumps on furniture or walks upstairs, which may indicate arthritis. Dogs can whine when they are anxious or afraid. If the dog is also trembling or pacing, the whining is probably associated with stress.

Unfamiliar people can cause this, as can separation anxiety. Both can be addressed with a little patience. Getting him used to other people when young and providing toys to occupy him while you’re at work will help.

4] Puppies urinating when you come home: This is not uncommon. Puppies don’t have the best bladder control, and yours may get so excited when you come home that he just forgets to control himself. This usually goes away with time and growth.

A good dog behavior training tip for this is to keep your greetings calm and your puppy will learn to keep from getting so excited. However, if your puppy or dog urinates more often, it may signal a bladder or other infection. Just keep an eye out in case he needs a vet check.

5] Dog urinating on your bed: In the same vein, some dog owners find that their dogs will urinate on their beds. It’s important to understand that the dog isn’t being vindictive. Dogs don’t think that way, especially when it comes to urine. They often mark their territory and may just be staking a claim on your bed.

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A puppy who hasn’t gotten the idea that some places are not toilets may think your bed is a nice, soft place. If you take your puppy to bed with you, he won’t be able to hold it all night, and may just get to the end of the bed. Remember that older dogs can lose control as well. It may be just a dribble, but it’s something to watch for.

Clean your bedding with cleaners specifically made for urine to make sure all the smell is gone. Try to keep your dog out of your bedroom with gates or just by shutting the door. Watch to see when he goes into your room and take him for a walk. He’ll soon get the message.

6] Puppy chewing on the owner. Puppies are like babies; they investigate with their mouths. Teething can also cause this behavior. If your puppy chews on your hand or ankle, have a toy ready to give him instead. He’ll soon learn that toys are okay to chew on, people are not.

7] Dog waking up the owner. Pets will often wake up owners too early, especially on the owner’s day off. To counteract this, don’t reward the behavior by giving him what he wants. He’ll learn that this is permissible, and it works. Of course, if he needs to go outside, this can’t be ignored, but if you stick to a schedule, he shouldn’t be having a problem. If he’s just bored, he’ll soon learn that you’re not going to budge, and he needs to just wait.

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8] Separation anxiety. This is especially prevalent with puppies and new dogs. Puppies are used to playmates and feel anxious about being left alone in a house for eight or more hours a day. One good dog behavior training tip to solve this is to give your pup a special space, perhaps partitioned off with baby gates.

This shrinks that big empty space into something less frightening. Use special toys available just in that space. Start by leaving him in the space, then return in a few minutes with a treat and praise.

If he gets upset, don’t let him out of the space. Instead, comfort him and try again with a shorter time alone. Gradually increase his time alone, and he’ll soon realize that he’s safe even though you’re not there.

9]Walking without pulling: If you’re tired of being hauled around by your dog during walks, a good dog behavior training tip is to start with a six-foot firm leash and some soft, small treats. When you’re walking, turn around and walk the opposite way any time the dog starts to pull. Once he catches up to you, give him a treat. Try this for 15 minutes a day. It may take some time for him to get the intent, but he will with some patience.

10] Sitting still at mealtime: Does your dog jump around when food is coming? Are you tired of spilled food on the floor? Start by getting the dog to sit. Tell him to stay, then put down the food. If he gets up, tell him “no” and take the food away until he sits. You may need to repeat this a few times before he gets it. When the food is put down and he stays sitting, then you can tell him to go to it. This takes patients but he’ll get the message.

11] Owner stress: Life can be stressful at times, and sometimes it’s too easy to just take it out on your dog. This only stresses out the dog and causes more problems. It’s important to avoid yelling at your dog when you’re in a bad mood or even worse.

Changes in your schedule, such as a new job or new baby, will affect your dog as well. It’s important to be understanding and help him adjust rather than punishing him for reacting to the changes. Remember that dogs thrive on stability, and he’ll be upset with big changes.

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12] Confronting a bad dog owner: No animal lover wants to see someone else mistreat their pet. However, before you confront someone about their behavior, consider whether it may just be that they approach training differently than you do. If you feel you must confront someone, start with a compliment about the dog.

This will get the conversation on a friendly tone and keep the other person from becoming defensive. Empathize about how problematic some dogs can be. Then you can tell the person about what has worked for you.


Owning any kind of pet involves understanding the pet and why he does some of the things he does. Dogs rarely do things for no reason. Once you understand the cause of some unpleasant behavior, you can better deal with it. Patience and understanding are the keys. Remember that your dog ultimately wants to please you. You can work together to end objectionable behavior.