In his book Dog Zen, professional animal psychologist and zoologist Mark Vette shares the story of how we can transform our dogs and reduce dog aggression. Inspired by Vette’s advice, here we share some of our own tips on how to keep a restless or troublesome dog calm.

Key Points:

    In his book Dog Zen, professional animal psychologist and zoologist Mark Vette shares...

Good habits start early

According to Vette, "the first two to four months in a dog's life are the formative period and if we do the right thing with dogs then, we won't have behaviour problems later". Don't neglect this critical period in your pup's life – just like with babies, the early years matter most. Train them to display good behaviour early and you'll enjoy the years to come.

Exercise, exercise, exercise
If you're a dog owner you should know this already but in this context it's worth repeating: If you want a well-behaved dog, exercise can be one of the best ways to foster it. Depending on the breed, multiple walks per day will keep them from going stir-crazy at home.

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Don't leave them alone for long periods
This is true for some breeds more than others but leaving a dog alone for long periods of time is a classic no-no. If you do, you not only risk making them sad, they're more likely to become hyperactive when you get home that night. If you are going to be absent for a long period during the day, consider hiring a dog-walker or dog-sitter to keep them occupied.

Routine goes a long way
This is especially true for adopted dogs, who have likely experienced all kinds of ups and downs and can often be insecure as a result. Dogs thrive on a good routine, encouraging realistic expectations of what each day will entail. You'll be surprised how far this level of consistency can go.

Tricks, toys and teaching
Trick training – and teaching your dog new skills ¬– is a great way to exercise your dog's brain. Clever toys can also be a great way to do this, especially food-dispensing toys that bear rewards. Lastly, taking the time to teach your dog a new sport or game can be a great way to both bond with your dog and tire them out. Why not try disc dog, or flyball?