yell at your dog

Do you yell at your dog?

Never? Really? How about a pointed finger? Raised voice? Only sometimes? Often? Daily? Always?

Is it bad?

It’s well known that I work with many difficult dogs that behave badly and sometimes very badly.

Therefore it’s not unusual when we may need a piece of equipment that the owner may question, often based on previous misinformation they have received.

Many of these times the dogs owner has done some research and fear the use of any training aid that may potentially be seen as aversive.

Fair enough too, I am always happy to explain why we use certain training aids and how they may be helpful to work with a dog that is at a similar stage to theirs.

But the funny thing is, whilst they are cautious about certain training aids, they are freely chastising their dogs, shhhht! (The Cesar), yelling, “no” ing, hitting and dragging their dogs around by halters.

Never seemingly concerned with the actual punishers they are using a billion times a day, every day.

There is a harsh reality that many people fail to accept when it comes to reinforcers and punishers.

Some dogs you could yell and scream at all day, and they simply would not care. Regardless of your intentions, yelling can be easily ignored by some dogs.

With some dogs, a raised voice will crush them but they ignore a check chain all day.

Yelling is often a result of frustration initially, but people soon learn that yelling can get a dog to pay attention, so they use it is a “tool”.

This means that they are using their voice as an instrument to apply positive punishment.

Some dogs you could offer the nicest tasting food too and they would sniff and walk off.

Even if you get them to eat the food, no reinforcement will occur.

The dog in training determines what reinforcers and what punishers they will respond to and at what level.

Training aids help us supply the right level of stimulation to communicate consequences to the dog.

Avoiding using effective training aids but instead yelling at your dog is not making you a punishment free trainer, you might just be damaging your relationship more, or simply wasting your time.

When I talk about effective dog training, (, I am really talking about observing and measuring the effect of what is being used and achieved in training and making sure that is providing the desired effect.

Taking a fresh look at the effect your having can be a great way to fine tune your training and get over those humps that are holding you and your dog back.

About SteveK9Pro

Steve Courtney is a Nationally Accredited Canine Behaviour Specialist, Obedience Trainer, Law Enforcement Dog Trainer and ANKC Breeder. Steve has been training dogs all his life and in these articles he shares with you his experience...

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  1. Steve I wonder if you have advice for dog owners in lockdown. We have one hour per day out of the house, within 5km of home. The dog park is the only place for off lead. Best way to spend 60 minutes walking around nearby streets? Remember we have to buy our groceries in this same time.

    • Hi Catherine, this is a challenging time, in the short time you have, walking is not what I like to think of as enriching or stimulating. I would be looking for some bush where I could let my dog run off leash and investigate smells, surfaces and textures. This can be done on a long line of the recall isn’t yet super.

      Learning scent work, even basic stuff is also mentally challenging for dogs and rewarding as well, this can be done inside the home.

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