Improve your dog’s behavior with these three genius tips from an expert trainer

Senior man teaching his puppy in the park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Let's be honest — if you have a canine companion in your family, the last thing you want to be dealing with is challenging behavior. And yet many pet parents spend a great deal of their time trying to figure out how to calm a reactive dog, or how to stop a dog from jumping up. It's exhausting!

If you've been struggling with your dog exhibiting difficult behavior, rest assured, you're not alone. And thankfully, expert trainer Amelia Steele, certified through the prestigious Victoria Stilwell Academy, says that there's plenty you can do to turn things around.

"Training doesn't have to feel like a chore," says Steele. In fact, in a helpful video shared to Instagram, Steele shares three simple things you can throw into your daily walk with your dog that will boost their happiness, increase their level of calm, and improve their overall behavior. Check out the video below or read on as we reveal everything you need to know...

1. Play with your dog: "Play is a great way to build a really strong relationship and it builds your value in the environment," explains Steele. Check out our guide to the best dog toys for some ideas on fun playthings you can take with you on a walk. 

2. Use food: "Bring a portion of your dog's dinner out on a walk," Steel advises. "Scatter feeding their food in the grass or even hand feeding them is a great way to bring their adrenaline levels down, so they're less likely to be super hyper when you bring them home."

3. Reinforce the basics: "Even if you just spend five minutes practicing your basic manners, it's a really good way to reinforce behavior you like," says Steele. "And it gets them thinking, so it gets them tired in a calm way."

So, instead of letting your dog's walk be a free-for-all where they can run off and do whatever they want, why not give Steele's top tips a go? 

Whether you're wanting your dog to be less reactive, improve their loose leash walking, or teach them to sit quietly while you're eating, using your walk together as an opportunity for some structured engagement is a brilliant way to improve overall behavior — and strengthen your relationship at the same time.

Looking for more great canine training tips and tricks? Then be sure to check out our guide to three of the most common loose leash walking mistakes (and how to fix them).

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.