How to help your dog behave well

The way a dog behaves depends on their age, breed (or type), personality and past experiences. Having a well-behaved dog starts with choosing a type and size of dog that suits you, your home and your lifestyle. But dog behaviour is also about how you look after them, so read our tips to learn more about how you can help your dog behave well.


Use rewards to train your dog to behave from an early age. This training should include responding to basic commands, coming back when you call them and going to the toilet in the right place. 

Good training makes your dog easier to control, as well as enhances their quality of life and your relationship with them. Reward training can also be a lot of fun for you and your dog! 

Don't forget: Always encourage good behaviour with rewards - never shout at or punish your dog. Dogs are more likely to behave badly if they're scared or suffering. Be consistent in the way you, your family and friends react to your dog.

Your dog also needs to be able to avoid things that scare them, so give them constant access to a safe hiding place where they can escape when they feel afraid.

Exercise and play

Dogs need regular exercise and plenty of opportunities to walk and run, so take them out at least once a day to keep them fit, active and stimulated (unless your vet recommends otherwise).

Dogs are also playful, sociable animals and can become distressed or bored without enough to do. Give them safe toys and regular opportunities to play with people or other friendly dogs.

Tip: If you struggle to make time to exercise your dog, why not hire a dog walker?

Looking out for problems

Finally, pay close attention to your dog. If their behaviour changes or they show regular signs of stress or fear (such as excessive panting, licking lips, hiding, cowering or aggression), they could be distressed, bored, ill or injured. If you notice a change, ask your vet for advice. They may then refer you to an animal behaviourist.