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How To Stop Dogs Behaving Badly (VERY)

Britain. A nation of Dog owners and Dog lovers! Dogs are the UK’s favourite pet, but sometimes they can get into a lot of trouble and turn not so adorable. This is the complete guide on how to stop dogs behaving badly, or sometimes VERY badly!

Research shows that in 2020 over a thousand dog owners were asked ‘Would you like to change your dogs behaviour’ and a whopping 75% said ‘Yes’.  Just like humans it’s very easy for dogs to pick up bad habits and to start behaving badly. Possibly very badly. Not only that but most often these habits are picked up by us… the owners.

Some of these new behaviours can be frustrating and annoying. You’re constantly asking how to stop dogs behaving badly. Some of these traits include, jumping up at guests or tugging on their lead on walks. These problems are somewhat easy to remedy with some training. However, other bad habits can lead to dangerous situations for you and your dog.  For these habits you might need to look elsewhere for some help. Possibly a dog behavioural therapist. These habits may include underlying emotional issues such as fear. These habits should be looked into as soon as possible as this can really impact your dogs wellbeing.

Here is a list of issues that commonly worry dog owners(most reason people ask how to stop dogs behaving badly):

  • Tugging at the lead
  • Fear of fireworks
  • Fear of loud noises
  • Separation anxiety
  • Barking at others
  • Barking at cars
  • Stealing food off plates or hands
  • Jumping up at people
  • Aggression
  • Recall issues (Not coming back)
  • Peeing or Pooping in the house
  • Humping anything and everything
  • Destructive (Chewing or breaking apart most things)
  • Attention seeking

If you are worried about your dogs behaviour then it is important to seek help. This is not only for your dogs sake and their happiness but yours as well. It’s important your take your dogs emotions and behaviour seriously and it could be early signs of issues or even underlying problems that need serious attention. Particularly any signs of aggression towards people or other dogs. Some issues are more serious than others, but its best to get to them as early as possible. This way they get out of the habit as soon as possible and nip it in the bud early. So a big pat on the back for going out of your way to find out more.

Lucky for you its never too late to train a dog despite what some people may say. All you need to have is a good understanding of why it is your dog is behaving badly in the first place.

Does my dog really need help?

If its only a tiny issue, like not recalling properly or not sitting when asked, check out some of our other training blogs for some tips and tricks to help out.

Its important to keep training your dog no matter their age. It is true that training good habits and basic commands, is much easier as a puppy than as an adult. But on the contrary it’s simply wrong to think that an older dog cannot be helped or changed.

Sadly it’s not always as simple as reading online and sorting it out at home. Sometimes you may need to seek expert help, as you may not realise what exactly it is you’re doing wrong/not correcting to help your dog. These issue may include very aggressive dogs and dogs with lots of fear.

Why is my dog behaving SO badly?

There are a hundred and one reasons that dogs do the things they do. Some dogs behaviours are purely instinctive. They are perfectly acceptable in dog society and also working dog societies. But for humans living with dogs, these doggy behaviours my not be 100% appropriate or acceptable.

A few of these unwanted behaviours stem from fear or anxiety. Some adolescent dogs often go through times of behaving very badly. Sometimes an experience earlier in the dogs life has actually taught it to behave in a certain way. But… There is hope at the end of the tunnel. Any age dog can be taught new tricks, it just time and patience. It’s not too late to retrain your dogs bad habits!

Breed

Other reasons your dog may be acting up is its breed. Many different dogs have a lot of different traits and characteristics. This could be why your dog is ‘acting up’. This is how to stop dogs behaving badly.

Greyhounds and Wolfhounds for example are bread for chasing and hunting rabbits, its their instinct to chase and kill. You may find breads with similar hunting instincts to often run away from you or tug at the lead often.

Other breads like Border Collies for example are herding animals they require an immense amount of running and activity to burn off their incredible amount of energy. If you have a dog with similar traits you may find them jumping about a lot at home or on people. This will be down to them not getting enough exercise.

Terriers were bred to be ratters. They’re bold and fearless, will fight back if they are cornered and just love to chase, dig and destroy. That’s what they are hardwired to do and it’s what makes them such courageous little characters.

Most of your dogs issues could just come from their natural urges, so finding a creative way to release some of that energy could be the trick to calming your dog down.  

Anxiety

If you want to know how to stop dogs behaving badly, then this might be the information you’ve been looking for. Not all unwanted dog behaviours and issues stem from breed or nature. Sometimes it can be caused by anxiety. It’s very important to be able to tell the difference between an anxious dog and a bored dog as the two training programs are very different. This has happened in the past to some dog owners and the problems have only gotten worse. This is why it would be important to have a qualified dog behaviourist take a look and give the the right guidance you need. They should be able to tell you relatively quickly through there body language what your dog is up too.

Physical Health

My ‘go to’ when anyone asks me/tells me they have some sort of issue with their dog, is ‘Have you been or spoken to the vet?’. Your vet should be able to fully examine your dog and tell your if your dog is in any pain or has any neurological issues that might be affecting your dogs behaviour. Another top tip would be to ask your vet about their diet, what’s the best food for your dogs breed? Simple changes to their diet can hugely affect your dogs anxiety and energy levels.

Steps For Success!

  1. Training is so key. Teaching your dog simple commands you may think is just a cute trick. But teaching your dog to sit, lie, or come to you is related to how well behaved your dog actually is. Positive reinforcement with treats and good training teaches your dog that good things happen when they do what you’re asking them to do, instead of shouting at them and pulling your hair out. Not only will training help them behave better, your bond with your dog will grow and provide amazing metal stimulation that will hopefully help with tiring them out.
  2. Exercise, exercise and exercise. Do I need to say it again? No matter what breed your dog is, they need exercise. And plenty of it. Especially if you have one of the following breeds… Labrador Retriever, Dalmatian, Alaskan Malamute, Boarder Collie, Boxer, English Springer Spaniel, German Shepard, Golden Retriever. These breeds in particular require an immense amount of exercise and if you’re not meeting their needs then this could be the cause of them acting out or active very badly. Excess energy is also channelled into chewing things at home and pull on their leash when they’re out. 
  3. Reward good behaviours. If you’re dog is behaving well and how he should be, either laying down and not jumping over everything or walking next to you instead of in front of you be sure to reward and praise them for doing as you say. Make sure you are always using clear commands as it’s so much easier for your dog to understand one word commands than constantly changing phrases. The word ‘Sit’ should be used when your dog is jumping up at people instead of ‘Don’t Jump’. As well as ‘Heel’ when your dog is pulling on the lead instead of ‘Don’t Pull’.
  4. Be Consistent. Don’t feed your dog from the table or when you are eating. This will teach them to beg and whine while you’re eating. Everyone must follow the same rules when its comes to setting standards for your dogs behaviour.

Where to get help for dogs behaving VERY badly?

If your dog is becoming uncontrollable and behaving very badly, or you would just like some definitive answers on why your dog behaves like they do. Here are some of the best places and people to speak to:

Speak to your vet 

This should be your first port of call. Your vet is your best friend in these situations and should be able to give you all the information you’re after. Make sure you keep a food journal and make any extra notes on your dogs behaviour before you go. This way you’ll be able to give him all the details he needs with better accuracy.

Go to a trainer

If you feel you and your dog could do with some extra training(yes that’s right, YOU may also need some training), you should consider going to some dog training classes or private sessions with a qualified trainer. My personal opinion would be to use a APDT trainer as they train with reward based systems.

See A behaviourist

If all the above fail and/or you’re still having trouble figuring out a particular issue or behaviour you cant get rid of. A certified behaviourist could be the way to go. They’ll work directly with your dog and be able to tell you based on your dogs body language what is causing your dog to do what its doing. Not only that, they will show you a plan to put in place to train your dog to help not only you but also your dog!

Congratulations! You’ve finished our blog on how to stop dogs behaving badly! Want More?! Check out some of our other fantastic blogs… Click Here to view more. Don’t forget to check out our Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

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Comments (3)

  • Conor P Reply

    My dogs been a nightmare the past couple of days. Love him to bits but he wont stop jumping up at everyone all fo a sudden. Took him out for an extra long walk today and hes being sucha good boy now. Thanks for all of the advice!!! It really helped 😀 :* x

    5 May 2021 at 11:17 am
  • Tom Reply

    I wish.

    19 May 2021 at 8:03 pm
  • Maureen Reply

    My saluki/whippetpuppy x 81/2 months is growling jumping up biting my arms when I don’t take her the way, on a walk, that she wants – I try to vary the route to avoid the worst of the mud and other dogs/walkers. It seems to come out of the blue though- if I see it starting I can sometimes distract her by scattering treats as advised by a trainer I saw twice.

    7 July 2021 at 10:02 am

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