“How do I keep control of my dog when being outside?”
Dog-owners are very familiar with this question. It may be a struggle to bring your pet to a dog park or even just in your front yard! The struggles can include your dogs barking at other dogs or animals, chasing or jumping onto people. Even more stressful, they may have habits related to peeing suddenly, biting and eating inanimate objects, digging up the dirt, and basically making a mess. With the amount of trouble your dog gets itself into, you might even want to get dog insurance!
But, things aren’t hopeless! To keep your dog under control, there are obedience training techniques that focus on specific behaviors. Read on to see the reasons and techniques we’ve jotted down for you to ease your dog’s habits!
Why Does My Dog ‘Misbehave’ Outdoors?
The talk of nature vs. nurture goes hand in hand in dog behavior. But before you get to know how to keep control of your dog when being outside, you have to understand the possible causes. Here are some possible reasons why your dog misbehaves outdoors:
There May Be A Lack Of Dog-training
Some dogs are simply laid back and don’t need a lot of formal dog training. However, there are also some dogs that will benefit from formal training so they learn which behaviors will get them into trouble. If your dog is misbehaving constantly, look into hiring a dog behaviorist who will work with you and your dog one-on-one. If there are only one or two areas where your dog needs training, then you may be able to accomplish this at home without the help of a professional. Be consistent and follow the instructions the professional might give you.
Your Dog May Be Bored And Understimulated
There are certain breeds that are regarded as high energy. Herding dogs do require a lot more exercise as do Terrier dogs. Look up your dog’s breed, do your homework. Dogs that suffer from boredom will definitely misbehave, not because they are willful or stubborn, but because they’re genetically predisposed to require an active environment.
The Dog May Have Canine Anxiety
A dog who is anxious, perhaps due to separation or a phobia, will most likely exhibit destructive behavior. Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious issue. The dog’s behavior is not intentional. Punishment is not the answer; the reason for the anxiety or stress needs to be addressed. Bring your dog to a veterinarian or a specialist to know the root causes of their anxiety.
7 Techniques To Improve Dog Behavior Outdoors
Now that you have an idea of why your dog might be misbehaving, here are 7 techniques to keep control of your dog when being outside!
Don’t Reward Overexcitement When Outdoors
The most important thing to remember when you’re with your excited dog outside is that what you do will determine whether such behavior becomes more or less frequent. The worst thing you can do is to tolerate an overexcited dog, more so reinforce that their behavior is acceptable outside your house. Set boundaries and train your dog how to react in certain situations. For example, it’s okay to cuddle up and jump around indoors since variables and the environment are in your control. However, spell it differently when you are outside your house, and make your dog understand the risks that come with being too giddy outdoors.
You Should Be Encouraging Calm Behavior
This is the other side of the first tip. When your dog is in a calm, submissive state, then you’d want to give affection and attention to give positive reinforcement. If your dog is motivated by treats and toys, then reward his behavior when he is calm. Do a combination of ignoring overly-giddy behavior and rewarding calmness. Through this, you will help your dog to naturally and instinctively move into a calmer state outdoors.
Just Go And Wear Your Dog Out!
Exercise and physical activity wear down even the most energetic dogs. This is why walking, running, and being active with them are so important. It provides controlled exercise and channels your dog’s excess energy while draining it at the same time. Just leaving your dog out in your yard to run around and do her business is nice but it’s not a dog or puppy-proof environment if you’re not around to interact with them. In fact, this kind of activity can often leave them hungry for more physical activity because dogs yearn for bonding time with their owners, not just physical activity on their own. Dogs are very social in general, and that is something you need to consider when trying to wear them out.
Let Them Explore And Get Back To Their Primal Instincts
Likewise, the purpose of the walk isn’t just to let your dog defecate outside your house. It mimics the movement of a hunting pack on a mission together to find food, water, and shelter. This helps your dog stay connected to their primal instincts. If you’ve got trouble keeping up with your dog and they tend to explore away from you, getting GPS dog collars is also a good idea. The return home—where the food, water, shelter, and other family members are—becomes the reward for going on the excursion with the pack, or at least the leader of the pack which is you. By bringing your dog home with excess energy drained through exercise, they will associate the feeling of calmness and fulfillment with this reward.
Provide An Outlet — But With Limitations.
Keeping your dog’s mind stimulated is also very important. This is when playtime comes in. Let your dog be a dog, so regulated playtime is the key. Things like playing fetch, having your dog search for a hidden treat, or running him through an obstacle course are all great ways to stimulate their mind and exhaust their energy. The objective here is that you control the length and intensity of the activity. That’s where “limitations” come in handy. Your dog’s hyperactivity ends the game. This is a gentle nudge, an easy sort of negative reinforcement. Setting boundaries tell your dog, “If I become too giddy, the treat is gone.” This should be paired alongside rewarding a calm, more collected behavior.
Engage Their Sense Of Smell!
Since a dog’s primary sense organ is its nose, triggering its sense of smell can do wonders for its behavior! Scents like coconut, banana, lavender, and vanilla can help calm your dog down. It’s even more effective if you link them with times when the dog is calm. Having scented air fresheners, pillows, or chew toys near their spot are some ways to do that. Be sure that your dog doesn’t have any allergies to particular scents and materials. In addition, consult animal health specialists when buying new scented products for your dog.
Chill And Calm Yourself Down
Most importantly, your dog cannot be calm if you yourself aren’t calm. So, you’ve got to check your own demeanor around your dog. You’ve also got to check how you treat your dog outdoors and what precedents you’re setting for your dog. When you have to correct your dog, how do you communicate with them? Can you command them with just a nudge, or do you tend to scream at them loudly?
If you’re in the second category, then you’re contributing to your dog’s increased energy levels, may it be excitement or anxiety. The only time it’s necessary to correct a dog with a loud sound is to save them from a dangerous situation; for example, if he’s about to run into a moving vehicle or they’re about to harm an elderly or disabled person. But you should only need one short, sharp and specific sound to distract your dog and get their attention.
Dogs are sensitive and smart, and although they might not speak the human language, they are very understanding of sounds, cues, and movement. Set boundaries. Be confident and full of conviction, enough for your dog to follow you with your sharp orders.
If your dog is naturally high-energy and excitable, it can take some time before the results manifest. The important part is that you create a routine and remain consistent. You should also never give up on your dog. Chances are that your dog didn’t become so stressed or giddy outdoors in just a single heartbeat, so you’re not going to undo it overnight. But if you commit and take the time of your day for your dog’s sake, you’ll eventually see your much-awaited results. “How do I keep control of my dog when being outside?” We’ve listed the answer down for you, and patience is key with the beloved man’s best friend.