Three things your dog needs to be happier and calmer, according to an expert trainer

Border Collie walking in the forest
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You're not alone if you have a dog who you wish was a little better behaved. From lunging at other dogs when you're out walking to counter surfing the minute your back is turned, there are lots of things our canine companions do that we wish they wouldn't.

If you're anything like us, you might have spent a lot of time rewarding good behavior with the longest lasting dog chews and trying to ignore the more challenging behaviors that you don't want your pup to engage in. 

But what if we told you that the secret to a happier, calmer, and overall better-behaved dog lies less in focusing on what they're doing and more in ensuring you're setting them up for success by creating a strong daily routine?

Well, according to expert dog trainer Adam Spivey, there are three things that we dog owners can do every day that will help massively when it comes to our canine companion's behavior. You can check out his Instagram video below or keep reading for a summary of his top tips.

1. Proper exercise

While exercising your dog each day may seem like common sense, Spivey says that so many people get this wrong because they either don't exercise their dog enough or they take it to the same place every day. 

"Proper exercise is about balance," he explains. "Some days having a good run, game of fetch etc other days should be calm controlled structured lead walks. Obedience training should be implemented on nearly every walk. We also underestimate the importance of going somewhere new with the dog and having a good sniff walk." 

As well as mixing things up, Spivey says breed fulfillment is an incredibly important component of successful exercise. "Doing what the breed was designed to do or something similar to satisfy that side of the dog. Exercise is not only good for the body but also the mind, so always bear that in mind." 

2. An off switch

"It’s so easy for many dogs to crave and want more," Spivey explains. "A lot of working breeds are easy to create adrenaline junkies that constantly need more and struggle to switch off. After exercise, there should be rest for dogs."

How exactly do you go about doing this? Well, Spivey favors the following formula: "So when you bring the dog home, water it, feed it if you normally do after exercise, and then force nap time. Using crates is way easier but forced nap time for a minimum of two hours after vigorous exercise will teach your dog to have an off switch. Very quickly this will become second nature for the dog."

Spivey says that after exercise, he doesn't see his dogs again until dinner time. "They are out of it. Resting, sleeping. To me, that’s dogs that are content. Needs met, relaxed and happy. "

3. A nutritious diet

So many over weight dogs at the moment, which tells me they are being fed a poor diet and not being exercised properly," says Spivey. "Not only is this bad for their health but it can also be a major contribution to behavior problems. Making sure your dog is on a decent diet is a game changer."

If you find that you're applying Spivey's tips and not seeing any improvement in your dog's behavior, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer who will be able to offer advice and guidance that's been tailored to the specific needs of your dog.

Looking for more great tips to help you with your dog's behavior? Then be sure to check out our guide to how to deal with a badly behaved dog

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.