I am often told by pet parents that they use a “time out” for their dogs to control or eliminate barking, running around the house, jumping on furniture, and generally causing havoc.

So, many frustrated pet parents use the method of “time-out” in an attempt to train their puppy. This method is part of what I refer to as a “trickle-down” from raising children. However, a dog does not learn from human techniques used on other humans. That said, I’m not convinced that time out works on a child. For argument’s sake, let’s examine a child’s use of time in a “time-out.” The best we can hope for is if the child actually takes advantage of his time in the “time-out” to ponder why he is in a ‘time-out” and concludes that his behavior needs improvement to not receive another “time-out.”

Pet parents often disagree with me and insist that the “time-out” calms their dog and quiets the overall disruptive behavior. That part may be true, depending upon the trigger that initiated the unwanted behavior in the first place. However, it is what I call a “band-aid” and does not “cure” the problem because it doesn’t teach your dog to not demonstrate the same unwanted behavior in the future. In fact, depending on the “time-out” location, you may be conditioning your dog to manipulate many situations in order to receive a “time-out” outside in the backyard.

Visitors in your home are one example of a behavior that usually initiates a “time-out.”

Practice GREETING GUESTS. Set up a dress rehearsal by inviting a neighbor, friend, or family member to stop by. With your dog on a leash, have your dog sit/stay next to you away from the door as the person comes in. Use a squeak toy if necessary to keep your dog’s attention focused on something other than the person coming in.

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