A puppy is just being a puppy. He’s not being bad. The problem is we want him to act human and that’s never going to happen. But he can be a little more human as time goes on and we teach him how to do that and to play by our rules. 

Sometimes, we, the pet parents, are guilty of teaching our puppies the exact behavior we don’t like! So, are we acting more dog-like? Our puppy picks up a slipper and we take chase after him to get it back. We show him how much fun a game of chase is by acting like another puppy.

Moving forward, we also use methods of communication with our dogs that humans use with each other. Furthermore, a dog does not understand hitting, screaming, isolation, avoidance, withholding (affection, food, water, or toys), and time-out. Communication by way of punishment, and punishment whether physical or psychological is a human trait, and not understood by our dogs. They do not analyze the threat of punishment or enforcement of punishment and connect it to their last act of unacceptable behavior. Making matters worse, punishment creates fear and less trust.

It is true that a dog will show signs of knowing you are annoyed at them for something they did, but it’s the tension in your body language and anger in your tone of voice that causes them to cower, but they do NOT relate it to what they did wrong.

A time-out is a lightweight form of punishment used on children as well as puppies. As a parent, I never used time-out on my child. As a pet parent, I never used a time-out on my puppy. I always felt that a kid is just being a kid and that giving him a time-out was ignoring whatever the issues at hand were. Addressing the problem and trying to work it out seemed way more beneficial and a learning experience for both of us.

Many pet parents ask me about the method of giving their puppy a time-out when things go haywire, and the puppy is out of control. Here’s what my thoughts are about that. Time-out for the puppy is time-off for the pet parent. It’s a Band-Aid used to relieve the stress and frustration felt by the pet parent when they don’t know what else to do to get their pup under control.

Time-out #1  

The puppy is put in a crate to stop the unwanted behavior.

A puppy will not associate the time-out with the reason for it. Can we ascribe human characteristics to our dogs? Do we truly believe a puppy will reconsider his actions because he’s confined, without toys in a time-out? Not only is that not going to happen but using the crate as punishment will create other problems and increase the puppy’s anxiety level.

Time-out #2   

The puppy is put outside in the fenced-in backyard.

The idea behind that is to give the puppy a way to release his energy somewhere other than the house. However, your pup is now able to do whatever he wants, meaning digging, chewing, barking, and jumping. So, what have we taught our dog? We taught him that if he runs, jumps, chews, barks, and bites out of control in the house, he can go outside and do it all he wants to!

What should you do instead? Put the time in to teach your puppy and work through the problem at hand.

If your pup is acting out, put his leash on and take him for a brisk walk even if it’s just inside the house. Then have some quiet time together.

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