Behavior Problems
Helping Your Dog Behave
Who's the Boss?
No More Digging
Stop the Chewing
Jumping Up

Dogs who have nothing interesting to do will get into trouble. Dogs get bored just like people do!

Print this Page, Text Only

Helping Your Dog
to Behave

Does this look familiar? Does your dog get into trouble? Are your parents frustrated with your best friend? Do you know what to do?

It's important to know that your dog is not trying to cause problems. He is just doing what comes naturally for a dog. You have to help him learn new ways to entertain himself.


In the past, dogs were bred to perform specific jobs like herd sheep, find rodents, hunt birds and mammals, and work with firemen and policemen.

But now, many dogs are left with nothing to do all day long. They can become bored and lonely.


Dogs who are bored can get into trouble.

When dogs get bored and lonely, they might chew, dig, or bark too much. Or they might sleep all day, which isn't healthy.

Taking your dog to classes, or teaching him yourself gives him something to do and helps build his confidence...and yours, too.


It's natural for your dog to want things that smell good, taste good, look good, and feel good. It doesn't matter who it belongs to.

Getting your dog some tempting items that are especially for dogs is a good thing to do. If he has his own things, he can be directed to them when he needs something to do.

Dogs like to get into things.


Use 'Interactive' toys like these below when your dog is bored or when you are not home.

See the video!

These toys allow your dog to play and have fun. These are Food Cubes. Fill them with treats and watch the fun begin!

Put treats inside interactive toys.


Toys that give your dog something to do are well worth the money that they cost. Learn all about dog toys here.


Does your dog get into trouble even when you are home?

To help your dog behave, try these three suggestions:

1. Pretend to be a dog by getting down on your knees and looking around your house. What do you see? Are there things on the floor that would be interesting and fun if you were a dog? How about shoes, pencils, paper clips, clothing, slippers, etc.?
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Pick up all objects from the floor and put them where they belong, or put them in a closet and shut the door.


2. Look around your house. Do you see a door that is open? What is on the other side of that door? Is it a closet with lots of cool things on the floor? Or is it a bedroom with sweet-smelling socks that are easy to reach?
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Close all doors that lead to trouble. The best thing to do is close all doors except for the room you are in. If your dog is having behavior problems, he should be supervised at all times.


3. Trash the trash. Where does your family keep the trash? Check the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and the yard.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: All trash needs to be put away. Trash cans should be put under sinks and in closets or cupboards. If a trash can cannot be put away, it must have a lid.


Who's the Boss?

Dogs need structure in their lives. They need rules. They want to know who the leader is. If it is not clear who the leader is, your dog will appoint himself. A dog who thinks your house is his house needs supervision, even if he is older. It is only natural that a dog who doesn't know the rules, will make up his own. Let your dog know what is allowed, in a clear and gentle manner.

Getting up on the table is not where dogs should be, no matter how funny it is. Jumping on the couch is only cute if you allow your dog to do that. Some people like that, some don't. Rules must be clear to your dog. If you can't make up your mind and you let your dog on your bed sometimes, but not other times, he will be confused. Make your rules and stick to them. Everyone in the family needs to know the rules and help your dog to remember them. This is called 'being consistent'. Being consistent means everyone doing something the same way over and over again.

Is your dog the boss? Click on the for ideas to help your dog learn to be a follower instead of a leader!


Poor manners should not be ignored.
If you catch your dog doing something wrong, quietly move him away from the activity by leading him by the collar, or putting a leash on him, or calling his name.
Call your dog's name to get his attention.
Then direct him to a different activity.


It's NOT Doggie Jail!

Putting your dog in a crate or a pen is a good thing to do when either of you needs a break. Give him some things to do while he is in there. A good bone or rope toy to chew on will help keep him busy.

Your dog can relax when he is in his pen.
Time out is good sometimes.

Training a dog is not an easy thing to do. It takes practice and patience. It takes understanding. If you would like to understand why some dogs act the way they do, visit the links below:

Dog Breeds - Why Dogs Act That Way

Understanding Your Puppy


Got dog behavior questions or problems?
Try our new Behavior FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)!

Just Click on the Mischievous Puppy!



Here are our favorite training books and a video for kids:

Puppy Training
starPuppy Training for Kids, by Sarah Whitehead, Barrons Juveniles 2001
This book has easy-to-understand instructions for children on puppy training and care. With an emphasis on fun. Learn what to feed puppies and how much to give them, and how to play games that are safe and enjoyable. They also learn basics of puppy handling, grooming, giving commands, teaching obedience, tricks, and much more. There are great full-color photos throughout the book. For ages 9-12, or 4-8 with parents' guidance.

starYour Puppy, Your Dog, by Pat Storer, Storey Publishing; 1997
From the Back Cover
What a dog needs most is love -- and loving a dog means providing everything it needs to be happy and healthy. With easy-to-follow instructions and plenty of illustrations, this book tells you just how to care for and understand your dog.
Includes: How to select the puppy or dog that is best for you, What and how to feed your dog, How to train and exercise your dog, How to play with your dog or puppy, How to keep your dog in the best of health, Where and how to show your dog, ... Ages 9 and up


starKids Training Puppies in Five Minutes, by JoAnn Dahan, Cork Hill Press; (February 5, 2004)
From an reader: My name is Christi, I am 7 years old. I just got a new lab puppy from my Mom and Dad her name is Ginny. Before I could have Ginny I had to promised I would care for her and train her. This book is so great, it is very easy to read and the pictures of the lab puppies and kids are so cute. I taught Ginny to sit and lie down really fast. I think every kid with a puppy should have this book. Ages 5-8

starDog Training For Kids, by Carol Lea Benjamin, Howell Book House Inc. 1988
This is a great book for kids written by one of the best. It explains all of the basic training that a child will need to get a good start with a dog. Also covers common behavior problems. Ages 9-12



The Best!


starDog Training for Children with Ian Dunbar,
1997 VHS
This video is written and hosted by veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and author Dr. Ian Dunbar — the world's leading authority on dog behavior and training. Dr. Dunbar is the original creator and popularizer of off-leash puppy classes, which sparked the revolution for positive, reward-based, dog-friendly dog training. I have previewed this video and recommend it as an excellent training tool for kids. Jan Wall, author How to Love Your Dog

This video is a little older, but excellent, nonetheless. Ian Dunbar has a wonderful way with the children - clear, gentle, and kind. Easy to watch and understand, kids can be completely successful with this positive method of training. Adapted from the British television program, Dogs With Dunbar. Topics include: Taking on a new puppy. Housetraining. Early leash training. Teaching Sit and Down. Developing a rapport. Focusing attention. Improving off-leash control. Training a fast recall. Training as a family. Family competitions. Improving the Sit Stay. Teaching with toys. Playing training games.


Print this Page, Text Only  


A lot to remember? Try this!

Lesson of the Day!


Behavior Problems
Helping Your Dog Behave
Who's the Boss?
No More Digging
Stop the Chewing
Jumping Up

Cody's Tour
Kelly's Tour
Trouper's Tour
Your New Dog
Well-Behaved Dog
Special Topics
A New Dog
Your Best Friend
Too Many Dogs
I'll Love You Forever
Training Basics
Following the Rules
What Dogs Cost
Obedience Lessons
Keeping Safe
What Dogs Need
Behavior Problems
Older Dogs
Puppy Basics
Learning Tricks
Losing Your Dog

Ready for a Dog?
Your Stories
When I Grow Up
Your Dogs
Birthday Page
Book Club
Quiz Yourself
Your Poetry

Search this Site | Site Map

Read our Privacy Policy
How To Love Your Dog...A Kid's Guide to Dog Care
Copyright ©1998 - 2011 by Janet Wall and Rick Wall
May be reproduced for individual or classroom use only.
Photographs, graphics, and backgrounds may not

be reproduced to other websites or for any other purpose.