A common problem for many new dog owners is this. How to properly administer discipline to a dog? What about how to discipline a puppy? Some discipline methods are certainly better with puppies, who can be more receptive to training than older dog, but other techniques are fine for any age. In today’s article we will discuss dog discipline techniques that will help you to develop a growing bond of trust with your furry friend. Remember, anger is never the answer, as you will only teach your dog to be afraid of you by doing this. Let’s discuss a few techniques that you can try instead!
Dog vs. puppy discipline
Discipline for a puppy is much easier than disciplining a dog that is already set in their ways. This doesn’t mean that you can’t teach an older dog. That old adage which states that you cannot teach an old dog any new tricks is simply a myth. All dogs can learn and they WILL learn if you exercise patience and the right techniques. That said, let’s discuss a few puppy friendly techniques and some separate techniques that are good for both dogs and puppies.
How do you discipline a puppy?
When it comes to disciplining a puppy, there are definitely a lot more things that you can do. The pup is much smaller and this means that you can utilize some techniques that the pup’s mother might use, which would likely not sit so well with older dogs. Some example techniques are as follows:
- Scruff tugs – There is some loose skin on your dog’s neck, just under the ear, would you can quickly (but lightly) pinch and then tug back and forth a little. Not very hard, just enough to get the pup’s attention. Say ‘no!’ to go along with this so that your dog knows that this behavior is unacceptable. This is the best way to discipline a very young puppy.
- Roll-over-Rover – Gently push your pup onto their side or onto their back. Look down at them and firmly say ‘no!’. When puppies wrestle, the submissive pup will roll over on it’s back as a form of surrender. By doing this you are establishing yourself as the dominant and if you are able to ‘catch them in the act’ then this can be most effective.
- Squirt-gun – Sometimes catching your pup when they are doing something wrong can be difficult from a distance. A squirt gun is a safe and effective way to catch them quickly. Say ‘No!’ and send a quick water squirt. Some dogs will see this as a game, so it doesn’t work with all of them, but it can be an effective method with some pups.
- Distract and ‘sit’ – ‘Sit’ is one of the first commands that everyone teaches their puppy and this can be useful. If your pup is about to get into something then distract them (a funny noise or simply their name will do to get their attention). Once you have the pups attention, call them to you and say ‘sit!’. After they have remained sitting for a minute or two then you can give your pup a treat but distract them again if they try the same bad thing as before.
What is the best way to discipline a dog?
While the ‘distract and sit’ technique is one that you can also use with an older dog, the other techniques which we listed for puppies are best only used on puppies. For an older dog, we recommend techniques such as these:
- Time-out station – Using a pet fence inside the house or if you have another isolated spot like a bathroom or a laundry room then you can create a Time-out station. Don’t put any dog toys here. The goal is isolation. If your dog is doing something bad then you say ‘time out’ and gently pull them by their collar to take them to the time-out station. Leave your dog here alone for 3-5 minutes ONLY. After this time, you can take them back out and resume play, placing the dog in time out as needed until the dog learns which behaviors are unacceptable.
” Leave your dog here alone for 3-5 minutes ONLY.”
- ‘No’ and ‘lay down’ – If you have taught your dog to lay down, then when your dog misbehaves say ‘No!’, then call them to you, and tell them to ‘lay down’. After your dog has laid down for 2 – 3 minutes then give them a treat and resume play. Over time your dog will learn which behavior is stopping play and this should have an effect on their behavior.
- Positive reinforcement – Sometimes the best discipline with older dogs is exactly the opposite. Reward good behaviors. If your dog happens to be sitting, say ‘sit’ and give them a treat until they learn the sit command. When your dog lays at your feet, if you like this, say ‘lay down’ and give them a treat. Eventually they will learn these commands. By reinforcing positive behaviors and associating words with them then you will create a number of other things which you can tell your dog to do to distract them from doing bad things in the first place!
Some final words
Training and disciplining a puppy or a dog can be difficult but it is very rewarding. Remember, not all dogs learn at the same pace and aside from different characteristics all their own there are also traits inherent in certain breeds. A good example is a Beagle. Beagles love to hunt and can become very distracted in a park, more so than some other breeds. This means that training the ‘stay’ command might be a bit harder outdoors than it would with say, a German Shepherd. So be sure to read up on your particular breed of dog just in case there are any traits you should be prepared for and apply our techniques with knowledge and patience. Your furry friend will thank you!