7 Secrets to Well-Behaved Dogs

Sep 15, 2020     |      Sophie's Circle

A white dog with a relaxed leash resting on the ground between two seated people.Have you ever walked by a well-behaved dog and wondered what the secret is to his nice manners? Does it make you think you would adopt more dogs if you knew how to train them to behave in public or around guests in your home? Check out these seven easy tips that could be the missing links in your dog training toolkit!

  1. Establish a Routine?
    Timing, consistency, and patience with any training method are critical for your dog to either successfully master a new skill or change an unwanted behavior. Often times, dog owners who enjoy training their dogs will set approximately 20 minutes aside each day for training plus a couple of walks and immediate correction and praise throughout the day when appropriate. But, the consistency goes beyond the training and exercise times to encompass feeding times, playtime, potty breaks, and alone time. This is because dogs feel more relaxed and comfortable when they understand the daily schedule.

  2. Remember Training is Fun! ?
    When you hear people say 20 minutes of training per day, did you know that can also be 20 minutes of memorable bonding time with your furry canine friend? While you are teaching him to understand behaviors you want him to perform on command, you are also spending quality time together and enjoying all the rewards of your dog becoming more well-behaved every week! Think of it as teaching a young child to read. It takes some daily effort, but it is a cherished experience you will always remember, especially that amazing day the child reads an entire book without assistance!

  3. Stay Calm ?
    Since your dog wants to be with you everywhere you go and he desperately wants your praise and attention, training time probably already seems like playtime to him. That said, he will be paying attention to your body language and tone of voice to see if it is time to work or time to play. By remaining calm and speaking commands in a clear low voice, your dog will understand this is work time. Use this tone and demeanor throughout the day whenever you want your dog to be calm and respond positively to your commands.

  4. Give Praise at the Right Time?
    Of course, all work without praise is no fun for anyone! You don’t need to shy away from giving attention. But, there is a timing to when you should give it. Try rewarding your dog’s good behavior when he presents a calm attitude while performing your commands. Rewards can include high-pitched sounds, petting, games like “fetch”, favorite toys, and treats. After all, your approval and attention mean everything to him.

  5. Add Limits?
    Before your dog can understand how to behave while off-lead, he first has to understand how to behave while on lead. In spending your first few weeks with your dog on lead both in the home and outside, you are better able to teach him the rules. Unless he is in his crate, which is his space where he can feel safe and comfortable while you are unable to tend to him temporarily, he should be by your side. With such measures, you are able to give immediate and consistent rewards for a calm state while practicing his newly learned behaviors. You can also provide distractions from unwanted behaviors or quick corrections as necessary.

  6. Take Structured Walks ?
    We all need daily exercise, and dogs are no exception. By taking at least two structured walks per day, your will be helping your dog build muscle, release energy, improve his health, and focus on your instruction throughout the day. Such walks include keeping your dog by your side as you walk without sniffing breaks or pulling. Your lead should be slack, unless giving a swift correction or stopping to allow your dog to turn back to you in an effort to teach him walking beside you is the key to a slack lead and moving forward to explore his world. Don’t forget his favorite rewards for when he performs well while in a calm state. Also, potty breaks are only allowed with a command from you, such as “OK” or “hurry up”, while on a structured walk.

  7. Get to Know Your Dog ?
    If your dog is not responding to your instruction, observe his behavior to discover what makes him happy. Find out what motivates your dog from his most common activities and turn them into a training game with rewards he will love! For example, if he pays more attention to his food than anything else, perhaps he will work for tiny training treats.

In short, while dogs do not instinctually know how to behave in your home or while on walks, they can be taught. To accomplish this, they need structure, patience, and consistency in their daily routine, particularly in those first few weeks. With these tips coupled with positive training techniques and tools, you may find all those teachable moments can result in the friendship of a lifetime. When you are ready to begin your adventure together, visit our adoption page to find the furry best friend for you.