It's important to learn how to discipline a dog effectively. There are means of humane punishment that will teach your pooch he did wrong without hurting him. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key to proper dog training and discipline.
Bringing a new dog into your home is fun and exciting, but it can also be a frustrating challenge. Getting angry at your pet is not going to fix anything. Before you bring your new friend home, you need to understand that training him initially will be quite a challenge.
There will be times when you feel frustrated or angry, and that is a sign that you and your dog need a break!
Learning how to discipline a dog effectively sounds simple, but there are proven methods that work and are 100% safe and humane. There are also dangerous ways of punishing your dog that could traumatize him. Disciplining your dog should not be done by shouting or physical punishment. Instead, positive reinforcement, patience and consistency are key to this fundamental task.
How To Discipline A Dog Effectively Without Punishment
By definition, punishment is the application of a penalty used to decrease the likelihood that an unwanted behavior will be repeated. Punishment must be done consistently and at the appropriate time in order to be effective.
For example, let’s say your dog gets into something that he shouldn’t while you’re not home. Hours later, you come home and discipline him. Does your dog associate the punishment with what he did hours earlier or is he just conditioned to respond to your punishment (yelling, spanking, putting him outside, etc…)
The 2 rules that I believe every pet owner should follow when disciplining their pet are (1) never use punishment during training and (2) never punish a pet that is trying to satisfy his own needs.
What do I mean by this?
First, a dog that is still learning should not be punished. If the dog is not 100% sure what your expectations are, how can you expect him to do what he is supposed to do. Second, if your dog is exhibiting bad behavior in order to satisfy his own needs, he should not be punished for that.
For example, if your dog is chewing or barking out of boredom, it’s not his fault. You need to provide the stimulation that he needs. It’s your responsibility to provide him with exercise, toys, chews and other forms of entertainment that will burn his energy and engage his brain.
Physical punishment and yelling/shaming should be avoided. These types of negative punishment may make your pet fearful of you. Your dog could also become defensive, which could lead to aggression.
Now that you know what you shouldn’t do, here’s what you should do…
If you catch your dog in the act of bad behavior (barking, going to the bathroom in the house, chewing something that he shouldn’t be chewing) you need to distract your pet and redirect him to the desired behavior. You can distract your dog by clapping or using a commercial product, like a shaker can.
Once distracted, the unwanted behavior will stop. While your dog is distracted from the unwanted behavior, redirect him to what he is supposed to be doing. If your pet is urinating in the house, distract him and take him outside. If he’s chewing something that he shouldn’t be, distract him and take away the object he’s chewing. Replace it with a toy or dog chew that he is allowed to have in his mouth.
And now, the most important part. After distracting and redirecting your dog, be sure to praise him once he’s doing the right thing. With this form of discipline, your dog will learn what he isn’t supposed to be doing, what is expected of him and he’ll learn it all in a positive way that helps to foster and strengthen the bond between the two of you.
Discipline is most effective when you catch your pet in the act of the unwanted behavior. In order to prevent your dog from getting into trouble when you’re not around, consider crate training him.
Consistency is also key. If, for example, you’re trying to teach a puppy not to nip/bite, the behavior needs to be considered unacceptable at all times. You can’t allow your dog to put his mouth on any human for any reason, even if he’s playing.
Most puppies will follow their natural instincts when playing with humans, and that includes biting and nipping. This behavior needs to be considered inappropriate at all times, not just when it’s inconvenient for you. Consistency is key. Be firm and consistent whenever the bad behavior is presented.
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