The last training tip of this series is about the proper use of discipline. Getting a new puppy brings so much joy, but can also bring a lot of frustration, despite how extremely cute they are. If your puppy consistently behaves in a way that is unacceptable, remember he is a puppy so you must be very patient and use positive reinforcement to train him, rather than resorting to force or pain, which is absolutely unacceptable.
Discipline sounds negative, but it does not have to be. It can be constructive and positive and help your dog to learn through conditioning what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Positive disciplinary methods can include a time-out, using a stern voice to give commands, or taking toys away. One of the best methods that I find really works, depending on the behaviour, is ignoring the dog. Many times when dogs act out they are looking for attention. Even if in frustration you yell at your dog, although negative, it is still attention. Unintentionally you have just rewarded your dog. If this continues your dog will learn that to get attention, also known as his reward, all he has to do is this unacceptable behaviour. So, ignore him. He will eventually learn and become conditioned to the fact that this behaviour does not get him what he wants.
The worst way to discipline your dog is to hit or spank him. For a dog who has behavioural issues, these issues will just get worse if you use physical force against him. Your dog will become insecure, afraid or even aggressive. Your dog will see you as a source of pain, not really understanding why. This could potentially destroy your relationship with your dog.
Positive reinforcement is the best way to discipline your dog as he learns quickly how to get treats, praise, and affection from you. Dogs need us to provide structure in their lives. Establish discipline in your house so that your dog can live the structured life that he needs. Focus on rewarding good behaviour with things your dog loves, such as play time, belly rubs, treats and toys. This will help him to understand that you are in control of what he likes and it will help to create healthy boundaries and a loving bond between you.