Dogs are like another member of the family. But with their unconditional love and affection comes a few token habits you really wish you could change. Dogs may not leave the toilet seat up or rack up huge cell phone bills, but some of the bad behaviors that dogs exhibit can be just as bothersome. If you Rover won’t stop digging, whining, using your couch as a urinal or barking out the window, no amount of grounding or passive aggressive notes stuck to the fridge will stop him. But here’s what you can do:

How to Stop Your Dog from Digging

Digging is instinctual for dogs, so it’s a tough habit to break. The problem: it’s just so dang fun to dig. Maybe Fido’s chasing a mole or just really into the odor of manure that you use to fertilize your sweet smelling flowers. Solution: make digging in the garden no fun. Turn on the sprinkler next time he starts kicking up dirt, or spray him with a hose or water gun. They’ll quickly learn that getting their paws dirty means getting soaked. And that’s no fun. If that doesn’t work, try this:

  • Take him for a walk. Sometimes dogs dig out of boredom.
  • Put some of the dog’s own feces in a hole she’s already dug. Dogs hate the smell of their own droppings.
  • Set apart an area where it’s okay for the dog to dig. Some dogs just gotta scratch that itch. Praise them when they dig there and berate them when they dig elsewhere.

How to Keep Your Dog from Whining

Dogs, like people, whine when they want attention. Tackle this issue from two fronts: by giving them sufficient attention and discouraging the notion that whining gets them what they want. Don’t isolate your dog for hours and hours away from the family. Visit them from time to time to reassure them that you haven’t abandoned them. But! Ignore them when they whine. Even if they are right at your feet, weeping like it’s a funeral, don’t give them the time of day. Meanwhile, praise them when they quiet down.

How to Teach Your Dog to Heel

Heeling is vital to having a dog that is safe to walk in public. Get some soft, tasty treats (different from his regular treats) and put them on a leash. Hold the leash in your right hand and have the dog sit on your left side. Get your dog’s attention and start walking forward. When the dog starts walking along with you, give him a treat. If he gets ahead of you, stop him and make him sit. When  your dog learns to walk alongside you, start saying “heel” as you walk. When he walks alongside you successfully, give him a treat. Keep working at it in 15 minute training sessions till he gets it.

How to house train your dog

The key to housetraining your puppy is scheduling. Feed the dog at the same time every day and night and make sure they wake up and go to bed at the same time. Take them out regularly throughout the day at the same time. When the dog starts relieving itself, praise it with a different praise than you usually use. When he’s done, congratulate him again. If he doesn’t go within the first 5 minutes, go back inside for half an hour and try again.

If you catch the dog using the indoors  as a restroom, firmly (without yelling) tell them “no.” Clap your hands if you need to get their attention. Then, take them outside to where they are supposed to go. If he finishes up outside, praise him.

If your dog goes behind your back, calmly put him on a leash and bring him to the site of the accident. Firmly scold the waste – not the dog – and then clean mess up thoroughly to remove all odors.

How to Stop Your Dog Barking

Some of the same rules apply for barking as whining. But when dogs bark at things rather than for attention, get them to stop by dashing some water in their face and saying “quiet” calmly and firmly. This will teach them that “quiet” means shut up or your getting wet.

For dogs that bark when you are away, you’ll have to cure their separation anxiety. Don’t coddle your dog when you are home or he’ll grow overly attached to your presence. Also, slip out of the house without saying goodbye while your dog is occupied with a chew toy. Do not make a grand entrance when you come home either – although it may feel nice to be greeted so warmly, doing so will accentuate your absence and can lead to barking.

Nutrition and Dog Behavior

One last aspect of dog training that is often overlooked is diet. Aside from dogs getting restless when they are hungry, a proper diet can help dogs think clearly and pay attention. Different imbalances in diet are manifest in certain behaviors, including:

  • High levels of cereal foods (wheat, corn) may lead to hyperactivity.
  • Low or hard to digest protein can make dogs overly aggressive.
  • Dogs who can’t digest their food well are shy, stressed and have dry, coats that shed heavily.

There are countless other ways diet can affect your dogs behavior. As such ,it’s important to choose the best dog food for your pet. Choose a high quality food that is specifically designed for your type of dog and his age.