Prevent Behavior Problem

The Well-Mannered Dog, How to prevent behavior Problems

How to Prevent Behavior Problems

Resolving behavior issues is tricky because each time your dog has the opportunity to misbehave, it also has the opportunity to be rewarded for the misbehavior.  This causes the misbehavior to get worse.  The reward may or may not come from you.  They can come from the environment.  For example when your dog has an accident in the house, relief of bowel or bladder pressure rewards the behavior.  

In addition, we have a tendency to want the misbehavior to stop Now which leads us down a path of using aversive techniques.  Aversive techniques have a tendency to be associated with the person administering it.  This can contribute to your dog being more stressed out, less trusting and can increase the propensity for behavior issue later in life.

The good news is as you go through the process of teaching your dog how to behave correctly, you can prevent your dog from misbehaving.  The more you prevent misbehavior, the less time it takes to train your dog to behave correctly, the less stress you and your dog will have and the better your relationship will be.

Preventing misbehavior does not eliminate the problem. It does stop it from getting worse, by eliminating  the rewards for misbehavior.  It is the combination of prevention, meeting your dog’s needs, interrupting inappropriate behavior plus teaching your dog a correct alternative behavior that will resolve the problem.  All 4 elements must be in place to succeed with your training.


In order to resolve behavior problems consider the value of using some of these products so the dog is no longer getting rewards from the environment.Confinement

If used properly a dog crate is a great way to prevent unwanted behavior.  During the day a dog can be in the crate no more than one hour for each month of age and never longer than eight hours.  So, a two-month-old pup can only be crated for a two-hour stretch.  Then it has to be let out, have a chance to eliminate and exercise and then it can be crated again if necessary.  At night the metabolism slows down and dogs over 12 weeks old should be able to stay crated while you sleep.  When you plan to leave the dog in the crate longer than one hour it should first have a chance to eliminate and be exercised.  The crate should be large enough for the dog to stand up, and turn around, but you don’t want it to be so large that the dog can eliminate in one end and sleep in the other.  The ideal time to use a crate is when you cannot supervise the dog and to aid in house training.  If you need to leave your dog for a period of time longer than what would be humane, use a baby gate or exercise pen and litter box instead.

Baby Gates or Exercise Pens
Baby gates and Exercise pens are also used to prevent mistakes.  They make it possible for the dog to move around more within the environment.  They are helpful in keeping the dog from stealing the kid’s toys; restrict access to more valuable items, and sealing off more dangerous areas like stairs.  The area the dog is baby gated into will still need to be either doggie proofed or the dog will need to be supervised.

Baby Gates and exercise pens are ideally used when the dog cannot be crated and you cannot supervise the dog.  Be sure you provide a litter box for dogs that are not house trained, don’t put paper down.


Tether your dog to you
If your dog is attached to you, it can’t bug the kids, steal throw pillows, go potty in another room.  You can attach your dog to your waist with the use of a hands free leash attachment.  Your dog will follow your around from room to room.  What a great way to increase your bond with your dog.

Tether your dog to objects
Use a chew proof 5-foot plastic coated airline cable with door stop to tether your dog .  Tether your dog only at times when you are in the same room. Your dog will have a little freedom but not so much as to get into trouble.  A dog also has a much better opportunity to learn consequence for jumping and playful biting if they are tethered.  Tethers should only be used with supervision. They can be attached to furniture or used under a door. Before using the 5 foot cable, you will need to get your dog accustom to being tethered by doing your HangOut training exercise in the training exercises handout.

Smell Deterrents
Smell Deterrents are products that have a mild smell to us but are repulsive to the dog.  You can spray these products on things your dog should not be putting in its mouth.  It could be your dog is chewing thing up or playful biting.

Recipe for Smell Deterrent
1 cup of water or a taste deterrent
1 teaspoon Eucalyptus oil
Put into a spray bottle and spray onto things your dog should not put its mouth on.

Chews and Toys

Rotate Them
There are so many inappropriate things a dog can do.  The more chew items and toys remain novel and enticing the less misbehavior will occur because we are maximizing the dog’s desire for these objects.

Have a doggie toy box that is easy for you to access but your dog cannot get into.  Let your dog have a maximum of 3 toys available to play with.  Before your dog gets bored put the 3 toys that are out away and give your dog 3 new toys.

Animal Product Chew Items
The more you satiate the dog’s need to chew by providing it with a variety of appropriate chew items, they less behavior problems you dog will have.  Give an animal product chew item for a maximum of 30-minutes.  Then take it away.  Later in the day, give your dog a different animal product chew for 30 minutes.

Oversized Stuffed Toys
If you have a dog that is playfully biting, it wants to wrestle.  The solution is to give the dog an appropriate object to wrestle with.  An oversized stuff toy will work.  For puppies you want the toy to be bigger than the puppy.  For adult dogs, you can get away with a toy that is just really big.

Leashes and Fences

The leash is our element of control.  It is an extension of our arm.  When your dog is not on the teether, don’t just let it run loose in the house.  Have your dog either tethered to you with a “hands free leash” or have it at least drag its tie down or a leash around the house.  This will make it easier to control behavior problems and get your dog to obey commands. For safety, when you leave the dog alone, remove the leash or teether.. 

Long Line
Have a long 30 to 50 foot leash for outside, use this even when your dog is in its own back yard just make sure it is supervised.

Your dog has earned the privilege of being off leash when:
1.     You’re completely satisfied with your dog's behavior for a couple of weeks. 
2.     It knows the obedience exercises without help from you.

Fenced Yard
A securely fenced yard is a great relief, if you don’t have a fenced area, I do recommend one.  In the meantime, when you exercise your dog, have it on 100 feet of rope so it cannot run off.