Punishment and Potty Training

By Maria Posted in dog training /

Potty training is a difficult process for many pet owners. There are often mistakes made that frustrate pet owners, but it will only make the process harder for both of you if you let this type of interference control the situation. Instead, you must understand what methods are appropriate and effective for the learning process.

The first thing to avoid is punishment that would inflict harm or pain on your dog. Though they may seem tough, a dog’s body is fragile and delicate, especially their ears, nose, hips, and chest. Physical discipline is never recommended, and quite frankly, is not very effective. All it teaches your dog is that your anger is to be feared.

Take steps to withhold attention when your dog is behaving inappropriately. If they aren’t doing something right, don’t reward them. Instead, stick with instruction until they begin moving in the right direction. Dogs crave attention and it is often a reward when given to them, regardless of whether you’re angry or happy. By ignoring them, you deprive them of attention and their reward.

This also means that you should always affirm positive behavior. When they are being good, let them know that they are being good. They might simply be resting or eating their food, but when you affirm that it’s good, it tells them that the habits that are acceptable are good to develop. As you affirm the good and ignore the bad, they will be inclined to do what gets them attention. If you give them attention on both sides, the process may take longer and can become more complicated.

Punishment can also involve the removal of desired things, including treats, toys, and attention. One of the most effective punishments is to take away something they like, forcing them to want to earn that treat back. When used in combination with appropriate treat offerings, you can control how your dog acts and how well they learn.

Punishment is only good when it is 100% effective. Scaring or intimidating your dogs can work, but not without the consequence of making the dogs fear you to a certain degree. Your dog looks to you for love, guidance, and safety, so be sure that your punishment supports the bond between the two of you.

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