naughty dog? training tips

Do you have a naughty dog? Training tips that could help

Most dogs are like most people-  they avoid conflict and prefer to have a laugh. We all have our off days, though.

Remember never use physical punishment on a dog. They may comply, but will they like you?

Look at what is happening. Is the dog upset and fearful, or bored and giddy?

Can you see any patterns in the behaviour? Are there any triggers?

A hungry dog is always much more feisty. Many dogs get fractious when it’s dinner time or if there’s nothing to do, or  if their food is of poor quality.

Assess energy levels if it is all getting too much- would they benefit from a walk or some tiring chasing after balls in the garden? Or maybe they are over-tired and need a nap.

To quickly distract a dog: “A-AH!” (short, loud, emphatic) is best used to alert them away from a danger. A high sing-song noise is good to quickly get their attention. Remove them from a dangerous situation immediately, consider the effectiveness of your environmental controls.

Good manners begins with good communication. Work on the command “leave it”. Offer something else to do.
Teaching their tricks and commands feeds them treats and amuses in a positive way. Occupying their brains is the quickest way to tire a dog.

If your dog has nicked your knickers don’t chase after them- that’s a really fun game. Use “leave it”, or play swapsies for a high-value treat (like a piece of cheese).

“Playbows” can be sometimes misunderstood (especially by cats) as an aggressive gesture. When the front end goes down and the tail end is high the dog is asking to play. Vocalisations and leaping about often accompany, which can culminate in the dog running away a little and looking back, trying to initiate a chase game. Try this gesture when playing by dipping your head and shoulders quickly while on all 4’s (maintain eye contact) and see what happens.

Chewing means they’re bored or have new teeth coming- offer a bone, frozen carrot, filled Kong or a toy.

Adolescent pups sometimes are very startled by peculiar things. A puppy of ours took great exception to a large concrete lion in Northampton town centre- I suppose she was suddenly confronted by a giant cat! Her hackles came up, she woofed angrily and stared. This is frequently due to a growth spurt and subsequent temporary dip in calcium levels. Distract them, to get them out of the moment and then go to the butchers and get a bone. This will occupy, clean their teeth, sooth and replenish the calcium.

Fears and frights:  Cortisol hormone

When a dog has had a fright they are subjected to a raised level of the stress hormone cortisol, which remains in the system for a longer time than most people realise-  you may need to be extra reassuring for a couple of weeks. (More bones).

Dogs live in the here and now. There is no point in telling them off for a past misdemeanour, you’ll just confuse and appear mean, they’ll wonder why you’re making a fuss.

Growling: they way dogs have a moan Don’t stop your dog from growling- how else are they going to tell you they’re unhappy? By biting?

Dogs will growl a warning when upset or frightened. Always listen, check out what’s happening to trigger it off and remove the stress. Most dogs will show displeasure by bearing their lips, their teeth closed in a snarl. If they are still uncomfortable then they would growl a warning, this can happens several times. Snapping at the air means that the dog is very upset and at the end of their tether. Act immediately- change the atmosphere, remove the trigger, offer something else to do … this is your last warning.


If you need any further help, please contact us.


Affinity Dog Training Northampton. Specialists in canine behaviour with kind, down to earth methods that work. For fun and informative dog training in a supportive atmosphere ring 0751 976 2411

Back to our training information guide.

back to the top

Leave a Comment