Trainer reveals six things you can do with your dog to dramatically improve their behavior

Man with Down syndrome playing outside with dog
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Looking to improve your dog's behavior and deepen your connection with them at the same time? Well, you're in luck, because according to one expert trainer, it's easier than you think!

A lot of us wonder how to deal with a badly behaved dog, so a recent video shared to Instagram by Adam Spivey, founder of Southend Dog Training and its head trainer, has provided some welcome answers.

Whether you're trying to figure out how to stop a dog from jumping up or how to calm a reactive dog, Spivey says it all comes down to doing these six things every day...

1. Be sure your dog sees you as the gateway to having fun: "Before you give your dog anything fun or exciting simply wait for acknowledgement in the form of eye contact from them," explains Spivey who says that doing this teaches your dog who the leader of the pack is.

2. Teach your dog thresholds: "Before going for a walk, before letting your dog in the garden, in and out of the car, before entering a park, a field — simply wait," Spivey stresses. "Put your dog in a sit, wait for it to look at you, make sure it's calm, then let it in." This helps train your dog to be responsive to you.

3. Make your dog sit before you give them affection: "Any time you give your dog a fuss simply ask them to sit first. This will reduce jumping up and it will teach your dog to give you this behavior in order to receive a fuss," Spivey explains. If you fuss your dog in a calm way, you increase the likelihood that your dog will remain calm when being given attention.

4. Proper exercise: Spivey says it's important to avoid going to the same park or field every day. Instead, take them to different places. "Sniff walks are so beneficial for your dog. Do obedience training on that walk, fetch, tug of war, etc, just have fun with your dog."

5. Help them learn how to switch off: "After exercise, pop your dog in its bed for an hour or so," Spivey advises, "so the dog learns to switch off. When you're eating, also place the dog in its bed and when there's food being prepared so that your dog learns to behave around food and what to do after exercise."

6. Practice drills: Spivey recommends practising drills with your dog for five to 10 minutes every day. Whether it's sit and stay, down and stay, leave it, bed means bed, or heel, practising these in a fun way will help your dog become more obedient and responsive.

Spivey says that by doing the above six things every day with your dog, you'll soon see massive improvements in their behavior.

However, it's important to remember that every dog is different and if you find you're not seeing the positive changes you'd like after working with your dog on the above, we recommend reaching out to a qualified trainer for support.

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.