There are two main topics of appropriate discipline that I’d like to cover today: confrontation, and a leash correction. I use these on a daily basis. Other means of appropriate and inappropriate discipline are listed below…

Confrontation

When your dog does something that you find unacceptable, the first thing to do is to confront. I tend to snap, point my finger, place my hands on my hips and calmly say “hey”. Stand right in front of your dog and look directly into his eyes. If he moves, follow. Don’t say anything, just wait.  Eventually your dog should look at you and sit or lay down. As soon as he sits down turn around and walk away. By doing this, your dog will start to understand that as soon as you begin confronting, he should submit and you’ll go back to being your normal happy self.

Please note that the confrontation method of discipline requires you to exude an energy of leadership. You can have body language without energy. You should feel calm and in control of the situation. And don’t rush. The first confrontation is the hardest since your dog doesn’t know quite yet what you’re asking of him. Be patient, it may take 2 seconds, or it may take 10 minutes for your dog to respond to you.

Earlier I mentioned having a calm tone of voice. Please do not confuse tone of voice with raising your voice. Dogs in the wild do not bark at another dog to discipline them; discipline is always done in a calm and assertive manner. When you raise your voice to your dog, they will not respect you for it. They may respond to it out of fear or uncertainty but your relationship will never be better because of it.

Leash Corrections

Correcting your dog with the leash is one of the most powerful corrections you can give. In order to give an effective snap of the lead, lower your hand so that it is parallel with the dog’s head and pull sharply to the side. Directly after you pull the lead move your hand back towards the dog so that the lead is loose again. This is a “snap and release” movement. Perform a leash correction right before your dog’s behavior escalates. If you wait to do a leash correction until he’s already at level 10, it’s not going to be effective. Remember to keep the lead loose at all other times!

Other Acceptable Corrections

Other beneficial modes of corrections include a firm “ah ah”, a snap of the fingers, a clap with your hands, setting your dog down (if you are holding it), or leading it out of the room.

Unacceptable Corrections

A smack with a newspaper, kicking, hitting (especially the nose or head), picking your dog up (this is actually affection, not discipline) or shouting. This is punishment–we are aiming for discipline. Be calm! Good luck!!

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