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.

18 comments for “7 ways to discipline your dog

  1. Denise sexton
    September 3, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I have a German Shepard. Yesterday I have my chihuahua a bath and let it outside. When I called my chihuahua in she nipped at him. Later on that night someone let the chihuahua out of the house and this morning I found him dead in the yard with puncher wounds. You could tell my Shepard bit into him all 4 fang teeth imbedded in his chest and abdominal area. How do I disipline my German Shepard. I have another chihauhau that is only 5
    Pounds. I don’t want this to happen again. What do I do?

  2. stormy
    September 3, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    I would not leave your two dogs together if you suspect your German Shepard of hurting your chihuahua. You can’t discipline a dog after the fact. You either have to catch them in the act or train them before hand how to act.

  3. Max
    January 8, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    I have a lab called max , if you go out side an pat and play with him he turns it into jumping on you growling and biting really hard. I’ve tried everything to stop him
    Put him a lead for a few minutes
    Hitting him
    Spraying him
    Not giving him dinner
    Nothing will work he will keep jumping and biting you until your inside away from him
    What do i do ???

  4. stormy
    January 8, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    I would not hit him or deny him food. Is he drawing blood? If not, it sounds like he wants to play. So I’d find some games to play with him. To keep him from jumping up, you can keep a leash on him and stand on it when he’s about to jump.

  5. Jo-Danan
    January 21, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Hi Stormy
    I have a 1 1/2 year old pure breed stuffy x labradoodle, he is generally well behaved and to my knowledge of dog behaviour, will at times exhibit ‘boystrous’ behaviour though over the last couple of weeks has suddenly started becoming destructive, he has completely wrecked multiple flyscreens on door, most recently doing so only two days after fixing them and has chewed on parts of the wooden house (worrying as I am renting). It seems he is acting out during the times that we are not home but have been home for a certain amount of time prior to putting him back outside. We have another dog (labradoodle-his dad) who has never exhibited these behaviours. I am unable to leave bones outside at the moment as we have European wasps swarming our backyard (though the nest is not in our yard so we can not get rid of them) though have been advised not to leave meat out as it attracts them. If you have any advise on how to discipline or hopefully stop this behaviour I would really appreciate it. Also he is being castrated in a weeks time and we are hoping this will help out. What do you think?
    Thank you

  6. stormy
    January 21, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Has anything changed recently? Even things you might not think of as very important?

  7. Jo-Danan
    January 21, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    The only thing I can think of is I went away for ten days and it seems that since then this behaviour has started, we also put a blow up pool in the back yard which he is quite fond of but it does limit the running space a bit more, though we do try and take them for a run every day, weather depending..

  8. Camryn
    January 22, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    My dog chewed up my brand-new jacket what do I do to discipline him I put his pen but that did not work.🐶

  9. stormy
    January 22, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    You have a chance to tell him “no” when you take a way the jacket. But there’s really no way to discipline him later.

  10. heather
    January 28, 2015 at 12:11 am

    I have a 6 month old pitbul coon hound mix and she is vengeful. she likes to play rough and I think she has separatiin anxiety. when ever we leave her alone she gets mad at either me or my bf and destroys that person’s belongings. if we take a trip to the store she chews up my shoes ( I’ve lost 6 pairs since we got her at 10weeks) my bf went to take a shower and put the gate up on the stairs so she couldn’t get into anything upstairs and she chews his new boots! How do we correct this because we are really tired of losing our belongings.. and one time she peed on my side of the bed because I left somewhere.I don’t want to give her away but I don’t know what to do. we discipline her but she just gets scared( she’s not bring beaten)help

  11. stormy
    January 28, 2015 at 6:45 am

    I would recommend crating a 6 month old puppy when you are not at home. Or leaving them in a completely puppy proofed area. It’s quite normal for them to still be chewing a lot.

  12. Bonnie
    January 31, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Nine year old ShizTsu wih good personality is now wetting and soiling carpet and scratching sliding doors to get to clothing to chew and ruin when left alone.

  13. Lorena
    February 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I have a 7 week old Pitbull pup, she is really sweet and scared of everything, buuuuut she is reaally troublesome. I got her a pen since she doesn’t understand when we are trying to teach her how to use a training pad, but she gets mad that she’s been put in there and starts trying to break the cage and pooping and peeing everywhere. We’ve tried everything with little success. What can i do to be able to live with her in peace?

  14. stormy
    February 9, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Instead of a pen, I’d try a crate. It’s like a den, a safe place to them. It’s quite possible they’ll protest the first couple of days – perhaps even very loud yelping and barking. Just be sure to not make a big deal before you put them in or when you let them out (don’t get overly excited or spend lots of time petting her and playing right when you let her out) and don’t leave her in there longer than her bladder can handle.

  15. stormy
    February 9, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    I would ask your vet about it. Possibly something in your dog’s health has changed.

    Has anything else changed? Your jobs? People living in the house? Routines?

  16. Karissa
    February 12, 2015 at 4:22 am

    Hello, I have a 4 1/2 year old Brittany, he used to be very good and disciplined. When I was about 5 months pregnant last year I started putting together the nursery, then I noticed every once in a while he would pee on baby’s crib when we left the house, then I noticed he would also pee in the basement sometimes when we would leave the house. Then when baby was born he started digging through the garbages and started peeing all over the house (all of this occurring when we were out of the house). Then I put him in the kennel when we’d leave the house, he was good for a month or two, then last month he started aiming his pee outside the kennel door. And he usually isn’t in there that long. Last week he ripped apart a towel and now he is eating all out food! Well be eating and he’ll walk right up to our plates and eat the food right off of it! He is just so naughty now how can I fix this?!

  17. Lucy
    March 19, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I have 9 month old Great Pyr/ Alaskan Mal mix and he’s very playful. But since we live on a farm whenever we have him off leash he automatically goes after the livestock. I have tried everything, putting him back in the pen once he tries to harm the animals. Not walking him and so on. I have already tried for h to socialize with the animals before he’s let go. What do I do?

  18. stormy
    March 19, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Instead of focusing on not paying attention to the animals, you could try getting him to focus on you. Teach him a command like “watch me” that means pay attention to me. Every time you say it, he should look at you, at your face. (You can hold a treat in each hand with your arms at a T. Say “watch me”. When he looks at your face, praise him and give him one of the treats. Repeat lots!) Also, teach him to come back to you on command and every time he ventures too far from you when there are animals, call him back.

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