Discipline Is Sometimes Needed

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Dogs use discipline with each other to assert authority and that’s how you should use it. Use it as wisely as you use rewards. The word “No!” will become a truly powerful word, strong medicine. Use it only when you see your dog doing something wrong. Don’t shriek it, mumble it, whine it or use it so frequently that your pup disregards it. Growl it, deeply and sharply when you use it. What she learns from your using the word “No” is not right or wrong but acceptable and unacceptable.

Interchange your forms of discipline so that she always has the potential to be surprised by what you do. “Bad dog.” said crisply is a good alternative phrase. We also like “Arghhh!” It’s a bit like what a pup’s mother used to say to it when it really got really annoyed by its pup’s antics. Pups know the difference between being looked at and being given the eyeball. Dominant dogs stare down others. You can use the same method, especially from the advantage of your height. Standing over your pup, saying “Bad dog.” then maintaining your stare is a strikingly powerful form of discipline. Eventually, just your stern look is enough.

Dogs are intensely social. They don’t like being separated from family activity. Use symbolic isolation as another potent form of discipline. By symbolic I mean for its shock value, not as a form of retribution. If, for example, your pup bites you too hard during play, emit your well-practiced high-pitched shriek, get up, leave the room and shut the door. Wait up to a maximum of 20 seconds then go back in, disregard your dog for another minute, then do what you want. If too many other people are in the room where it misbehaved, take it to an empty room, the bathroom for example, shut the door, count to 20 then let it out, again, disregarding for another minute or so.

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