Puppy/Dog Info - Punishment

PUNISHMENT (oh how I hate that word…)

Punishment is something that reduces the likelihood that the dog will repeat a behavior.

If he’s being pushy and obnoxious (it started out looking "cute" though, didn't it? ;-)  ) when you’re about to feed him, he’s dancing around and being rude, put his bowl on the counter and go back to what you were doing.

Give him five minutes to stew about why he didn’t get fed, then try again.

You shouldn’t have to say anything to him to cue him to be calm, he should just learn that being overexcited doesn’t get him anywhere.

YOUR JOB is to not MAKE him overexcited by jazzing him up about his meal… it can be hard!

In this case, you putting his bowl back and leaving is a punishment intended to reduce the likelihood that he’ll be rude when you try again.

If he acts calm, get ready to give him his bowl, if he gets crazy, put it back; if you have to put it back you can use a “too bad” or “nope” and walk away. Try again when he’s acting calm.

He will figure out, quickly, that he blew it. Then he’ll try to figure out what you want.

Most dogs’ “default” is sit. When he sits or just isn’t being a nut (without you having told him to) he gets his dinner.

Unless he pops up as you start to put it down…timing is everything. His butt must remain on the ground to get his reward.

Punishment might be a time out. Or it might be pulling the car over and stopping it, if he’s acting like a maniac while you’re driving.

If he drags you to the dog park, punishment might be going the opposite direction for a few steps or just stopping and not letting him get any closer until he pays attention to you.

Punishment doesn’t have to be violent or loud or physically painful. It just has to communicate that he made a bad decision. This helps him have a little control over his life; it gives him tools to get what he wants without making you mad.

If it’s something big, you can ABSOLUTELY scold him. Dogs don’t need to be scared or hurt to learn what we want.