How Do I Punish My Dog? Advice on what to do if your pup screws up.

Drawing your pet’s attention to his bad behavior when it is about to happen or is happening is critical to success.

Redirect your pet’s attention at that time to a positive behavior and then reward it to help your pet distinguish what he cannot do and what he should do instead.


Catch Your Dog In The Act


Too many pet owners reprimand their pet for something that the pet has done in the past. For example, if you come home from a day of work and discover that your dog has turned over the garbage can and shredded the contents, admonishing your dog will only make things worse.  Your dog will have no idea why you’re made and, in fact, may think that you are yelling at him because he greeted you when you came home!  Corrective behavior like this will undermine your dog’s trust in you.  In order to stop bad behavior in dogs, you have to catch it as it is about to happen or is currently happening.

Devices like this Petcube Play enable you to watch, listen and interact with your pet while he or she is home alone. Click the image to view on Amazon.

Understand What Behaviors Come Naturally To Dogs


Many people don’t want to see. a dog begging for food at the table (and I’m one of them!) To that end, never give your dog food when you are eating.  Dogs will quickly learn that if they sit and stare at you while you are eating, you’ll eventually pay out like a food slot machine.  Still, dogs have an acute sense of smell and learn thousands of their things by smelling.  If your dog moves towards the trashcan to smell it, moves towards your child to smell him or her, moves towards your new kitten to smell it, or moves towards your hamburger to smell it, be patient with the behavior.  Just be on guard for when your pet breaches the boundary of investigating and starts to get pushy.  Dogs, like people, are curious and you should not assume that if a dog is smelling or approaching something for a closer look or sniff that he’s up to no good…but you should be on guard in case he is;)


Is It Okay To Hit My Dog?


No. Hitting is an ineffective way to correct negative behavior.  Hitting dogs makes them mistrustful, can make them run away, or be aggressive.   Hitting may also have the unintentional consequence of teaching a dog to espy movements in others that appear to be leading to a smack.  In such cases, the dog may run from others, recoil, or bite.


How To Train a Dog To Stop Negative Behavior


  1.  Call your dog’s attention to the behavior while it is happening or is about to happen.  It is best to do this with a sound or a word like Tsch!  Eh! or  No!  If the dog is barking loudly or is very distracted while engaged in the inappropriate behavior, a loud sound like a clap or the shaking of keys can be jarring enough to get the dog to stop and pay attention to you.
  2. Redirect the dog’s current actions.  Now, that you have your dog’s attention, give him a sit command.
  3. Reward the good behavior with a treat and a sound (‘good dog’, a click from a clicker, etc.)
  4. Do not allow any bad behavior to go unaddressed.  In order for your dog to continue to be obedient, he needs to know that bad behavior is always bad. Whenever you see it happening, redirect and reward the alternative, positive behavior.


The Value of Training Your Dog


You two are going to be living together for a long time…probably the next 16 years!  What’s cute now may be annoying later.  You may enjoy your dog in your bed, but your next girl or boyfriend may not.  Dogs that are allowed to sit on the furniture typically end up scratching it threadbare and covering it with hair and dirt.  The more freedom you give your dog to live like a fellow human in your household, the more you risk your dog challenging your position as head of your household. All of us love our dogs like family, but in the end, you want a pet that respects you, your guests and family, and your living space  Pets that feel that they are equal to their human counterparts are more likely to demonstrate aggression towards the other people or animals that you bring into your home and are more likely to bother you in your day-to-day life.  Like children, the best dogs are ones that have good manners and listen respectfully to what they are told.


Stop Your Dog From Engaging in These Three Bad Habits


To get you underway with understanding how to correctly change your dog’s behavior, watch these experienced animal behaviorists at work.


How To Stop Your Pet From Barking At the Door



How To Stop Your Pet From Jumping On People



How To Stop Your Dog From Begging


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