BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT

Learn How To Manage Your Pet's Behavior Yourself

An educated pet is a happier, healthier, better behaved pet. Training will not only strengthen the bond between you and your pet, but will also build their confidence and reduce any anxiety your pet may be feeling.

Management does not teach your pet what not to do. It simply prevents or discourages your pet from doing unwanted behaviors. In some cases, simply managing the problem can be enough, but it’s usually best to combine management with force-free positive reinforcement (treat or toy reward-based) training.

Behavior Management Techniques

You can use management to reduce or stop almost any unwanted behavior. Below are examples of some common behavior problems and potential management solutions.

Issue: Pulling on the Leash

  • Use a no-pull harness or head halter

Issue: Jumping on Counters

  • Close the dog in his crate or a bedroom when you can’t watch him

  • Place double-sided tape on the counters

  • Place a baking sheet covered in pennies just slightly over the edges of the counter

  • Keep food and other goodies off of the counters

Issue: Jumping on Guests

  • Place the dog in his crate when guests come over and don’t let him out until he calms down

  • Introduce the dog to guests outside before bringing them inside. This is often less exciting and reduces jumping

  • Keep the dog on leash when guests arrive and then remove the leash after the dog has settled down

Issue: Chewing on Non-Chew Toy Items

  • Keep tempting items out of reach of the dog or behind closed doors

  • Crate the dog when she’s not supervised

  • Spray tempting items with a safe, but bad-tasting product, like Bitter Apple Spray

Issue: Digging in the Garden

  • Don’t leave the dog unattended outside

  • Place a fence around the garden

  • Lay chicken wire a few inches under the dirt

Handouts & Books

 

General Pet Behavior

  • The Dumb Friends League offers a number of handouts on teaching desired and discouraging undesirable behaviors.

Cat Behavior

  • The Cat Who Cried for Help (Dr. Nicholas Dodman): Using examples from his own practice, Dodman (a veterinary behaviorist) intelligently and humorously talks about symptoms, treatment options, and helpful tips for prevention.

 

  • Think Like a Cat (Pam Johnson-Bennett): A feline behaviorist provides excellent insight into cat behavior and gives helpful tips for stopping problem behaviors like destructive chewing, aggression, furniture scratching, and litter-box difficulties.


Dog Behavior

  • The Dog Who Loved Too Much (Dr. Nicholas Dodman): Using examples from his own practice, Dodman intelligently and humorously talks about symptoms, treatment options, and helpful tips for prevention.

  • Final Hope (Stephen Joubert): This book offers a comprehensive approach to dealing with an aggressive dog. It has a helpful section on finding a professional to work with.

Helplines

Sometimes pet owners just need instructions and directions. Below are external resources that can help you train your cat or dog.

Dumb Friends League

The Dumb Friends League offers free pet behavior counseling over the phone or via email.

Cornell University Feline Health Center

The Camuti Consultation Service for cats is available Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 AM to 12 PM and from 2 PM to 4 PM ET, except holidays. Please note that you must pay for this service.

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