Getting the kids ready for the new school year may remind you of just how much “schooling” is needed to improve your dog’s behavior. Has he been shredding shoes, or howling through the night? Do you worry about his random “nipping” at strangers or have noticed an increase in separation anxiety?

Man’s best friend can certainly develop a lot of bad habits when consistency and training are ignored. Sometimes changes in schedule, such as start of the new school year or longer working hours, can also prompt changes in your pet’s behavior.

The back to school season is the perfect time to address lingering problem behaviors with your canine kiddo. The team at Beverly Hills is here to help!

Five Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Behavior

  1. Training and socialization – Although this seems like an obvious first step, most ‘bad behaviors’ we see in dogs are due to a lack of training and socialization. If your dog is exhibiting behavioral problems, perhaps it’s time for a refresher course. Professional group training and socialization classes offer a reward based approach to learning the basics, such as commands, as well as the chance for your doggo to be with other puppy peers.
  2. Exercise and playtime – Many behavioral issues are directly related to too much time alone and a lack of exercise. After a fun summer with the kids, pets can soon find themselves alone during the day. Plan ahead by sticking with your pet’s exercise routine. Pets ideally need thirty minutes each day of walking, playing, and other forms of interaction and activity for health and well-being.
  3. Enrichment – Sometimes we make the mistake of assuming a dog or cat is simply self-entertaining and doesn’t need any interesting things to do. After all, your pet seems more than content curled up for long day of napping. Unfortunately, our animal friends can and do become bored without anything to challenge them or occupy their instincts. Without things to do, your pet may direct this energy and frustration into barking, scratching, chewing, and a number of other unwanted behaviors. We recommend food puzzles, an array of toys, cats trees (for kitty), and other fun activities that can be enjoyed during the day.
  4. Consistency – Changes to your pet’s routine can prompt negative behaviors. Cats, dogs, and even people thrive when there is consistency in routine, which creates a sense of safety and comfort. During the summer months, try to stick to the same routine as during the school year, or begin slowly moving to the school year routine well in advance to allow your pet to acclimate.
  5. Wellness care – Just as you might make a back to school check-up appointment for your child, now is a great time to bring your pet in for his wellness appointment too. Not only is this an opportunity to keep your pet at his healthiest it is also a great opportunity to ask any questions about your pet’s behavior and training and socialization needs.

Along with speaking to your veterinarian, we also recommend contacting the behavior specialists and trainers at Animal Learning Systems, who provide services in the areas of behavior therapy, off leash walking, and group based and one-on-one training sessions.

If we can help answer any questions about your dog’s behavior, please do not hesitate to call us!