You probably didn't realize these annoying things your dog does are actually easy to fix

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ByMackenzie Edwards and Lisa Fogarty
Originally Published: 

The day I brought my puppy home I excitedly invited him into the living room — where he proceeded to take full ownership of the place in less than 10 minutes (that included licking and chewing on chair legs). As someone who lacked dog-training skills and hadn’t yet realized that my pooch was waiting for me to assume the role of leader of his pack, I let my pup take too much control too fast. And, as you can probably guess, this resulted in lots of misbehaviors — from excessive barking to jumping — that had to be corrected. Professional training sessions are always helpful, but you probably didn’t realize these 29 annoying things your dog does are actually easy to fix.

If your dog is anything like mine, they get a little too excited at times, and finding ways to keep them calm goes a long way toward preventing behavior issues. You’ll find expert tips and dog products here that will soothe your pup and help them release all of that excess energy that sometimes prompts them to take it out on the furniture. Whether your dog is an aggressive chewer, a fast eater, a notorious leash-puller on walks, or they just can’t get the hang of potty training, you’ll find expert-approved suggestions and affordable picks that will make them feel safe and make you feel more in control of the situation.

Your adorable dog doesn’t mean to be annoying. These easy fixes to negative behaviors can get them to more effectively communicate with you while making your expectations crystal clear to them.


Track the whereabouts of a dog who loves to explore

If you have the most curious dog on the planet, it’s only a matter of time before they learn how to dig a hole under your fence and explore the entire neighborhood. Make sure your pooch is always safe by tucking this waterproof and magnetic GPS tracker inside of their harness and tracking them via Google Maps in real-time or the SilverCloud app. The affordable tracker has more than 12,000 reviews and is a best-seller. In addition to using it to track your pet, people have had success relying on it to find lost luggage and even parked cars.


Attach a lightweight GPS to their collar if they like to wander

If your dog is likely to run off, it can be extremely stressful and scary, but a device like this lightweight GPS tracker can give you peace of mind. Justin Padgett, DVM, associate veterinarian at Branchville Animal Hospital, tells Bustle: “There are some great solutions, like a fence, but really nothing will stand in the way of a persistent dog." He recommends this waterproof tracker because it shows the real-time location, has a long-lasting battery (10 days), and connects to cellular, Bluetooth, and wifi. It’s discreet and can be clipped onto your pet’s collar.


Gain control over your pup with a thick leash

“A leash is the answer to just about every dog problem people have,” Jamie Thomas, executive director of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, tells Bustle. “A leash is the cheapest tool to prevent issues from starting.” This 2mm-thick leash is durable and puts you in control of your dog. This budget-friendly solution features padded handles and reflective stitching to keep you and your dog safe. It’s available in lengths of 4 or 6 feet (shown here) and in seven colors. Plus, every time you purchase one of these leashes, they donate one to a rescue dog.


Use a chew-proof leash that’s made of steel cables

If your dog is a chewer, odds are fabric leashes don’t stand a chance in your home, so opt for one of these coated steel cable leashes. It’s chew-proof and features soft padded handles that are gentle on your hands. It’s waterproof, lightweight, and easy to clean, giving you total control over your pooch. Plus, it costs less than $12.


Make potty training easier with dog doorbells

Potty training is no walk-in-the-park, but there are plenty of tools at your disposal to help with the process. Kimberly Archer, Dog Behavior Specialist at Courteous Canine Inc, suggests developing a way for your pet to communicate, such as using these dog doorbells. “One of the issues that owners have is not knowing when their puppy needs to go potty,” Archer says. “Though puppies do give signs before they go potty such as circling around and sniffing, it can be easy to miss these signs.” But hanging these adjustable dog bells on your door and teaching your pet to ring them when nature calls will lead to fewer accidents and less frustration for both of you. These have earned more than 26,000 reviews and only cost $11 for a two-pack.


Reward positive training behavior with pocket treats

Getting your pup to communicate with the bells will take time. “You will need to train them to use the bell by utilizing times that you know they need to potty, like when they first wake up and after they eat,” Archer says. “During these times, put them on a leash, bring them to the bell, and give them a treat for touching it with either their nose or paw." Archer suggests these peanut butter-flavored pocket trainers because they’re small — ideal for training and easy to carry.


Eliminate pulling with this harness

A leash and treats are just part of the puzzle when it comes to complete training. Archer also recommends a sturdy harness with a front attachment, like this one. “A leash attached to a dog's chest rather than their back will actually prevent them from pulling because when they try to pull it will steer them sideways and towards you, thus rendering their pulling useless,” Archer says.

This one is made of breathable, soft polyester and nylon that cushions your dog without overheating them. It does feature a metal ring on the back for more casual walks or once your dog has learned not to pull.


Relax your pooch with a calming dog treat

Overactive dogs can be especially difficult to train. These calming dog treats can be used to promote relaxation and reduce stress, anxiety, or even motion sickness. Archer suggests using them in tandem with encouraging restful behavior. “Just giving your dog treats anytime they do decide to relax is a great start but an even better thing to add in is calming food toys,” Archer says. The soft chews are made with melatonin, ginger, L-Tryptophan, and thiamin and are safe for dogs over 12 weeks old.


Teach your puppy basic commands with this dog training set

This dog training set comes with a clicker, treat pouch, housetraining doorbells, an ultrasonic whistle, and a training ebook — everything you need to teach your puppy some basic commands and skills. “The treat pouch alone was worth it but the whistle and clicker make this an all around perfect training kit,” wrote one reviewer. “Though I am not magically transformed into the dog whisperer when I put all these tools on they definitely do help with my pups training.”


Soothe your pup when you groom them

Some dogs find comfort in being groomed and this self-cleaning dog brush is something you’ll both love. It’s easy to use and helps eliminate the fur balls rolling around your floors. Plus, it can soothe your dog during a storm or through separation anxiety. It’s gentle on their coat and skin and has angled bristles that de-shed your dog while giving them a massage.


Ease anxiety with a plush dog toy with a beating heart

Especially great for new pets who may have been separated from their litter, this heartbeat toy can provide lots of comfort in the transition to their new home. The plush stuffed animal features a pulsing “heartbeat” that can run continuously or be set on an 8-hour timer. There’s also an included heat pack that can be placed in the toy to make your pet feel like they’re snuggling with a human or other pet throughout the night.


Alleviate boredom with a Kong

One way to help your dog alleviate boredom and stay cool and calm is to provide them with slightly challenging toys that provide a reward at the end of their efforts. "KONG makes lots of great stuffable toys which encourage dogs to lay down and lick at whatever food you stuff them with, like peanut butter,” Archer says. “As an added bonus, stuff the KONG ahead of time and freeze it so it takes even longer and more licking for your dog to finish it!”


Release excess energy with a treat-dispensing dog toy

This treat-dispensing dog toy encourages your dog to complete an engaging challenge before being rewarded at the end with their favorite treat. The chew toy/dispenser is ideal for moderate chewers and can help reduce stress in order to keep your pup calm and better behaved. It has more than 4,000 reviews and comes in two sizes and three colors.


Teach dogs not to pull on their leash during walks

One of the most common issues with dogs, especially bigger ones, is pulling on their leash during walks, Josh Snead, CEO of Rainwalk Pet Insurance, tells Bustle. “This certainly makes walks a lot less fun, and it can also be dangerous to you, your dog, and those around you if you can't keep your dog under control,” Snead says. “There are a couple of good options for controlling this behavior [...] The gentle leader head collar fits around your dog's snout to keep them from pulling or biting [...]” This one comes in five sizes and nine colors and has more than 48,000 reviews.


Help pups that eat too fast pace themselves

This Lickimat slow feeder serves a few important purposes. For starters, you can place meals and treats on the mat to encourage your pup to eat slower and benefit from better digestion. But you can also use this mat to redirect your dog’s licking desires and instincts, which can help soothe them. “Watching your dog guzzle down their food, and consequently, struggle with bloating, can be a frustrating experience for any dog owner,” Melissa Smith, a former dog trainer and, currently, content producer for Raw & Fresh, tells Bustle. “After all, not only does your dog suffer from discomfort, you have to put up with the unnecessary flatulence and belching! A slow feeding dog bowl, like the Lickimat, is a great way to pace their eating, keeping them occupied for longer, and stimulating digestive enzymes to prevent indigestion and gastric upset.”


Provide a food challenge that slows down their eating pace

This slow feeder dog bowl is designed to look like a spiral, which gives your dog just enough of a challenge (without denying them nourishment or causing frustration). This can help slow down the pace of their eating, prevent bloating, and provide an energy release as they work their minds around retrieving food. The bowl comes in four sizes and a number of colors and has earned more than 76,000 reviews.


Ease tummy trouble with doggy probiotic supplements

You can help ease your dog’s tummy and boost their gut health with these probiotics for dogs. The soft chew contains six different probiotics that can decrease gas, diarrhea, and bloating. The probiotic supplements have more than 20,000 reviews and come in two flavors: pumpkin and chicken.


Switch to a heavier dog bowl that stays in place to prevent food messes

Is your dog’s favorite pastime playing with the food and water bowl, turning them over, and creating the mess of all messes on your kitchen floor? This heavier stainless steel pet bowl can help, thanks to four non-stick rubber backings that keep it in place. The insulated bowl can keep water cold for longer and it comes in two sizes and a number of colors.


An elevated dog feeder can keep messes at bay and be more comfy for dogs

Another smart way to prevent dog food and water from getting all over floors is by using an elevated dog feeder. This feeder comes with two stainless steel bowls and can be adjusted to three heights to accommodate different dogs and life stages (the legs fold down for storage, as well). Not only does it keep messes at bay, but the height makes it easier for your dog to eat without dropping their neck down. The highly rated pick has more than 25,000 reviews.


Capture food debris and water with a Gorilla Grip pet feeding mat

No matter which food bowl you choose, place a sturdy and durable pet feeding mat below it to capture fallen food and water and keep floors clean and dry. This Gorilla Grip mat stands out because it features a slip-resistant topside with a waterproof silicone construction that is safe to pop into the dishwasher. Snag this highly rated mat in one of five sizes and 17 colors.


Discourage barking with this shake & break training tool

This simple but effective shake and break training tool may be the only thing you need to finally curb your dog’s loud barking (it works for other behaviors you want to discourage, as well).

"Most dogs love to bark—at the doorbell, the mailman, and every squirrel they see through the window,” Daniel Caughill, co-founder of The Dog Tale, tells Bustle. “However, this is a behavior that can easily be reduced with proper training. The process is fairly straightforward. When your dog barks, you need to break their attention and redirect it to a new behavior, followed by a reward.”

To accomplish this, Caughill recommends grabbing dog trainer Brandon McMillan’s Shake & Break training aid. “Just rattle the aid every time your dog breaks, and they should immediately stop barking and look to the source of the noise,” Caughill says. “Next, give them a command, such as touch (while holding out your hand) or ‘go to your bed.’ Once the dog performs the correct behavior, give them a training treat."


Redirect destructive chewing with this durable toy

It’s normal to watch your dog happily chewing on a bone or toy, but when they transfer their chewing skills to your brand new couch and all of its pillows, it’s time to find a tool that will redirect their chewing. “Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, but it can become a problem when they start chewing on things they're not supposed to, like furniture or shoes,” Li-ran Bukovza, dog expert at Puppy Tip, tells Bustle. “If your dog is a chewer, again, the best way to stop the behavior is to provide him with plenty of appropriate chew toys." Try this extremely durable wishbone for dogs that comes in three flavors: bacon, chicken, and peanut.


Puppy-proof your home with a bitter anti-chew spray

The second your puppy licks a wooden chair leg that has been coated with a light layer of this bitter apple chewing deterrent spray recommended by Bukovza, they will immediately know it’s an off-limits item. “In addition, be sure to puppy-proof your house by putting away any tempting items that your dog might chew on, and make sure he is getting enough exercise so he doesn't get bored and start chewing out of boredom,” Bukovza says.


Provide chewers with a soft kennel when you leave the home

It’s one thing to be present in your home and able to keep your eye on a pooch that loves chewing on things. It’s a whole different ballgame if you’re leaving your house for an extended period of time and are crossing your fingers that your dog doesn’t destroy furniture in your absence. “Another idea for chewers: place dogs in a soft crate if you aren't home so that they don't chew furniture,” Bukovza says. This popular pick with 11,000 reviews comes in four sizes and collapses when you’re finished using it so that it’s simple to store.


Use clickers during training to improve your dog’s listening skills

Perhaps you’ve tried training your puppy all by yourself and are convinced that you should leave it up to the professionals. Before you throw in the towel, there are super-affordable training tools that can really help.

"No dog is impossible to train, and the only reason why it takes some longer than others to learn to heed your commands is that you haven’t found something for your dog to focus on,” Jacquelyn Kennedy, founder and CEO of PetDT, tells Bustle. “There’s a reason why behaviorists and trainers use clickers to ensure that a dog listens and learns to do as he’s told. It’s because they work. If you’re looking for a tool that can, and will, help you to train an unruly or ‘disobedient’ dog, then you need to arm yourself with a clicker. It’ll save you a lot of time, disappointment, and heartache.” This pick has more than 3,600 reviews.


Stop dogs from jumping by combining commands with this dog bone reward

A lot of excited dogs respond to new people by jumping on them — which isn’t always a cute behavior, especially to the guest who is just getting to know your pooch. “If your dog jumps up on people, you need to get on top of their training,” Dr. Linda Simon, veterinary surgeon and also a veterinary consultant for FiveBarks, tells Bustle. “The most simple solution is to ask them to ‘sit’ or ‘lie’ every time a new person approaches. These commands are incompatible with jumping. Reward your dog with praise and tasty training treats every single time. Soon, they’ll want to sit when they see someone, as they know something good happens."

These bones satisfy your dog’s need to chew, while also offering the reward of flavorful interiors made from ingredients like peanut butter, cheese, bacon, and beef. They have more than 3,000 reviews.


Put an end to a gross scooting habit

Of all of your dog’s habits and behaviors, few things come close to being as gross as scooting (aka rubbing their backsides along your clean floors and carpets). “Many dogs will scoot the butt across the floor,” Sara Ochoa, DVM at DogLab, tells Bustle. “This can be due to them having full anal glands. You can easily learn to express these glands on your own. Also, give your dog Glandex to help these glands be able to express easier when your dog poops.”

The bottle of 30 soft chews tastes like peanut butter and contains enzymes, fiber, and probiotics that aid with digestion and support anal gland health. This is a best-selling pick with more than 26,000 reviews.


Block rooms with a pet gate to prevent destruction

Your dog doesn’t always know which rooms are off limits. Doing whatever you can to keep them away from destructible items is a smart idea — start with this pet gate that easily expands to fit different doorways and then locks in place. The durable gate can be adjusted from 26 to 40 inches wide and comes designed with rubber bumpers to protect walls. It has more than 36,000 reviews.


An anxiety jacket that calms upset dogs

Many dogs experience intense anxiety when separated from their humans or when loud noises like thunder or fireworks suddenly appear. This Thundershirt anxiety jacket applies gentle pressure when worn to help dogs feel calmer and less fearful. It comes in seven sizes and has 38,000 reviews, one of which raved, “[…] Both Ronan and myself are getting a full night's sleep now during rain, wind, thunder, and lightning storms!!! This is the BEST product ever!!! […]”