Naughty dogs: How to stop bad dog behavior

Has your dog been chewing your shoes, roughing-up the furniture, or digging in your freshly planted garden bed? We're here to help you stop bad dog behavior and deal with naughty doggos!

Some dogs might even bite their humans! We'll explain how to stop bad dog behavior.
Some dogs might even bite their humans! We'll explain how to stop bad dog behavior.  © Dasha Urvachova / Unsplash

There are many reasons why your canine companion might have turned into a demon doggo of late, including as stress, fear, and restlessness. While we're sure you love that beautiful pooch, you shouldn't have to put up with bad behavior. Luckily, that's what we're going to help you with!

In this dog guide, TAG24 will dive into how to stop bad dog behavior. Why do naughty dogs behave the way they do, and what can you do to discipline them and correct their habits? Let's find out.

Naughty and bad dog behaviors

Bored and restless dogs, as well as dogs with a variety of psychological issues, will often act out in various ways. They may wreck furniture, get a bit aggressive, or even dig up your yard and ruin your tulips. There are a variety of reasons for this behavior, and solutions to the issues that it creates.

Some potential reasons for bad behavior include separation anxiety and just generalized dog anxiety, poor health, bad socialization, and lack of training. Try not to despair, though, as these issues can all be addressed.

Some common naughty and bad dog behaviors:

Destructiveness: Dogs that are acting out will often become very destructive, ruining furniture, books, stuffed animals, pillows, or even your shoes. Anything that is chewable, stands around, is easy to break, or is a source of anxiety for your dog may be at risk of bad behavior.

Digging: Many dogs will dig up the garden. They find the smell of soil interesting, and digging can be rewarding and stress-relieving for them, even if it is horrible for you. They find pleasure in this activity, but that doesn't mean it should continue.

Barking and jumping: Some dogs will bark and jump all over the place, constantly trying to get the attention of their owners. Others may even get aggressive, potentially biting or jumping up on people. One other common behavior exhibited by naughty dogs is mounting, especially when they're in heat.

Many dogs will exhibit these behaviors as a way of relieving pent-up energy or letting humans know they have unmet needs that should be addressed.

How to correct bad dog behavior

It's important to correct bad behaviors in dogs as quickly and efficiently as you can to avoid future problems and escalations. There are many ways to do this, but considering that the primary cause of bad behavior is an over-abundance of energy, we'll focus on some more active corrections first.

Some ways to correct bad dog behavior include:

Regularly playing ball: Dogs love to run and chase after balls, and the activity also provides them with a great way to expend energy.

Play tug-of-war games: You might be surprised to find out that dogs actually love a good game of tug-of-war. Use a large stick, a stuffed animal, some rope, or something else to play with. This will reduce their energy levels and improve your bond.

Exercise: Take your dog with you when you head out to exercise. If you go for a run, have your dog run with you. If you go play Frisbee or engage in another outdoor activity, do the same.

Agility training: There are immense benefits to agility training, from being able to improve your dog's obedience to increasing muscle strength and (as the name of the sport confirms) agility.

Physically active dogs can still get bored, anxious, and naughty, though. As a result, you need a few other ways to engage their brains and keep them psychologically active.

Some options for mentally stimulating a bored dog:

Interactive toys: There are a variety of great puzzle toys that can help to keep your dog mentally stimulated. They can be commercial ones, or even as simple as doing things like rolling its food up in a towel and making it unwrap the thing. Ultimately, the idea is to keep your doggo occupied and out of trouble.

Teach your doggo some new commands: Always stay active with your dog and keep teaching it new things. Help it learn new words, get it to understand new commands, and make sure that it gets at least 10–20 minutes of these exercises each and every day.

Provide sniffing mats, licking mats, and other similar aids: Make sure there is plenty of stimulation around, especially when you are out of the house. Speak to your vet or an expert at a local pet store and get some sniffing or licking mats, or perhaps some other aids that will keep your dog happy and occupied.

The best way to prevent bad dog behavior, though, is to make sure your pet gets trained well from a very young age. Doing this allows you to establish boundaries, and the understanding that good-behavior will be rewarded.

Training, walks, and games can reduce dog boredom and improve behavior.
Training, walks, and games can reduce dog boredom and improve behavior.  © 123RF / Tommeaker

How to discipline or punish your dog

You don't really want to punish your dog, as the animal will begin to associate you with negative feelings. You will quickly find that your relationship with your pet will sour, and its behavior will get worse. Instead, you want to "positively" discipline your doggo.

Here's how you can positively discipline your dog:

  • Time-outs are a good way to teach your dog that something is not okay while keeping a good relationship.
  • Take away items and things they like, such as toys and blankets.
  • Ignore your doggo, making it clear that you disapprove of what they did or are doing, and don't give them eye contact.
  • Raise your voice and be extremely firm.

If your dog has serious behavioral problems, then simple discipline might not work. Take it to the vet and get some professional advice.

Is it okay to hit your dog?

It is never, under any circumstances, okay to physically hurt your dog as a form of discipline or punishment. A dog should never be hurt as a result of any behavior it may exhibit. This is considered animal abuse and is actually a crime in the United States, with punishments ranging from large fines to genuine jail time.

Important: If you suspect that an animal is being abused, the best people to contact are the police. In the case that they are non-responsive, contact PETA immediately at 757-622-7382.

How to get a dog to stop doing something

The best way to stop a dog from doing something when it is in the act is to be extremely firm with them. Give them a big, loud "No" or "Stop," look them directly in the eyes, and shake your finger. After this, reduce the amount of attention you are affording them, and give them a bit of a time-out.

Again, for this to be effective, you need to have trained your dog from a young age. It needs to understand the signs you give that it is doing something wrong, and the best way to do that is to teach them professionally, with a dog-trainer.

Naughty dog training

Train your dog well, and it will do more than just bring you stuff – it'll also behave better.
Train your dog well, and it will do more than just bring you stuff – it'll also behave better.  © Jamie Street / Unsplash

It is very probable that if your dog has been acting up and behaving terribly, it is likely badly trained. The thing about dogs is that they are a little more complex than cats and need discipline taught to them from a young age. Why? Well, for starters, they have more complex needs.

Dogs need to be walked, they need to be exercised, they need to be given plenty of love and attention (they see you as the head of their pack, so will take your actions very seriously), and they need to be treated respectfully.

Here are some critical forms of training a naughty dog should be given:

Rescue dog hilariously abandons escape plan due to "FOMO"
Dogs Rescue dog hilariously abandons escape plan due to "FOMO"
  • If you haven't clicker trained your dog yet, this method is useful for establishing command and instilling good behavior.
  • A dog should be trained from a young age to never bite or pull on its harness or leash. You are its master, not the other way around.
  • You should be trained in how best to calm down an overly excited dog.
  • All dogs should be potty-trained from an early age.
  • It should be made sure that your dog knows all the important commands and has been trained to immediately respond to them.

Important: If you have not managed to get your dog trained in these critical areas and it is now acting out, it is never too late to take it to a professional trainer who has been educated on this matter and will be able to help you out.

How to stop dog boredom

If boredom is clearly the cause of your dog's misadventures, getting it trained might not fix all of your problems. Dogs are social creatures and crave the attention of humans and other canine companions. As a result, it is best to allow them plenty of opportunities for socializing.

Here's how to stop dog boredom:

  • Take your dog for walks every day, at regular and predictable times, so that they get used to a daily routine.
  • Play with them after work, even if only for five minutes, giving them your time and affection and also a little bit of exercise.
  • Regularly go to dog parks where they can meet and socialize with other dogs.
  • If you can bring your dog to work, do it! Maybe consider getting an office-friendly doggo if you haven't adopted yet.

The most important thing is to keep your dog entertained and happy as much of the time as possible. Show it love and affection, and give it something to do.

Dog behavior correction is crucial

If you want your dog to lead a long and happy life, and if you want to enjoy the decade or so you'll have with this bundle of fur, you need to get on top of those bad habits. That means training the dog from a young age, disciplining it efficiently and kindly, and making sure it knows what is and is not okay.

Give your dog love, kindness, and plenty of opportunities for exercise so it is healthy, entertained, and stimulated, and it will behave like an absolute angel. If you have problems, discipline in a stern but kind way. Don't worry, these behavioral issues will subside!

Cover photo: Dasha Urvachova / Unsplash

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