For pet parents, one of the biggest challenges is to discipline your dog. If not done right, it could permanently affect how your pet behaves. As most of us want a happy and spirited dog who loves and trusts us, it makes it tricky to know where to draw the line.
So, which is the best way to discipline your furry friend? Or is there a right and wrong way to do it. While some prefer to take a stern hand, for others, it’s positive reinforcement that works. So we have put on our thinking caps and found out the best ways to encourage good behavior in your pooch without hurting them.
1. Start With Training Early
While puppies have innate abilities on how to behave around humans, they are entirely unaware of the human-made world. Dogs do not infinitely know that your rug is expensive, and it is wrong to pee on it. Nor that your favorite shoe is not a chew toy. Learning such things takes time, and the earlier you start, the better.
As stated by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, puppies should receive socialization lessons as early as 7-8 weeks of age. It will help in training as well as strengthening the human-animal bond. When you teach pups to fit into human society, disciplining will come into play, and a positive-reward based system is the key.
2. Focus on activities They Love
While using a reward-based disciplining, let your dog know that you are in control of their favorite activities. In most cases, this includes playtime, snuggle time, tasty treats, or their walks. For food-motivated dogs such as Labrador, treats can work very well. If you are able to identify their motivation, it can work as a reward for their excellent behavior.
Take time to select the most effective method while trying different ways. While your dog might respond well to some treats at home, their actions might be changed in a public place where there are more distractions.
3. Firm Vocal Commands
Though punishment is not favored, that does not mean you shouldn’t be firm with your dog at all. Firm vocal reprimands could and should play a crucial role in their training. These come in extremely handy, especially if your pet has an ESA letter allowing you to take them anywhere and as positive reinforcements are not possible every time.
Shouting at your canine will not be effective in the long run. Instead, focus on training them on vocal cues, such as a simple “no” or an “uh-uh”. Your pet should be familiar with different sounds, that they should pick up the signal from the tone of your voice.
4. Be Clear and Consistent
A consistent and consequent approach is worth it to breed good character in dogs. This will strengthen your relationship and their respect for you. Do not let them jump on your sofa one day and shout at them for the same behavior tomorrow.
Deciding up-front on how you expect your pet to behave and hold on to that. It is all about consistency, with training every single day. As you might not be able to watch them throughout the day, pet cameras that double as treat dispensers could come in aid. Even well-behaved dogs can behave aggressively when you are away due to separation anxiety.
5. Punishment is Never the Solution
Psychology Today confirms that punishing dogs can only increase aggressive responses. While 43% of canines increased their aggression to punishment, only 3% responded aggressively for a corrective sound. It will not only result in good discipline but will also affect the relationship between you and the pet. They could develop fear and anxiety, as well as tend to behave adversely more often.
With enough attention and mental stimulation, it shouldn’t be hard to discipline your dig while showering them with affection. As different dogs have different needs, you will also have to do your homework on what works for your pet.