First, let me tell you what I am calling punishment. What I am calling punishment is something one would do when their dog is misbehaving that the dog does not like. It could be a loud
noise, a shock or tightening a choke collar. You will know if the punishment worked because your dog would do the behavior less. Although some punishments are quite gentle (like saying "no"), I am not advocating using punishment to train your dog because of the negative risks of punishment. Punishments are
risky because they can cause fear, and fear is a major cause of aggression
If you do choose to punish your puppy or dog, you should seriously consider seeking the help of an experienced
professional trainer who can coach you on your timing and method. However,
I predict that the more you concentrate on preventing your dog's misbehavior and
rewarding good behavior, the less you will be need to use punishments.
Using punishment correctly is
not simple and mistakes can have serious consequences. I have outlined the some
of the requirements for effective use of punishment:
The punishment should follow
the "crime" by less than 5 seconds so that your dog will not be confused
about what behavior is being punished.
The punishment should be just
the right severity to reduce the misbehavior in 2-3 applications. If the
punishment is too weak, it could make your dog less sensitive to punishments
in the future, and if it is too harsh it could traumatize or physically harm
your dog. If a punishment is too strong, his resulting fear could lead to
a behavior problem.
Your dog should not be able
to tell that a person is punishing him. Otherwise he may learn to misbehave
when no one is looking, or he may decide that people are unpleasant or scary
to be around. The punishment should appear to come directly from the
universe like gravity. A good example is a booby trap.
Your dog should be taught a
new behavior to replace the misbehavior. For example, teach him to "sit" instead of jumping up to get attention. If your dog has no alternate
behavior for the one that was punished then he may get confused about what
he is supposed to do in that situation. In his confusion, he may choose
another misbehavior or become stressed and worried.
Be aware that if punishment is
used for aggressive behaviors it can be very dangerous. For example, if your
dog growls at your daughter and you punish him by yelling at him, he may stop growling at your daughter when you are near and the problem
may seem solved. However, your dog is likely even less comfortable
around your daughter and the risk of a bite without a warning growl is
Some examples of poorly applied punishments and possible consequences:
"Rubbing your dog's nose in
it" - This technique is generally applied too long after a house training
accident and so he will not associate the accident with the punishment. It
could make your dog afraid of you, or he may learn that he needs to hide
from you to poop.
Yelling at a barking dog -
This could increase barking if the cause of the barking is to get attention.
It could cause him to fear the person who is yelling or it could convince
him that what he was barking at was truly important since his person is "barking" too.
Jerking the leash when the
dog pulls - This is usually not a strong enough punishment to deter pulling
for long. Leash jerks can also be damaging to your dog's neck and spine.
Kneeing a dog that jumps up -
This may teach the dog that people are unpleasant or, if he enjoys being
rough, he may learn to jump more aggressively.
Training your dog properly using
punishments can be risky and difficult! Therefore, we recommend choosing a
punishment that has the least likelihood of doing harm such as a hand clap or
"time out", preventing misbehavior while you are still training and most
importantly, teaching your dog what you want him to do using rewards.
Happy Training! If you found this article helpful, please consider supporting our small business by becoming a customer or sharing our site with a friend. ~Jess