Best Tips for Managing Dog Behavior

Managing Your Dog’s Behavior

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Tips for managing dog behavior include training and exercise, but most importantly, the process allows you to be a better owner. The love and playful nature of animals is a way to brighten the atmosphere of any home, and there are benefits to bringing a furry friend into your home that include affection, companionship, entertainment, and even protection. Dogs, in particular, quickly become a part of the family, and when you treat them as you would any other member of your circle, you receive the same love and care in return. Just as you would a child, it is important to provide your dog with not only exercise, healthy food, and other healthy choices but also the rules of the home so that they can remain a part of your life for as long as possible.

There are, however, differences between tips for managing dog behavior and training your dog. Because many of a dog’s behaviors are instinctive, behavior management and training are important for helping your dog understand how to monitor those instincts and adapt to living in your home. Exploring the methods and benefits of proper behavioral management can keep both you and your dog happy for years to come.

Managing Dog Behavior Vs. Traditional Training

Both training and behavior management are important for any household pet, particularly dogs. However, the two are not the same. Training involves teaching something new to your dog so that they are actively learning a new behavior. Management involves controlling your dog’s environment so you can encourage certain behaviors and discourage others. Let’s look at each of these practices individually.

Training can involve anything from teaching your dog basic household commands to helping them learn how to navigate an agility course. When you train your dog, you are explicitly teaching him acceptable behaviors and dissuading him from unacceptable behaviors. For example, if you want your dog to stop relieving himself in the house, you train him to notify you if he wants to go outside and to wait until doing so before taking care of business.

How Can I Improve My Dog's Behavior

Managing your dog’s behavior is different from training because it often confronts behaviors that may not be correctable with training. For instance, if a dog has a fear of thunder, there isn’t a feasible way to eliminate that fear with training. However, with proper management, such as supplements or safe spaces in the home, the dog can learn to feel safe by having the comfort he needs when he is frightened. This same mentality can be applied to other behaviors, such as aggression towards strangers or fear of riding in cars.

If you have ever asked yourself, “How do I stop my dog from…” then you have been faced with the dilemma between training and management. Training takes time, as well as consistent reinforcement and work. Behavior management, on the other hand, can be a way to begin the training process. By creating the right environment for your dog’s behavior, you also create the right environment to make the training process easier.

Both training and management, however, are a way to build a safe and loving connection with your dog. Once the dog understands that you have his best interests in mind, he will understand that he should see you as a source of safety and comfort, which will enhance your relationship.

“We can assess your pet’s needs and create a pet-friendly medication your pet will not associate with terrible-tasting pills or suspicious tablets.”

What Is the Most Common Behavioral Disorder in Dogs?

You are likely well aware of the fact that each dog has its own unique personality and can exhibit many different types of behaviors. The most common type of behavioral disorder in dogs is aggression. This is an instinctive behavior that developed to keep dogs safe from predators, but it can be triggered by many things in a household pet. Dogs may become aggressive when they are in territorial, protective, possessive, fearful, defensive, social, or predatorial situations, to name a few.

There are many other common negative behaviors your dog may exhibit. These include:

  • Barking
  • Destructive chewing
  • Food guarding
  • Howling
  • Mounting
  • Mouthing or nipping (referred to as play biting)
  • Separation anxiety
  • Whining

However, it’s important to find the physical or psychological reasons behind these negative behaviors. For example, consider a dog that chews your shoes. The dog is not chewing your shoes because he wants to destroy them or because he wants to make you angry. He may be chewing because he is teething, bored, anxious, or even hungry. Behavior management can help you change the dog’s environment so you can address this behavior.

What Are Some Tips for Managing Dog Behavior?

It’s no secret that those cute puppy dog eyes our furry friends give us after doing something we see as wrong are their way of apologizing. However, that begs the question: if they know they have done something wrong, then why do they continue to do it? In many cases, it is because you, as the owner, have not yet curbed those behaviors by creating an environment that promotes desirable behavior. So, how do you treat behavioral problems in dogs?

Just like people, dogs form habits. As they continue to grow and develop, the habits they are allowed to continue become part of their routine. For example, if your dog enjoys chewing shoes when he is a puppy, but you don’t address the cause of the behavior and continue to leave your shoes out when the dog is an adult, your dog will likely continue to chew.

managing dog behavior for best results

There are some important steps you can take when addressing your dog’s behavior.


As mentioned, training is a way to help your dog learn new, positive behaviors. Just as in children, using positive reward-based training can be an effective method of helping your dog understand what you would like him to do when you give a command. Training can also help your dog learn how you want him to behave in a specific situation. As an added benefit, training creates an avenue for your dog to release energy and receive mental stimulation.


Speaking of releasing energy, if your dog is tired, he also doesn’t have time to misbehave. For example, if you are gone to work all day, your dog does not get much stimulation. By the time you come home and are tired yourself, it may be difficult to give your dog all the time he needs to release his energy. Unfortunately, without that time to get out and play or receive stimulation from you, your dog will look for other ways to exert his energy, which may mean finding “fun things to do” around the house.

Dog Excercise

For many dogs, this can mean that your shoes, furniture, or other items in your home become a new chew toy. For others, it could mean that when you finally are able to take them for an after-work walk, they have so much energy that they are pulling on the leash and showing aggression to other dogs. Proper, balanced exercise can help keep your dog content, even while you’re away.

Puppy-Proof Your House

Just as you would prepare your home for a child by adding locks to a cabinet, removing furniture with sharp corners, or putting up gates near stairs, preparing for a puppy or new dog is no different. When you’re puppy-proofing, one of the first places to start is simply putting away things you don’t want your dog to destroy. For example, shoes, remote controls, and children’s toys are nothing but an invitation for bad behavior.

Dogs have a tendency to eat leaves and grass, so you’ll want to ensure any household plants are out of reach. In addition, you may want to install gates to prevent your dog from accessing areas he shouldn’t. Or, consider crate training to prevent your dog from gaining access to valuable or potentially dangerous items. There should also be a plan in place to provide supervision for your dog at all times, even if he is in a fenced yard.

Offer Praise and Rewards

Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to help your dog learn what is and is not appropriate. Dogs have a keen sense regarding the inflections in your voice and can tell when they have made you happy or when they have made you upset. Praise in a positive voice can help a dog feel excited about what he is doing well, while a firm “no” can help him learn that the behavior is not acceptable. Combining that with treats or toys can be a great way to solidify good behaviors in your dog.

Positive encouragement also means telling your dog what you want it to do rather than what you don’t want it to do. Think about this in terms that apply to you. Does a list of rules that tell you what you can’t do make you want to follow along obediently? Or would you rather be told what you can do? For a dog, think of how “stop jumping” may be received versus “sit.”


This may seem obvious, but it is crucial to stay consistent when you’re developing good behavior in your dog. In addition, it isn’t just about the consistency of your interactions with the dog, but also everyone in the dog’s life.

For example, if you refuse to feed the dog from the table but someone else still does, the dog is not receiving a consistent message. He will therefore continue to associate begging at the table with receiving a treat. If you are seeking consistent behaviors in your dog, then it is important for everyone in your household to display consistent behavior when interacting with him. It is truly a team effort.

How Do You Stop Impulsive Behavior in Dogs?

Impulsive behavior in dogs is much like the impulsive behaviors we humans sometimes display. A dog acting impulsively is seeking instant gratification, the same instant gratification many humans seek.

identify reward the dog is seeking

Here are some ways to avoid these impulsive behaviors:

  • Identify the Reward – The dog is exhibiting the behavior because he is seeking a reward. If you can identify the reward the dog is seeking, then providing it to him for other behaviors can reduce impulsive behavior.
  • Create a Routine Before the Reward – Identify the behavior the dog does just before receiving the reward. This is the behavior he will continue to repeat to obtain the reward, so if you make a routine out of rewarding the positive behavior, he is more likely to continue the positive behavior.
  • Patience Is Key – Impulse is emotionally driven, so if you get frustrated or irritated, you could add to the dog’s already excited state. Staying calm can help your dog also calm down.
  • Reward the Right Behavior When it Occurs Naturally – If you are having trouble teaching the right behavior, you can still reward it when you see the dog naturally exhibit it. As soon as you see the behavior, reward it.
  • Take Advantage of Opportunities to Teach Calming Behaviors – This could include asking the dog to sit before eating, standing back from the door when opening it for a walk, waiting for a command to go outside, and more.

Behavior Management Products for Dogs

As you can see, there are many ways to help manage your dog’s behavior, and many of the methods are reliant on you as the dog owner making specific changes to the dog’s environment. However, there are other ways to help your dog, including behavior management products. Making a connection with your dog by observing and understanding him can help you determine what is best.

Some common examples of behaviors that can be managed with the help of behavior management products include the following:


As this is one of the most common negative behaviors people report in their dogs, there are many different types of products on the market developed to help curb barking. First, however, it is important to understand why the dog is barking instead of focusing on the barking itself. If, for example, the dog is barking due to anxiety or stress, a traditional bark collar may not be the solution. In that case, a product like the Adaptil Collar may be a better solution as it is designed to target stress and anxiety.


Having an ample supply of dog toys available to your dog can help deter your pet from chewing on shoes, carpets, and even furniture. Stimulation with toys helps to keep your dog’s mind active and also provides a sense of ownership. The toy is his, and through positive reinforcement, the dog associates that toy with something good for him.

Adaptil Collar
Anxitane Chewable Tablets

Soiling or Persistent Vomiting

Both of these should first be evaluated by a veterinarian because persistent soiling or vomiting can be a sign of digestive issues that require treatment with digestive tablets. A dog that is free of disease or injury and still soils himself or vomits in certain situations may be suffering from anxiety. Training a dog not to perform his bodily functions can be difficult, but helping to ease his anxiety can be easier than you may think. Many anxiety supplements, such as Anxitane Chewable Tablets, can help to reduce anxiety during thunderstorms, car rides, or other potentially triggering moments.

Loud Noises

Loud noises are a very common trigger, as loud noises can easily startle a dog. It often raises their anxiety and causes them to respond with negative behaviors. Anxiety-reducing products like Adaptil Spray can help to ease tension, whether anxiety was caused by a passing thunderstorm, the Fourth of July, or by working with a dog that will be around you during hunting season.

Compounding Medication for Managing Dog Behavior

Your dog is important to you. As a result, you want to provide him with a long, healthy, and happy life so you and your furry family member can share memories, laughter, and experiences. Knowing the training resources available to you can help you mitigate stress, anxiety, excitement, and undesirable behavior.

We know how difficult it can be to get your dog to take essential medications, which is why we offer compounding services for pet meds. We can assess your pet’s needs and create a pet-friendly medication your pet will not associate with terrible-tasting pills or suspicious tablets.

Dog Behaviour


About Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding. He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Read More About Matthew Poteet, PharmD