How to Discipline A Dog!
Just like us, our dogs are not perfect. Like human children, dogs require discipline and teaching as they grow up; and like humans, it is not appropriate to beat them into submission. Dogs require training and learning to do what you want, although, unlike children, they most often, have undying loyalty to your every word. Whenever you discipline your dog, remember that all they really want to do in life is please you. This will help put discipline into perspective. This is not to say you should never discipline your dog when they do something you do not like. However, if you do not teach them they will not know, so you are doing them a favor by disciplining them properly and showing them exactly what you want. Always keep in mind, you are the alpha dog, you are the ruler of their world; and if you show them what you want, they will happily do it, because that is what they live for.
Dogs do what works for them, and learn how to behave through conditioning. Dog behavior is very simple and essentially boils down to being something that is good, or something that is bad. If they do something and it gets them a reward, they will repeat the action and learn it as a positive. If they do something and something else bad happens to them, they will cease the action and learn it as a negative. Based on this, there are two main schools of thought on how to discipline a dog. Reward obedience training, and aversive obedience training. Both schools have very strong advocacy for how well they work, and both make perfect logical sense as ways to deal with your dog’s behavior. Aversive obedience training seeks to teach a dog what to do by punishing a dog’s actions to teach them not to do them again. Reward obedience training seeks to teach your dog what to do by rewarding proper actions with something desirable to the dog, thus teaching them to do them more.
The problem with aversive training is that there is no direct way to show that their actions cause them pain. Your dog will know that the pain did not come from what they did, but rather from you. There is also no good way to redirect from punishment. This can be a major issue as your dog can see you as the source of the pain, and not the action that they did. This will mean they will not want to be around you anymore, as they will think being around you gets them hurt! You do not want to end up in this situation, it is far too personal and sensitive. Negative training will also not foster a good relationship if your dog cannot feel safe around you. Improper aversive obedience training can be very damaging to a dog’s psyche, and it is a very fine line to walk. Many dogs will learn to fear a human hand, and if someone stranger leans down to pet them, this may lead to a bite without warning. So be very logical, and consistent with your discipline, do not make a disciplinary action into a punishment, and never deal with your dog when you are angry (they will not understand it). Remember, when you are thinking about how to discipline your dog, that they just want to please you!