- 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.
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?