Dog Training Tips

Category: Dog Training Tips

Do You Punish Your Dog?

The sole purpose of punishment in terms of behaviour theory is simply to stop or extinguish a behaviour. The dictionary definition is “the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense.”

What does that mean, imposing a penalty as retribution for an offense???

A well known example is getting a ticket for speeding or running a red light.

It is an impersonal response to a behaviour with the purpose of changing it. It is supposed to inflict some fear, but only for the consequence, never the issuer of the punishment, as “modern” dog training would have you believe. The informal definition of punishment is “rough treatment or handling inflicted on or suffered by a person or thing.” This is the emotional response.

Healthy boundaries require the use of punishment to ensure they are respected. A parent will yell and may even grab their child’s hand before they touch a hot stove. They are attempting to create a boundary so the child isn’t seriously hurt.

When punishment is given in anger, frustration, or as revenge, it becomes mistreatment that is harmful.

When punishment is given in anger, frustration, or as revenge, it becomes something different. It becomes mistreatment that is harmful. If that same parent were to yell, grab the child’s hand and put it on the stove angrily to “teach them a lesson” it would most certainly be considered abuse and the child would not only be scarred physically, but emotionally as well. They would lose a lot of trust for that parent too.

Healthy punishment does the opposite. When I teach clients to punish their dogs’ unwanted behaviour, I do so with the utmost care and respect for the dog, and the relationship. It is never excessive, and it always ends when the unwanted behaviour stops.

I hope that has cleared up some misconceptions for you!


If you have a hyper, excitable dog, the best thing you can do is to stop talking to him. When we talk to our dogs, it gets them excited and happy; and it really doesn’t matter what we are saying to them. The constant chatter sounds more like a yipping puppy and that can make some dogs get really excited and want to play; it can also make others more anxious and react to anything that it perceives as the cause of your anxiety (whether you’re actually feeling anxious or not). This is most often other dogs, but it can also be people and even objects.

So when you’re walking down the street and your dog is pulling your arm out of its socket to sniff the dog walking towards you, talking to him and saying, “Sparky, no! Sparky you’re going to hurt Mommy! Sparky, don’t do that! Come on, Sparky let’s go!” Your dog has tuned out and likely become MORE interested in the other dog, since it has got you very excited as well.

A simple pop on the leash (if you are using a training collar like a martingale or a prong) and a command like “Nope!” or “Heel!” will be much more effective and reach the dog quicker than a conversation he doesn’t understand. The goal is to snap your dog’s focus off the other dog and back to you so it’s important to at least appear calm (fake it till you make it if need be!).

When he or she is calm, and you want to share a moment, talking to your dog can and does help you bond with them.

Photo Shoot with Merlin

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should never talk to your dog. When he or she is calm, and you want to share a moment, it can and does help you bond with them. At home, when out on a walk, enjoying nice weather on an outdoor patio; it doesn’t matter. As long as your dog is calm and you aren’t going to cause him to react, it’s amazing therapy being able to chatter away at our dogs.

Happy Training! 🐶

What the heck is THAT thing?!

Why do I use prong collars and e-collars (remote training collar)???

Many people, dog lovers, owners, and trainers, think these tools are cruel and unnecessary and would like to see them banned.

The best quality prong collars are Herm Sprenger

Does that mean I am a mean and cruel person? No. Does it mean I am a bad dog trainer? No. Then why would I use cruel and unnecessary tools in my training?

I use these tools because I have found that, on the contrary, these tools are actually kind, gentle, and very necessary.

For example, before he died, I had a highly dog reactive Doberman named Apollo. He was so bad that I needed a muzzle so that I wouldn’t get bit, and also the other dog if it came too close. By using the ecollar to teach him that it was totally uncalled for – and potentially dangerous – to act that way, he learned to trust that I would take care of him and keep him safe. Yes, that’s right, by using a “shock” collar, I was able to communicate with my dog that I was going to keep him safe!

Before he died, he was able to be with new and strange dogs both on leash and off. I learned that he absolutely LOVED small dogs (thanks to Buddha). And no, not to eat them! ☺

These tools have also been a game changer for many of my clients. Dogs who barked at people and other dogs, stopped. Dogs who liked to chase anything that moved, started making better choices almost the moment I put the collar around their neck. Dogs who were scared of every little noise, learned that there was really nothing to worry about.

Prong and e-collars provide clear, concise communication that the dog UNDERSTANDS.

Dogs touch each other when they communicate. Whether during playtime, or if one dog is setting a boundary for a new dog in the pack, they use their teeth. To bite. Not hard, but with just enough force to let the dog know “Playtime” or “That’s not acceptable!”

That’s why these tools work. 

We do the same when we want to play with the dog. For my guys, when I tap my toes on their toes, they start to act goofy because they know I want to play. Merlin especially! ☺

So, if you have tried everything you can think of, but are leery on trying one if these tools, contact me to arrange a free consultation and demonstration. I have helped many dogs become calm and their owner in control – and I can help you and your dog too!