Free Dog Training Tips: Creative Ways to Discipline Your Dog

>> 3/9/09

If your dog is a dog at all then chances are he has some bad habits that drive you up the wall from time to time. He barks incessantly at the mailman, gets into the trash and fights with his siblings. He chews on inappropriate items and sometimes even mounts your leg. So what’s a dog owner to do? Rather than screaming at him and chasing him about the house it’s time to get creative. Here are 4 common doggie habits you can break with creative discipline methods:

1. Getting into the trash: Even the most well behaved dog might be tempted to get at something in the trash can. Your dog has an acute sense of smell and can be tempted to go after delicious leftovers discarded in the rubbage bin from time to time. If you have tried cans with lids to no avail, never fear, there is a more creative solution. Before you leave the house construct a pyramid of empty soda cans on top of the trash can lid and go about your exit from the house. If your dog knocks over the can to get at a tasty piece of trash then the pyramid of cans will fall on top of him. The resulting commotion will be unsettling to your dog cause him to think twice about doing it again. If this does not work simply repeat with more cans the next time.

2. Chewing on inappropriate items: This problem can be especially frustrating if the item in question is a piece of furniture or something else of considerable expense. There are products on the market that are non-toxic, but taste terrible to dogs. These products are inexpensive and come in convenient spray bottles. Simply spray the solution on items your dog chews on and shouldn’t and sit back and relax. Your dog will find the taste unpleasant and discontinue his destruction.

3. Playing too rough with your other pets: If your dog has a tendency to corner the family cat or fight with your other dog then a simply spray bottle or quirt gun will perform miracles for you. Try purchasing a small spray bottle designed for wetting hair and setting the nozzle to spray (not mist) and squirt your dog from the comfort of your own armchair. It is best to do this when rough play first appears rather than waiting for a full blown dog fight as those are more difficult to break up an might require more than a squirt in the face. If timed properly a squirt to the face will almost always cause your dog to stop what he is doing and run from the spray. The best part about this method is that your dog will eventually stop and run at the sight of you picking up the bottle. Note that he will fear the bottle and not you so he does not associate the punishment with you.

4. Incessant barking: When your pet gets riled up and barks constantly at the slightest distraction there is a simple solution that does not require you going hoarse yelling at him to stop. Rinse out an empty soda can, fill it one quarter full with buttons, pennies or other small hard items and tape it shut. When your dog starts barking walk up to him, firmly say no and shake the can vigorously. Your dog will be surprised by the sound and stop barking. The moment he stops give him a treat and some praise to keep him from resuming his behavior. This method is great because you were able to stop a bad behavior and then encourage a positive one. As is the case with the spray bottle, your dog will begin to stop barking when he sees you move towards him with the can.

The beauty of these methods is that they do not involve physical punishment to your dog. They are simply unpleasant stimuli resulting from a bad behavior. Your dog will not associate you with physical pain as he would if you smacked him with your hand or a rolled up newspaper. Discipline is essential in raising a well adjusted and obedient dog; however, physical punishment can cause your dog to fear you in the future. Dogs will often bite out of fear so always try to be firm with your dog without instilling fear in your friend.

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