Dog Behavior
Training Resources

To us, our pets are like perfect little angels—sharing with us their warm snuggles, wet kisses, and unconditional love. But living with a pet isn’t always heaven on earth. In fact, sometimes our furry friends’ natural instincts can cause them to act more like… well, animals.

By understanding why your pet acts a certain way, you’ll be better equipped to implement specific dog training and cat training techniques so that natural behaviors don’t lead to destruction and frustration. 

Your own personal trainers—the experts at AskVet—are here to get you started on mastering basic obedience and omitting unwanted behavior as a pet parent.

Dog Behavior Training Made Simple 

When your pet’s natural instincts turn into not-so-adorable problem behaviors, implementing positive training techniques and providing alternative options will promote good behavior.

If you’re having a ruff time, reach out to AskVet. We’re here 24/7 with all the dog, cat, and puppy training resources you need.

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Well-Trained Dogs Are Happy Dogs

Tired of the constant barking or biting? Dogs aren’t perfect, but excessive barking or biting can become a problem. Learn expert tips and advice below on how to curb these common behavioral issues.

Barking Mad: Why Do Dogs Bark?

Barking is how our pups communicate with us, as well as with each other. For dogs, barking can act as:

A greeting

A way to protect their territory

An alert or warning

A way to get your attention

An expression of frustration

While occasional barking is natural dog behavior, excessive barking can quickly become a headache—not just metaphorically.

How to Reduce Excessive Barking

The best way to reduce or eliminate excessive barking is by identifying the cause and using dog training resources to modify the unwanted behavior.

Barking as a greeting

If a visit from a friend elicits five minutes of barking, you can train your dog to sit in an assigned spot when someone comes to your door. You can also keep a toy by the front door and train your dog to pick it up before they greet your guests. With a toy in their mouth, your dog won’t be able to bark.

Barking for attention

If your dog barks for attention, food, or playtime, don’t reward their poor manners by giving them what they want. Ignore your dog until they’ve stopped barking, then reward them as a form of positive reinforcement. You can also teach your dog alternative ways to communicate, such as tapping the door to go out or bringing a toy over to play.

Barking to protect territory

If your dog barks at passers-by as a way of saying, “Stay away!” you might want to invest in opaque fencing, frosted windows, or blinds to limit your dog’s vision. You can also train your dog to learn the command, “Quiet”—a useful trick for any time your young pup or adult dog barks excessively.

Chew On This: Why Do Dogs Chew?

Every dog breed loves to chew. It relieves anxiety, provides mental stimulation, and keeps their jaws and teeth healthy. For a young pup, chewing also helps relieve teething pain. But without proper discipline, your dog will assume everything is a chew toy, which could result in a long-term behavior problem.

How to Stop Inappropriate Chewing

As a pet parent, it can feel impossible to say no to our dogs sometimes. After all, they don’t call them “puppy dog eyes” for nothing.

But it’s important to discourage inappropriate chewing with stern commands and training methods. Replace the object your dog is chewing with an appropriate chew toy or bone, and then reward them. If your dog learns that chewing on the correct object will earn them affection, praise, and treats, they’ll choose to chew on it time and time again. 

You can also try adding more mentally stimulating play into their daily routine, such as puzzles or search games. If your dog chews out of boredom, giving them a challenging distraction will put an end to this habit. 

For teething puppies in need of relief, offer the following alternatives to chew on:

Ice cubes

Wet washcloths

Frozen chew toys

Why Do Dogs Bite?

To many owners, especially of calm, friendly pups, biting can feel sudden and random; however, dogs don’t just bite out of the blue. 

Your dog might snap at you for a number of reasons:

They feel anxious or overwhelmed, whether from humans or other animals

They’re protecting themselves, their litter, their territory, or their belongings

They’re scared or have been startled

They have an injury or illness that’s making them particularly sensitive or evasive

They’re overly excited during playtime

How to Stop Your Dog From Biting

By understanding the most common reasons for biting, you can effectively assess and intervene in troubling situations. Beyond that, you can protect your pup by:

Conducting basic obedience training

Set your pup up for success by teaching basic commands using positive reinforcement. Until you’re confident in their training, avoid letting them off-leash in public; instead, keep them close and introduce them slowly to new places, people, dogs, and situations.

Socializing and exposing them early on

Dogs can respond unpredictably to new experiences and stimuli. While they’re young, slowly and safely introduce them to other dogs and potentially frightening situations, like loud crashes, storms, and machinery.

Advocating for their well-being

Overly eager children and young pups usually have the best intentions, but they can also frighten or overwhelm your dog, causing a bite that no one wants. Sometimes, removing your dog from an interaction or asking that the other dog be leashed in public can save everyone from a painful situation.

Start ‘em Young

Whether you’re actively “training” your new puppy or not, they’re learning from the moment they arrive home with you. That means that if you’re not purposefully teaching good behavior from day one, they’ll pick up and solidify any number of bad habits. 

During their earliest days, you can set them up for success by creating a strong, trusting relationship and instilling a basic structure, starting with the behaviors you most want to see.

All Aboard the Potty Train: How to Potty Train Your Pup

Introduce your puppy to their crate right away so you can start potty training as soon as possible. Because puppies naturally don’t like to soil where they sleep, crate training them for the night hours or when you’re not around will help prevent accidents. 

Training Tip #1:
As a general rule, your puppy can only hold their bladder for about the same number of hours as they are old in months. That means if you have a three-month-old puppy, you shouldn’t keep them crated for more than three hours at a time.

Let’s Get Fur-iendly: How to Socialize Your Pooch

A trip to the dog park or an obedience class provides an opportunity for your young pup to socialize with other dogs off the leash. Not only does socialization help prevent anxiety, but it also teaches your pup how to confidently and properly play with others. 

Training Tip #2:
At three months, your puppy’s brain is focused on training and bonding. This is the best time to start the socialization process with your growing puppy

Ruh-Roh! How to Prevent Bad Habits in Your Puppy

Habits can form quickly, especially in newborn pups. It’s much easier to teach your puppy desirable behavior from the beginning, rather than break and reteach habits down the line.

Training Tip #3:
Consistency is key in dog training. Make sure everyone in your household and all visitors are aware of the ground rules and how to enforce them to avoid confusing your young pup and encouraging bad behavior.

Adventure Awaits: How to Leash Train Your New Dog

For most pups, leash training is easier than you might think and can do wonders for your everyday outings. As with most training, the key is consistent, positive reinforcement.

Training Tip #4:
Use an auditory cue like “heel” or a tongue click to remind your pup about the appropriate walking position: right next to you. Stop walking when they pull ahead and reward them with a treat when they walk nicely at your side.

With the AskVet mobile app you can:

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Enjoy a personalized, guided experience as we anticipate your daily needs.

Shop recommended food, supplements, and treats to add into your healthy routines at exclusive AskVet rates.

Get answers to your behavior questions and personalized, proactive training advice and guidance.

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