Several readers have asked how to punish their dog without feeling bad or how to punish a dog. Let me say this: you NEVER PUNISH A DOG. Unless your dog is some kind of embezzler or con artist involving large sums of other people’s money you just don’t do that.
In Dog Training you are trying to get the dog to behave as a good family member, following some basic rules of obedience. What you do when a dog does something that is not part of your dog behavior rules is correct that behavior. So correcting a dog is your goal. Teach the dog what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
Correcting a dog should be done with compassion. You are teaching the dog the right way to behave so he can be a part of your family and be included in your family events.
Correcting a dog is about communicating with your dog in a productive way. You can be firm and in his face if necessary, but never hurt the dog (which punishing implies).
Not all correction has to be positive to be productive. Telling your dog “no”, or “leave-it” with a tug on the collar as he’s about to eat trash is negative reinforcement used in a productive manner.
You will want to add some positive reinforcement into your training routine and every day interaction with your dog. Telling your dog “that’s right” in a fairly calm voice when he does something you want lets your dog know he’s doing well.
Communicating with your dog is somewhat like communicating with a friend. If your friend does something you don’t like you say so. “Jason, please walk over there, not on my feet.” You wouldn’t haul off and hit him or punish him by not talking to him for a week. You’d communicate. Do the same with your dog.
If you are walking your dog you might want him a bit closer. No punishment needed. A dog wants to wander so he’s just doing what comes natural for a dog. It is your job to communicate. Keep it simple with a dog and say “Fido, Close.” Then give him a leash tug so he knows you want him closer. Easy!
If you ever hear yourself saying the words punish and dog in the same sentence or paragraph, remember, your job is to correct the dog’s behavior; to communicate with your dog to get him to understand what you expect of him.