How do you tame a dog?

Dogs can be some of the most unconditionally loving companions a human can ever have. Unfortunately, when a dog doesn’t know how to obey its owner, this love can become seriously strained. Taming an unruly dog is a matter of establishing your dominance as the “top dog” of the house and helping it un-learn annoying behaviors. With a little patience, it’s possible to tame most dogs, so get started with 7 simple tips below:

1. Give Regular Exercise

A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Hyperactivity stems from a need to use up excess energy. Regular walks, interspersed with lots of stimulating play, should go some way to getting rid of that energy. If you know your dog is going to experience a period of isolation, for example if you have to take a trip, walk him before you go. Dog trainer Cesar Millan recommends exercising your dog to the point of exhaustion so all he wants to do is relax. For big dogs with lots of energy to burn, tire them out quicker by fitting them with a heavy backpack before walks.

2. Redirect the Energy

Boredom can lead to hyperactivity. You don’t need to be on hand to entertain your dog 24/7, but it’s also not fair to expect him to sleep every minute you’re not doing something. Food puzzles and chew toys will keep his mind focused while you’re busy.

3. Establish a Routine

Dogs enjoy routine. If you feed at irregular times, walk when it fits with your schedule and make him wait too long to get into the yard to eliminate, your dog can become unsettled. Don’t structure your day around your dog, but factor in his needs so you know you can always meet them. This way, you can always make time for high energy activity, such as walks and play.

4. Ignore Their Poor Behavior

It is important not to reward an animal for poor behavior. When your dog is acting out, do not give him or her a treat but rather ignore the behavior. This will prevent your dog from expecting attention and rewards for misbehaving, and will prevent the repetition of such behavior.

In cases where his behavior may be too disruptive, use distraction techniques to divert him. Call his name or clap your hands to get his attention. If he knows the “sit” command, use this to interrupt whatever he’s doing.

5. Calm Down

Your own energy levels may be playing some part in encouraging Lucky to be hyper. If you’re constantly running around, in a rush or simply bursting with energy, your dog will try to mirror that. Lead by example by conducting yourself in a calm, passive manner. There’s a time and a place for high energy behavior, in the yard or at the park when you and your dog are exercising.

6. Don’t feed human treats that contain sugar

This gives your dog a short burst of energy then causes his energy levels to come crashing down. Read the label on his pet foods. Avoid anything high in preservatives, colorings and additives, as these can lead to hyperactivity too.

7. Hug Your Dog, Make Them Feel Secure

When all else fails, hold your dog tight, and give him or her the love and attention that he or she desires. After all, your dog comforts you in times of distress and sometimes all you have to do is return the favor.

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