Trainer reveals the secret to a better behaved dog — it sounds counterintuitive but it really works!

Woman holding her dog's paw
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Do you struggle with your dog's behavior? If so, you're not alone. Many pet parents want to give their pups more freedom when they're out and about but find their emotional responses to things in their environment are far too challenging for them to manage.

It's very common for dog owners to let their pups off leash and find that even a bag of the best dog treats isn't enough to get them to successfully recall back. This can be disheartening for both you and your dog if you need to take away their freedom in order to manage their behavior.

However, before you resign yourself to a life spent learning how to deal with a badly behaved dog, we have good news for you — teaching your dog more boundaries now will enable them to have more freedom later. Expert trainer Lisa Burton explained this in a recent Instagram post and we have a feeling you'll find her advice super helpful.

"It feels kind giving your dog all the freedom in the world, right?," Burton asks. "But in reality, too many options and too few rules are more likely to cause your dog to feel overwhelmed, anxious or stressed."

Burton goes on to explain that dogs do best when their lives are structured and predictable, but in order to help them feel calm and confident in any situation, we need to give them boundaries, teach them impulse control and how to tolerate frustration.

"Most of us bought our dogs so they could join us on life's adventures but then so many forget the effort required in order to shape what that should look like," she explains.

Burton says that recall training opens up a world of off leash adventures for your dog while obedience training means your dog can calmly stroll through parks and dog-friendly shops by your side.

"Teaching your dog boundaries provides them with more freedom than they could dream of. The more boundaries you teach your dog now, the more freedom he'll enjoy through his life. Trust me, it's worth it!," Burton says.

Not sure where to start with training your dog? Check out these practical tips for training your dog on your own. Or, if you'd prefer to work with a professional, our guide on how to spot dog trainer red flags will ensure you hire someone who knows their stuff.

Pupford Beef Liver Training Freeze-Dried Dog Treats$16.89 from Chewy

Pupford Beef Liver Training Freeze-Dried Dog Treats
$16.89 from Chewy

We gave these to our tester Isaiah for his dog Hayes to try. He reports back that they're his new favorite treat and are a suitable size for training. "He could and would eat the whole bag if allowed!"

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.