When your dog acts out and misbehaves at home, do you often find yourself yelling to try and control the situation?
It may seem like the best way to stop your dog from behaving badly, but yelling can actually cause more problems than it solves.
Shouting usually only stops a dog from playing up in that moment. It won’t correct your dog’s issues long term and could even spark other unwanted behaviors.
Read on to learn why you shouldn’t yell at your dog, as well as a few tips on what you should do instead.
Why you shouldn’t yell at your dog
You’ll confuse your dog
Dogs don’t make connections about their wrongdoing in the same way we humans do. So if you’re yelling at your dog for something she’s done, she won’t understand why you’re angry.
Your dog will sense you’re mad and may even look guilty, but those puppy dog eyes are simply her way of appeasing you to help calm the situation.
She won’t understand that she’s done something wrong and shouldn’t do it again. The underlying issue will still remain and you’ll only confuse your dog further.
Your dog could become fearful of you
If you’re always shouting at your dog when she does something wrong, she’ll associate your hostility with a negative experience and may become scared of you.
Strong canine/human relationships are built on stability and respect. By being a calm but authoritative leader you’ll strengthen your bond and your dog will be more willing to listen to your everyday commands.
If your dog becomes scared of you, she’ll struggle to trust you. You’ll have more difficulty maintaining her focus when it comes to training.
You could encourage sneaky behavior
Let’s say your dog regularly raids the trash for scraps. If you shout at your dog after catching her in the act, it won’t teach her not to do it; it’ll just create a fear of doing it in front of you. She’ll continue the bad behavior but wait until you’re not around.
You could intensify the problem
In some cases you may further excite your dog and inadvertently encourage the bad behavior by shouting at her.
If your dog is a problem barker, yelling could feed her excitement. In fact, she may think you’re barking along with her.
Likewise, if your dog runs after a cat and you start screaming and running after her, your dog might think you’re joining in the fun. This could escalate the problem, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve!
How to correct bad behavior without yelling
Reward positive behaviors
The most effective and humane way to train a dog is through positive reinforcement techniques. Simply put, you reward good behavior with treats, toys, and affection to show your dog what you expect from her.
For example, if your dog often pees in the house, you should take her outside regularly. Then immediately offer a high value reward when she goes in the correct spot.
Positive reinforcement gives your dog clear direction and quickly teaches her how she’s supposed to behave.
Ignore bad behaviors
While you’re positively reinforcing good behaviors, you should completely ignore bad behaviors.
Because our dogs love to please us and they want to be the sole focus of our attention, ignoring unwanted behaviors will show them that they can’t get what they want by misbehaving.
For example, if your dog whines and paws at you for attention, you should ignore her. Don’t pet your dog or give any eye contact. Only when she is calm and settled should you offer affection and rewards.
This shows your dog the behavior is unacceptable and she’ll only get your attention on your terms.
Stay calm and in control
Dogs are highly in tune with our own energy. If your dog senses you’re angry or frustrated, she’ll be less responsive to training.
Dogs respond better to people who are calm, happy, and in control of their emotions.
If you feel close to losing your temper, take a moment and a few deep breaths to help you stay calm.
If your dog doesn’t listen to your initial commands you can use a firmer but controlled vocal command, such as ‘leave it’ or ‘off’. But be sure you use the same command every time and only once to avoid confusing your dog.
Instead of yelling, what works for you and your dog? Let’s chat about it in comments below.
About the Author:
This is a guest post written by Karly Edwards. Karly is the author of GoneDogMad, a blog that provides doggy tips and tricks to help owners keep their pooches happy, heathy and entertained.