How To Discipline A Puppy

Behavior Recent April 15, 2022
Small black puppy in the green grass

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How To Discipline A Puppy

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Puppies naturally enjoy barking, chewing, and “going” where ever it seems convenient. Being a dog owner means teaching your puppy boundaries and how to grow with respect for the world around them.

Your pups behavior, learned skills, and the bond they develop with you are all influenced by how they are trained. If your puppy is at least 8 weeks old, it maybe time to start training and disciplining them with love, praise, and positive reinforcement.

What’s the Difference Between Discipline And Punishment?

When an unwelcome action occurs, it is not uncommon for you to think of punishment as your first response. Punishment is defined as inflicting a penalty that generally includes negative consequences like suffering, pain, or loss.

While reprimanding is usually associated with punishment, it does not have to be. When training your pup, discipline is best being redirected by taking a a negative action and turning it into a positive one.

However, punishment usually includes producing fear through painful physical actions or stress-inducing actions. Proper direction, not punishment is what makes a well behaved dog.

How to Discipline your Puppy

Ignore Bad Behavior

One of the easiest methods for disciplining your pup is easy and requires ignoring any bad behavior. Because dogs thrive on attention and love your pup will learn that they can’t get your attention or love by behaving badly and stop.

Basically if you find your puppy behaving in a manner that you do not think is acceptable, like barking at people passing by, jumping on you, or biting you, then just ignore them. Most bad behavior puppies display comes from wanting attention so stopping the attention can stop the behavior. Your pup will learn fast what gets your attention and what does not.

Practice Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is one of the most popular and effective methods of discipline for your dog. Praising your pup is rewarding for them and using words like “good job” or “good dog” will encourage them to behave. Another example is if you ae potty-training your pup, you can give them a treat every time they “go” outdoors or go on a puppy pad.

Another simple way to use positive reinforcement is to give them extra affection and repeat the command in an exaggerated, praising tone. Not only is this method of  highly effective for dogs, it also builds and improves the relationship between you and your dog.

Positive reinforcement is the opposite of giving your dog a punishment that they don’t quite understand, and praising them for good actions and behavior.

Create a Location for a Time Out

Timeouts are another form of discipline for your puppy. Because puppies need attention and love, isolation after they have done something wrong works well as a form of punishment.

It is important that you have a dedicated location your puppy to use in a time out and you can watch them closely. This can be in a specific, puppy-safe, room of your house or a crate, if you have one. When your puppy is misbehaving, stop the behavior immediately and put your your pup in timeout in the dedicated area. Leave your pup alone and refuse to give them your attention for no more than 10 minutes.

However, it is important to teach your puppy to be happy and content on their own in this area to prevent separation anxiety-related problems and give your pup a safe place. You may even want to give your puppy a frozen Kong, or feed them their meals in this area, and ensure it’s to their liking.

Be Consistent 

Disciplining your puppy and correcting their behavior can be a tough job in the beginning but it can be rewarding for you as well. You need to be consistent when disciplining your pup to help him remember what he is learning.

When correcting or praising your puppy, you need to be solid and precise when showing him good behavior. There should be no confusion on your puppy’s part on whether he did the right thing or not. It is always best to not mislead your pup by changing your commands, especially when beginning a training routine.

Make Time for Your Puppy

It is important that you invest your time and attention in monitoring and keeping an eye on your puppy. This will contribute to correcting behavior problems and will help them learn faster as well as build a bond with you.

Remember to keep training sessions short and fun but consistent. This will help you and your pup achieve success sooner.

Use Firm Commands

Use firm commands when required to make your puppy stop his bad behavior and this works for dogs of all ages. Make sure your dog follows through with the command you have given before you praise them.

Quickly saying a loud and firm “No bite!” command if your pup is being mouthy, is fine. You can also cry out or say “ouch” in a loud, high-pitched tone to notify your dog of your dismay.

What Not to Do

Do Not Use Physical Punishment

Using physical punishment can make a puppy scared of hands, especially when they move quickly. This can lead to fear-based aggression and the last thing you want is your puppy to be afraid of hands.

Most dogs rarely bite unless they are scared and your puppy is only doing what they know how to do, not intentionally misbehaving or causing problems.

Do Not Shout or Yell at your Puppy

Shouting or yelling at your puppy may be misinterpreted as a threat. This can lead to your puppy developing a fear of you and may recoil every time he sees you. This is not a very positive scenario for you and your pup and can damage your bond. If you notice your pup is not paying attention or behaving badly, turn your back and ignore the bad behavior.

Do Not Rub Your Pup’s Nose in It

Rubbing your pup’s nose in anything is a complete act of cruelty and your dog has no idea why you are doing it. However, they do not know that it’s unpleasant and this action will affect your relationship with your dog as well as create a lot of anxiety for him.

For example, if your pup does not completely understand that he’s not allowed to go potty in the house, there are other ways to effectively train your dog to go outside. One is positive reinforcement as mentioned above, as well as redirecting your dog outside. Keep in mind your pup does know that it’s not supposed to go to the bathroom inside the house, it may still be drawn to the areas in which he had previous accidents and smells the urine left behind.

Do Not Encourage Bad Behavior

Although some things may be cute or funny with puppies, it is important to never encourage bad behavior. Puppies are notorious for jumping on guests, showing dominance and while these actions may be adorable at the time, never laugh or encourage with attention.

It is important you discipline your puppy in the moment and then provide him treats for his good behavior.

Final Thoughts

A well trained puppy is the hope of every new dog owner and proper training and discipline are the best ways to help a dog understand good behavior from bad. Of course, there will be mistakes as your puppy is learning but if you are willing to make the commitment, you can enjoy a lifetime of happiness with your new furry friend.

Amy Brown is a Certified NAVC Pet Nutritionist and pet lover. She is the proud owner of two cats and a dog and her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care, nutrition, and product reviews.
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