Over the years there have been numerous theories regarding the correct way to discipline a dog. But many of today’s trainers cringe at some of the techniques used to train and control dogs in the past. Not only were these methods physically painful and incomprehensible for the dog but, in some cases, they actually escalated the aggressive or inappropriate behavior! Fortunately, dog trainers today know much more about the human/companion animal bond, canine psychology, pack theory and effective discipline. Modern-day trainers believe the most important reason for NOT using physical force to train your dog is that it creates mistrust between you and your dog.
There are five things to consider when disciplining your dog:
1) How old is your dog?
For obvious reasons, a puppy and an adult dog need to be disciplined differently. You cannot expect to discipline a puppy for disregarding a rule he has never learned.
2) How big is your dog?
A large 100-pound St. Bernard dog needs to be treated somewhat differently than a three-pound Pomeranian. However, regardless of size, all dogs needed to be taught manners and self-control, as well as be well socialized with people and other dogs. Regardless of size, all dogs have natural instincts that pre-determine many behaviors.
3) What breed is your dog?
Some breeds are more difficult to train than others. Some breeds are so smart that they soon learn to outsmart you. They may pick up on a command after only three of four training sessions. Others may not be so quick thinking. With training and disciplining ALL breeds you need patience, perseverance and creativity to make learning fun.
4) What is YOUR level of training?
If you have never owned a dog before, do you honestly think you have the skills necessary to properly train and socialize your dog? Even if you have had lots of experience, your dog will benefit from socializing with other dogs in a group setting. Group classes are fun for both dog and handler!
5) What kind of discipline do you feel comfortable with?
People have different types of personalities too. If you are normally very mild mannered and protective of your dog, you may find certain perfectly acceptable methods of discipline abhorrent. Attend several obedience or puppy socialization classes, talk to the trainers and students, and choose a trainer who will be willing to help you find a method of discipline that you will be able to carry out.
Disiplining Your Dog never…
• Hit a dog with your hand, a rolled up newspaper or other object.
• Kick or strike out at your dog. Dogs simply cannot comprehend the meaning of hitting and striking. Instead of correcting the behavior, your dog will simply develop into a bitter fear.
• Rub your dog’s nose in a potty “accident.” If your dog has messed in the house consider it your mistake or possibility a medical problem.
Dogs do not defecate or urinate out of spite.
• Use training collars – like pinch collars or electronic collars – without consulting your veterinarian or a qualified trainer. Misuse can result in more problems that you started with.
• Use a positive tone of voice when your dog does well. Use a stern, “growly” tone of voice when giving a correction. Remember, good leaders don’t scream and yell. (Or hit!)
• Use a discipline method appropriate to your dog’s age, breed and size.
• Realize that your dog can only understand a few words. He does not benefit from a five-minute lecture.
• Teach your dog key discipline words like: “Off!” "Leave it!”
“Enough!” And “No!”
• Don’t confuse words. “Down!” means lie down, not get off the sofa!
“Off!” means “Don’t jump up on me!” Or “Get off the sofa!”
• Use “time outs” as an effective method of letting your dog know you are displeased and, just as importantly, to give you a chance to “cool off” before your discipline becomes too harsh to be effective.
• Learn as much as you can about your breed of dog to ensure that you understand the challenges of training your chosen breed.
• Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help from qualified professionals!
Article submitted by: © Terri Perrin (Biography & Additional Information)