Is your dog causing trouble? Use these tips to train him like a pro!

By Thea Linscott Of
Updated December 31, 2008 03:28 PM

In the new movie Marley & Me, Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson find their hands full after they adopt a wild yellow Labrador puppy. While the movie inspires smiles and tears, it may remind many people of the rowdy pups they have at home – or may even encourage some to adopt a new furry friend of their own.

It’s important for those interested in adopting a dog to not only consider the breed – and how the new family member will fit into their home – but also how to encourage good behavior. We spoke to to get some tips on helping pet owners avoid their own “Marley-like” challenges:

Play with your dog! Exercising your dog is important, but making time to play with your dog is vital to developing and maintaining a good relationship with him. Actively playing with your dog will keep him fit both physically and mentally.

Make time to train. Every moment that you spend with your dog is an opportunity to teach him something – good or bad. If you still think you don’t have the time to work with your dog, just make mealtime training time. Have him earn his kibble one handful at a time.

Keep your training sessions short. Training shouldn’t take hours a day. Two 5-minute sessions or Five 2-minute sessions a day are ideal for most behaviors.

Use variety. When working with your dog, make sure that you use a variety of people, situations and locations. By doing this, your dog will learn faster and you’ll give him a better understanding of what you are asking him to do.

Manage your dog. Dogs are dogs – not little furry people! Preventing them from getting into trouble is the best way to manage unwanted behaviors. Dogs do lots of things that people tend not to like, such as getting into the garbage, chewing up items we think are valuable and jumping up to say hello.

Interested in pet adoption? Visit to meet one of the nearly 190,000 dogs the site has up for adoption right now!