Behaviourist advice: how can I help my dog’s bad behaviour?

There comes a time in most dog owners’ lives when they worry about their dog’s behaviour. Usually this is when they reach the teenage phase, and start to look at life as an inexperienced and hormonal adult! So if you’re wondering if you’ve got a “badly behaved dog” and how to fix it, keep reading.

First things first: don’t panic. No matter what your dog’s age, if you have concerns they may be getting unruly or out of control, there are lots of things you can do about it.

Find out more about the teenage phase in dogs, and it’s impact on “bad” behaviour.

What to do if you think your dog is aggressive

First, do an assessment of your dog’s daily routine to make sure they’re getting what they need both as a dog and for their individual breed. Dogs need regular daily exercise, social company, food and water, and to feel safe and secure. If they’re not getting that, you can expect problems.

Find out more about how much exercise dogs need.

Think about what your dog was originally bred to do. Some of our most popular breeds were developed to work all day every day. These include gundogs, pastoral dogs, working dogs and many of the Terrier breeds. For them, a quick walk around the block is not enough. Remember, most “bad dog behaviours” stem from boredom and frustration.

This isn’t just about more physical exercise. Yes, they need well over an hour a day, but if you spend your walks desperately trying to tire them out, all you’ll do is make them fitter!

Instead, look at what their original job entailed. Was it retrieving things? Hunting things out with their nose? Digging? Chasing?

This’ll give you some good ideas of how to enrich their lives and ensure they don’t just get exercise, but the kind of exercise that fulfils their hardwired needs, keeps them happy and therefore better behaved. For example, if you love the peace and tranquillity of yoga, you’re not going to enjoy being dragged out to run a marathon or play football in the rain.

Get tips for keeping your working dog active.

Also think of things you can do with your dog at home to keep them enriched and content. This could be interactive problem-solving games, scent games or a fun training session.

Check out our indoor enrichment ideas.

How to help a dog with “bad” behaviour

Boredom and frustration cause many behaviour problems, both in the house and out of it. By looking at your dog’s routine and where you can improve it, you may seem a behaviour transformation.

However, if having done all of this, you’re still worried about your dog’s behaviour, don’t delay… Seek the help of a professional. If it’s training problems you’re having – like your dog won’t come back when you call them – find an accredited and qualified local trainer. If it’s behaviour issues you are having, then contact a qualified and experienced behaviourist

Do not be embarrassed – or even worse, think your problem is too small. We really have heard it all – and it’s what we’re here for. All good canine professionals love to be asked to help when the problem isn’t deeply engrained and is easier to solve. 

A key part of our job is to improve the relationship between dogs and owners – and who doesn’t want that?

*If you’re concerned your dog might hurt or injure someone, contact an accredited behaviourist immediately. 

2 thoughts on “Behaviourist advice: how can I help my dog’s bad behaviour?”

  1. This is really lovely and reassuring advice, thank you. Just one question, is there somewhere we can go for ideas on these games we can produce for our dogs? For example, digging – how can we provide digging in the garden without encouraging the digging of holes where we don’t want them? And are there other ideas on games in general?
    But thanks, this was great.

  2. I just can’t seem to stop this dog jumping up she loves children and I have to keep her on lead if we meet any. She jumps up at me I turn my back on her but still jumps
    I constantly have her nails cut as I’m getting wounded.


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