Boisterous behaviour can be one of the hardest problems to manage.

Managing boisterous behaviour is one of the most common and likewise often one of the hardest problems out there to correct. A boisterous dog, whether with other dogs or people can end up being restricted to lead only walks, end up being heavily punished by a well-meaning but clueless owner, or even attacked by other dogs who have had enough of his rambunctious behaviour?

Some breeds can be naturally more boisterous than others, and it’s important to choose a breed of dog that matches what you want from a pet. For example bull breeds typically play quite hard and have very little awareness of what they may knock over or run into when in full zoomie mode. Breeds such as Boxers, Weimaraner’s and Labradors can be boisterous with other dogs. Spaniels tend to be a little less boisterous and more inclined to sniff and scurry than body slam and bite. Research your breed and adjust your training plan accordingly.

A boisterous dog may:

  • Jump up at people,
  • have poor recall,
  • bodyslam other dogs or people,
  • knock children over,
  • be destructive in the house ,
  • lack focus or obedience, and be unable to settle down

The most common reason for this behaviour is a lack of impulse control. If your dog has good impulse control then they will be more patient, more able to settle during exciting moments, show more restraint around food, toys or children, have better lead manners and generally be a lot calmer. Impulse control is an often overlooked skill that ALL dogs need to learn.

Boisterousness can usually be managed with obedience training. For example if your dog doesn’t pull on the lead, then he won’t drag you down the street after the kids on scooters, he won’t barge you through doorways and he will be more focussed on you overall. Use positive reinforcement and force free methods to calm your boisterous pooch, or you could end up with a dog who seems calm on lead but once off lead and away from corrections etc, could become even MORE boisterous.

Impulse control can be taught really well through play. One of my favourite games is the ‘Green Light Red Light’ game. Firstly get your dog to play with you, whether tuggy or rough housing with them, whatever makes them SUPER excited. Play this then say a simple ‘Enough’ and become a tree. Do not engage them. Stop all play and wait. As they bounce and bark and try to get you to play again, the very split second they offer a sit or just stand still, say ‘yes!’ and re-engage play. Gradually over time ask for a longer waiting time before re engaging. This game teaches your dog an off switch.

Off lead boisterousness with dogs and people can simply be managed with good recall and plenty of games like the Red Light Green Light game I mentioned earlier. Start at home in a quiet environment first and practice recall. You want your dog’s name response to be the speed of lightning! Now this is something that can take MONTHS to build up so don’t be discouraged if your dog still isn’t obedient within a week. In the meantime, manage your dog on a long line so they can’t practice any bullying or OTT behaviour with their playmates.

So essentially, boisterous behaviour is easily solved with obedience training, impulse control and generally capturing calm behaviours. For more in depth guidance on this, contact your trainer.