30 ways to keep your dog from acting like an asshole

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“It’s a good thing you’re cute.” Odds are you’ve said this to your dog a few times. Whether they’ve had an accident, chewed your favorite shoes, or rummaged through the trash can, every pet parent has been there. I’ve found 30 ways to help keep your dog from acting like an asshole, and you can ship helpful products to your house today.

Between interactive toys and safety gadgets, every fur parent could use a little help when it comes to keeping their pet entertained. I’ve included toys for food-motivated pets, as well as a variety of mental games to challenge your smart pup. I’ve also included an arsenal of pet-training must-haves to equip yourself with during the puppy phase. You’ll find training treats, clickers, and pouches on this list along with crowd-favorite beds and leashes.

These finds are backed by animal experts who say training is possible, no matter how unruly your pet may be.

01

Make training easier with dog-training pouches

If you’re in the midst of training your dog, these convenient treat pouches will be your best friend. Blythe Neer, a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA, CCUI, IAABC-ADT, Fear Free Trainer) at Delta Tails Dog Training, tells Bustle, “Every time you see your dog doing something awesome, drop a reward for them. If you hear a sound that they might bark at, drop a treat before they can react. You'll be amazed at the quick benefits you'll receive!” The pouches have a strong belt clip to keep them close, as well as magnets that automatically shut closed between uses. They’re made from food-grade, eco-friendly silicone so they’re easy to clean — you can even toss them in the dishwasher.

02

Use positive reinforcement with clickers

These training clickers, when used consistently, can help dramatically increase your dog’s capacity for learning new skills. This two-pack comes with different color clickers that each make a different “click” sound. When your dog does something positive (like shake paws, sit, or stay), give them a congratulatory click to encourage them to continue behaving well. Nely Mihaylova, a content executive at Scooter. Guide, tells Bustle, “Confirm that your dog obeys commands. If your pet responds to your order the first time you say it, that is the best sign that they have learned to respond to you. [...] For as long as necessary for the lessons to stick, continually practice the fundamentals with patience. Give them a little treat or clicker when they answer the initial call.”

03

Comfort pups with a plush (and heated) toy

Sometimes in the scariest situations, all you need is a friend. That’s why dogs and their owners love this plush toy that has a real-feel pulsing heartbeat inside and a heat pack. This sweet snuggly toy supports dogs’ pack mentality, making them feel safe and warm. JM Littman, director of the web design agency Webheads tells Bustle that a toy like this can help curb barking. “If your dog barks constantly while you are away, it may be suffering from separation anxiety. Give your pet lots of love and praise when they are relaxed. Make sure they have enough toys and activities to keep them from getting bored.” This best-selling toy has earned nearly 50,000 reviews on Amazon.

04

Exercise your dog with a flirty pole toy

If your dog is acting up, it may be because they're not getting enough exercise. “If your pet is not exercising enough, negative behavior will undoubtedly manifest,” Harry Hughes, CEO and co-founder at Dangler.co.uk, tells Bustle. “When dogs don't move around and discover things to be interested in, they become restless and bored, just like people do.” It can be hard to let your dog get his energy out if you live in a small space, but this “flirty pole” toy is a great way to engage your pet. It features a durable polyester webbing lure that’s attached to the end of a 36-inch pole. Use it to entice your dog to run, jump, and play until they're tired and calm.

05

Practice recall with this extra-long leash

“If you struggle with walking your dog you may benefit from using a long line to give them freedom whilst still remaining in control,” Amey, a dog trainer and behaviorist at Amey's Dog Services, tells Bustle. This extra-long training leash is ideal for giving your pet a sense of freedom while keeping them safe. Choose from 10- or 15-foot lengths and use the leash to practice “come” and “stay” while your pup is still securely leashed. It gives your pet more room to explore on walks and is recommended for medium and large-sized dogs.

06

House-break your pup the right way with a training kit

Begin reinforcing positive behaviors on day one with your puppy. This dog training set includes a treat bag, training bells, and an ultrasonic training whistle to equip you with everything you need. "Train your dog before problems arise,” Amey says. “Knowing about dog development, what is normal, and how to work through those tricky periods such as puppyhood, fear periods, and adolescence means that you will feel confident handling all the stages and you can live in harmony.” This puppy training kit is under $20.

07

Keep pups motivated with small treats

If your dog is super motivated by food, treats like these are your best bet for training them. “Use high-value treats for training,” Amey suggests. “Dogs learn everything through association and history of reinforcement. I tend to think of it like being paid.” The real chicken treats won’t fill up your dog so you can give them a bunch during intense training sessions. This pack costs less than $10 and has earned more than 16,000 reviews.

08

Train your dog while they’re on a leash

Rule number one when your dog is engaging in negative behaviors like jumping or excessive barking: a quality leash is your best friend. “The need for dogs to push through doors or break through barriers is an undesirable trait,” Joanne King, company director at ICMP, tells Bustle. “They need to understand that you are the leader, not they, despite their natural pack nature. As you gradually get them to accept that you are guiding them, keep them on a leash. Stop when they move forward and turn your gaze away until they sit down to accomplish this. Go ahead and provide a command by saying ‘slow’ or ‘wait.’ Reinforce a treat when the dog doesn't jump up when they are excited.”

This popular retractable leash features a 16-foot-long nylon tape that shouldn’t get tangled with an anti-slip handle for better control when you’re out on walks. The under-$20 pick comes in four sizes that suit your dog's breed and seven colors. It boasts more than 78,000 reviews so you can feel confident you’re settling on a winner.

09

Reinforce your pet’s “place” with a dog cot

Christos Philippou, owner and trainer at Delaware K9 Academy tells Bustle, “A dog cot is a great, comfortable way to get your dog to lay down on a specific spot for longer periods of time. Say you want to cook/eat dinner, have guests over, or just relax and watch TV — the cot is a great way to teach your dog the ‘place’ command while giving them a comfortable place to relax.” This one comes in multiple sizes and features a sturdy frame with a mesh center. The elevated design keeps air circulating to keep them comfortable regardless of the floor temperature. Plus, it’s easy to clean.

10

Prevent boredom with a snuffle mat

When pets get bored, they tend to get into trouble. Avoid messes in your home by keeping them stimulated with unique toys like this fun snuffle mat. The green and brown “flower” is made of felt cloth and contains plenty of petals where you can conceal treats and food to keep them searching and engaged. “It allows the dog to use their nose to search/sniff/hunt for their kibble in the mat and will slow them down when eating,” Philippou says. Fold up the mat, keep it secure with a buckle, and travel with it anywhere.

11

Help calm dogs with a plug-in diffuser

“No dog is inherently ‘bad’ and we need to help them act appropriately in our homes and when out and about,” Dr. Linda Simon, a veterinary surgeon and also a veterinary consultant for FiveBarks, tells Bustle. One way to support them is to make sure their anxiety is managed. While some severe anxiety may warrant a specialist, others can be managed with essential oils like this calming pheromone diffuser. This one plugs into the wall and is powered by Adaptil, which Simon recommends for reducing stress in dogs during separation, thunder, fireworks, or visitors. It’s odorless to humans and covers up to 700 square feet for 30 days before needing a refill.

12

Install a licking pad to keep your pup occupied

This heavy-duty dog lick mat promotes licking in a way that’s easy for you to clean. “A well-behaved dog is one who is always occupied with something to do. [...],” Simon says. “Food puzzles are perfect for when you are both relaxing in the evenings and can keep your dog settled for hours.” Add spreadable treats like yogurt, peanut butter, or mashed banana on the pads to keep them occupied and happy. It can also be a great way to feed dogs who may eat too quickly.

13

Give them a place to rest that’s indestructible

Everything from your dog’s toys to their bed can be used as a training tool. “Exercise is a wonderful outlet, however, obedience training trains the dog's brain and will focus your dog more than running miles will,” K9 Trainer Deborah Glovier tells Bustle. “One “tool” you may use is a raised bed and train your dog on ‘place.’ The ‘place’ command will transfer to any location, indoors or outdoors. These beds are easy to clean and easy to move inside and outside of your house."

This extra-large elevated bed will also hold up to your pet’s chewing habits. It’s indestructible and sits 9-inches off the ground to keep your pet comfortable. The mesh fabric is breathable and can be hosed off or wiped down quickly to keep it clean.

14

Reward pets without overfeeding them

Using small rewards like these three-calorie treats will keep your pup’s attention without overfeeding them. This pack has earned more than 20,000 reviews from other pet owners. The treats are made of real pork liver and other healthy superfruits like blueberries, green tea, and dandelion. This bag comes with 500 treats. Dr. Amanda Takiguchi, a veterinarian, dog owner, and founder of TrendingBreeds, tells Bustle, “Build a positive, reward-based relationship by honoring good behavior and redirecting bad. Make life fun and stimulating, not adversarial and angry.”

15

Give pets their own space, but keep them safe

An easy way to create a safe and enclosed space for your pets to feel comfortable is by using a baby gate. Jen Jones, a professional dog trainer, and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience tells Bustle, “If you constantly and regularly expose your fur babies to too much freedom, toys, fun, etc, it creates an addict out of our dogs — [they] want more and more.” This option can be adjusted between 29 and 62 inches to fit a variety of spaces. There are no screws needed either — it stays in place with four pressure mounts. This best-seller has earned more than 11,000 reviews from parents and dog owners alike.

16

Give aggressive chewers an indestructible toy

No dog toy is truly indestructible, but this one is pretty close. It’s designed for aggressive chewers, so it’s tough yet flexible. The toy rolls around for dogs to chase, which means they’ll never get bored. Heather Byron, facility manager for a dog/cat rescue and adoption outfitter who runs AnimalDome.com tells Bustle, “One of the items we turn to in our adoption shelter to calm dogs down once they start acting up is to offer each a bully stick and to separate the ones acting up into different rooms.” This pick comes in four sizes and three flavors: bacon, chicken, and peanut.

17

Wear your pet out with a ball launcher

“A tired dog is a well-behaved dog,” Daniel Caughill, co-founder of The Dog Tale, tells Bustle. “If your pup isn’t getting enough exercise, they will start to act out by barking, chewing on furniture, and running around the house.” One way to exercise your pet, even when you’re busy, is with a ball launcher like this one. The battery-powered machine comes with five tennis balls, rechargeable batteries, and an AC adapter. The lightweight machine can hold up to 17 balls at once and will launch the ball in an arch every 4, 7, or 15-seconds. The variety of distances will keep your pet on its toes.

18

Make rainy days stimulating with interactive dog toys

On rainy days or days when your dog needs additional stimulation, these interactive dog toys are an owner’s best friend. “In addition to physical exercise, dogs need mental stimulation,” Caughill says. “Without mental stimulation, dogs will start to misbehave.” One of the intermediate-level toys features spots to place treats, as well as a variety of lids that the dog has to flip, slide, or lift to get to the treats. The other is similar except it twists three levels of lids for your pet to explore.

19

Grab your dog’s attention with a loud “shake & break” tool

The hardest part of training a dog is getting their attention, especially when they’re in the midst of bad behavior. This “shake and break” tool is filled with small plastic balls that make a loud noise when the bottle is shaken. It redirects them to you so you can correct their behavior at the moment. It was created and used by professional dog trainer Brandon McMillan and is loved by experts like Caughill. “When dogs start barking at something, it can be difficult to get them to stop,” Caughill says. “What you need is a way to break their attention. Repeat this process consistently, and your dog should learn not to bark in the first place.”

20

Redirect your pup’s behavior with a loud sound like a training bell

Debbie Littany, site owner of LongLiveDog.com, tells Bustle, “Just like disciplining a child, you can also use [a] strong and forceful expression on your dog.” She continues, “An expression like, ‘AH AH!’ is a very common exclamation when it comes to disciplining your dog. [...] You could even combine it with a foot stomp, a loud clap, or something like a bell so he gets used to the sound. Once his attention is caught, distract him into doing the opposite. Teach him a good act he should be doing instead.”

This training bell is perfect for delivering an alert to your dog when you want to redirect them. The sturdy bell is made of steel and metal and is small and portable, making it easy to take it with you anywhere.

21

Give a comforting hemp dog treat

Christian Kjaer, CEO & co-founder of ElleVet Sciences, tells Bustle, “Dogs often act up due to stress. In addition to being particularly clingy or destructive, stressed-out dogs may destroy your home after you’ve been gone for only a few minutes.”

If you have a high-energy dog or one who’s feeling uneasy, keeping a few of these hemp treats on hand isn’t a bad idea. The soft chews are made with ​​peanut butter and contain 15 milligrams of full-spectrum hemp each, which can help pets relax while also supporting their joints. They’re pork flavored and designed to improve mobility and joint discomfort in dogs over 50 pounds. Check with your veterinarian before adding these treats to your dog’s diet.

22

Create a safe, cozy environment with a plush dog bed

Sometimes, the only thing your dog needs to calm down is a soft place to call their own — and a plush bed can help make your pet feel safe. This rectangular bed is fluffy and lightweight, filled with polyester. It comes in five sizes and has earned more than 26,000 reviews. You can even use it to train dogs to behave when visitors arrive. “Find a designated spot in the house (usually their bed), and practice leading the dog there with a treat whilst saying ‘settle’ in a firm tone of voice,” Erika Barnes, founder and CEO of of Petsmitten, tells Bustle. “If they leave the spot, lead them there again, once again whilst saying ‘settle’. With time, your dog should learn the correlation between the command ‘settle’ and lying quietly in its bed.”

23

Have extra control over your dog’s movements with a double handle leash

Licensed veterinarian Alex Crow tells Bustle, “A double handled leash allows you to bring your dog in closer, which is helpful in situations where they might try to chase a dog or a squirrel. It gives you more control, and they can be trained better behavior skills with this type of leash.” This one is 7 feet long and features two padded handles to better control your pet. It’s ideal for medium to large dogs who pull. The durable design will help you train your dog in a safe way.

24

Promote independent play on WFH days with an automatic ball launcher

Do you have a high-energy dog that won’t leave you alone? “I would highly recommend getting a product like [a] fetch machine [...] which will provide your dog with hours and hours of fun,” Dr. Sabrina Kong, a doctor of veterinary medicine at WeLoveDoodles tells Bustle. “Just place it in your backyard or any other open area in your house, teach your dog where to put the ball, and voilà, your pooch will burn all of that energy without having to wait for you.” This one is designed for small to medium dogs and shoots balls up to 30 feet away. The launcher comes with three balls and an AC adapter (batteries are not included).

25

Find positive ways to get their energy out

“Invest in items that burn off your dog's hyper self through a fun exercise,” Lyudmyla Dobrynina, head of marketing in North America for Optimeal tells Bustle. Dobrynina recommends a flirt pole like this one. It’s designed with all pet sizes in mind. It features a durable stainless steel pole and a braided fleece lure that drives pets wild. “With strong durability and endless hours of fun, your pet can become healthier and more relaxed without the need of medicines or harsh ear-piercing dog devices for behavior — just work out all that energy,” Dobrynina says.

26

Hide their treats in an interactive toy

This interactive puzzle toy is one Ellis recommends as a great item to keep pups engaged in a task so that they are less likely to act up. “Keep them busy and distracted,” Ellis says. “A game, food, puzzles, or vigorous exercise can help keep them calm, happy, and quiet." The durable toy challenges your pup and reduces boredom. This one is under $20 and has earned more than 84,000 reviews.

27

Make crate-training a positive experience

Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer with Rover.com, tells Bustle, “Be enthusiastic and keep your body language relaxed and open when giving your dog commands.” If you’re looking for a unique way to treat your pet while they are crate training, try this interactive licking toy, which actually attaches to the crate. It’s like a popsicle mold that you can freeze with your dog’s favorite treats such as yogurt, peanut butter, and wet food. The pick is made from BPA-free rubber and washes easily.

28

Wrap your pup in a tight-fitting jacket that can create a sense of calm

“Never punish your dog,” Ellis says. “Accidents happen, and dogs don’t understand cause and effect the same way people do.” What’s more: punishments (in addition to environmental factors like thunderstorms) can cause them anxiety. This jacket applies gentle, constant pressure (like a hug) that can calm them during fireworks, travel, vet visits, and more. The soft jacket is simple to use and can be machine washed to keep it smelling fresh.

29

Learn expert tricks for raising a well-mannered dog

“Set a routine,” Ellis says. “Dogs are creatures of habit, so by setting a routine of the best behavior you are setting them up for success.” For more tips on ways to understand your pup, this official AKC guide explains ten essential skills for well-mannered dogs and how you can train yours to do the same.

30

Place food inside a kong so they have to work for it

Khris Erickson, who is a certified professional dog trainer, points out to Bustle that your dog might quickly figure out the number of things in your house you don’t want them to chew on or play with far outnumber the items that they can engage with — and that it’s not enough to prevent or interrupt the undesirable behaviors your puppy is engaging in. Erickson recommends a kong that you can fill with their favorite treat but that will make them work a little harder to enjoy. This approach keeps them stimulated (thereby preventing negative behaviors) while also rewarding them for good behavior.