You walk into the lounge of your home. Sitting there in the middle of your new, expensive carpet is a big pile of dog poop. Naturally, you are angry. What do you do?
Do you yell at your dog? Perhaps you reach for the newspaper, roll it up, and beat him with it. Maybe you raise your hand and slap him on his muzzle, or spank him on the rump.
Using pain to stop your dogs’ bad behaviour may seem like a good way to discipline him. However, the fact of the matter is that hitting, slapping, beating, and spanking your dog doesn’t work.
Your dog will not understand that you are hurting him because he did something wrong. Dogs don’t think that way. They cannot relate your actions now, with something they did wrong a short while ago.
In fact, the lesson your dog actually learns could be something you did not intend.
- Think that being hit with a rolled up newspaper is a fun game.
- See your hand coming towards him to inflict pain as a threat and bite, or attack you.
- Become fearful and stressed because he doesn’t know how to make the pain stop.
So, how do you get your dog to behave without using aggressive discipline?
Prevention is Better Than Cure
A good way to keep your dog out of mischief is to make sure he does not get the chance to get into trouble in the first place.
If you do not want your dog to poop on your expensive new lounge carpet, then make sure he is not able to enter that room unsupervised. Close the room door when nobody is in there, or fit a child gate. Also, start your dog on a potty training program.
Whenever you have to leave your dog alone in your home, always have a good look around before you leave. Are there any items within his reach that he could damage, or do him harm. If there is then remove them.
Give Your Dog An Unpleasant Surprise
The hardest time to discipline your dog is when he is left on his own. If your dog regularly gets up to mischief when you are not there, setup the situation so his behaviour has a bad outcome. For instance, should your dog be in the habit of rummaging through the kitchen bin whilst you are not there, then try sprinkling some pepper on top of the rubbish.
Next time he starts to poke around in the bin, your dog will get a face full of the pepper. Don’t worry it will not hurt him, but his eyes will sting for a while. Your dog will quickly tie his bad activity to something unpleasant happening and stop doing it.
When choosing an outcome, make sure it will only frighten your dog or cause him discomfort. Never choose an outcome that will hurt him.
When You Catch Your Dog In The Act, Say No!
This is a situation that every dog owner can relate too. You are going out to a party and you have your best clothes on when your dog tries to jump up on you. To you and me it is obvious that you don’t want your dog covering your best clothes in dog hairs. However, your dog doesn’t understand the difference between your smart party clothes and the old pair of jeans you had on earlier when you were playing with him.
When you see your dog is about to do something wrong, use commands to divert him away. Before he jumps up, clap your hands to get his attention. Then give him the command “No!” and tell him to “Sit.”
Don’t forget to reward him with some petting, telling him what a good boy he is, and maybe a treat or two when he gets it right. You want to re-enforce his good behaviour so he does it again next time.
A Good Dog Is A Tired Dog
This last way to discipline your dog may surprise you. You can stop your dog from misbehaving by giving him plenty of physical and mental exercise.
If your dog is relaxed and tired, he will sleep. Obviously he can’t get up to any trouble if he is sleeping. When he is awake, make sure your dog has plenty to occupy him. If he has a big Knog full of a tasty treat, he will have better things to do than look for trouble.
However, if you allow your dog to get bored then it is only natural that he will start to look around for something to amuse himself with. And that something is likely to be the very thing you would rather he didn’t have.
How to Discipline Your dog Takeaways
- Hitting, slapping, beating, and spanking your dog doesn’t work.
- A good way to keep your dog out of mischief is to make sure he does not get the chance to get into trouble in the first place.
- If your dog regularly gets up to mischief when you are not there, setup the situation so his behaviour has a bad outcome.
- When you see your dog is about to do something wrong, use commands to divert him away.
- You can stop your dog from misbehaving by giving him plenty of physical and mental exercise.
Tamsin De La HarpeAuthor
Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.
Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.