Dog Discipline – Should We Beat or Hit a Dog as Punishment?

Spanking, beating, and hitting a dog, is sometimes used as a form of dog discipline or dog punishment.

After all, biting a dog’s ear worked for Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie Snow Dogs. Therefore, will such pain based techniques work for us too? To answer this question, we must consider how dogs learn.

Dogs learn through conditioning.

  • They repeat behaviors that get them good results, and
  • They stop behaviors that get them bad results.

Based on this, there are two schools of thought for stopping problem dog behaviors – reward obedience training and aversive obedience training.

Is It Bad to Beat or Hit a Dog?

Effective Dog Discipline

Spanking, beating, and hitting a dog are all aversive techniques. Pain is delivered to sensitive areas of the dog, such as his ear or muzzle, when he performs a bad behavior.

The argument for this type of dog discipline, is that the pain will discourage a dog from repeating undesirable actions. Every time our dog does something bad, he gets an unpleasant result (pain), which will hopefully dampen his resolve to perform the same behavior.

However, the problem with aversive training, is that it is risky, too personal, and there is no good way to redirect the punishment.

Our dog knows that the pain originates from us, and is not a natural result of his actions.

As a consequence, our dog may end up learning the wrong lessons, including:

  • Hitting, slapping, and biting is a fun game that my owner plays with me. Let me try playing it with him, and with others. A dog may arrive at this conclusion, when the pain is not delivered with enough force. Too much force, however, may result in fear aggression.
  • A person’s hand or face coming toward me, is a bad thing. I should run away from people, or bite the hand or face that is a threat to me.
  • My owner, or a person coming toward me, means pain. I should stay away from people, or keep them away by growling and biting.

If we do not deliver the pain with good timing, with the proper force, and in exactly the right circumstance, our dog may get confused as to why he is getting punished. He may become fearful and stressed, because he is unsure how he can stop the pain from recurring.

As a result, spanking, beating, and hitting a dog may lead to even more behavioral issues, including fear aggression as well as submissive urination.

For these reasons, using physical techniques to punish a dog, is not very good dog kung fu.

If Not Beating or Hitting a Dog, Then What?!

If beating or hitting a dog does not work, then how can we teach our dogs right from wrong?

How can we get our dogs to behave and not engage in destructive behaviors?

The answer lies in the other school of dog discipline, namely reward based techniques. Contrary to what some may say, reward based methods does not just involve “giving food to our dog”. Rather, it allows us to gain pack leadership through the proper control of resources.

We may not realize this, but we already control all of our dog’s resources. For example, we decide when he gets to walk, when he gets to eat, what and how much he gets to eat, when he gets to play, what toys he gets to play with, when he has to go to sleep, what he can chew on, and much more. All we need to do, is teach our dog this fact –

He is NOT in control, WE are.

For example, if my dog jumps on me and bites my hand during feeding time, I tell him that this behavior is unacceptable, by using a no-mark. Then I ignore him, and he does not get his food, until he has calmed down. In this way, he learns that –

  • Waiting calmly for his food in a down position = Get food quickly,
  • Jumping and biting = Food preparation stops.

If he continues with his bad behavior, I say Time-out, and I remove him to a time-out area. This teaches him that if he cannot behave around people, then he does not get to be with people.

We respond to all other bad behaviors in a similar way – by restricting our dog’s access to his most desired resources, and only giving him rewards when he has earned them through good behavior.

Different dog behavioral issues will involve different tactics, but the overall strategy is one of resource control and proper management.

But Dogs Hit, Bite, and Physically Correct Each Other …

A common argument used to justify physical corrections, is that our dogs do that to each other, therefore, it must be natural and right.

It is true that dogs will sometimes hit and bite each other as a warning, or to correct behavior. Dogs also hit and bite during play. They are able to do this, because they have very good control of the placement and force of their bites.

However, dogs are not humans and *we* are not dogs. We do not have the same physical strengths or control as our dog. We do not have sharp teeth or claws, we cannot run very fast, and our jaws are not very strong. In a true physical contest, we would lose to our dogs.

This is why it is a very bad idea to physically challenge stray or loose dogs. Logic dictates that we do not wrestle, hit, or physically engage with unknown dogs, that may be aggressive. Similarly, we should not slap, beat, or hit our own dog either. Rather than do a bad job at pretending to be a dog, we should play to our human strengths.

As a human,

  • We can open and close doors.
  • We can drive to the store and buy food, toys, and other good stuff.
  • We can open sealed bags, cans, bottles, and more.
  • We can reason, build, and develop long-term plans.

In essence, our human abilities give us control of *all* the things that our dog needs or desires. This makes us into natural leaders, because by controlling the pack’s resources, we control the pack.

Finally, when a dog physically corrects another dog, the other dog may decide to fight back.

A puppy may allow an adult dog to correct him initially, but when he grows up, he may learn to respond in-kind with aggression. For this reason and more, I do not allow my dogs to physically correct or bully each other. As pack leader, I set the rules, and I enforce them through the control of resources. If there are any conflicts, my dogs will alert me. I will then do my best to resolve the conflict in a fair and consistent way, which does not involve any hitting, biting, or puncture wounds.

Just because a dog may sometimes hit and bite other dogs, does not mean that hitting and biting is good, effective, or even particularly humane. The assumption or assertion that physical punishment is better because our dogs do it, is a logical fallacy. In fact, there are many things that dogs do to each other and to other animals, that we need to manage, redirect, and retrain. This includes –

  • A dog’s drive to hunt neighborhood cats,
  • A dog’s instinct to guard resources (with aggression if necessary),
  • A dog’s inclination to bully a weaker dog,
  • A dog’s impulse to fight-back, and more.

Does Beating or Hitting a Dog Work?

Pain based techniques may stop problem behaviors in the short term, but it is not the most effective type of dog discipline.

There are many difficulties and risks that may cause our dog’s behavior to degrade, rather than improve. Using it to stop one problem behavior, may inadvertently cause five other bad dog behaviors to crop up. In addition, the effect of beating or hitting a dog may degrade over time, as our dog gets habituated to the pain.

In contrast, reward based methods are safer because there is little danger of our dog becoming fearful, aggressive, or stressed. We are not delivering any pain to him, but simply withholding the rewards that he has failed to earn.

  • Reward based discipline encourages our dog to figure out how he can get in our good books, because that is the quickest way to get what he wants most.
  • Aversive dog discipline, on the other hand, encourages a dog to avoid us because there may be pain involved.

Ultimately, resource based training allows us to forge a stronger bond with our dog, and makes him into a responsible canine, who works for what he wants.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

~~ [Mahatma Gandhi]

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  1. Greatdaneguy says

    I’ve got two Great Danes. Male and female. My male is attached to the hip with my wife and tends to chew on everything in site. The female is the dominant one and never listens to anything we tell her to do. In fact she’ll do the opposite sometimes. And if I try and tell her to do something she’ll start play fighting with me while barking and growling and jumping around like a crazy dog. I have no idea what to do anymore. The male is 2 and the other is 3.

  2. Debra says

    We adopted a Chiweenee about 2 years ago, he is now 4 years old. He is very loving to my husband and I. He is loving to our son, but if our son gets too close to me, our Chiweenee is very protective and gets aggressive and tries to attack and bite. Our Chiweenee barks aggressively and tries to attack and bite anyone who enters our home also.

    • shibashake says

      What you describe sounds like resource guarding behavior. Some dogs may guard food, toys, sleeping area, or they may guard their primary owner, who is a very valued resource indeed. As you describe, this behavior can become dangerous, as it may cause a dog to show aggression towards other members of the family, guests, or other dogs.

      When did your dog start showing this behavior? How serious are his “attacks and bites”? Does he do this every time or only sometimes? What is the context when he shows this behavior? What do you do when your dog shows this behavior? How does he respond?

      Based on what you describe, it is best and safest to get help from a good professional trainer who understands desensitization and counter-conditioning techniques.

      I help my dog with resource guarding issues by doing two key things-
      1. I help him associate people coming towards him (and his guarded-resource), to be a very positive thing. I use desensitization and counter-conditioning techniques to do this. For desensitization training to “work”, it has to be conducted in a structured environment and in a very specific way. When I started doing desensitization exercises with Sephy, I did so under the direction of a good trainer/behaviorist.

      In general, I manage my dog’s environment and routine so that I do not expose him to situations that will trigger a bad reactive episode. Reactive episodes will set back our training, cause him to form more negative associations towards other people, and worsen his future behavior. Prevention is always best with my dog.

      2. If I am unable to totally prevent, then I make sure to stop my dog’s behavior *before* it escalates and he loses control.

      As soon as I notice my dog start to show signs of tension, I redirect by giving him a very simple, pre-trained command (e.g. Sit). If he redirects, then I reward him with my attention and other rewards. If he continues with his reactive behavior, then he may lose access to the room. If he continues to be reactive outside the room, then I say time-out and put him temporarily in a safe time-out area. In this way, my dog learns that-
      Sit = Get lots of attention from me and other rewards,
      Reactive behavior = Temporarily lose access to me and may temporarily lose his freedom in the house.

      I use leashes, gates, and other management equipment to make sure that everyone is always safe.

      The article below has more on dogs who guard their owners.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent, so in cases of aggression it is best to get help from a good professional trainer/behaviorist.

  3. Raymond says

    I adopted a 5 years old dog, and the owner before me usually beat up the dog. Is there anything i can do to manage my dog? Because it always angry toward certain action that we do, maybe because it think that we want to hit him. Please, is there any suggestion?

  4. Madison says

    I have a 7 month old white german shepherd (gigi) who we just got a month ago. We also have a 6 year old bichon poodle who we are sure is pregnant. No matter what gigi will not stop biting on Baileys ears, pulling on her tail, ect. Gigi also will not stop biting people, we spand her on the butt, tell her no, then put her in time out in the laundry room. When she comes out she is fine for about 30 mins then goes back to biting. Any advice?

  5. says

    Hey :) Thank-you for this post.

    I am from India and I have a 4 month old stray dog that I adopted around 3 months ago. His name is Toby. He is an intelligent dog; he has learnt to poop in a certain designated place, had learnt to sit and lie down. But he hasn’t learnt not to pee in the house, however much we put him outside. I even stopped him during the act and put him outside, and gave him a treat afterwards, but he doesn’t seem to understand.

    He recently fractured his leg and went through the surgery, and since that time he has started being very disobedient and stubborn. No amount of shouting or scaring him is helping. We are getting very very frustrated. :(

    It’ll be kind of you to help me out in this!!

  6. Ari says

    my about 10 month old boxer puppy is mostly potty trained but he doesn’t get how to tell me he has to go potty I don’t understand how to get him to tell me this my other dog acts crazy and starts barking at us wen she has to go but I can’t get him to notify me help plz it feels hopeless

    • shibashake says

      How are you potty training your puppy?

      When I potty train my dog, I consistently take her outside through the same door. Some people may install a bell by the door, and then ring the bell before taking their dog outside.

      After I repeated this process very consistently, a bunch of times, my puppy associated the door with going outside. Therefore, now when she needs to go, she walks to the same door and waits there. I know that when she does that, she wants or needs to go outside.

  7. Sade says

    I have a 7 month old male German shepherd. He has been very disobedient and I have tried every non physical way to teach him, but it seems as though none of it is working. We got him since he was 2-3 months old and hes always seemed to have this behavior, it seems as though the only way to help is if we spank him, i hate doing it, but sometimes he leaves me no choice.

    • shibashake says

      How is he disobedient? What non-physical techniques have you tried? In the longer term, my dog’s behavior worsened with pain based aversive techniques. It caused other behavioral issues, and made him very sensitive to handling and grooming.

      How dogs learn.
      How I trained my puppy.

  8. roxanne says

    I have a German Shepard puppy, and lately she’s been acting very spoiled, she’s sick so I cannot take her out of my room so if I go out or even I I’m watching a movie in the living room with my family she will throw her water and food bowl around, tear up her pee pads and bark like a crazy dog, I don’t know why she’s been doing this and it just started, and if I hit her and tell her no she will run under my bed and hide untill I leave then she does everything all over again making a mess of my room, I take her out every couple hours to do the restroom and walk so I don’t know what is causing her to act like this, please help!

    • shibashake says

      she’s sick so I cannot take her out of my room

      How old is she? How long have you had her? What is she sick with? Why can’t you take her out of your room – is she vomiting? Are there other dogs in the household?

      Puppies have a lot of energy, and therefore need a lot of supervision, training, and structured activity. When I got my youngest Husky puppy Lara, all she wanted to do was follow me around and interact with me. I set up a fixed schedule for her that includes a lot of structured playtime, training, and activity. I also used a lot of frozen Kongs. In this way, she has many positive places to put her puppy energy.

      During her scheduled nap time, I put her in a puppy enclosure and put that enclosure in the living room where I work on my computer or watch t.v. In this way, she can always see her family, and won’t get stressed, anxious, or lonely. Then, I slowly desensitize my puppy to alone time, by starting with very short periods (seconds) and slowly build up from there. In this way, my puppy learns to be confident on her own and does not develop separation anxiety.

      Physical punishment will introduce more stress into the situation, increase my puppy’s anxiety, and likely worsen her behavior.

      How I train my puppy.
      How I set up structure and teach my puppy self-control.
      ASPCA article on separation anxiety.

  9. Isela says

    Help!! I have a 7 week old female Pomerian mixed with Shih tzu puppy. She is really stubborn!! I have tried everything from putting her in her kennel with no toys to slapping her on the butt and have also raised my voice at her but she will not stop biting me it got to the point were she has made me bleed. I sometimes sit down with her on the floor to play she starts bitting my legs,arms and even tries to bite my face I tell her not to do it and sometimes she growls at me and even tries to attack me. I am really worried and would not want her to an aggressive dog. Is this normal behavior since she is still a puppy?? Is she teething?

  10. says

    I have a 10 week old Great Pyrenees puppy that is house trained, however she keeps peeing in the living room. She will only do it when she knows someone is watching her and I think it ma be for attention. When she does it we tell her no in a stern voice and put her outside, but she never seems phased by it. Yesterday she did it again so I smacked her on the muzzle as well as scolded her. As soon as I did it she ran away into a corner and started making noises that sounded like a child screaming. Less than a minute later she was back to her playful, loving self. Did she make those noises because I hurt her? I don’t think I did cause I didn’t hit hard but either way I feel bad.

  11. Ahmed says

    hello ,

    my husky started to act strange specially before i go to sleep , after walking her late she knows am going to sleep and let her alone , yet she started to PLAY soft biting my hands as she’s is playing , i had so much fun and start going very late to bed, after 5 days the bites became stronger , that when i trying googling how to stop her biting, i found a tip to slap her on the muzzle, and now i tried it , after a little bit of biting force became stronger , strange thing happened to her , she suddenly got shocked , and acting half parrelized , such as holding her left arm UP then DOWN then UP again on her muzzle, and now she doesn’t want to speak to me yet scared.
    any hint ? I FEEL BAD VERY BAD.

  12. Rick says

    Our Pomeranian we estimate to be 8-9 years old. He was dirty and homeless about 2.5 years ago when we took him in. He has no teeth. We mush up all of his food for him. He also has the beginning of a trachea collapse, and honking cough, but infrequently. Also, an enlarged heart.

    His problem seems to unique. He barks when he is tired and wants us to be quiet. So, every evening after he eats around 5PM, he gets really tired looking, and starts to bark.

    We have 2 joining rooms for him to go to sleep. One is quieter and more peaceful, the other is where we watch TV, eat, etc. He refuses to leave us, and go to the quiet room. he must always stay in the room where we are. He just wants us to be quiet and sleep too.

    So, we have a tired dog barking at us every night because he wants us to be quiet. But he refuses to find his own quiet area. It’s only after all the lights are out, and everyone sleeps that he will stop his barking.

    My wife believes in controlling him through beating him. But that causes him to get defensive and bark stronger and really strain his trachea. They will fight, and he will get exhausted and stop barking for a while. But it doesn’t always last. and eventually he’ll start barking again, and she’ll get to the point of teaching him a lesson again.

    But I view her actions as pushing him towards his death.

    He doesn’t want a food reward. If we give him a tiny dog pellet that he can swallow, he’ll often leave it untouched. He only seems to be interested in eating during our regular meal times.

    Otherwise, he’s our best friend in the morning, and during the day. He sleeps a lot. He loves to go outside and walk twice a day. We take him outside for two 30 minute walks. He gets plenty of exercise. After walking, we feed him, and he sleeps. It’s mainly in the evening when our lives turn to hell with non-stop barking. I can see that he looks extremely tired and just wants quiet. But he won’t go sleep in the other room!!!!!

    Any advice?

    • shibashake says

      Has he always shown this behavior? How many times do you feed him in a day? With my dogs, I adjust their daily schedule to set them up for success. For example, I may feed my dog less but more often (same total daily food). In this way, my dog has a morning, afternoon, and late evening meal. After my dog eats, it is sleep/quiet time for everyone.

      Have you tried feeding him in the quiet room and then keeping him in there afterwards? Is it possible for someone to stay in the quiet room with him and perhaps read a book until he falls asleep?

      With my dogs, I try to set them up for success by carefully managing their environment and daily routine. When in doubt, I get help from a good professional trainer.

  13. melannie says

    Please help me. I need advice. I love animals and ha email loved them my whole life. I ha email this little dog greyson who is 4 months old. He is my baby and I love him with all my heart. He does not listan and he CONSTANTLY bites and gets in the trash. I want to know how to train him right. His biting problem is getting bad and when someone knocks on the door and comes in he barks for at least 30 minutes. I love him and want to help him. Can you please give me advice on what to do?

  14. Arun says

    Hey i have a german shepherd mix and it is 6 months old. I have not started training and i don’t know what to do. Please help?

  15. bat says

    My 1 year old dog has too much energy for me to keep up with. She gets bored very fast and whines and cries if she’s at home for too long. I walk her 2 times a day cause thats all i have the time for. But she always wants to go back on the street. I think it may come from the fact that she spent her first half year on the street (in india where i live) before i took her. So her life and amuzements are on the street. But it’s getting hard to let her go out when she wants to, she gets dirty, gets in to fights with other street dogs etc.

    What’s a good way to calm her down, not get anxiety when i leave her alone and want to stay at home more or come back when i call her to?

    Any advice would be appreciated, i’ve read alot and informed myself but in india, its a whole different situation going on! So i would like a more personal answer to this

  16. Karen says

    I have a 7 month old Pit that keeps chewing on my new deck. I have sprayed with the bitter stuff from the pet store and I do not know what else to do. When I get home and find the spots I take him to all the areas and tell him no and spank him on his butt. Any ideas? My husband and I love him but can’t have him chewing on our new deck. I have two other dogs out there with him so he is not alone and has toys. He doesn’t chew on stff inside only the deck…. Need help ASAP.

    • shibashake says

      Does he only chew on the deck when no people are home? Does he get stressed when people leave the room he is in? Dogs may sometimes chew when they get stressed, and some dogs get anxious when there aren’t any people in the house, even when there are other dogs around.

      As for correcting behavior, I need to be around to supervise and redirect my dog while he is performing the behavior. Correcting after the fact does not work, because my dog does not know what behavior he is being corrected for. While training my dog or changing behavior, timing and supervision are both extremely important.

      More on how dogs learn.
      More on operant conditioning.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent, so when in doubt, I get help from a professional trainer who understands operant conditioning principles, has good experience, and is properly certified.

    • ash says

      But that doesnt explain why he chews on the deck… You just told us some shit we already know. I have a german shepherd who is very mean he has always been mean since he was a baby. Not to me to other people,however,he is also aggressive towards me. For example when I want to put on his harness he snares,more like snare and not a snarl because he doesnt growl or bark just pulls his gums back ready to bite. randomly he will start to bite my hands as I am walking. I kept saying he is just a puppy but now at 6 months he is getting a little better but I rough him up. I don’t cause what he perceives to be pain because he doesnt cry. It is like a Bat,I shove him either away,grab him by the back of his neck and tell him to lay until he complies,or relinquish him to his cage. He does listen to my commands,lay,sit,GO,move,come. However he is biting me and doesnt get I don’t like when he does that. When he is good I treat him good,when he is bad i treat him bad. He does know bad from good so I don’t understand. I also train him every day,he doesnt get anything for free either.

      I start to think to myself,well,now I see why some animals end up in shelters. I could blame my lack of patience,I could blame the fact that it is my girlfriends dog,but the truth is,I am failing.

      I am running out of patience and he is going to end up with less. I have 10 acres of land,toys a dog house,I feed him good,treats the WORKS. And he is aggressive to me. What am I to do cut his balls?wtf is the point of having a purebred if you are going to end his “superior” genes. These are excellent dogs they should reproduce. I wont but the shelter will.

      I feel as if some humans should accept that some dogs are just dogs,they are wild animal they stink,and you have to clean their shit. Cut their nails,brush them,and train them as if they were children with down syndrome.

      I need a dog expert,the dog takes a liking to me,he follows me everywhere and every morning he greets me like I was deployed for a year. But I am getting sick of his retardation. Just answer me this,do I wait until he is older and see as I planed to. Was going to wait until he turns one. Or just get rid of him?

    • britt says

      Hey try getting nylabones , or those bone/toys that are made of wood (safer wood than real wood) i have a pit and i have bought him lots of nylabones, he loves those, and a few wooden chews, and i always keep him with chew bones and lots of toys

  17. stephanie says

    Hi I have a major problem with my pit bull, one day me and my boyfriend got into an argument and our dog felt the need to bite me that’s my number one issue also I am pregnant and now ever since that happened he has been peeing and pooping all over the house. . could you possibly be able to help me on how to get him to stop he was potty trained very well even when he was a puppy he never went potty in the house now hes starting. Would you know of a reason for why he’s acting out. I’m in desperate need for advice specially with our baby coming soon! He never has been mean I think he was just scared and didn’t know what to do but I’m clueless n looking for answers to fix this problem I do not want to get rid of my dog please and thank you

    • shibashake says

      Has there been a lot more stress in the household? Have there been more arguments? Have the arguments been more serious? Have there been other changes in your routine or your dog’s routine? What is your dog’s daily routine like?

      My dogs are very sensitive to the energy of the people around them. If I am stressed, frustrated, or angry, my dog will pick up on that, get stressed himself, and become even more reactive. To calm my dog down, I first need to control my own energy.

      In addition, I also set up a fixed daily routine for my dog and a consistent set of rules. In this way, my dog knows exactly what to expect from me, and what I expect from him in return. Changes in routine is also a common cause of stress for dogs.

      Stress can cause changes in behavior, including soiling in the house and more.

      Finally, dog behavior is very context dependent. A dog’s temperament, daily routine, environment, past experiences, and more will all affect his behavior. This is why in cases of aggression, especially with a baby coming soon, it is best to get help from a good professional trainer. When I was having behavioral issues with my Shiba, we did private sessions with several trainers and it was helpful to have them observe Sephy, read his body language, and guide me on how to redirect and change his behavior.

      More on dog anxiety.

      While people may exercise, chew on their nails or have a drink to relieve tension, dogs tend to chew, dig, lick excessively, pace or housesoil when anxious. Because destructive behavior has many potential causes, a careful analysis of the dog’s history and environment is necessary to help identify the cause of the problem so that effective behavior modification techniques can be recommended.
      ~~[Animal Humane Society]

      In cases of anxiety, it is important *not* to punish the dog as that will only introduce more stress into the situation, and likely make things worse.

  18. kish says

    I have a German shepherd female and her pup whose a rotweiller and shepherd mix…both stay together….

    I have a problem I have 2.tortoise in my garden and the pup seems to hurt my tortoise biting his shell….and tossing it up over….

    I really hit him and chained him with no food and have been ignoring him….

    Have also used the command NO in a very firm way…
    But she doesn’t seem to get it….

    Can someone help

    I Can not let my dog harm the tortoise…


    • shibashake says

      Timing is very important when training my dog. To stop my dog from performing an undesirable behavior, I need to be right there to supervise, stop him, and then redirect him into doing something else that is positive. Correcting my dog after the fact will *not* work, because he will not know what behavior he is being punished for.

      Dogs have a natural prey instinct, so they may go after other animals which they view as prey. It is instinctual, and the behavior may also be self-reinforcing because if they manage to catch and “play” with their prey, then they get rewarded for their prey-stalk behaviors, which will encourage them to repeat those behaviors more frequently. Therefore, it is important that I am there to supervise, and prevent my dog from getting to the other animal. In this way, I can redirect my dog and get him to do a positive behavior instead.

      If I am unable to supervise, then I keep my dog(s) separated from cats and other animals he might prey on.

      Here are two articles that talk more about how to retrain and redirect this type of behavior-

    • Jo-Anne says

      HItting your dog will not solve the problem it will only make the dog more aggressive, perhaps speak with a trainer.

  19. Kaley Hatch says

    I have a dog around a year and a half old. I BBQed a full plate of carne asada and was eating it, but left it up on the couch to switch a load of laundry. When I came back the plate was on the floor and every single piece was gone. $14 worth… I am so furious but am not sure how to punish her. I feel like wringing her neck but I am not an animal abuser… HELP!

    • Trent says

      I found that my dogs trained me as much as I trained them. It would probably be much easier to just not leave your food in such an accessible place than to train a dog not to eat yummy carne asada left out unattended. There are ways to make the behavior unrewarding, however. When my dog was younger he loved stealing things from the counter. He’s pretty tall and it was easy for him to snatch food even when we were right there. I read somewhere to try to make the experience uncomfortable by rigging coke cans filled with loose change on the counter. He would knock over the can and the noise it made eventually scared him away from trying to take anything from the counter. That way he doesn’t associate anything negative towards you or your behavior, only towards the behavior of stealing stuff off the counter. Try to leave something that makes it undesirable for her to even check the couch in the first place. I’m not sure what that might be, but get creative. Hope I could help. I’m no expert, but I’ve raised two fairly well behaved dogs and after learning that spanking really didn’t accomplish anything, I stopped and looked for alternatives. Seems like you’re doing the right thing by coming here to find a way to resolve it by other means.

    • Anonymous says

      That one is on you 100%. I hope you learned the food goes on counter and table. A dog can smell a million times what we can, can you imagine how good your food smelled? You set him up to fail?

  20. Leah says

    I just got a dog and since I was new to dog raising I would punish her and praise her like a human child. Whenever she would do something bad I would spank and if she were to do something right, I would praise her and give her affection. I find that there’s a healthy balance between punishment and reward and it’s effective. That way your dog is neither spoiled nor afraid of everything. Articles like these make me think however, and there will always be something new to learn.

  21. Sally says

    We have 2 siberian huskies, both female and they are from the same litter. They are now 8 months old. They play fight a fair bit and I’m fine with that. They are mainly outside dogs at the moment. When me and my 6 year old daughter are in the garden the one girl Lumi will not let the other Indy anywhere near us, she will weave in and out to stop Indy getting near either of us and she snarls and growls. We get up and walk away and go inside and they rip shreds out of each other until blood is drawn. Then they are so loving together licking each other’s wounds, and so loving towards us, but it’s getting my dughter really upset that they are fighting. Lumi protects her dinner too, and often will not eat unless she is starving. How can we stop the blood shed?? We give them and always have given them equal amounts of loving and treats. Please help!

    • shibashake says

      Some things that I do with my dogs-
      1. I set up clear dog-to-dog interactions rules and I slowly teach my dogs what those rules are.
      2. I supervise my dogs very well, and redirect them before things escalate into something more serious.
      3. I carefully manage their excitement level by throwing in play-breaks, so that play does not get out of control and becomes something else.
      4. I use gates, leashes, and other management equipment as needed to keep everybody safe, and also to keep all my dogs safe.
      5. I also set up consistent house rules and people interaction rules. I establish structure and a fixed routine so that my dogs know exactly what to expect from me, what to expect from the people around them, what to expect from each other, and what I expect from them in return. Structure, routine, consistency, and training are all very important to keep my dogs safe and healthy, and to keep the people around them safe.

      More on what I do to help my dogs get along.

      However, it is important to note that dog behavior is very context dependent, so each situation is different. Given that the dogs are drawing blood and there is a young girl in the house, I would get help from a good professional trainer.

      When I was having behavioral issues with my Shiba Inu, we did private lessons with several trainers, so we could focus on his more serious problem behaviors. The trainer can observe Sephy in his normal surrounding context, evaluate him, teach me how to better read his body signals, and help me come up with a good plan for rehabilitation.

  22. Destiny says

    I have 1 and a half year old cane corso name Daisy. I am 9 months pregnant and me and my husband are having the hardest time with her. I am with her thru out the day by myself and I feel as if she is testing me to see what she can get away with. This week she has tore thru our trash 3 different times,stolen food right off my plate and refuses to listen to basic commands like sit, go lay down, or stop! She knows better! This dog is just as big as me if not bigger I can not give her the attention she craves right now in my condition I love her dearly I’ve had her since she was 2 months old! She hasn’t been easy to train so I have resorted to spanking her my fear is that this unwanted behavior will continue once the baby gets here which can be any day now! Since I’ve become pregnant she has jealous tendencies and unpredictable behavior and I can not afford to have her injur my child! I don’t want to give her away she is apart of my family but it seems like I have no choice if the behavior continues

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your upcoming new baby!

      Given that there will be a baby in the household soon, I would get help from a good professional trainer.

      Here are a couple of articles from the ASPCA on how to prepare a dog to a new baby-

      Stealing food and getting into trash can be self-reinforcing behaviors. If a dog tries to get into trash or tries to steal food and succeeds, then he gets rewarded for the behavior with people food that he doesn’t get otherwise. This reinforces the behavior, and he will keep repeating it because he gets good results.

      I stop my dog from counter surfing or going into trash by making sure that he *never* gets rewarded for those behaviors. If I am not around to supervise, then I make sure there is no food on the counters and the trash is properly secured behind a door. This is very important because if my dog gets rewarded for the behavior sometimes, then he will just keep trying harder because the next time may be the time he gets the special food.

      When I am around to supervise, I give my dog a no-mark as soon as I see him nosing around the trash area or trying to jump up a counter. I then give him an alternate command, e.g. Sit which I have pre-trained him on. If he does it, I mark the behavior and make sure to reinforce it with food and attention. In this way, I redirect an undesirable behavior into a positive behavior, and then reinforce the positive behavior.

      If he does not listen, then I body block him from the area. If he keeps going back to the area, then I keep him out of the kitchen with a baby gate. In this way, he learns that if he tries to jump on kitchen counters, then he doesn’t get to be in the kitchen. This is a negative result to the behavior, which will discourage him from repeating it.

      I also set up a fixed routine and a consistent set of house rules for my dog. I slowly teach him what those rules are so that he knows what I expect from him and what he can expect from me. I motivate him to follow rules by following the Nothing in Life is Free program.

      A big part of my dog’s daily routine includes walks, structured play, and other positive activities to redirect his doggy energy. When I got too busy, I hired a dog walker or did dog daycare. If I don’t provide Sephy with positive outlets for his energy, then he would always come up with many less desirable ways to spend his day. :)

  23. Lee Christie says

    Whipping every time. we got this outof control mongrel really big and we trained him using a leather whip. he got repeated beatings which i admit were pretty harsh if he was a milimetre outa line and it worked. also when i drive or race horses at work we whip them so why not dogs?

    • Anonymous says

      i cant believe that you whip your dog- that is so bad for you and your dog –
      please stop – did you try and break your dogs spirit. – I am so sorry that you have felt the need to use force and not love – I send you much love and hope that you never get whipped.

  24. stephanie says

    thankyou for this posting. I have a 3 months old puppy who’s crazy about biting and i receive an advice from a friend to hit her on her butt. so I did that, it did help for a week or so but now i think she doesnt like me to touch her anymore. before she would sleep on my feet and asking me to hold her pretty much all the time.
    Can you please tell me how to “undo” this?
    I’m feeling heartbroken right now, I wish I did more research myself than listening to people.

  25. Aaliyah Robinson says

    Hi there! I have an eight month old puppy named Branson. He is a german shepherd lab. We do discipline him by spankings, and he is learning from it. But I feel like he is getting too old to pee in the house. He won’t poop in the house, but he really only pees. It’s really driving me crazy because every time my Dad comes around, he gets excited and pees. He does that ALL THE TIME. (Its even more annoying because me and my brother are the only two in charge out of six people to train the puppy) He isn’t very smart in the potty area and it’s making me insane and I want to get rid of him. Do you think you can tell me why male dogs are slower than females and how I can get him to be smarter in the potty training area? He knows he has to go outside to do his business, but it seems like he just doesn’t care to let us know.

    Thank you.

  26. Kirsty says

    Hi there,

    I have a 20 month old border collie x. She went to puppy school as a young pup and eventually stopped her terrible habit of running away (which is also dangerous as we live on a main road). She has recently (suddenly) started doing this again for no apparent reason. If the front door is left open she will take off up the driveway when in the past she was just happy to lie in the fresh air. She will not come back to us when called, we have to try and grab her and coax her back inside. It ends up being a bit of a stand off with her watching us – every step we take towards her, she steps away from us. She is walked daily, is well socialized, regularly talked to and played with. I am not sure what brought this on. Please help!

    • shibashake says

      As I understand it, dogs often run out open doors because it is a self-reinforcing behavior. I.e. a successful escape rewards the dog very well with an interesting walk outside, where he gets to smell a lot of interesting things, chase squirrels and cats, meet new people, and have the freedom to go wherever he wants. Therefore, the more successful escapes a dog has, the more likely he will repeat the behavior, because each time he escapes, he gets rewarded with a really fun outing.

      When my dog was young, he was less certain of himself, so he preferred to stay closer to home. As he matured, he gained confidence, and became less afraid of exploring farther afield.

      For dog escapes, I teach my dog door manners, *and* I am also very careful about not leaving the door open unless I am there to supervise and have him on-leash.

      For coming when called, here are a list of training techniques from the ASPCA. With my dog, I usually start recall training in a very low stimulus area, e.g. inside the house or my backyard. In this way, there are fewer competing external stimuli. After my dog is really good at coming when called in the backyard, then I *very slowly* increase the environmental challenge.

      What is your pup’s routine like? How long are her daily walks? Border Collies have crazy energy, so they usually always have more energy to spare. :)

  27. KovutheCollie says

    Hi I have a 3 month old border collie that will not stop biting me, my family, and my roommates kids. I don’t think he does it out of aggression, but he bites our hands while we try petting him. I do not hit him, but I’ve tried holding his muzzle closed, not paying him any attention, and putting him in time out. Nothing has stopped and it seems to be getting worse, especially around more people. I want to expose him to all sorts of people and things, but it’s getting difficult because of his biting. Suggestions please?

  28. Shiba Inu says


    I have Shiba Inu and she is 13 weeks, two weeks ago she peed on the carpet and I hit her and took her to the backyard. I thought she will stop doing that but kept doing it and everytime she does it I punish her and take her to the backyard. Then she started to poop but in the kitchen when I am not around her, after couple of times she is now eat her poop as if she wants to hide what she did. How can I correct that? Is 13 weeks still too young to understand and to get hit or punished? I feel bad because I hit her and she started screaming and afraid she what I did might effect her personallity and become an aggresive dog and never listen to me and keep doing what she is doing.

  29. sally says

    hiya we have recently got a 4month old labrador and he is a lovely dog and i love him to bits but i have never had a pup before and am finding it a little frustrating when trining him as he challenges me a lot like when im out walking him he constantly pulls i pull him back and also hold his mouth firmly but not hurting him and tell him no but then he keeps doing it so i keep persisting with what i am doing but he still keeps doing it its frustrating and i dont know if im dong right or not please help thankyou

  30. Kaitlynn Chadwell says

    Hi, I have a husky mix who is 3 years old and my boyfriend and I are having a hard time disciplining him. We tell him no and slap him and there are times where he growls and even snaps at us. My boyfriend is at his wits end with this, and as am I. We love him very much but need a way to discipline him and be safe about it. We have only had him for part of his life, we got him at a year and a half and he had less than basic training when we got him.

  31. Josh says

    I just got a new dog, and he isn’t that friendly with my poodle he is 1 year old shepherd. How can I make them get along?

  32. Mikayla says

    Hi I have a 1 year old mixed female dog and she seems to have a problem with where she should go to the bathroom. I have potty trained her already giving her set times of when she gets to go out and even when she gets to eat and she was doing just fine and then one of my siblings moved out so I moved into their room and it was like she turned into another dog. She will go to the bathroom in my room and in my room only even after I just took her out and she did potty when I took her outside not even minutes before the incident. I tried the method of putting her in timeout and even used her no word which is “bad”. But she just keeps doing it. It confuses me because she only does it in my room but never in any other room in the house. She’s never had a problem with this room before and I’m worried it’s me that’s doing something wrong. Please help…

    • shibashake says

      Changes in routine and living conditions, can cause stress and confusion to the dog, which may cause changes in behavior or set-backs in potty training.

      I *do not* use timeouts for potty training mistakes. When dogs poop or pee in the house, it is often because they are stressed, confused, or do not know that they are not supposed to go in a particular room.

      If my dog is confused because of changes in environment or is still learning, then I calmly take her to where she is supposed to go, and then reward her extremely well for it so that she will be motivated to go there in the future. This teaches her where to go for her potty.

      With potty training my dogs, I find that close supervision is the most important thing. I need to supervise my dog closely so that if she makes any mistakes, I can no-mark and take her out immediately. Then I can reward her very well for doing her business outside. The more I minimize mistakes inside and maximize successes outside, the more quickly my dog will learn what I want her to do.

      If it is because of stress, then it is not really a potty training issue. I start by always being calm and patient with my dog, and try to identify what is the source of her stress, e.g. is it from being alone, is it from being in a particular place, is it because of my energy, etc. Once I identify the source of her stress, I can find ways to reduce her stress triggers, help her manage it, and help her stay calm through desensitization and counter conditioning.

      Timeouts are often used to stop or discourage certain behaviors. Dogs have to pee and poop, so we do not want to discourage those behaviors, but simply to teach them where to do it.

      Here is more on what I do to potty train my dogs. However, not all pooping and peeing in the house is the result of potty training. It can also be the result of stress, physical issues, and other factors.

      When I try to change a particular behavior in my dog, the first thing that I do is try to understand why my dog is performing that behavior and what my end goal is. Once I understand these things, I can come up with a more effective plan for changing her behavior.

  33. Alyssa Willson says

    My Shar-pei/Boxer mix will be 1 year old in March. He is very hyper and does not listen to no, ignoring, or smacking. He constantly whines non-stop even if I had just fed him or took him outside. I will yell at him an say NO! but he just continues to do whatever he was doing. If I smack him on the nose he thinks I am playing with him, and sad to say I have honestly punched him (not THAT hard) but he still just sits there an whines or climbs on people. I am about ready to honestly get rid of him because I can’t even focus on my homework because of his constant whining and barking.
    Any tips that will help me keep my dog will be greatly appreciated!

    • shibashake says

      What I learned from my dogs is that their needs and tolerances are sometimes very different from mine. Therefore, in the beginning, they don’t know what my very human rules and preferences are. It is up to me to teach them these things, and to properly motivate them to learn and follow my rules.

      I find that my dog learns best when I am calm and in control of the situation. If I get angry, stressed, or frustrated, my dog will pick up on my energy, get stressed himself, and his behavior will get even worse. I make the best progress when I stay calm and teach my dog that he gets what he wants most by first doing some simple work for me. This is also called the Nothing in Life is Free program.

      Here is a bit more on how I trained my puppy.

      In addition to setting up a fixed routine and teaching my dog a consistent set of rules, I also try to understand his needs and redirect his energy towards positive and productive activities. My dogs are all pretty energetic, so I take them out on walks every day, I play structured games with them, we do obedience and grooming sessions, and they also have supervised play sessions together.

      Here is more on how I exercise my dogs.

      Consulting with a good professional trainer can also be very helpful. I visited with several professional trainers during my difficult period with Sephy (Shiba Inu).

  34. aroofa says

    Hi I have a year old malti poo and he barks when ever the door bell rings or at anyone who come home including my family members how do I get him to stop

  35. Lily says

    Every time i let my dog out of the house so he can go pee and get some exercise he digs a hole under the fence and he leaves for about 2 hours. Then he comes back. One of the neighbors brought him back one day and threatened to kill my dog if he continues to get on his yard. My mom made me tie him up outside in the backyard so he wouldn’t leave anymore but I don’t want to leave him tied up outside if it rains. Is there any way to get my dog to stop leaving the yard and wondering around the neighborhood?

  36. Haru says

    i have a 3 months old beagle, who keeps biting carpets, towel and sofa
    She knows when i say NO it means she is not allowed to. Most of the time she immediately look away. But she sometimes grab the towel then run away from me, knowing that she is wrong. When i try to take it away from her, she doesnt give it to me without fight.
    I tried slapping her, giving her time-out outside. I think she knows she is wrong but she is just too naughty just like a little kid.
    Any advice (other than to be patient until she grows up)?

    there is also some issue with the night potty training
    i often take her outside on leash in the middle of the night for her to go potty, but she keeps getting distracted and want to play instead of going potty (although we are already playing the whole evening). This is so annoying that sometimes i put her back in her crate and then let her to have her potty inside her crate, then she is miserable for the night begging me to not letting her sleep in her wet bed (then i had to clean her crate in the middle of the night which is very exhausting)

    Thanks in advance

    • shibashake says

      If I get angry or frustrated with my dog, he usually picks up on my energy, gets even more stressed-out, and acts more crazy then before. Some things that help with my dog –

      1. I try to stay very calm. I have things planned out for his various bad behaviors so that I can be calm, decisive, and consistent.

      2. If I try to pull things out of his mouth, my dog will pull back as well. This is because he thinks it is a fun game of tug, which actually rewards him for his bad behavior. In this way, he learns to repeat the bad behvaior more because he gets a nice game out of it.

      During the training phase, I make sure to puppy proof my house so that there are no towels or other tempting objects around for him to bite. If he does get something, I simply hold the object still (I do not tug back or in any direction). I hold it still close to his mouth so it becomes a very uninteresting activity and he lets go. I am able to do this because I stay very calm, and I train my dog to have good bite inhibition and not to bite on me. Do not do this with dogs who are aggressive.

      3. As I understand it, dogs may look away or show other calming signals when they sense that we are angry. This does not mean that they understand *why* we are angry or what we want them to do. They only know that we are angry and want to calm us down by showing us that they are not a threat.

      When my dog bites on something he shouldn’t, I calmly no-mark the behavior, and redirect him onto something that he can bite on (e.g. his chew toy). Sometimes, I make the chew toy more desirable by adding food to it. When he redirects, I mark the behavior (Yes) and reward him by playing a fun game with him. In this way, my dog learns that chewing on his toys is a lot more rewarding than chewing on my curtains.

      Here is a bit more on-
      Bad dog behavior and how I deal with it.
      How I give timeouts.
      How I potty trained my puppy.
      How I trained my puppy.

  37. May says


    I have a 6 months old pugshire (a mix breed between a pug and a yorkshire), and he loves to play, run and chew things, which seems normal for a puppy. When he was 3 months old I started to teach him the basics (sit, lay down, wait, high-five, no-mark and positive mark), and he proved himself a very good learner.
    But now that he’s a little bit grown up, he doesnt seem to understand anymore. When I tell him NOT to do something, he stops and waits for me to move away and then start to do it again, or just ignore the no-mark and keep doing the wrong thing (chewing flip-flops) until I stand up and grab the thing away from him.
    I’ve tried to “harden up” the no-marks using a water spray, touching his neck/nose, not giving him attention, but he keeps chewing my flip flops. Last week I lost my mind when he was chewing a sock and slapped him twice with the sock in my hand, he cried a bit and never again got close to the place where I put my socks.
    I’ve read your post and felt really bad about slapping him again, but slapping was the only way that he seemed to understand that he must not chew something, specially my flip-flops (he already destroyed 4 pairs!)

    Is there anyway to teach him without slapping?

    • shibashake says

      When my dog chews on something she shouldn’t, I no-mark, and then I redirect her onto something that she can chew on (e.g. her chew toy). If she redirects, I mark the behavior (Yes) and then I reinforce it by playing a fun game with her. Very quickly, she learned that – Chew on toy = Fun game and affection – which made toy chewing a lot more rewarding.

      If she keeps going back to my shoe, then I body block her away and get her to do something else. If she absolutely will not leave it alone, then she loses access to that room. If she escalates her behavior by scratching at the door or biting on me, then I put her briefly in a timeout area.

      This teaches her what things are ok/good to chew on, and what things are not. In general, I also start small and give my dog many chances to learn the right behavior. I only *slowly* escalate my response if she escalates her behavior.

      I try to be fair, consistent, and calm. I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program to teach my dogs to follow house rules.

  38. Jessica says


    My little jug is coming up to a year old now and still poos on the kitchen floor. Unfortunately we live in a flat on the first floor. There is a garden, but without being on the ground floor, our door leads to the stairs, not straight to the garden, so we do not have immediate access to the garden. At night time, Shae is kept in a crate. In the morning, she is eager to go outside and when I take her into the garden she poops and wee’s like clockwork and I praise her with treats and verbally also. Howevever, 20 minutes after being back in the kitchen (free to roam the room) she often goes on the floor, even after I have just taken her outside. It’s very frustrating as I never see her in the act so cannot scold her at the time. She won’t do it in front of me unless we are outside.
    I work in the day and put her back in her crate from around 9am to 4pm. As soon as I get home, I take her out in the garden or for a walk and she goes again like clockwork and she is praised and knows that she is doing a good thing because she runs over to me to get treats every time she goes. But then throughout the evening, when she is free to roam the house, she often has an accident, (several) in the kitchen, and I never catch her in the act.
    This has resulted in her being locked away in her crate as punishment, because I cannot trust her out of her crate. I do not know what to do anymore. I am losing patience and struggle to understand why she cannot grasp to only go outside.
    Also, sometimes, either during the night or in the day, she will poo in her crate. She does not seem bothered by fowling her own area, where she sleeps. This doesn’t seem normal to me… she is never kept in her crate for a long amount of time (7 hours at the most- over night) When she poos in her crate, it is usually throughout the day, when she is in her crate for an even less amount of time.

    She also whines a lot when she is in her crate (never at night time because she is in the routine of bedtime, but if I ever put her in there during the evening for a time out etc, she whines very loudly) and I fear that the neighbours will complain. I have tried to correct this behaviour. By scolding her with sharp words, by shouting, slapping her on the nose, ignoring her, I even got one of those evil anti bark shock dog collars which I used only once because of the distress it caused her. I only bought this as a last resort and I am ashamed that I got it… but NOTHING HAS WORKED. I love her but she is a nightmare at the moment and I do not know what to do.

    Any suggestions would be very appreciated. Thank you.

    • shibashake says

      1. Potty training

      When potty training my dog, supervision is the most important thing. I am always right there with my puppy so that I can no-mark and take her out when she tries to go in the house. Then, I go with her outside, and reward her extremely well for it – with not just food, but also affection, and her favorite games. I do not let my dog free roam until she is fully potty trained.

      I have found that with potty training, it is important to not only maximize successes, but also to minimize mistakes. More on how I potty trained my dog.

      2. Crates & Timeouts

      I *do not* do timeouts in the crate. Crates can be useful for training, management, and safety, so I slowly crate-train my dogs, and I make it into a very positive experience for them. My dogs go into their crates to work on their chews, to get some alone time, to relax, and when I need to transport them in the car. They enjoy being in there, and see it as a safe and happy area.

      More on what I do with timeouts.

      3. Pooping in the crate

      Some dogs, for example pet store or puppy mill dogs, are caged for long periods of time at a young age. As such, they are *forced* to go in their crate. Ultimately, this becomes normal behavior.

      We can retrain the behavior but it will take supervision, time, effort, and patience.

      Finally, consistency is very important in dog training. I set up a fixed routine for my dog, which includes a lot of exercise and people time. I set up house rules and a consistent set of consequences so that my dog knows exactly what to expect from me, and what I expect from her in return. I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program.

      Consistency helps my dog to learn more quickly, it reduces stress and problematic stress behaviors, as well as helps with building confidence and a strong bond.

  39. Rebekah Kell says

    Hi, I have read a couple of your blogs on dog aggression.
    I have a 16 month English Bulldog (male) who has always been friendly with other dogs and enjoys socialising with other dogs.
    I live in a 3 floor flat, and my upstairs neighbour has an alsation cross male dog. My neighbours dog is usally off the lead in the close while mine remains on the lead. My neighbours dog usually barks and runs towards my dog – however my dog has started barking aggressively back. – so now my dog has started looking for my neighbours dog when we leave the flat.
    Today the alsation dog came running down the stairs and sniffed at my dog in the face and my dog tried to bite my neighbours dog a few times. My neighbours dog didnt try to bite back. I had to physically restrain my dog by pulling him back and in the air by his harness.
    I am at my witsend beacuse i feel my dog is not allowing me to be the dominant one.. he is very stubborn and this is completly out of character.

    What can i do please?

    • shibashake says

      We all have social boundaries and our dogs have them too. For example, we do not allow strangers to charge us, come into our space, and then sniff our face. Similarly, some dogs do not like having their personal space violated either. This article from Suzanne Clothier talks more about dogs and social boundaries.

      In addition, a leashed dog cannot run away and cannot avoid the other dog, so his options are very limited. More on on-leash aggression.

      Different dogs have different social tolerances, so I observe each of my dogs carefully and identify situations which causes them stress. For example, my Shiba Inu does not like unknown dogs sniffing his butt. Here is why. Therefore, I protect him and make sure that there is no butt sniffing unless he is totally ok with it.

      The more positive social encounters my dog has, the more confidence he builds, and the more calm and relaxed he will be while meeting other dogs. The opposite is also true. This is why I always try to not only maximize successes, but also minimize failure. I try to be consistent about protecting my dogs from unwanted attention. They know that I will take care of things, and they do not need to do it themselves.

      Luckily, my neighbors realized that getting charged by unknown dogs is upsetting and dangerous, so they are more careful about leashing up their dogs now. There are still some loose small dogs sometimes, but those with larger dogs are now more responsible about managing them.

      More on what I do with my dog, when we see other dogs during walks.
      More on how I socialized my Shiba Inu to other dogs.
      More on the “friendly dog”.

      In cases of aggression, it may also be a good idea to consult with a professional trainer, so that we start off on the right foot, and keep everyone safe.

  40. Erin says

    I am only a young first time owner, 17, of a beautiful 9 week old cavoodle Bonnie. She is not our first family dog, we had two extremely well behaved and loving golden retrievers that my Dad raised. Dad used the technique of hitting them on muzzle forcefully with a stern word or growl to discipline them
    He is very persistent that I do the same with Bonnie when she nips and growls, jumps on the coach, cries and other undesirable behaviors.
    I hate doing it, though I see it works as a stern no doesn’t scare her at all as she quite fearless.
    I give her lots of cuddles and still use rewards when training her though I don’t want her to fear me or other humans but I also want her to know that I the one with dominance.
    What other methods would you suggest?
    Thank you

    • shibashake says

      Yes and no are most commonly used as markers. They communicate to our dog what is desirable and undesirable to us, closest in time to the behavior. For a marker to “mean” something, it needs to be charged. For example, if yes is always followed up by a food reward or with affection, then when we say “yes” our dog knows that something good is on the way. In this way, Yes is used to ‘mark’ a desirable behavior. Some people may also use a clicker or beeps to mark behavior.

      Here is a bit more on markers.

      For shaping a dog’s behavior, we can use aversive training or reward training.

      Hitting a dog is an aversive training technique. We add a ‘bad’ stimulus that the dog does not like when he does something undesirable, and take away the stimulus when he does what we want.

      I use reward training on my dogs. In reward training, we add a ‘good’ stimulus that our dog likes when he does something desirable, and take away the stimulus when he does something we don’t want. For example, if my dog does a Sit for me, I may reward him with food, a toy, or a game. If my dog bites on me, I may withdraw my attention. If he persists, I may temporarily take away his freedom with a short timeout.

      Here is more on how dogs learn.
      Here is more on how I deal with bad dog behaviors.
      Here is more on dog dominance and bad behavior.

  41. Luke says

    Hey i have a husky x border collie. Hes approx 20 months ad has started an annoying new habbit of running away when i walk him to bed. I usualy give him about 7km run or so as he tows me on the skateboard so is not because of lack of exercise. I let him in the house each night for social time but when i walk him outside to put him to bed in a seperate fenced off area he runs off on occasion into the bush and usually doesnt come back untill morning. How do i punish him when he returns? Is there anyother way than having to just secure him each time on the 30m or so between house and his fenced off yard. My other dog always walks offlead into yard fine and this boy used to but now he takes a dash for freedom on occassion.
    Also they both have a tendency to get aggressive with other dogs every now and then. I let them run off lead at the beach and they play with other dogs fine 90% of the time but the second another dog shows the slightest aggression or annoyance he has a go at biting them. I think he is too used to being top dog at home and can impose this heirachy in public with random dogs no matter if its twice his size

    • shibashake says

      Dogs repeat behaviors that get them good results and stop behaviors that get them bad results.

      When he runs-off, he gets rewarded with more freedom, so that reinforces the running off behavior because it ‘works’. Punishing a dog when he comes back to us will be counter-productive because he will likely associate the punishment with the most recent behavior, i.e. “coming back” behavior, which is a good behavior that we want to encourage.

      At night, when I need to crate my dog or put him in an enclosure, I make sure to reward him very well for it. In this way, he learns to associate going into his enclosure with rewards and positive events. Also, he is more likely to settle down if he has something to work on before sleep. Each of my dogs has his/her own sleep area. In this way, my adult dogs can rest without being pestered by Lara, my young Husky. Also, there will be no conflicts over resources.

      If there are multiple dogs in the same area, we need to make sure there is absolutely no aggression or conflicts over food, toys, space, and other resources. Here is more on how I desensitize my dog to his crate.

      As for getting along with other dogs, different dogs have difference boundaries and social tolerances. My tripod Husky, Shania, gets overwhelmed more easily, so during play-time I supervise closely, I have smaller play groups, and I manage excitement levels by using play breaks. My Shiba Inu likes playing with friendly dogs, and will stand his ground if challenged (even by big dogs), so I pick his playmates carefully so that everyone can enjoy themselves.

      Conflicts may also arise over resources such as balls and other toys.

      Here is more on my experiences with dog parks.

  42. Dan says

    My Dog growls and snaps suddenly. he is healthy,fine and very understanding. I am yet to see another dog like him. I have noticed that he snaps when he is sleeping and someone pats him or plays with him, he gets angry when we tell him to do something in a strict tone. I see there is a pattern here but I’m confused! Please help. Where as he is completely different when he is in another place i.e that is when he is not inside the house he behaves very well.
    Does it have something to do with him feeling that he is the owner of the house

    • shibashake says

      Some dogs may show aggression when startled awake, especially from a deep sleep. This is also known as canine sleep aggression.

      Let’s face it, negative reaction to sleep disturbance is certainly not uncommon, even in human beings, so it’s only natural that the same thing can occur at times to dogs as well.

      The best rule of thumb is to not ever surprise him by waking him from a deep sleep with a touch.

      Instead, the best way to deal with it is to call your dog’s name loudly or clap your hands first to waken him.
      ~~[CBS Philly]

      I motivate my dogs to follow rules and commands, by using the Nothing in Life is Free program.

      Here is more on dog dominance and bad behavior.

  43. Laura says

    My roommate has two dogs, and when ever she leaves the the dogs or dog goes into my room and chews up my under ware that is in my laundry basket and pees on my bed and pillows. why ? And what can be done to prevent this action?

    • shibashake says

      Dogs do not know what things are acceptable to us, and what things are not. They do things that are natural to them as dogs. When I get a new puppy, I have to teach her my human rules and motivate her to follow those rules through things that she cares about, e.g. food, affection, toys, play, walks, and more.

      This is what I do to potty train my dogs, so that they learn not to poop and pee inside the house.

      While my new dog is still learning the rules and getting used to her environment, I make sure to supervise her closely so that I can teach her what behaviors are ‘good’ (for people), and what behaviors are ‘bad’. During this time, I close the doors to non-puppy-proofed areas, and use baby gates or leashes as necessary.

      More on how I train my puppy and how dogs learn.

  44. Yasmin says

    Hey my dog does not want to sleep in her own room she scratches the door and cry’s so she has to sleep with me what should I do for her to sleep.

    • shibashake says

      Is this a new puppy? My puppy usually likes being very close to her people, especially in the beginning. She has just been separated from her mother and litter mates, so now she looks to me to protect her, give her affection, give her play, and give her protection.

      In the beginning I sleep with my puppy at night. Then as she grows and gains confidence, through training and socialization, I get her comfortable with sleeping in a crate.I put the crate in my room, next to the bed.

      As my Husky puppy got older, she became more independent. Now she is fine sleeping on her own, and actually prefers being downstairs where she can prowl about and have more fun.

      More on how I trained my puppy.

  45. amy says

    hi, my dog digs up plants and I have tried disciplining him by smacking him and putting him in a low stimulus, isolated area but he has not learnt the lesson. any thoughts?

  46. anastasia says

    i rescued a puppy a couple of days ago and im training her to stop biting us and ny year old daughter. i tap her nose because she gets too rough with her. should i stop or is there an alternative method. she also won’t eat her puppy food and cries whenever we are eating. i want her to eat since i just rescued her, any tips to get her to eat?

  47. Lawrence says


    My dog just bit another dog in the face whilst on a walk. We walked straight home, under a tight lead and verbally told her off, then at home she wah banished to her bed. Is this the right response?

    Molly is a 18 month old jack russel cross pug and is a bit if a handful!

    She’s a lovely dog and very loving dog to me and my GF but is not very friendly to other dogs. Especially on the lead.

    Do I avoid all dogs on walks? I try and approach all dogs with a calm vouce to tell molly its not a threatening situation, but we still get nasty behaviour deom her.

    Is there a different approach? Any ideas would be much appreciated.



  48. AD says

    I agree with positive training however if you watch dogs interacting with each other they are CONSTANTLY using physical correction on each other. I even watched my dog once gently try to correct a puppy, the puppy did not listen, my dog “slapped” him (pawed) lightly, puppy still did not listen… then “WHAM”, puppy got slapped. The puppy got it and walked away. Did that make the puppy fearful? NO, the puppy learned his lesson and moved on. Dogs are constantly using physical force on my dog if he is being innapropriate, and my dog learns the lesson and becomes more apropriate (approaching a dog respectfully rather than in a hyper manner). I do believe in positive training but sometimes the dog needs a firm reminder of “NO!”

  49. Huiying says

    Hi, I have a dog which is almost 2 years old and he still does not like to pee in his potty. I recall when he was about 7months old or so he would go to his potty to relieve himself but then we sort of moved his potty to another place which I think it kinda confused him so we shifted it back to the original place but ever since then he wouldn’t relief himself there anymore. He does his business like almost everywhere and anywhere of his house. I’ll just bring him to the area where he peed at and let him smell it and then hit his muzzle and bring him to his potty to let him know that’s the place he should be relieving himself at. I’ve been doing this for the past 8 months and it doesn’t help. I’ve tried the reward based dog discipline but it didnt seem to help much. Is there anything else I can do to get him relief himself at the place he should soon?

    • shibashake says

      Dogs may not generalize potty training exercises across different houses or indoor locations. For example, my dogs are fully potty trained in my house, but this does not mean that they will be 100% safe in a different house, especially if there is a strong smell of other dogs, cats, and other animals.

      When I move to a different house, I do a refresher potty training course if necessary.

      The key with any kind of potty training is supervision. We need to *always* be there to catch our dog in the act, and then teach him what where we want him to go to do his potty. As you have observed, hitting him after the fact isn’t going to help, because he will not know what behavior he is being punished for. In addition, hitting a dog can result in submissive urination.

      Here is more on how I potty train my dogs.

  50. patricia says

    hi, i have a 7 month old boxer-bullmastiff, i bought him off of a friend only about 2 weeks ago. He’s overall a good listener. These are my issues 1. He runs for the door whenever someone opens it and when i end up catching him he fights me to bring him back in, even tho i take him outside almost every hour because i feel it is cruel to make puppys hold their pee(or number 2), also i am 6 months pregnant and its a struggle. 2. he will take anything, and i mean everything he can get his paws on, run it right into his kennel and chew it until i notice what hes doing and he looks at me with sad eyes KNOWING that hes doing something wrong ! and 3. i have a 1 year old cat, and i just cant seem to get him to get along with her, he will chase her, he will bark at her, anything i am constantly, CONSTANTLY trying to get him to ignore her, she barely ever comes out of my room because she knows that he will try to get her, she will let him sniff her, and shove her with his snout, but once he starts getting rough she tries to get away and he chases her and pounces at her, its starting to drive me mad !! I am scared that if i don’t get him to get used to her soon, and he realizes she isn’t going anywhere and he doesn’t constantly have to be trying to get her, that he might get too rough and actually hurt her… please help!

  51. BOB says

    hi I have a 3 month old kelpie who bites me all the time I’ve tried slapping and time outs but he’s still doing it. any advice?

  52. Lika says

    i have a 1 year old pit bull puppy and we have tried just about everything to get him to stop tearing things up for spanking him to the bitter cherry spray but nothing seems to work and im just about at my wits end i have no clue what to do. he does it when im not home or in bed asleep . i would like some advice about i might could try with him

    • shibashake says

      When you are in the bedroom asleep, is she trying to get into the bedroom to be with you? What is her routine like? How much exercise does she get every day? Has she always shown this behavior or did it just start? What does she chew on? Does she seem stressed when left alone?

      When retraining behavior, I first try to identify what is causing my dog to act in that particular way. For example, a dog may get destructive when left alone because of separation anxiety. Dogs may also chew on things as a way of draining energy, to relieve stress, and more. Sometimes, dogs chew on unsanctioned objects because they do not know what is ok to chew on and what is not.

      Therefore, the first step that I take to is identify the source of my dog’s behavior.

      To teach my dog what is ok to chew on, I supervise him closely. If he chews on something he is not supposed to, I no-mark, and redirect him onto something that is ok to chew on, e.g. a chew toy. If he redirects, I reward him well with a game, attention, and treats. If he does not redirect, then I body block him away from the area and engage him in doing something else. If he keeps going back then I put him briefly in a timeout area.

      In this way, my dog learns that
      Chew on chew toys = games, attention, and more,
      Chew on wires, furniture, etc = Get redirected or briefly lose his freedom.

      With my dogs, it is very important to time my rewards and correction close to the target behavior. Otherwise, my dog will not know what behavior he is being corrected for, and he will not know what I want from him.

      Here is a bit more on how dogs learn.

  53. Anonymous says

    I have an 8 pound Yorkie and he is about a year and a half. I got him from the shelter and i believe he was abused. He’s extremely intelligent and learns commands well but he won’t stop pooping in the house. I will literally take him out and walk him for 20-30 mins and he’ll wait to get in the house to use it. Lately however, I’ve been teaching him the word “potty” and he seems to understand that The only problem is that his pooping schedule is odd. He normally wants to go at 1 or 2 am when I’m obviously asleep. How do I change up his time? I’ve been trying to feed him earlier in the day in hopes of making him go at a reasonable time.

    • shibashake says

      I set up a fixed routine for my dogs which also helps to keep their potty schedule more constant. They are more likely to do their business after physical activity, so I make sure to exercise them well earlier in the day, and have calm time before going to bed. I always let them out for a potty before sleep time.

      Here is more on how I potty trained my dogs.

  54. eric says

    hi, my dog always runs out the gate when ever one of us leave and then he comes back 4 hours later even though i take it out 3 times a day! i have tired hitting it and i have tried putting it in the conservatory all night displine room. but it seems too not care about it

    • shibashake says

      This article from the ASPCA has a pretty good list of techniques on how to teach our dog to come when called.

      I also teach my dogs door manners.

      With dog training, it is important to time our reward or punishment as close to the target behavior as possible. If we punish a dog when he comes home, he will not know what he is being punished for because the escaping behavior happened a long time ago. Or worse, he may think that he is being punished for coming home.

      Here is a bit more on how dogs learn.

  55. Hara says

    Hi, thank you for our advice! I have a question, i have a 4 month old shiba inu who is adorable and brings us a lot of joy, however we have one main issue with him:

    When we give him his chewing bone (made of bull skin) and we try and take it back he becomes like a little devil. He screems aggressively, bites really hard and barks. As soon as we manage to get it he calms down all of a sudden so it’s really from one second to the other. He also becomes like this when he vomits as he wants to eat it so if you approach him he goes crazy! Other than that you can put you hand in his bowl while he eats no problem.

    He bit us a couple of times and quite hard so I was wondering if you had any advice on how to stop this behaviour.

    Thank you,

    • shibashake says

      Here is a bit more on why dogs get aggressive over food and toys.

      I also do bite inhibition training with my dogs to teach them to control the force of their bites when interacting with people.

      When my Shiba Inu was young, I put a drag lead on him so that I could more easily control him, and keep him away from stuff he is not supposed to eat, e.g. vomit. I only use a drag lead with a flat collar (*not* an aversive collar) and only when I am around to supervise.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent. For aggression issues, getting help from a professional trainer may be best.

  56. Marissa says

    Hi. I have a blue healer mix. And lately he’s been very aggressive towards my other animals and he really doesn’t like my boyfriend because he will randomly snap at him. Idk wat to do?? I wud never hit him but how do I get him to stop????

  57. lacey says

    Hello. i have a 2 yr old pit that a friend gave me. and she has been chewing all our furniture andpeeing and pooping on the floor for a yr we smack her but put hot sauce on our furniture and she goes outside for least 4 – 5 hours a day and plays out her energy . Idk Wat else to do

    • shibashake says

      Here are some things that helped me potty train my dog.

      Supervision and consistency were both very important while potty training my dog. I set up a consistent routine for my dog, so that his potty routine also becomes more consistent. I make sure to always take him out when he wakes up, and after any rigorous activity. Other times, I supervise him well so that if I see any potty signals, e.g. going to corners, circling, I can take him out right away and reward him very well for doing the right thing.

  58. Frank says

    I need help…i have a 4 month old pit bull retriever mix..she constantly bites and her previous owner played rough with she thinks its ok to bite and rough house..shes a good dog..but I want to know what I can do stop her from bitting me..

  59. Katrina says

    Hello,it was nice to see a picture of your husky pop up when i logged into your site,I need help with something and would love to hear back from you.I have a two and a half year old Siberian Husky named Chi,we had an incident where one of the feral cats in our street was in our backyard and was confronted by our Dog,my partner and i went out to try to save the cat and our dog got hold of it as was intent on killing it,my partner was trying to restrain my dog and he was bitten by her several times,i would say because of the nature of the situation and also he was hurting her in an attempt to free the cat,he is saying that she should be put down and that she is a risk to my Children,she protects the Children and anyone that belongs to our Family,she has in the past 2 months also caught 2 possums that have entered our garden,she is being territorial from what i can see,the feral cats,many of them jump our fence and come and eat her food,scratch her and threaten her,i have had animals all my life and i think this is what you can expect from a Dog,anything that comes into our garden would be very lucky to get back out again,please give me your opinion,i also was bitten several times by the cat in an attempt to save it,but it ended tragically. . .Kind Regards Katrina.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Katrina,

      Siberian Huskies usually have high prey drive.

      Prey drive is the instinctive inclination of a carnivore to pursue and capture prey, chiefly used to describe habits in dog training.
      ~~[ Wikipedia ]

      Dogs chase prey based on instinct. Some dog breeds have higher prey drive than others, and some dogs within a breed may also have higher or lower prey drive.

      A bit more on Siberian Huskies and cats.

      Both my Sibes have high prey drive. They also like digging for earth critters in our backyard, so we have a relatively large area where they can dig. We trained them not to dig in the landscaped area. We also trained them to “Leave-It” and to “Drop” objects willingly. If something unusual is happening in the backyard, I can usually hear it, and then the key is to interrupt my dogs early, before they totally switch over to instinct.

      When a dog is already in a highly excited state, and we try to physically restrain him, he may redirect that energy onto us. This is why people get bitten when they try to stop a dog fight. Here is a bit more on redirected aggression and other types of dog aggression.

      Here is a UPenn study with the following results –

      “Our study demonstrated that many confrontational training methods, whether staring down dogs, striking them or intimidating them with physical manipulation does little to correct improper behavior and can elicit aggressive responses.”
      ~~[ Penn News ]

  60. japong says

    i have a 5month old belgian malinois,she playfully bites my hand when i try to pet her, fix her collar and when my hand gets too close to her face. how do i make her stop??

  61. Fed up beagle mommy says

    I have a 2 year old beagle that I inherited from my parents. He chews everything, eats cat poo out of my kittens litter box and if the cabinet door where the trash is kept is left open her gets in the trash. My kids love him, so I really want to train him so they can keep him. Any hints?

    • shibashake says

      Some things that help with my dogs –
      1. I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program. This motivates them to follow house rules and do work for me because it is the best way to getting food and everything else that they want.

      2. I walk them every day (1 hour or more) and redirect their energy into positive and structured activities. The more energy they spend on structured activity, the less energy they have to come up with their own unstructured activities.

      3. I set up a fixed schedule and a consistent set of rules. In this way, my dogs know exactly what I expect from them, and what they can expect from me in return.

      4. I dog-proof my house. Beagles and other scent hounds are bred to seek out smelly things like thrown away food and cat poop. What works best with my dogs is to set them up for success and remove all these tempting ‘treats’ until I know they are well trained.

      Here is a bit more on-

      How I trained my puppy.
      How dogs learn.

  62. Oregongirl says

    Hi there,

    I have a 7 year old female golden retriever who is a fantastic dog, except when she gets on my couch! We made the mistake by allowing them on the couch but we recently moved and purchased a new couch and are now trying to keep her off the couch. She is a very smart dog which puzzles me as to why she keeps doing something we NOW don’t want her to do. We know this is a confusing time for her with the move and new rules but she knows she is not supposed to be on the couch. When we leave she gets on it, when we are sleeping she gets on it. I know she is on it because I see her hair and feel the warm spot where she was laying. It’s even getting to the point where she will hear my alarm going off and get off the couch because she knows I am getting up. I don’t know what to do. I am getting so so angry about this. She has her own dog bed and she does lay on it but she prefers the couch. I am not a believer in spanking or hitting an animal but she is getting me so frustrated I find myself wanting to. She absolutely hates lemons so i thought maybe squirting lemon juice in her mouth would be some form of pubishment…..i dont know.

    Any advice you can give would be so much appreciated!!!

    Thank you!!!!

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, my Husky puppy Lara also likes sleeping on the couch. I think it is because we spend a lot of time on the couch, and it smells a lot like us.

      With my Husky Shania, the key to couch training is supervision and consistency. I have to be there every time she tries to get on the couch. I no-mark and then body-block her away. If she gets on the couch, I carry her down right away. Then, I tell her what to do instead, e.g. do a Down by the foot of the couch. If she does this, I reward her very well for it, with attention, food, and a scratch session.

      In this way, she never gets rewarded for being on the couch, but she *does* get rewarded very well for lying down next to the couch. During Shania’s training, if I am not able to supervise, I put her in an enclosure so that she cannot get onto the couch on her own.

      Dogs are very clever and they are very good at observing us. They will quickly figure out, for example, that they can get on the couch when we are not around or are too busy to supervise. Once they get on the couch, they get rewarded by being able to sleep on a nice surface that smells like their people. This will encourage them to keep repeating the behavior.

      With my dogs, I find that the best way to stop an undesirable behavior is through consistency –
      1) make sure they never get rewarded for the bad behavior,
      2) tell them what to do instead, and then
      3) reward them really well for the good behavior.

      This will motivate them to repeat the “good” behavior instead of the undesirable one.

  63. Anonymous says

    I had a male Beagle and I tried the rub nose in pee or poop with spank and he still didnt learn. I hated like heck to do that to him but nothing seem to work with regard to going in the house. He was good about going to crate when bedtime but could not learn that he should go out to do his business. and he chewed up all kinda stuff, I whipped him for chewing up some computer cords and other things that pissed me off. Tried spankin him for that and same result. finally I just gave up and kept him outside. I am seeking proven methods fo r house training a dog without negative reenforcement. I hate spanking but dont know proven method for trainng other than spank. (thats how I saw my dad do it) I wanna do it differently for my next dog. I’m looking at a boxer mix at the local shelter. beautiful brindle female.

    • shibashake says

      While training my dogs, I have observed that timing is extremely important. In particular, we want the reward or punishment to occur as close to the “target behavior” as possible. This is why with potty training, supervision is key. We need to be there while our dog is making his mistake. If we are there, we can interrupt, take him outside, and teach him the behavior that we want.

      As you have observed, punishing a dog after the fact will not have the intended effect because the dog does not understand which behavior he is being punished for, and he does not know what he is supposed to do instead.

      Here is more on what I do to potty train my dogs.

      Here is a bit more on how dogs learn and how I trained my Huskies.

  64. Stephanie says


    My dog is a 2 year old yorkie poo that is OUT OF CONTROL. I will start from the beginning….He bites and rips his hair out, he doesn’t like his own food and will go a whole day without eating, I don’t know why!! And when he doesn’t eat, he throws up this yellow/green YUCKY stuff. He eats up carpet and hair (gross, I know), He’ll eat anything thats not edible really, he has had a weird interest in underwear, socks, clothes in general. He even ate a razor once!!!! He also snaps and bites!!! Just today, I dropped a peice of pizza and he went for it! He got it and when I tried to take it and tell him to get in his bed, he showed me his teeth and snapped at me! He also whins A LOT when put in his crate. He annoys other dogs, by humping them and licking them in their ear holes (weird, I know). All the dogs in the neighborhood hate him. I have had this dog since he was 8 weeks old and I don’t know what to do! My fiance and I have tried to train him since the beginning, but my fiance was taking the aversive training method and I could not do it. I also did not do the reward training. This was my first dog adn I really didn’t know what ot do. My fiance was the only one training him with aversive training. Is it too late? My fiance and I are debating getting rid of him but honestly I LOVE HIM TO DEATH. I want to fix this problem, what can I do?

    Also, he is not neutered. Should I try and get this done?


    • Anonymous says

      It sounds like your dog has a food allergy that makes him itchy, hence chewing on himself and avoiding the food that makes him feel sick. Food allergies cause dogs to be malnourished and have a compromised immune system, but that’s probably why he’s going for non-edibles, because he’s probably hungry. Try switching to science diet. It will take a few weeks to see improvement. As far as the humping, getting him fixed may alter that behavior, but BECAUSE he’s humping, you really ought to get him fixed to prevent forcing someone else to deal with a litter of puppies in the future. Hope this helps.

    • shibashake says

      Re Food and Allergies:
      I would consult the vet about this, especially if he is throwing up. Food allergies can also cause itching and scratching.

      Re Training and House Rules:
      Some things that helped with my dogs for training and following house rules-
      1. Consistency.
      I found that it was very important that I stay consistent while training them. Everybody uses the same techniques, I set up a fixed and consistent routine, I set up a consistent set of communication commands and signals, and also establish a consistent set of rules. Otherwise, the dog may get confused and may not understand what we want him to do.

      2. Timing & Execution.
      Timing is also very important in dog training. I make sure to time my reward stimulus so that it is as close as possible to the target behavior. I found that incorrect timing can actually worsen behaviors. This is something that a professional trainer was able to help me with – both timing and proper execution of the training techniques.

      3. Calm Energy.
      Sephy was a highly excitable and reactive dog. The best way I found to deal with his excited energy, is to be very calm myself. If I get angry, stressed, or frustrated, he would pick up on my energy and become even more reactive. He was able to listen and respond better when I am calm and have a consistent plan of action.

      4. Exercise.
      Daily walks and obedience training sessions also helped to redirect Sephy’s excited energy into more structured activity. I also make all my dogs work for all of their food and resources. In particular, I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program.

      Here is a bit more on what I did for training Sephy-
      How to be pack leader to a reactive dog.
      Basic dog obedience training.
      Creating a structured environment for a puppy.

      Here are some of my experiences with food aggression and food guarding.

      Re Neutering
      Here is an article from the ASPCA about some of the benefits of neutering a dog.

    • Anonymous says

      lol yeah I had a Dalmation that ate GRAVEL! out of the drive way lmao no idea what that was about lol. And he did that for a long time. I was like wth is he eating those gravel for.???!!?!?

  65. Tiffany Earley says

    PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!! I have a miniature keeshond who is about to turn 2 in a few weeks. We bought him in 01/11 he has not been neutered yet either but soon plan on to. However, ever since we had him he caused chaos:( He has calmed down alot on bad habits but he still pees and poops in the house. When we leave and he is not outside in the backyard we leave him in the kitchen with a gate up. However, by the time we get home he escapes from the gate and he consistently pees on my couch and poops in my 4 yr. old daughter’s bedroom constantly. The minute we walk in and see him out we already know what we are walking into so I grab him up, rub his nose in it, yell, and spank his butt!!! I have been doing this forever and it does not seem to work and I feel that this is not the best solution because it is not working and I do not want him to fear me and bite me- he has tried before:( I really want to try something else because I am at the end of my ropes with him and do not want to break my daughters heart by getting rid of him. We have become so attached to this potty devil………PLEASE HELP ANYONE!!!!!

  66. Pia says

    Hi! I have a blue heeler and I’m curretnly having three problems with her. The first is that she is uncontrollable around food, she eats anything and everything that we leave out, even if its on the table or counter. Shes been disciplined (saying NO, showing her the empty plate or pizza box, and a light slap on the snout) but she continues to do so, not only is this bad behavior (and I hate physically reprimanding her) but its dangerous for her health (she got into rat bait once at a friends house and had to be rushed to the hospital, shes fine now thankfully) She’ll eat herself sick and I can’t stop it– any suggestions, please! The second is she has become a bit of an escape artist and is strating to run away, I’m worried maybe I’m not excersicing her enough? Also when I find her she doesnt always return when I call her, she look at me and keeps sniffing and then finally, after multiple shouts and whistles runs up to me happily– I never discipline her for returning to me though because I don’t want her to think that returning is bad- how can I teach her running away is bad? The third is that she shows more respect to my significant other- whenever he is around if he yells at her to not do something she immediatly stops, but when I do it she doesnt? I can’t find any significant ways we treat her differently so I dont understand why, could this simply be because he is male and therefore has a sterner deeper voice? Thanks for any and all advice/ comments! I’m going to try the time out technique for the food thing for sure, maybe it will work for running away too?

    • shibashake says

      Re Coming when called:
      This article from the ASPCA has a great list of all the recall techniques and how to train a dog to come when called. You are absolutely right in not punishing the dog when she returns. That would only make her not want to return. *Do not* use timeouts to punish a dog when she returns.

      Dogs run away because there are interesting things on the other side to explore and smell. The way to make dogs come back, is to make them a better offer. Consistent daily exercise will also help. A dog that gets daily on-leash walks and exercise, will have less of a need to explore on her own.

      Herding dogs and many other working dogs are very intelligent and high energy. What has worked well for my dogs, is to redirect their energy into positive structured activity. For example, I make them work for all of their food, we do obedience sessions, play sessions, and daily walks.

      Re Opportunistic eating:
      Most dogs love food and are opportunistic eaters. When a dog jumps up a table or counter and finds food, they will learn to repeat this behavior because it has a very positive outcome – they find food at the end of the rainbow.

      I have found that they best way to stop this behavior is to make sure that my dogs never get rewarded for it. I make sure to put all food away when I am not there to supervise. If they try doing it when I am around, then I put them on a brief timeout. If they are calm and follow house rules, I reward them well. We often only pay our dogs attention when they do something ‘wrong’. But I find that it is even more important to reward them for doing something ‘right’, even if it is just lying around and not doing anything at all. 😀

      In this way, they learn that –
      1. Jumping on counters = Never get anything and will lose freedom to roam the house.
      2. Being calm and following house rules = Get attention, food rewards, and continued freedom to roam the house.

      Re Respect and being pack leader:
      I had a lot of difficulties with my Shiba Inu in the beginning. After many difficult months, I learned that Sephy and indeed many other dogs are very good at observing us and sensing our inner energy. I could speak in a stern voice and it would not matter if internally, I was feeling fearful or uncertain. I learned that being very calm and confident is very important with Sephy. When I am not calm, he will pick up on my inner energy, get stressed, and behave even more badly.

      Here is more on my experiences with Sephy and pack leadership.

  67. A Tijman says

    Hi I have a pack of 8 dogs at home, I have 2 full grown males and 1 youngster, and the rest are females. The one female is at the moment very dominant and is attacking with no reason, she grabs the one dog that is irritating her and then obviously the whole pack likes to join in. Now I have already seperated them in two groups I have the older ones in the house with me and the younger ones outside. She also has it in for her sister so that one I also keep close with the elder ones (14.13yrs). We have recently moved to a farm house and the garden is pretty large and for me very difficult to get a hold of them to pull them apart. When we do get them we give them a spanking and divide them up in the rooms so that they all can cool down. However when I am alone and I cannot get to them I tend to grab a stick just to get them to let go and then move them. What can I do to make them stop and listen to me in such circumstances as a neighbor came today and said I was mishandling them. We love all our dogs to bit and tonight will be sitting around the tv with them lying all over my lap and getting loving attention. Please help! Regards Liesje

    • shibashake says

      I think separating them into manageable groups is a good idea.

      Dogs usually have conflicts over resources, e.g. space, attention, food, etc. They may also show aggression in response to what they perceive as a threat.

      What has helped with my dogs is to teach them clear rules of interaction with each other. For example, I do not allow humping, and there is also no stealing. When the older dogs want to rest, I stop my younger Sibe from bothering them. She is young and has the infinite energy of youth. 😀

      What has worked well is for me is to stop and redirect conflict behaviors before they escalate into aggression. When they are working on food, I body block them away if they get too close. Often, I also redirect them into doing something else. As soon as I notice one dog about to mount (e.g. lay paws on another one’s back), I stop her right away, and give an alternate command. If she continues with her humping, then play stops and she goes on a brief timeout.

      In this way, she learns the following-
      1. Humping or not following rules = play stops and lose freedom.
      2. Her people will handle conflicts in a fair and consistent way. There is no need for her to use aggression.
      3. Her people will protect her space, and belongings. She does not need to protect them herself with aggression.

      For in-training dogs, I often use a drag lead (only with a regular flat collar). This allows me to take them to timeout without resorting to chasing games, which only rewards the dog for her bad behaviors. I try to always stay calm, and I manage the situation and environment so that I am always in control. I only use the drag-lead under supervision because it may catch on furniture, bushes, etc, which may cause harm to the dog.

      In addition to stopping conflict behaviors before they escalate, I also try to teach my dogs that cooperation and being calm together will get them the most rewards. Dogs often see each other as competitors for limited resources, which can ultimately lead to fights. Instead, I do group obedience sessions so they get used to working with me and focusing on me, when they are together. I reward them well for working together. In this way, they learn that cooperation (not conflict) gets them the most resources.

      Here are more things that I do to keep the peace at home with my dogs.

      Given that there are so many dogs involved, a professional trainer can also be helpful. A professional can observe the dogs’ body language, identify trigger events (what events cause the aggression), and come up with a safe plan for redirecting and retraining aggressive behaviors. In cases of aggression, we always want to take special precautions to make sure that everyone is safe, both human and canine.

  68. Tanya says

    I use a Halti. today i did not and she displayed protective behaviour toward a man standing near me by going up to him and growling. I smacked her bum immediately as I feared she would bite and has bitten before. I feel bad now. I will have to stick with using the Halti for good control and not smack…..
    She also decides to go her route on walks by pulling her way, if I refuse she wil simply lay down in opposition to me.
    Any other comments?

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba will do that sometimes. He goes into a Down position and does not want to get up. I usually lift him up by his chest so that he is in a sitting position, then I just move along at a faster clip. I only do this with a regular collar or harness.

      Sometimes, I scrape my shoes on the concrete sidewalk. Sephy doesn’t like that sound so that also helps to get him moving. Playing the Find-It game and making the walk interesting with foot-work exercises also helps. I switch things around to make the walk fun for the both of us.

      I used the head halti briefly with one of my Sibes. During that time, I also put on a harness or regular collar. I used the halti to prevent pulling, but I used the harness to get Shania up and/or to move along. Here is a bit more on my experiences with using the head-halti.

  69. Aubrey says

    Hi, I recently acquired a one year old Border Collie. The only dogs I have experience with are pugs and schnauzers so I am not sure how to discipline her. I have a feeling that this “Spanking slapping hitting” method isn’t the best so I feel bad for training my dogs this way. I want to discipline my new dog correctly and without using slapping or physical discipline, and I am hoping to change with my other dogs too. I have problems with my collie constantly running off and she will not come back. She doesn’t listen well in general and I would like to know how I could fix this? (Take note that she is an outside dog…)

  70. Heather Williams says

    Hi, I have a 7 year old female Jack Russell (not spayed)who is not consistently aggressive and is a very loving dog toward my family. We got a shihzu (female, not spayed) 2 years ago and randomly the Jack Russell would unexpectedly attack the shihzu, even drawing blood once. It was never predictable and time wise there was never any regularity to it. She still does it maybe once a year. My stepdaughter moved in with us and brought a corgi puppy with her (male, 8 weeks old). My Jack Russell just attacked the puppy for the second time- randomly and with what I could see no provocation. She actually bit thru the poor puppy’s lip. The Jack Russell is my baby and always has been- I am extremely careful about showing any of the other dogs any attention or affection when she is around. What do I do? I can’t put my Jack down I love her too much. Any help or direction you could give me would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    • shibashake says

      I got a new Sibe puppy last year (Lara), and my Shiba Inu also did not get along with her in the beginning. The thing with puppies is that they want to play with everyone and everything and they do not have an “off-switch”. 😀

      Lara did not do anything overt to provoke aggression, but she would keep going into Shiba’s space, poke her nose where it was not wanted, and sometimes try to engage play when the other dogs only want to rest.

      Some things that help my dogs get along at home-
      1. A fixed routine and schedule for puppy. In this way she is not always up and about.
      2. Close supervision and management of puppy. I make sure that when my other dogs do not want to be bothered, puppy leaves them alone.
      3. Many play breaks. During play, things can get over-excited and then it becomes something else. I usually have many obedience breaks where the dogs come over to me, do some simple commands, get rewarded really well, and then they can go back to playing. I also have strict play rules.
      4. Group obedience training sessions. I make them all work together for me, and reward them very well when they are calm and working cooperatively.

      Once my Shiba saw that the puppy is a positive thing, that actually results in a positive impact on his life (more good play, more rewards, etc.) he started warming up to her. Here is more of what I do with my dogs at home-

      With my Shiba, desensitization exercises were also useful in redirecting his reactivity toward other dogs-

  71. Kurt Nelson says

    Hi, I have a year and a half dog, mixed breed. Looks like some whip-it, maybe a little German Shepard, and rottweiler. I find that when we put a little treat in her bowl she likes to growl when you get close. I’ve been trying to train her by taking it away and constantly playing with it so that she gets the picture it’s not okay to do that. But today she bit me, not enough to break skin, but enough to piss me off and react in a bad manner and strike her back in a dominant force. I took her food away and walked downstairs where she tried to suck up knowing full on that she knew what she did was wrong. I want to know how to go about this situation. I don’t like to hit her, there are I’m sure other options. Thank you for your time in advance.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Kurt,

      When Sephy (my Shiba Inu) was young, he would try to eat almost everything that we saw on our walks. Of course, I diligently took all of those things away from him. However, after some time of this, he started to growl whenever I approached him. This is because he has learned to associate “me approaching him” with losing his valued possessions. Every time I reached for him, he loses what he finds. Therefore, he has learned to try and keep me away, so that his stuff doesn’t keep getting taken away.

      What has worked well with Sephy and all of my dogs is to instead condition them to associate people with positive events and as the “source” of stuff, which is what we are. We control all of our dogs resources, so we just need to teach them this fact in a productive way.

      By letting them “have” something first, and then taking it away, we make it into a negative event. However, by only rewarding them after they have done something good, it becomes a positive event.

      For example, I don’t give my dogs any of their food in a bowl. Instead, I use all of their daily food rations as rewards for “working” for me throughout the day. They get food for doing commands, for staying calm when there are visitors, for following house rules, for walking without pulling, etc. This is sometimes also referred to as the NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) program.

      I also do several training exercises with them to prevent food aggression, including exchanging objects and teaching them the Leave-It command. Here is a bit more on what I do to prevent food guarding.

  72. Nate says

    I Have A 5 Going On Six Weeks Year Old Pitbull he will not go to the bathroom outside but as soon as I bring him in he goes on the floor and not even on his training pads I tryed whipping him often when he do not listen to a command but I see it’s making him fearful to come around and he run a hide as well as he will ignore me when I call him and I would go have to pick him up and take him where I wanted him to follow me. So what would you think would be the perfect training for him to understand and start to learn? Thank You

  73. Pam says

    I have a dilemma. My female, lab mix is developing aggressive behavior, especially regarding her crate. My boyfriend was very harsh with her when we first got her at only 5 weeks. I thought she was naturally skittish and spooked easily. The more I read the more I figure his “training” is what has molded her. To say things have been tense in our house is an understatement. I hope that is enough background. I need to know what to do to ease her fears and I hope to reverse any damage done to her. She is in training classes, starts intermediate classes soon. Please help

  74. Cat Karina says

    I stumbled upon your website by accident and it just so happens that I could use some help in your area of expertise. This is a wonderful website BTW. Thank you for taking the time to help so many dogs and their owners co-habitate more peacefully :)

    My Satchel, a Shepherd/Lab mixed pup, is just over 6 months old and I am training her to be a Mobility Dog. She is my first puppy, but somehow with a lot of love and a lot of treats, I have managed to train her to do many things. She is wonderful.

    Now the problem…. I CANNOT get her to approach a person (known or unknown) or another dog CALMLY (or politely at least). What do you recommend?

    • shibashake says

      I have found desensitization exercises to be a good, controlled way to train my dogs to be more calm with other dogs and people. It has been helpful with my dog’s fear issues, and also for controlling excitement.

      A big problem with people greetings is that *we* often reward a dog for the wrong behaviors. There are many people who will give eye-contact to an already excited dog, or call to him. This rewards the excited behavior with attention, which encourages more of that behavior during the next meeting.

      Training a dog to be calm with people, will likely also require some control and limitation over the people he is allowed to meet.

  75. Gary Kelly says

    Hi I just bout a little 8 week old Pomeranian pup and im having trouble training her to go to the toilet on her pad. Whats the best technique to use to get her to go to the pad to do the toilet ?

  76. nikki says

    i have a 3 month old husky i dont know what to do i jus got him 4 days ago and everything me and my husband call his name he will not come into 5mins later he know how to sit and everything but only wanna do it when he feels like it he jus wont listen all the time

  77. says

    Hello there!(:
    I have two dogs, a 1 year old female maltese and a 4 month old male herding dog. The problem is that when I take them out to the bathroom they will leave if I leave them out more then 5 minutes. The male won’t leave if I take him out by himself but if I take out both then they go out far into the alley. How can I stop them from doing this everytime?

    • shibashake says

      With my Shiba, I did not have a backyard during his puppyhood days, so I would take him out on-leash. Then, I can mark the behavior and reward him when he is done. Another possibility is to train a good recall.

  78. Stephanie says

    SO i have a 5 month old labrador/terrier mix named Loui – so far his potty training is good with the training pads.. when it comes to urination he is EXCELLENT he does it on the pad n if no pad hell cry for us to let him out… but occasionally when he gets left alone or FEELS like it he will “do his business” (#2) under the bed ! (or on it!) This causes daily clean up and t does get annoying and frustrating. He climbs on the bed on his own while I am not there which is another issue He will not Learn. He has a habit of licking NON-STOP everything he gets his mouth on to the point of leaving massive puddles behind from the licking. When disciplining him I say No.. DOES NOT WORK.. Hit with a newspaper, or sandal LIGHTLY on his butt and STILL doesn’t learn, I Give him treats, and it worsend the situaution as he listens MORE when there is a treat in my hand.. What am i doing wrong because I am to the point of taking him back to the shelter but I really dont want them to put him down or anything…PLEASE HELP !

    • shibashake says

      It sounds like the licking and pooping may be the result of stress. When under extreme stress, dogs may sometimes perform displacement behaviors (e.g. excessive licking) in order to cope with the stress. People do similar things – we pace, we pull at our hair, etc. Dogs chew, lick, and poop.

      To reduce stress for my dogs, I give them a consistent routine, a consistent set of rules, and a consistent way of training. I follow the NILIF program and use resources to motivate them, redirect their energy, and help them build confidence.

      Here is more on-
      Dog separation anxiety.
      Dog anxiety and stress.
      How dogs learn.

  79. ace says

    sometimes there is no recourse but to hit. my gfs’ roommates’ dog jumps up on me (with poopy paws)and mouthes any flesh she can get. Her owner refuses crate training and leaves the dog on the patio of the apartment virtually all day til the evening. So when she rusehs to jump on me she gets hit with a metal yardstick. The owner doesnt know how to raise a dog and she spoils the crap out of it. So Iam in a no win situation b/c my gf cant move out for at least another year.

    • shibashake says

      As you say, this is first and foremost a people issue. As such, the solution also lies with the people involved.

      The dog does not know how to meet people, because she has not been taught to do so in a consistent way. Hitting her will likely teach her to fear people, and this may ultimately result in fear aggression.

  80. Kirti says

    Hi! Great post on how to rightly discipline a misbehaving dog! I am already doing everything that you have specified (time-out zones for me are ‘go to bed’ and a strong NO as well as looking directly into the dogs eyes disapprovingly!) My questions are, is the dog able to relate what the punishment is for? (I do it immediately after mine does something undesirable) AND how long should these time-out zones last to drive home the point that the dog misbehaved and this behavior is unacceptable since I am the pack leader. Having said that, we have an adorable small one that is pretty much in tune with us. Thanks in advance for the reply! :)

    • shibashake says

      I usually start with very short timeouts (1 minute or less). If the dog continues with the behavior after he comes out of timeout, then he goes back in for a slightly longer period.

      I only reserve timeouts for serious offenses, e.g. biting on people when they already know that it is against the rules. I do not give timeouts to puppies who are still learning the rules. In fact, Shania has never been to timeout, and Lara has only been for a handful of times. Sephy is more of a regular, but even he, only goes about 10 times or less per year.

      I also do not use timeouts right away. First, I no-mark (ack-ack) to let my dog know that it is an undesirable behavior. Then, I give him an alternative command. This lets him know what *to do* instead. My Sibes are usually very happy to follow my lead at this point.

      Here is what I do for timeouts with my dogs-

      As for being pack leader, following the NILIF program works best for me.

  81. Jose says

    I have 3 dogs all different in their own way. I have a small chihuaha who is just always frightened but plays a lot with my pitbull. My dogs never get out if the gate is open but lately the small one keeps getting out through the smallest hole possible. I have spanked him and assertive no. I have left him on timeout and even have poured water on him . Even though it seems like he learned his lesson he continues to do it. I don’t know what else to do with him , i show all my dogs equal love & reward them for being well disciplined. I have gotten frustrated to the point that i have wanted to kick him out since he keeps getting out. Its a very small hole & even tho i have covered it up he still finds a way , Do you have any advice on what can help me or what i can do ?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jose,

      One thing I have observed with my dogs is that they usually do not generalize a “rule” across different objects and environments. For example, like you, I teach them all door manners so that they do not bolt out doors or gates. However, my Sibe puppy recently dug under the fence while chasing after a gopher. We now place concrete slabs all along our fence line to prevent digging and it has worked out well.

      In terms of “correcting” the behavior, I have observed that it is necessary to catch them in the act so that they can associate the consequence with the behavior. Any corrections after the fact have no effect on my dogs.

      Here is more on my experiences with dog escapes.

  82. Daniel says


    First off I want to say thank you for such a wonderful site!

    I need some advice on how to get my 9 month old male chihuahua to listen to me! I have tried everything I have read on the internet like putting him in a time-out spot when he does something wrong or won’t listen to me. I have also tried lightly tapping him with a rolled up newspaper and I have also tried the ignore technique along with lots of other things…nothing works!

    When he sees my neighbors across the road he automatically starts barking and runs across the road to them stands 5 feet away and just keeps barking. No matter how many times I call his name, clap my hands or whistle for him to come he just keeps going won’t even turn back to look at me! I always have to go across the road and get him because he will never ever come back on his own when I call him to come. I talked to my neighbors and asked them to be friendly with him and that does not work either. He just wants to do what he wants to do and that’s it! He also chases people riding bikes and large trucks that make alot of noise ans runs into the woods barking at birds and what not. Nothing I say or do will change his course of action when hes doing something I don’t want him to do. The only time he listens is when hes not doing anything at all, I can call his name and say come and he comes right over wagging his tale, happy as can be.

    People say to train him to do tricks to make him act better….how can I train him when he won’t listen to me at all? This is the most hard headed dog I have ever owned and I have owned about 7 dogs because I LOVE dogs! All my other dogs have learnt tricks and listen on command. I only have 2 dogs now, the one I’m talking about and another small dog that he gets along with very well.

    I love my chihuahua with a passon like hes my own child. This is my first dog of this kind of breed and I have been told that chihuahua’s are naturally hard headed but I can’t and won’t give up. Please, can somebody help me with how to teach my chihuahua at least to stop doing what hes doing and come/listen to me? I live in the backwoods country so there’s not much traffic at all but I don’t like even taking any chances at all of him being hurt. I don’t want to tie him up to a chain either! He deserves freedom!

    Thanks so much in advance!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Daniel,

      Sounds like your dog has a pretty high prey drive, which can account for why he likes chasing moving things. Dogs with high prey drive will be harder to train to have good recall because their instinct will usually take over and they will be off like a shot.

      Some things that have helped with my Sibes –
      1. Desensitization exercises on trigger objects and events, e.g. people, bicycles, and people on skateboards.

      2. I start small and take little steps. To train recall, I first start in my fully enclosed backyard where it is quiet and there are few distractions. Then I invite a friend over and do training with my friend there, ignoring the dog. At this point, I may use a long-line.

      As my dog gets more comfortable with each situation, I slowly increase the challenge. Here is a good article from the ASPCA on a wide variety of recall training methods-

  83. flashtrum says

    Here’s my problem with the whole “rewards” based modification. The dog knows it’s inappropriate behavior. When my dog does not greet me at the door, I know he has defecated inappropriately in the house. So, simply not giving him a treat doesn’t enforce the rules of the house – but neither does beating him or yelling at him (which I never did). He already knows he is bad. And when he does go outside, I make a parade out of it and he is rewarded. HE KNOWS NOT TO GO IN THE HOUSE. And thus the problem with my dog. If I am home, he can hold it easily 8-10 hours. If I go to work, max is 5 hours. But this also doesn’t point to separation anxiety. He would display that much earlier than 5 hours (and yes I have stood outside my house – once for 45 minutes and no whining/barking). He doesn’t chew or scratch either. Bugsy has one foot out the door. I love him, he’s very gentile and smart, but I love my 11 year old son on another level and won’t have him sitting on a urine-soaked couch because we can’t correct this dog’s behavior. I am considering a crate or diapers, but he’s 3 1/2. I’m willing to forge ahead, but he’s getting to be on a very “short leash”. I need to be able to know I can go to work for 8 hours and come home to a responsible dog or else I won’t have a job and he won’t be living with me anyway.

    • shibashake says

      Some common reasons why dogs potty in the house-
      1. They do not know they are not supposed to go in the house.
      Dogs may sometimes look sheepish when we get home and are greeted with a potty mistake. However, they hang their head down, lick, or offer other sheepish gestures because they sense our frustration and anger. Therefore, they use appeasement gestures to try and calm us down. They don’t really know what in particular has made us angry, but simply that we are so.

      It is very difficult to get the smell of urine out of some couches because it soaks deep inside. A dog can probably still smell it even if we cannot, which would encourage him to continue using it as a potty spot.

      2. Stress and anxiety.
      Not all dogs bark and scratch when they are anxious. One of my Sibes gets really quiet when she is anxious and goes to hide in the corner. My other Sibe paces when she is stressed. My Shiba will usually make noise, but when he is extremely stressed, for example at the vet, he may just shut down, become really quiet, and hope the door will magically open so he can leave.

      3. Physical issue.
      Some dogs may have urinary tract infection or some other physical issue that makes it difficult for them to control their bladder.

  84. Lyle Gorch says

    My friend used to strike his dog when it fouled the kitchen floor. It never learnt not to, and when I suggested he should use voice commands my friend told me I was wrong. When I showed him, and his wife (after he hit the dog again)their dog training book said not to’even raise your hand’ they said I was wrong and the book meant new born puppies. I showed it didn’t but they were quite rude and said the book MEANT puppied but forgot to print it!! I think they had more issues than their dog! Sadly, their dog was left behind a barrier and, poorly trained, it tried to jump the barrier and injured itself. It died the next day.

  85. says

    it really depends on the dog i should say… the rest of my dogs can understand a “STOP IT!” except for this one single dog that feels he is alpha which i really hate when he growls over food, over being near his space etc that often can cause fights and the sad thing is, the four other dogs don’t fight back to give him his own dose of medicine… so i feel that i have to interfere when it gets really worse… i have 5 dogs and the 4 other dogs get together well… but the fifth, hardly… sometimes hitting a dog is necessary but doesn’t mean you have to do it always… they’re like people in some ways, some says scolding your kid should be in a conversational manner and some understands and do not repeat it, but some kids needs to be slapped to learn their lesson…

    • shibashake says

      i really hate when he growls over food

      That sounds like a food aggression issue. This often happens when a dog makes the wrong association between people and resources. What works best with my dogs is to teach them that people are the source of resources, rather than the source of negative things.

      My Shiba Inu is a stubborn, dominant, and difficult dog to train. I started with aversive techniques, mostly collar corrections, but that only made him more aggressive. There are many studies that show that hitting and other pain based techniques are risky and can worsen a dog’s behavior especially in the long-term. Here is one.

      After I stopped using pain based aversive techniques and switched to controlling my dog’s resources, things improved significantly with my Shiba Inu.

  86. Stefan says

    I read your article with great interest and I would like to quote it in my term paper on animal abuse. I’d like to bring in the negative effects of the aversive obedience training as an example of how poor education on dog training may lead to unconscious active cruelty toward dogs.
    The only problem with that quote is, I’d need a name for the Blog’s owner, and it has to be a real name. Could you tell me by email so I can put your quote into the paper?

  87. Michelle says

    My 4 year old Yorkie is new to us 6 months ago. Over this time we have discovered she must have been previously beaten by a male. She has a bad habit at biting my husband and only him when she has done something bad and sometimes even if she hasn’t. It seems like she does this out of fear or aggression. He has tried to approach her more carefully but he is a big guy and I think that really intimidates her. His approach to discipline is to hit her when she has been bad and then he sends her to her bed. I grab her muzzle tightly and say bad girl. I have had absolutely no issues with myself or anyone else but him getting bitten by her. Recently she has even started to yelp or poop and pee when he scares her or makes her nervous. My husband says if it doesn’t stop then he will be getting rid of her because he won’t put up with it. I on the other hand want to find what the problem is and fix it, because other than this problem she is the perfect dog for us. Please help I don’t know what else to do. Michelle

    • shibashake says

      Dear Michelle,

      In terms of fear aggression, what has worked best with my dogs is to help them re-associate the fearful stimulus to something positive. For example, my Husky Shania, was fearful of the garbage truck. It is big and makes a lot of noise. Therefore, I slowly desensitized her to it. Here is a bit more on dealing with fearful dogs.

      This section deals with people desensitization. Based on what I have read, we can also appear less intimidating to our dogs by bending down so that we are not looming over them. Also no eye-contact, especially stares, which can also be intimidating.

      As described in the article above, using physical force has a high risk of making a dog even more fearful, causing submissive urination, and possibly worsening the fear aggression.

      Here is a bit more on dog obedience training.

  88. Samantha says

    Our new dog buster is a three year old mastiff cross ridgeback and has bad anxiety when i leave.whenever i leave my partner and son can still be here but my parnter said he goes into a panic when i leave but watches my partner leave every morning and when we are home and all out back he has to keep finding me to stay calm if i’m not out there and walk out he’s sttaight to my side which is not a bad thing but need to stop him jumping fence or partner said he has to go for his own safety and we are trying by making fence bigger between front and back yard but it’s already 6 foot high. PLZ HELP I DON’T WANNA LOSE HIM OR HAVE TO GIVE HIM UP. any advice welcome.

  89. Filip says

    Hey guys,

    i just wanted to ask you what to do with my Shiba inu( 6 months old), i am new at this. He can be good sometimes, and obey, but sometimes he does some really bad things, like, biting us when we try to take some trash out of his mouth. And yea, when he sees us when we get home from work, he jusmps on us, all happy and stuff, but he always opens his mouth like he wants to bite us. TNX in advance. :)

  90. Daz says

    Thank you do much for your read. Wonderful explanations.

    About 6 months ago I received a call about a disposed older dog who needed a foster sitter for only a few days, being in a rescue before I didn’t have a problem helping a soul in need. A month later, Bentley was recovering and learning commands. I found out the hard way Bentley has dog aggression, after getting myself in the middle of the dog-argument, I wound up with a very nasty few bites from Bentley. After the incident I knew he could not be adopted to anyone and have since taken the role of full time mom. He is a great white mountain dog mix and very set minded. Since the incident I’ve done lead pack walks, crate training, he does average “tricks” and does well with moderated behavioral training such as food handeling techniques.

    Bentley is 110 lbs now, 56 lbs more than he weighed after the first incident only 6 months ago. (he was very malnourished) My main concern is that Bentley will growl as a warning when he is being forced into doing something he does not want to do. The three times this has happened it has been because he is being forced into moving out of a place he wants to “investigate”. I know that large mountainous dogs sometimes need to think it is their idea to move into the direction of what the human wants, so in this respect, I try to calm him and tell him he is ok, reassuring “come, come, good dog”. It had worked and myself along with the other people around are ok. However, to be honest I’m terrified.

    Today Bentley had a walk with a neighbor who given interest in becoming his full time dog walker while I am at school. On his third walk with the neighbor, Jack, who Bentley has seen and greeted several times; bit him on his hand while Jack was holding a muffin. Bentley not only took the muffin out of Jack’s hand, but lept up in order to reach it. In doing so Bentley bit into my neighbors hand… Twice! And then laid down on the concrete to eat the entire muffin. Jack is not mad, and wants to continue to walk Bentley. As much help it would be for me I am worried. Not only that but I am shocked. Bentley has never shown this type of aggression before now and I belive he knows what a hand is, due to my intense food handeling techniques and treat retrieval methods.

    I do not know how to show that his aggression is not wanted. Especially when he ends up getting his “reward” when he is being forceful. If you are still replying to these posts any information would be helpful. If you have questions, I am able to fill you in on his last six months only; since he is my “rescued old man.” Thank you for your time!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Daz,

      Big Kudos to you for helping out a dog in need.

      In cases such as this, it is probably best to get in touch with a good professional trainer and do some private training sessions.

      While training my Shiba Inu, who is also a very stubborn dog, I found that fear is really the enemy. Once I started fearing him and getting stressed, his behavior got worse, which made me more afraid, and so on. Here are some of the things that helped with my Shiba –

      He is a small dog though (31-35 lbs), so I didn’t have to deal with the size and power of a larger dog.

      In aggression cases, especially with large dogs, it can sometimes help to use management equipment such as a muzzle (I use a basket muzzle which is less constraining and still allows the dog to pant). In this way, our own fear is lessened during the training process, which will help our dog achieve success. It also prevents the dog from being rewarded for his aggression, which as you say, would only reinforce the aggressive behavior.

      It is probably best to consult with a professional trainer who can observe Bentley in real-time, and identify what things trigger his aggression. Sometimes, physical issues, such as joint pain can also trigger aggression.

      Hugs to Bentley. Let us know how it goes.

  91. Hannah Flim says

    My retriever/cocker spaniel is very protective over me. If anyone gets to close to me or hugs me, he starts to bark. How do I stop this over protectiveness?
    Also, he jumps and bites my hand (playfully, not hard) and when I stand up to say “no”, he nips the bottom of my pants. What do I do and how do I stop this?

    • shibashake says

      In terms of biting, this is what I do to stop my dogs from biting me-

      With over protectiveness, I usually no-mark (Ack-ack) my puppy when she does this. This communicates to her that it is an undesirable behavior. Then, I ask her for an alternative command, e.g. Down. If she complies, she gets attention and affection.

      If she ignores the command, then I withdraw my attention and turn away from her. Sometimes, if she is too pushy, I will body block her away from me and not allow her to come near me for a certain duration.

      If she escalates her behavior and starts to bite me or others, she goes to time-out.

  92. Jane says

    We have had dogs all our entire lives, and all generations of our family, has never hit, spanked, or beaten a dog. Even once!
    Reward training is the way to go, and we did it before it even had a name.
    A puppy who is biting can be discouraged by the human being chewed upon, by squeeling loud. It reminds the pup that she is playing too rough.
    A dog doing something wrong can be discouraged by turning your back on her.
    I could go on forever here with advice, but there are training books better than I could ever say. And written by gentle people who train dogs.
    It is different for adult dogs who have been adopted from bad situations, that takes a different kind of ‘tough love’.
    But if you want a gentle and loving dog, dont hit them. Same goes for little children, hitting them only makes it worse. Pour love and gentleness onto your kids and pets, and you will be rewarded.

  93. Sian says

    I have a girl Akita Rylie and a boy Husky Maverick, similar to you, they are great dogs but the Husky will not stop pulling and making it very hard to walk them both, apart from the obvious any other ideas?
    We have a dog scooter but cant run them on hot days.
    Thanks Sian x

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, I walk each Husky separately. When out together, they both want to be lead dog. 😀

      To properly walk them both, I would have to be a lot more strict, and give them a lot less freedom. Even then, it would be difficult to manage things if they spot a deer, and their prey-drive goes into high gear.

      Hugs to Rylie and Maverick! Love those names.

  94. Memphis_Tejer_and_Neeras says

    We have a 11 month old yellow lab. She’s a very sweet dog, and I don’t think that she has an aggressive bone in her body. When I walk her with a body harness, she’s always sniffing at things, wrapping the chord around things, and basically stalling. So I have to frequently tug the chord and/or say “Come on!” Is this acceptable? She seems to love going for walks, and she doesn’t seem offended by this.

    I’m not the owner of this dog, people in my extended family are. I get the feeling that our blonde labrador has no clue as to why she’s sometimes corporately disciplined with a slap to her side/face area or a whip with her leash. But I’m not exactly sure. She understands the traditions/customs of many of our institutions (i.e. night time, going out to urinate, certain games, going for walks) and therefore, she probably has an idea as to why she’s being hit.

    Our dog is a good dog. I just want her to not do certain behaviors, like destroy things with her mouth, or slow down our run by always losing her focus and sniffs at everything.

    Please give me advice.

    • shibashake says

      In terms of chewing, what has worked well for my dogs is to teach them what are acceptable things to chew on and what are not. When they chew on something they shouldn’t, I just calmly non-mark them (Ack-ack), and redirect them onto a chew toy. If they redirect on the chew toy, then I praise them very well and reward them with attention and sometimes treats. If they do not, then I just body block them away from the non-chew area, and get them to do some obedience commands. Afterward, I give them something acceptable to chew on.

      Bite inhibition training is also very helpful. Being a Lab, she should pick up bite inhibition quickly.

      As for sniffing, most dogs love to sniff. They are built for it. I use a 6 foot leash to walk my dogs and not a flexi-leash. You get more control by using 6 foot leash. Here are some of my experiences on leash training my dogs.

      One of my neighbors also loves to run. She tells me that she walks her dogs separately, and only runs on her own.

  95. Alex says

    The dog would have to realized that the pain it feels when the owner bites is the same as when he or she bites. The dog would have to have sympathy for causing the owner this pain. This is expecting the dog to have a perception of other people’s feelings outside of itself. It’s just too much to expect from a dog. It’s just not how their brains work.

    Purposefully causing pain to dog or human as punishment hardly ever works. I myself do not believe in punishment at all. Maybe not in dogs, but in humans punishing one behavior with something like grounding and time-out, while it may lead to better behavior for the moment, only causes the child to become frustrated and confused.

    The only time I really ‘hit’ Lupin was during potty training. Just a little tap hard enough to get his attention. It wasn’t to hurt or punish, but just to interrupt him from taking a pee or poo in my floor long enough for me to get him outside. Poor Lupie was just 6 weeks old with a tiny bladder when we got him, but as soon as he developed the muscles to control himself (at about four months old) he never had another accident in the house.

    • shibashake says

      Hey Alex,

      Good to see you! I just got a Sibe puppy so I am being reminded of the challenges of potty training. The rain is definitely not helping.

      Puppy is fun, small, and fiercely energetic! I guess I forgot how much work it is to care for a new puppy. On the bright side, it gives me a lot of new material to write about and cute puppy pictures to go along with it. 😀

      How is Lupin? Give him a big hug from me and some big sloppy kisses from Sephy, Shania, and puppy Lara.

    • Alex says

      Your pack is growing! Sephy must feel outnumbered by all the girl Huskies! I think the key to potty training is to be there for the first few months. We had Lupin chained to us until he was potty trained, so that no accident, or accident-to-be, went unnoticed. It’s also a bad idea to just let the dog go out into the yard without you, because then they might relate -person there = bad to go, person absent = alright to go. You probably know this stuff yourself, though!

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, I think 3 furry ones is my limit. 😀

      Your potty training tips are right on. During the first couple of days I would sometimes take a quick bathroom break when puppy was sleeping – WRONG! Puppy decided that that was a good time for her to take a bathroom break as well.

      Now I do what you say and keep puppy chained to me at all times. Can’t even leave her for 1 second or she will be up to something. 😀

    • Alex says

      The only downside I found with keeping Lupin with me at all time was that he developed separation anxiety. He just didn’t know what to do without me there. I remember the first night he was upgraded from the cat carrier in my room to the actual dog kennel in the living room. (He could barely fit into the cat carrier by then) I knew he could hold his bladder through the night, but he cried for quite some time anyway, and maybe some nights after. I learned the hard way that it is not the best thing to try and quiet him when he was whining, because then he learned that whining got me to come out and (perhaps) open the cage. We just had to ignore him until he stopped.

      Now we have his kennel in storage, and he hopefully sits at the door whenever we leave just in case we decide he can come.

      I don’t think I could have asked for a better dog.

      It seems like it’s easier to raise a pup with other dogs around, because puppies learn how to behave from other dogs probably more so than humans. I know my old dog Ursa, as the story goes, never had an accident in the house because she followed her mama’s lead.

    • shibashake says

      It seems like it’s easier to raise a pup with other dogs around, because puppies learn how to behave from other dogs probably more so than humans.

      That is true in some respects. For example puppy Lara learned from the other dogs that she needs to Sit and calmly wait before she gets any food. She didn’t seem to get the potty thing tho, so that I really had to supervise.

      Also, when there are multiple dogs, additional steps must be taken in terms of introducing puppy to the other dogs, making sure that play does not get too rough, making sure that they don’t compete for resources, etc. So there are additional issues to deal with in a multi-dog household.

  96. Sam V says

    My fiance and I use the aversive dog discipline to house train all our previous dogs. It eventually works after they associate peeing in the house with pain. We recently got a 6 month old pup and have been using this technique. But afterwards I was concerned about her submissive behavior. We not only got our new dog as a companion, but as our protector too. After reading your input, which was very useful, I’ve decided to use a different way of discipline, so that she won’t be so submissive. Thank you so much for all the information and actually having an understanding and answers about different techniques to discipline a dog instead of just judging those who use different techniques. Other websites that I have read don’t give real answers, they just tell you not to hit your dog, then make you seem like a bad person for doing so. I guess I and a lot of other people associate discipline of a dog to discipline of some of our parents, cuz when I was young and did something wrong it would be my ass. Your input has helped me have a better understanding of how to discipline my dog and still have a loving relationship too. Thanks again.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Sam,
      Thanks for your comment. Yeah I started out using aversive methods as well. After about 5-6 months, it wasn’t working out well for either me or my dog so I started looking around for something else. At that time, I definitely got hit by a lot of judgement from people of both sides. The aversive people were telling me I was doing it all wrong and the reward people were telling me shame shame for using aversive methods – LOL. I guess everybody thinks they are dog experts when it comes to someone else’s dog.

      I guess I and a lot of other people associate discipline of a dog to discipline of some of our parents, cuz when I was young and did something wrong it would be my ass.

      Yeah my mom did aversive discipline and my dad did reward discipline so I actually got to see both in action. Reward discipline worked a lot better on me as well 😀

      I am glad you found the article to be helpful. Give us all updates on your puppy when you can.

  97. Mahogany says

    I do require my Shiba to do something before being rewarded. However she is chewing carpet, television chords, computer wires, the couch. Pretty much anything but her toys. I don’t wanna hit her and the ack ack is not working. I have gotten a water bottle and occasionally spray her in the face. That only works for the time being, by the time the mist dries she is right back to what she was doing only mere seconds ago. The spray stuff is unbearable for me. It gets on my hands and I can taste it on my lips and it becomes hard for me to breathe. She is not a bad puppy just curious. What am I doing wrong. I am with her all day. We walk to expel energy, I play with her toys with her but the carpet seems to be the most interesting thing on her agenda. Please Help!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Mahogany,

      Two things that helped with my Shiba during his early puppy chewing –
      1. Redirection – I would non-mark him (ack-ack or No) for doing the action, and then get him to do something else, usually some obedience commands and then reward him for it by letting him work on some interactive food toy.

      2. Time-outs – As you have noted, Shibas can be extremely stubborn, so sometimes, he would just want to keep going back to the curtains or whatever. When he tries again, I will body block him away from the area, and get him to go his mat and work on his toy. If he does not comply, I put him on a short time-out (few minutes) in the extremely boring (make sure there is nothing in there to chew) laundry room.

      If he goes back to chewing again as soon as he comes out, then I put him back into time-out for a slightly longer period of time and so on.

      In this way he learns that
      Chewing on carpet = don’t get to be in the carpet area.
      Not chewing on carpet and doing what you want = fun interactive food toys.

    • Alice says

      Ahhhhh, Marcus has the exact same problem as Mahogany’s Shiba! He’s all up on the carpet corners, box corners, chair legs, table legs, and the occasional electrical cord. And this is all happening while toy after toy is after to him. I have been trying the non-mark (I use ah-ah from watching Victoria! But it doesn’t sound as stern as a firm no. Do you use both since you have described them both here? Do you have a preference?), but it only works sometimes because he is caught off guard and surprised. I’m not sure if he’s caught on that it means no-no behavior yet (is there a way to make sure he knows that? I’m kind of worries he’s associating it with good things since I usually have to lure him away with a treat. Also, I find it hard to follow up with a positive thing for him to do immediately afterward since he’s right onto the next thing that would warrant an ah-ah. Tips?). But your time-out idea sounds phenomenal.

      Update: I’ve tried the time-out when he was incessantly chewing on the table even after trying ah-ah, drop, body block. It got him good for a bit but then he chewed again. After 2-3 time-outs, he went suuuuuuper hyper and dashed around the house, and he is also avoiding the path to the bathroom I used to time-out him. But that bathroom is next to the door, so I have to reach way over to get the main door open before he’ll head down that path. Did you go through this stage with your dogs and is there a way to make it so that he calms down but doesn’t resent it? Please do let me know if I made a mistake somewhere in handling the situation!

    • shibashake says

      Do you use both since you have described them both here? Do you have a preference?

      For a non-mark I usually use Ack-ack because it is more unique than No. I say “no” a bunch during normal conversation, and that may be confusing to the dogs. By using a unique word, the dogs know that every time I say Ack-ack, if they do not stop, then there is always a consequence for their actions.

      I’m not sure if he’s caught on that it means no-no behavior yet (is there a way to make sure he knows that?

      Consistency, I have found, is very important in dog training. Every time I non-mark, I always follow through with an action if the pups do not listen and do not stop. I usually respond in the same way for the same behavior. In this way, they learn that if they dig holes in the yard, they lose their backyard privileges and have to come into the house. If they bite each other too hard, play stops and they have to do obedience commands, etc. Also, I make sure to start small and then slowly escalate the consequence only if the dog escalates his behavior.

      I’m kind of worries he’s associating it with good things since I usually have to lure him away with a treat.

      In general, we want to only a reward a good behavior. As you say, if we reward undesirable behaviors then the dog will keep repeating that behavior.

      When Sephy bites on furniture, I non-mark him and give him an alternate command (that he knows very well), e.g. Go to Your Mat. If he complies with that command, then I reward him for doing what I asked. Often, I would treat him, and also play with him so he learns that following what I say is very rewarding.

      If he does not comply then I slowly take away his freedoms. First I body block him away, then I do an obedience session with him. If he ignores me and goes back to biting then I take him to time-out.

      In this way he learns that if he follows what I say then he gets some really great rewards. If he continues doing undesirable stuff then he loses his freedom and his access to people.

      After 2-3 time-outs, he went suuuuuuper hyper and dashed around the house

      Try slowly increasing the time he stays in time-out. Also, I always ask my dogs to do some simple obedience commands before they come out of time-out. Then when they come out, I hold onto their drag lead for a bit, so they only have limited freedom for a while.

      In general, I have found that it is better to be more strict and have more rules in the beginning. Then the rules can later be relaxed as the puppy matures.

      Did you go through this stage with your dogs and is there a way to make it so that he calms down but doesn’t resent it?

      Yeah, mostly with my Shiba Inu. He was a very stubborn dog, even as a puppy. We had some difficult times – but it got better. 😀

      In terms of resentment, that is a very good question. I think that is why I usually try to set my dogs up for success. In this way, I can reward them and they are less likely to do something that is undesirable to me. However, there will be times when puppy does something that is against the house rules.

      Puppy is not going to enjoy losing his freedom or having to follow strict house rules – but this is necessary for safety, health, and happiness of the entire family/pack. In any stable and healthy relationship, there has to be give and take. Puppy must learn that he can’t just take, sometimes, he must give as well.

      Here are some of the things that helped with my Shiba Inu –

    • Alice says

      Thank you so much for providing such thorough and helpful answers to my ten thousand questions, same for the answers you provided for my comments on your other posts as well! It definitely gives me much more determination and hope to get advice from someone who went through the same troubles as opposed to just how-to-do-this articles online that makes everything sound like they are easy! :)

  98. starbug5052 says

    I disgree with this article. I am not critizing your article but hitting and slapping any animals I believe it makes them more aggressive. I can see if your in a situation where a dog attacks you but still there are other ways then violence. Always carry maze or a squirt bottle with with water mix with pepper or another solution but hitting, spanking, beating a dog, it is humane and violent behaviour in mankind.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Starbug, I am actually very much against hitting and slapping dogs. If that does not come through in the article – please let me know which sections are unclear.

  99. Nicco says

    So in your original scenario, if you are standing there talking to your neighbor and your dog gets fixated on one of his cats, what is the most appropriate course of action? From my experience, the easiest course of action to prevent the situation from escalating further is to simply walk away, but then you have to break up your conversation with the neighbor which is bad for you because the dog has prevented you from interacting with someone. Also, that doesn’t teach him to stop fixating on things.

    I’m not trying to criticize your article, I agree that hitting out of anger is counterproductive, but what would you do in that situation? Using the reward based training method, I would guess that you had taught the dog some command before hand like, “leave it” or whatever. But from my experience with my persistent high energy dog, when his mind is in that state, he doesn’t respond to commands. You can snap him out of it by stomping your feet or snapping your fingers, but he goes right back into it. I’ve tried body blocking but that makes him more persistent.

    From my understanding, you have to snap him out of it before he goes into that state of mind, but it seems to keep him out of that mindset, you have to be every bit as persistent as he is. Sometimes that’s impractical when we’re trying to have a conversation with someone.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Nicco,

      No I don’t think it is criticism at all – it is a very good question and I always enjoy your comments :)

      I think that the best thing to do is to slowly desensitize my dog to cats. To do it right, I would have to get help from someone who has a very sedate cat. Have the cat stay with his owner a far distance away from my dog, and then slowly move my dog towards the cat. I would stop every one or two steps, get my dog’s attention, and if he gives it to me, I will treat him and move on.

      Once I get to a point where my dog is too excited/obsessed/engaged to pay me any attention, I move back and redo the exercise. Then I will just stop at my dog’s `reactive’ boundary and just let him get comfortable with the idea of cat. I will do obedience commands with him from time to time and treat him accordingly.

      If I keep doing this several times every day for perhaps a few months, my dog will get desensitized to the cat, and no longer get excited over it. After all, it has become routine  – we go look at the cat, my dog sits nicely, and we have a good time doing obedience commands. Once it becomes routine, I can start decreasing the distance, introducing other cats, and letting the cat move.

      As you see, doing this properly will take a fair amount of time and resources.

      Currently what I do with my dog is to stop as soon as I see a random cat and try and get my dog’s attention. If he does not give it to me, I move back and keep moving back until he is paying attention to me again. When that happens I let him stop and look at the cat as long as he is willing to give me his attention when I ask for it. Sometimes I will let him sit there for a good long while. After a bit my dog usually relaxes, the cat at that point has fallen asleep, so we just sit there and enjoy the weather.

      When I need to go home, I just move my dog along.

      Now this scenario is not as good as the first scenario because I am not in control of the random cat. Sometimes the cat will start getting frisky, and that will get my dog going again. When that happens I move away from the cat until my dog is willing to be calm again. There are also some cats that will move towards me and my dog. I will usually remove my dog totally away from these kamikaze cats and try my best to avoid them in the future.

      In this way, my dog is hopefully learning that if he stays calm he gets to look at the cat but if he gets too excited then he has to move away.  

      My Shiba Inu is actually a lot more calm around cats because my previous neighbors had cats and we used to sit on our lawn and just hang out with the neighbor’s cats. My Siberian has never had this experience so now I am trying to do it with the random cats we see while walking. I think we are making some progress.

      When it comes to something that is so instinctual – there really are no quick fixes. Using physical force will often make the situation worse because then the dog is making very negative associations with cats. In addition, a physical correction may amp up the dog even more and get him into a frenzy. This happened to me before as well.

  100. annemaeve says

    Great hub, Shiba!  I really like how you explain the possible conclusions the dog can come to from getting his ear bitten – namely, thinking you’re cool with playing his kind of games on his kind of level.  There is definitely a great potential danger there if he thinks his teeth can be used on a soft squishy human as a game!

    I work with horses, and I’ve come across people who bite their horses as a punishment for the same reason – to “communicate at the horse’s level”.  First of all, YUCK to a mouthful of hair, but second – how does biting nowhere near as hard as a horse can teach your horse not to bite you?  And, getting your face that close to an angry horse is just begging to get retaliated against, especially when your eyes are up against the horse so you can’t see what’s coming.  I’ve found that horses respond much better to body language and well-timed treats than they do to any physical punishment.

    We need to use our “human” smarts to prevent disagreements from getting physical in the first place (oh, to how many other aspects of the world could we apply this?).

    • shibashake says

      Wow – that’s really amazing that people do it to horses! Yeah I think that there are very many similarities between training dogs and horses. Even the whole dog whispering thing first came from horses. Btw, I really enjoyed your hubs on horses.
      I really wonder where this "ear technique" came from. I was on Yahoo! Answers, and saw a bunch of people suggest to others that they do this, so I wanted to write something to try and convince them not to.
      Definitely agree with you on the human smarts. Many interesting hubs there waiting to be written :)

    • KIKU says

      Anti hitting solution

      “We need to use our “human” smarts to prevent disagreements from getting physical in the first place (oh, to how many other aspects of the world could we apply this?).”

      Oh I totally emphatically agree!!! Well said indeed

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