7 ways to discipline your dog

99058668_c2534056f0 There are many ways to discipline your dog. Be careful when using them that you are disciplining your dog while they are doing the bad behavior and not after they’ve quit. For example, if your dog is barking in the back yard and every time you come to the door, he stops barking and you yell at him, he may not get that you are yelling at him for barking earlier. If you yell at him every time he barks at someone, he might associate your barking with other people showing up and assume the other people are bad. You don’t yell at him when they aren’t around, right?

Here are seven ways to discipline your dog from the book How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With:

  1. Distract. Make a loud noise to distract your puppy from whatever they are doing. A loud yell, a slap on the table or shake a jar with a few pennies in it. This should startle him and focus his attention on you.
  2. Scruff-Shake. Grab the fur under his ear on his neck and shake – a “brief but brisk shake”. This works best if you catch them in the act and the scruff-shake is a surprise.
  3. Put-Down. Push the puppy over (quickly but gently) either on to his side or onto his back and lean over him. This reinforces that you are dominant.
  4. Isolation. Say no and then ignore your puppy. Puppies are very social and they won’t like it that you aren’t paying attention to them.
  5. Time-Out. Put the puppy outside for a few minutes and then try the same situation again. Or you can stop playing or interacting with the puppy for a few minutes, if you were part of the situation.
  6. Squirt Bottles. Say “off” or “no” and squirt your dog at the same time. Water guns make this fun for you. Unfortunately many dogs (and cats) find this a fun game as well. Rutherford and Neil suggest using vinegar then, one part vinegar to six parts water.
  7. Sit Command. Right after saying no, say sit. This gives your dog something else to do other than the bad thing. I’ve also found it effective to just say sit. Usually when they sit they can no longer do whatever it is you didn’t like.

My dad used to swat our puppy with an empty plastic milk jug or rolled up newspaper. It was probably the distraction that worked, not the being hit.

What methods of discipline work best for you and your dog?

Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/chainsawpanda/ / CC BY 2.0.

65 comments for “7 ways to discipline your dog

  1. stormy
    August 12, 2015 at 12:57 am

    If it’s happening a lot, I would keep him on a leash all the time for a while. (And if that’s too much work, you could try it for 30-60 minutes/day until he gets used to going where ever you go – you are in control.) This will have an additional benefit of tiring him out as he’ll have to pay attention to you for long stretches.

    You could also try putting some treats in a plastic bag in your pocket and carrying them around all the time. The treats can be small ones.

  2. jashaun
    September 14, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Try putting a cold or warm towel over their head

  3. Disbatch
    December 19, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    If I witness anyone using any of the above with the exception of the sit command I will smack the shit out of them.

  4. Noah
    February 5, 2016 at 1:04 am

    See, my parents thought the real way was to rub the dog’s face in its own crap, while saying, “WHAT IS THAT? HUH? WHAT IS THAT? STOP IT! BAD!” hurt the dog in the process, and lock her in our basement.

  5. Veronica
    February 14, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Some of these suggestion sound abusive.

  6. Tony
    April 13, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    I agree with Noah. I put my puppy pit bull’s nose in her own fecal matter once, then the second time her mouth. Not once since has she peed nor pooped in the house. Two months now.

  7. Deadeye
    May 9, 2016 at 11:48 am

    How many times did your parents stick your face in your diaper when you pooped???
    Right…The dogs don’t like it either.

  8. sandy
    May 13, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    I have a 6 month old male GSD .He is very friendly ,super agile,always sniffing and putting things in his mouth like stones ,leaves ,twigs,mud (we live in a mountain valley)we are worried he might swallow something harmful.So when outside ,we are forced to keep him on leash,is that the right solution??since we cant always keep an eye on him and we do feed him thrice a day also a few days back he got bitten by our neighbour’s 7 yr old dog,nothing serious but because of that i think he has become more anxious,distressed; he starts barking the moment he is left alone be it 2mins,and when we happen to leave him alone in the house he would not stop barking & would pee and poop all over the place its so frustrating.Can u suggest me the right way to discipline him and also how to deal with his anxiety issues.

  9. stormy
    May 13, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    If there are not poisonous substances outside, I wouldn’t worry about him putting them in his mouth.

    I would crate train him and leave him in a crate when you have to leave him inside. Dogs find crates safe and secure spots as long as you don’t over use it.

  10. Desiree Sheridan
    June 6, 2016 at 2:40 am

    My Standard Poodle broke my shoulder in 10 places to include the rotator cuff, I did not puppy train him. He was 2 when I adopterd him. FOr five years it’s been misery. He continues to hurt me and pull me. All the above, I have tried. He knows what he is doing and he can be a perfect gentleman, a freaken show dog on leash… after he’s been severely scolded. Tonight, I am home and burs-ted into tears and crying out of pain and frustration, He knows he’s been bad. It’s war when we walk and I’m out of energy. I can’t do this any more. After 5 years and medical injuries, I’m at the end of the leash and ready to let go and find a home with a Male owner. BY the Way, other than this, he’s the perfect inside dog.

  11. Jake Morrison
    June 18, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    I have a 5 month old Maltese yorkie terrier who just can’t used to using the washroom outside. I take him out every 2 hours and he still pees and poos inside. We’ve tried pee-pad training too but it didn’t work. We just want to at least bark to let us know he needs to go out

  12. Jenna
    June 20, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    I have a Pomerania who is 8/9months old he is a rescue dog he been brilliant up till two weeks ago he has started growling,showing teeth and he has even bitten myself and wee girl he not broken the skin but l do not know what do. I have a cage for him and he been put in it when he been bad l do not want to give up on him as 98% he is great dog. He got of his leash and ran away and when we got him back he had been hurt we not sure what happened to him but he had operation and he healing nicely and been fine like l said until two weeks age please help.

  13. Destiny
    June 27, 2016 at 1:56 am

    I have a 8 month old puppy. Lately he’s been acting a little crazy. Anytime he does something wrong and I yell at him he thinks I want to play and will start running around, jumping up, biting me, and running in circles like he does when he wants to play. I’m not sure what to do since anything I do he thinks I’m playing. He will only do this to me and not my boyfriend. Any suggestions?

  14. Elaine
    October 11, 2016 at 4:05 am

    I have a two year old Pomeranian Yorkie that’s gotten worse in the last month, I slept on the couch and woke up to him peeing on me, now whenever I take him out he won’t use the bathroom outside but instead waits to go inside when no one is looking. He constantly pulls his leash when we go on walks and he doesn’t come when called anymore, I don’t know what’s going on

  15. stormy
    October 12, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Some things to try.
    Establish hierarchy: make sure you sleep higher. So you sleep on the bed/couch, he sleeps on the floor.
    Don’t let him wander around the house by himself until you get the peeing in the right place down. Tie him to you with a leash.
    Use lots of treats as rewards when he comes when called. Even if it’s just from the end of a 10 foot leash. And every time you call, make sure he comes to you before you move on to something else.

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