A common mistake that many people make when training their dogs, whether house training, obedience training, or teaching them entertaining tricks, is using various forms of punishment when the animal doesn’t do what they want. Shouting at the dog, hitting it and even closing it away on its own for hours are too often forms of punishing a dog used by pet owners who have been misinformed.
This is very detrimental to the pet-owner relationship, and to the dog’s emotional wellbeing. Utilising these ways of punishment whilst training will not gain any respect towards you by your dog and will make it hard for you to gain its respect. If your dog is a rescue animal, this is particularly damaging, as rescued pets tend to come with a history of being abused and neglected, and can take longer to build a level of respect and trust with you.
Not only is punishment damaging to your relationship and your pet’s emotional health, it’s not effective either. More often than not, punishing your dog leads to defensive, aggressive behaviors. Behaviors of this sort, once set it, will take some work to rectify. The quickest way to seeing the results you want is through positive reinforcement.
Instead of punishing your dog for unwanted behaviors, reward them for good behaviors. This is a great technique which will be very effective in many different circumstances. If you spot your dog weeing indoors then give it a quick “no” and remove it straight away outside. Keep a close eye on your dog. When you see your dog using the correct location for its toilet business make sure you give then loads of praise.
It won’t take long for your dog to make the connection between the bad behavior and your disapproval, and the good behavior and your praise. It is in a dogs genes to make you happy and will take you as their packleader. The dog’s natural urge to please you will work wonders for you when you are training it.
The same principle applies to any situation, be it unnecessary barking, chewing on furniture or objects, jumping on or licking people, or any other of a host of annoying and potentially dangerous habits. Patience is very much a virtue when training and along with consistency is key. Your efforts will pay off quickly
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