When you find your pooch chewing on your shoes, digging up the garden or chasing the family cat, it can be easy to become annoyed or even angry with your canine companion.

However, rather than punishing your pup for bad behaviour, all good dog trainers suggest that owners stay calm, take a step back and look to the root of the problem.

"Why do dogs chew? Why do they bark? Why do they urinate in the house?" says Jez Rose, canine behaviour specialist at The Behaviour Company. "It's either because they're stressed or bored and they need stuff to do."

So if you really want a well-behaved pooch, the best thing you can do is to make sure your dog is always kept physically and mentally stimulated throughout the day.

And this doesn't have to be too complicated or time consuming. Of course, your first priority should be to ensure that your dog has at least two half hour walks a day, but there are also things you can do around the home to keep your pup out of trouble.

Rather than just feeding your pooch from their food bowl, Jez suggests being a bit more creative and making your pup use their mind and senses to enjoy their dry dog food.

"Use food creatively. Get a great big handful and lob it all over the garden," he says.

"So then the dog has to use its nose, its most important asset, to go and find all the bits of food. Rather than taking three seconds to eat their dinner, it takes them 20 minutes. So they get fed, they get exercise and they get tons of mental stimulation as well."

Although it is essential that no pet does too much activity on a full stomach, a couple of handfuls of their dinner hidden around the garden or inside a dog toy is a great way to occupy their mind and keep them calm and relaxed.

Written by: Hannah