Make sure your dog is able to behave normally
Things you should do
- Choose a type and size of dog that is suited to you, your home and your lifestyle.
- Train your dog from an early age to behave well using rewards. For example, teaching your dog where to toilet is really important. See our fact sheet for advice:
Toilet training your dog (PDF 293 KB)
- Never shout at or punish your dog. Your dog is very unlikely to understand and can become more nervous or scared. If your dog’s behaviour becomes an ongoing problem, seek expert advice.
- Exercise your dog regularly to keep himfit, active and stimulated. Give your dog the opportunity to run every day, unless your vet recommends otherwise.
- Make sure your dog has enough to do so that he/she does not become distressed or bored.
- Provide your dog with safe toys and regular opportunities to play with people or other friendly dogs.
- Be observant. If your dog’s behaviour changes or he/she shows regular signs of stress or fear, seek advice from a vet or clinical animal behaviourist.
- If your dog often shows fear or signs of stress (such as excessive panting, licking lips, hiding, cowering, aggression), seek advice from a vet or clinical animal behaviourist.
- Be consistent in the way you, your family and friends react to your dog.
- Give your dog constant access to a safe hiding place where he/she can escape if he/she feels afraid.
Read our FAQ on stopping your dog barking.
- A dog needs regular exercise and plenty of opportunities to walk and run.
- Dogs are playful animals and most enjoy playing with toys, people and other dogs.
- The way a dog behaves depends on the dog's age, breed (or type), personality and past experiences.
- Training a dog using rewards will help him/her learn to behave appropriately and make him/her easier to control. Good training can enhance a dog’s quality of life.
- Frightening experiences and punishment can lead to behaviour problems and suffering.
- If a dog’s behaviour changes he/she could be distressed, bored, ill or injured.
- A dog must be able to avoid things that scare him/her. A dog may suffer if he/she is unable to hide.
- Scent is an important means of communication for a dog.