Dr. Joyce Ashamalla
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla is the managing partner at Hinsdale Animal Hospital with Kremer Veterinary Service, as well as a partner at CARE Animal Emergency Hospital. She received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois- Champaign Urbana, where she also completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She is AO certified, USDA-APHIS accredited, and is a member of the CVMA, ISVMA, AVMA.
The term discipline tends to have a negative connotation for many people, as the word can be synonymous with punishment. When it comes to disciplining a dog, the word training is much more acceptable today. Training a dog can be a very gratifying process, but one that requires patience and time.
In this blog, we will look at effective ways on how to train (discipline) a dog, as well as other methods that can actually be harmful to your pet’s physical and mental health.
The Best Way(s) To Discipline A Dog
Here are some humane and effective methods to train your dog. These tips are all based on a time tested technique called classical conditioning, an approach that utilizes a positive/negative reward and consequence system.
Live In The Moment – Dogs are not able to recall behaviors for very long after they do them. When it comes to dog discipline or training, it is critically important that you address your dog’s behavior immediately after she does it. If your dog tears up a pillow 3 hours before you come home and you scold her for it upon arrival, you are not accomplishing anything productive. Your animal will not understand what you are punishing her for and this experience will only scare and confuse her. So when working on correcting a dog’s behavior problems, you must address it right as it happens.
H2O On The Go – One of the most effective ways to discipline a dog is to interrupt the bad behavior as it is happening with a stern "NO" and a good squirt in the face with a water bottle. It’s important to give her the water treatment within a few seconds of the unacceptable behavior taking place. The combination of the serious tone of voice and the water bottle will help your pooch to understand that the behavior she is doing is unacceptable.
Penny Wise - There are few sounds that are more disconcerting for a dog than a bunch of pennies being shaken in a partially empty metal can. Like the water bottle, the unpleasant sound of the penny jar is a very effective way to get your dog’s attention. This method, coupled with the proverbial and stern "NO" is a great way to teach your dog that what she is doing is not cool. Dogs have very sensitive hearing and the clanking sound of the penny jar and your less than loving tone is a powerful way to cause pup to think twice about engaging in socially unacceptable behavior.
What Not To Do
Just as there are effective ways to discipline (train) your dog, there are other methods that not only may not work, but can be considered detrimental to your dog’s physical and mental health. Of course the first form of inappropriate discipline is hitting your animal. Yes, like the water bottle or the penny jar, she will eventually understand that the unkind physical contact is associated with a given undesirable behavior, but hitting a dog is never the right thing to do. In addition to possibly physically harming her, she will also develop a fear of you. Fear in animals can often back fire on pet owners, as dogs who are afraid of people are more likely to lash out, attack or bite.
With the proper amount of time and patience, pet owners can successfully discipline dogs in an effective, but positive way. While it’s never appropriate to hit an animal, such methods as the water bottle, penny jar and a simultaneous, stern "NO" can go a long way in teaching your pet about unacceptable behavior. It’s very important to always discipline a dog in the moment, not hours later when you come home from work and discover the torn table cloth on the ground. Dogs are very smart and teachable, so take the time needed to discipline her the right way and you both will enjoy a life time of great behavior from her!
Now off to the bank for those rolls of pennies!
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