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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?