Much of what your puppy or dog learns comes from interacting with the environment. This learning includes information about the people, things, and animals in their surroundings. Each little experience is a lesson for your dog.

How your environment teaches misbehavior

We are continually forming new associations based on what our environment is teaching us. If your dog finds something brand new in the environment, it can learn that thing is safe, dangerous, fun, exciting, a source of food, etc.

If on a walk, Hooley finds a log with a snake or lizard on or under it. Hooley might find that snake or lizard to be either scary or exciting because it smells, moves, and makes noises.

Then, the next time she comes across this log, she might avoid it if she was scared. But if she was excited, she might start sniffing like mad to find the snake or lizard again. And if I innocently call her to come to me, but I have not yet trained her to the degree necessary for her come racing to me when she is excited or scared about wildlife, then she has also learned to ignore my cue to come. That would be a bummer!

The # 1 piece of advice dog trainers give is to Prevent Misbehavior.

It is from these life lessons, the unplanned experiences of your dog that many misbehaviors develop. And this is why the # 1 top piece of advice professional dog trainers give to the dog-loving public is to be proactive and prevent naughty behavior from occurring in the first place with management strategies.

Prevention and management strategies are typically a temporary measure. They buy you the time necessary to train good behavior. There is a wide variety of prevention strategies you can put in place for every misbehavior your dog can think up. The most common prevention strategies include confinement with a crate, gate, or pen, but don’t limit yourself to confinement. If it keeps your dog from misbehaving, is safe and humane, then use it.

Action Plan for Misbehaviors

The Well-Mannered Dog is here to help you. If your dog is not upset my dogs or people, Start training with Manners classes, or If your dog is upset by dogs or people, consider our Changing Dog Emotions Program, and of course, Private Classes are also an option. You can start training immediately if your dog is up to date on vaccines, healthy, and at least eight weeks of age.


Author – Debbie Schaefer

Debbie has been successfully teaching dog lovers how to rambunctious, rude, disobedient dogs into Well-Mannered companions since 1987.

That means there are few bad behaviors Debbie can’t tame or troublesome pups Debbie can’t help turn into well-mannered dogs.

With training, your dog can be a great companion, a fun part of your life.