How to Punish & Discipline a Dog

How to Discipline a Dog
How to Discipline a Dog, photo by Tom Pumphret

We all know some dogs need punishment for their bad behaviors, but punishing your dog is not the answer for correcting bad behavior. Rather than punishment, you should strive for correction and discipline. Punishing a dog will only lead to fear, anxiety, and a terrified dog. Learning how to discipline a dog will help you correct your dogs mistakes more effectively.

Punishment vs. Discipline

Punishment and discipline are two different things although by definition, they might be quite similar . Punishment is giving your dog a negative response to an action he made, while discipline is teaching your dog from right and wrong. If you punish your dog without a disciplinary response, you will never see any real progress.

How to Discipline a Dog – “NO!”

The word ‘no’ is a disciplinary word that should be used carefully and correctly. When using the word ‘no’, you will be teaching your dog the word ‘no’ means: bad, negative, something wrong, and incorrect. Over time, your dog will affiliate these words with the word ‘no’ just like a baby would while growing up. In order to use this method correctly, you must stay the word ‘no’ with a sharp and straight forward voice (somewhat loud). Make sure to say it only when your dog does something wrong.

How to Punish a Dog – Time Outs

I am not a big fan of punishments, especially because most dog keepers do not know how to punish a dog properly. If you ask any inexperienced dog-owner how to punish a dog, they will say: spank the dog, hit your dog on the nose, yell at your dog, and etc. If you do any of these types of punishments, stop immediately, as these types of punishments all lead to your dog being scared of you. Your goal is to punish your dog without any type of pain, yelling, or discomfort. This will assure that you raise a healthy and well-rounded dog with a great personality.


The best form of punishment in my opinion is a time-out. Yes, time-outs do work and will help you with correcting your dogs mistakes. Time outs should only be about 10 – 20 minutes. Every time your dog does something bad, discipline your dog with the word ‘no’ as mentioned above, and put him in his crate for 10 – 20 minutes for a time out. Being alone and in a confined space will help your dog understand what he did was wrong. No matter what the action was, do not extend the time-out over 20 minutes.

Dog Peeing in the House

Dog peeing in the house is very common for puppies and untrained dogs. Some dog owners may say to rub their nose in the urine, spank the dog, or lock the dog up for their bad behavior. These are all wrong forms of dog punishment. Here is why:


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  • Rubbing Dog Nose in Pee – When you rub your dogs nose in the urine, you are teaching him to fear you and to hide when he has to “go”. This may lead to never being able to potty train your dog.
  • Spanking Your Dog – Never relate your hand to pain. If you constantly spank your dog, you will cause your dog to fear hands. You will also increase the risk of bites to happen every time a hand goes to pet him. This should be taken into serious consideration if you have children in the house who love to pet the dog.
  • Locking Dog Up – Locking your dog up for 10 – 20 minutes is nothing bad and is great for ‘time-outs’, but locking your dog up all day is cruel and unethical. Dogs need exercise and outside time. Instead of locking your dog up in a cage, just increase the amounts of walks during the day. Walking your dog often will allow him to use the bathroom more frequently.


In order to stop your dog from peeing in the house, you need to keep an eye on your dog and catch him in the act. Below are some ways to discipline your dog for peeing in the house.


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  • Loud “NO!” – Voice is key in training any dog for any problem. When you catch your dog peeing in the house, say “NO!” with a loud sharp voice so he knows what he is doing is bad and wrong. Then take him outside to let him finish his business. This way, you will teach him that going outside is the right thing to do. After he goes outside, make sure to offer a small bite sized training treat.
  • Bottle Shaker – If you do not have a loud voice, you may use a bottle shaker instead. A bottle shaker will somewhat spook your dog to let him know that what he is doing, is wrong. You can easily make one by putting coins in an empty water bottle. Similar to the step up above, you will shake it when you catch your dog in the act.
  • Bad Smell – If you notice that your dog has been marking his territory lately, add some pepper to the areas where he has peed. The next time he goes to pee in the area, he will get a smell of pepper and sneeze about 5 times. That will be the last time he goes to that area. DO NOT use strong pepper. 


Read the full article on how to stop your dog from peeing in the house.

Dog Barking

Dog barking can sometimes be really annoying and frustrating, especially with dog breeds who love to bark all day long (chihuahuas, schnauzers, beagles, toy poodles, and etc.). One thing you have to realize is that dogs will be dogs and bark at times. This is how they communicate and show emotion. The key to stop dog barking is to pinpoint the problem and remove it. Some incorrect punishments are hitting your dog’s nose, putting a shock collar on your dog, or using a muzzle. Here is why:


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  • Dog Muzzle – Dog muzzles are meant to keep dogs from biting. If you put a muzzle on a dog that barks a lot, you will stress him out and cause him to whimper and cry the majority of the day, which is just as annoying.
  • Hitting Dogs Nose – Do not smack your dog on the snout. All you will succeed in doing is making him hand shy when anyone makes a quick movement near his head. This can also lead up to aggression towards people.
  • Shock Collars – You may disagree with me on this, but I feel like shock collars are somewhat inhumane. Shock collars can cause a dog severe pain and discomfort depending on the voltage you set the shock collar to be at. Shock collars may even lead to even more barking and/or aggression to whatever your dog is barking at.


As mentioned before, dog barking is usually caused because of a specific reason. Once you find the reason, you can end the problem almost immediately by removing it. In the article on how to stop your dog from barking, there are explanations on how to find the cause, how to remove it, and etc.

Dog Biting

If your dog is a biter who loves to bite people or even furniture, you may be willing to return him right? Well, you don’t have to. And you don’t have to hit your dog either for his actions. One thing you do have to make sure you have, are your dogs vaccinations. In some states, dogs may be put down if your dog bites a stranger without his vaccinations. So if biting is an issue, make sure you are on top of the vaccines.


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  • Loud “NO!” – Again, voice is key in training any dog for any problem. When your dog is biting an object or gnawing on a hand, say “NO!” with a loud sharp voice so he knows what he is doing is bad.
  • Dog Toys – Dogs need chew toys to keep them entertained. Without chew toys, your dog will turn towards shoes, clothing, couches, and other pieces of furniture for their biting needs. Chew toys also aid in keeping your dogs teeth clean and fresh.
  • Bad Taste – Dogs won’t go near an object that has a bad sent or taste to it. Add something that has bad taste (pepper) to the objects.
  • Dog Muzzle – A comfortably fit muzzle will help you keep control of your dog while he walks out in the open where other strangers and dogs are.


Read the full article on how to stop your dog from biting.

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