Having a new four-legged friend doesn’t always mean fun, games, and cuteness.
Once your new pup starts chewing on your shoes and wreaks havoc inside your home, “cute” will be the last thing on your mind. This is why no matter how adorable his puppy dog eyes are, it’s still important to impose discipline.
Do you know the right way to correct dog behavior?
Contrary to what other people think, punishing a dog isn’t always the best way to teach him to behave. A positive reinforcement method where your pup can learn through a reward-based system is actually the most efficient way of instilling discipline.
Punishment vs. Discipline
If you do it properly, punishment doesn’t need to be negative. Constructive punishment will help your pooch learn through conditioning methods and understand quickly what is allowed and what is not.
Below are methods considered to be positive and beneficial:
- Use a certain tone of voice to stop unwanted behavior rather than hitting
- Take toys away
- Stop giving attention when there’s any misbehavior
- Enforce time-outs
The methods above are both efficient and humane at the same time. This way, your beloved pooch won’t feel wary or scared of you and understand completely that what he did isn’t something that you’ll tolerate.
If you want a disciplined canine companion, you have no choice but to put on your parent hat and teach your pooch to behave correctly. But before you begin, make sure to consider the following practices when instilling dog discipline:
1. Be consistent
If you got angry with your pup for barking endlessly on Tuesday but you let it slide on Wednesday, he will get confused and won’t learn correct behavior. Giving in to your pup even once will reinforce negative behavior which can lead to an undisciplined adult dog in the future.
Whining, barking, and other types of vocalization are natural for puppies.
However, excessive barking can be both annoying and inappropriate, so learn to reprimand your pup with a firm “no” or by withholding attention. This is an effective approach in stopping unnecessary barking.
Whatever you’re trying to teach your pooch, as long as you remain consistent, you will have better chances of teaching good behavior.
2. Catch in the act
Bad behavior should only be reprimanded when caught in the act, so be prompt.
For instance, if you see your pup chewing through the screen door, reprimand him right away and not ten minutes later. Doing so will only make your pooch confused as to what he is being scolded for.
3. Use positive reinforcement
Rewarding good behavior is just as important as punishing bad behavior.
If your pup stops barking when you tell him to, give his favorite dog food as a treat. Praise your pup for the good thing he has done so that he will remain motivated to become a disciplined canine.
4. Give timeouts
Timeouts or isolations are most effective when you use it in response to bad behaviors like chewing, nipping, and pestering other dogs.
A great way to discipline your pooch through timeouts is by giving a verbal signal, and then leaving the room or leading him to an area where he’ll be alone and separated. Ideally, don’t let a timeout last longer than a few minutes.
5. Allow playtime
Give your pup a breather by allowing him to play. It shouldn’t be always about training. Allow your dog to play with dog toys and have fun in the park.
Chewing, especially in puppies, is usually due to curiosity or teething. Unless inappropriate, give your pup something nice to chew on such as a piece of bone or chewing toy instead of your sofa.
6. Establish a routine
By establishing a routine for your pup, he can get used to exhibiting the right behaviors.
For example, feed your pooch twice in the morning and evening at a fixed time so that he will not beg you for food in between those periods. With regard to pooping and peeing, bring your pup outside after eating so that he’ll adapt to that routine and do it outdoors instead of indoors.
Inappropriate behavior can be easily curbed with patience, correct punishment and reward methods.
With proper discipline, your new furry friend can develop habits that will keep you both safe and happy.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.