A move to a new home is stressful on everyone involved, including the pets! Here are some ideas to help make the transition smoother.
Some animals become stressed at the slightest hint of a change. Crates should be re-introduced if the dog hasn’t been in one for a while, and the crating routine should be started a good month or two before the actual change in residence. The best place for a dog while the packing and moving is happening is in a crate, that way, you don’t have to worry if your dog has escaped out an open door; nor do you have to worry about stepping on the dog. Cats can even be put in a cat cage for their own safety.
Before The Big Move
Take your pets to the new home to let them explore their new surroundings even before your things are moved. On leash, walk them through the house and yard outside. Let them smell and explore. For fearful or unsure dogs, have a “bag of tricks” handy to use for distraction, filled with favorite toys and irresistible treats the dog doesn’t normally get. RESIST THE URGE to comfort concerned or fearful dogs! Distract and play instead, and give treats when the dog is acting interested and not fearful. Petting and talking to the dog in a soothing voice only serves to reinforce fearfulness.
Any changes in diet, treats, or basic routine should have happened at least 2 months prior to the move. If you want to make changes, WAIT until at least 2 or 3 months after the move to introduce anything new.
If the pets’ current home is for sale, the best thing to do is to remove all pets during the showing of the house. When I sold my home and moved with my (then) 6 dogs to the country, I packed up ALL SIX of them in their crates in my van and went for a ride every time the house was shown! It did become tedious, but they were safe and out of the house.
On moving day, pets should go to a neutral, preferably familiar area (friend/relative’s house or boarding facility or doggie daycare) to remove them from the confusion, noise, yelling (we all know there will be some of that!). This way, they won’t be frightened or have any possibility of escape during the confusion. While they are away, special projects can be provided to distract and keep them busy. Examples would be stuffed Kong toys, stuffed sterile bones, puzzle toys, or any other stuffable toy that is now available to buy.
After The Big Move
Again, take the dog(s) around the house (keep distracting toys and treats handy – your “bag of tricks”) on leash to let them smell and explore. This time, familiar things will be placed throughout the house, like beds, couches, and the rest of your belongings, and the house will smell familiar.
Keep the dog(s) in small areas at first, where they can be easily supervised. A change as great as a move can confuse dogs. They may have known how to ask to go outside and they may have known where to eliminate at the old home. The new home is a whole new picture for them. Don’t assume they “should know” at first! Backtrack on potty training – show them the door, ask if they have to go outside, accompany them (even have the dog on leash) outside, and praise for eliminating appropriately. Expect “accidents”. Have cleanup supplies handy. Try to be ready so the dog(s) can be corrected and can be shown what is appropriate and expected in the new home.
Even if the dog was free in the old home (i.e. – crateless), plan to use a crate for at least one month and for up to six months or more, assuming the dog was previously crate trained. I thought foolishly that my dogs would adjust well to their new country home. I used a baby gate to confine all but my puppy into a bedroom (the puppy was crated) and left to run a quick errand. When I came home within a half-hour, Ruby had chewed large gouges into the wooden molding around the bedroom window! After that, my dogs were crated whenever I left the house for a year after I moved. Even now, they are crated on and off when I leave. Dogs appreciate routine, and having a comfortable, familiar spot helps the dog adjust.
Signs Of Stress
Pacing – overall restlessness
Licking lips (“smacking”)
Over-reactive to sounds or sights
More attention-seeking behavior (pushing at hands for petting, jumping up, clawing at your body, wanting to be close and sitting or laying touching part of your body, trying to interact with you requently with toys)
“Bugged eyes” look
Increased requests to go outside and come back in
Destructive behavior (digging at carpet, digging more outside, more chewing of things)
Loose stools or diarrhea CAN be a sign of stress (or can be sign of health problem, or a change in diet, or eating odd things)
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Remember when you were in school and had a favorite teacher? That teacher seemed to have a knack for helping students understand the subject matter. Those teachers who get concepts across to their students well have made teaching an ART.
As in teaching humans, teaching dogs can also be an art. To take teaching dogs to that higher level, below are some keys concepts:
Timing Is Everything
The timing of corrections AND praise (reinforcement) MUST be impeccable. It is TOO late to correct or praise if the dog is not doing what you want to reinforce. Reinforcement MUST happen AS the behavior is happening. If Poochie has pooped on the floor and then you find him chewing a bone, it is way too late to correct for pooping on the floor!
Consistency Is Key
If you do not want Poochie on the couch, then he should NEVER be allowed on the couch. If you do not want your dog to jump up on you when you are dressed for work, then he also should not be allowed to jump up on you when you are wearing jeans. Dogs do not understand sometimes or maybe. They only understand always or never! If you want your dog to lay down and he doesn’t, follow through by showing him what you expect. The best way to lose your dog’s respect is by not following through on commands.
Always Be Praising
Too often we focus on correction with our dogs, and never say a word when things are going well. If Poochie is lying quietly on the floor chewing a bone, tell him what a GOOD DOG he is! Even if you have had a difficult time getting your dog to come back to you, being angry will only make it worse (see related article). You need to lose the anger and let him know he is good for coming (through clenched teeth, resisting the urge to strangle him!). After all, he DID come to you. Dog training class instructors have a MUCH more difficult time getting dog owners to PRAISE their dogs than they do in getting them to correct their dogs!
TELL your dog, don’t ASK him (see related article on tone of voice)! If he doesn’t comply, then SHOW him! However, FIRM does NOT mean MEAN!
Keep It Fun
Break up training with energetic games. Learning becomes boring and stressful if ideas are drilled. Games give everyone a stress break!
HELP your dog to understand what you want from him. Once he has a good understanding of what you expect, then you can correct and show him the appropriate behavior.
When teaching, break each exercise down to small portions. For example, when teaching STAY, the dog cannot be left while the handler walks across the room. Instead, the handler, after giving the stay command steps directly in front of the dog, standing toes to toes, and counts to FIVE ONLY. Then the handler then returns to the dog and PRAISES. Corrections and teaching are done as needed. The distance between dog and handler can be increased as the dog begins to understand what “stay” means. Also, the length of time the handler is away from the dog can be increased as the dog learns what “stay” means. As the dog becomes steadier and has a clearer understanding of “stay”, distractions can be added, like other dogs, kids playing, a toy squeaking or a ball in motion, or other distractions (this is where the handler can be creative!). Think of distractions as a pop quiz!
Often if a dog does not understand an exercise, it is because it was taught too fast and with too much assumption on the handler’s part. The exercise needs to be broken down into small increments and re-taught.
We often get the question, “What do I need to teach my puppy?”. To try answer this, we’ve created the below list of what every puppy should learn. It’s by no means comprehensive, but covers the necessities.
to be comfortable and under control in new or uncomfortable places such as: the veterinary hospital, groomer, boarding kennel, training class, pet store, other people’s homes (perhaps even over night!)
to be comfortable if and when separated from other dogs, pets or people in their family – able to be left alone without destruction, barking or nervousness
to play, chew or relax without constant contact or interaction from owner
to be tolerant of and possibly sociable with other dogs
We often get asked how best to manage a frightened puppy. If your dog or puppy becomes frightened, keep the following in mind:
Never hug or softly stroke your dog and softly tell him “it’s OK”… You are praising his fear!
Avoid coddling your puppy. You can be praising his uncertainty without knowing.
If you talk softly and with a tentative tone to your voice, your dog will get the idea there is, in fact, something to be afraid or unsure of.
Use a silly tone of voice and & “Jolly” him up. Use an ultra-delicious treat to distract him, and even engage him in a game.
Never “make” your dog endure a frightening experience. If the predicament is overwhelming to your pup, then remove yourself to a point where you can work to get your pup to relax. End your session on a positive, happy note, but return “to the scene of the crime”, and work to build up the dog’s confidence a little at a time.
This is an excellent time to work with SIT, to help “stuff your dog’s brains back into his head”!
It is up to you to help your pup become comfortable and confident in any situation.
Examples of situations that can create fear in dogs, and where it is up to you to help your dog be confident and unafraid:
Thunderstorms, gunshot, fireworks
Veterinary, groomer, kennel visits
New exposures to people, dogs, kids
Objects that appear “strange” to the dog: garbage cans, umbrellas, wheelbarrows, windsocks/flags, hammering, and MUCH more!
People that “look funny”: sunglasses, beards, flapping coats, wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, crutches, and MORE!
To help your dog to not be reactive and afraid when encountering new situations, you need to be able to see each situation from your dog’s point of view. What is “no big deal” to you could be a VERY big deal for your dog! Also, you need to have a Plan of Action in place, so you quickly know what to do when your dog encounters a new “scary” situation.
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“My puppy is getting into the woodwork, the carpet, the cupboards and messing on the floor!” “I’m getting very tired of it. How can I put a stop to this??!”
“When is your puppy doing this? Where are you when this happens?”
“Well, I put him in the kitchen with a baby gate during the day, and he works on everything periodically during the day. I’m, of course, doing my housework, laundry, etc.”
“I thought you had him crate-trained and used that…?”
“Oh, I do – at night. But I don’t want to put him in there ALL DAY too, so I keep him in the kitchen.”
The above conversation actually took place, not too long ago. I have similar conversations quite often.
Puppies are curious balls of energy. They naturally need to explore their world. Textures, smells, tastes – all entice them. They need to learn about everything. Whether you are present or not, this exploration goes on. As puppies get older, they still explore their environment – seemingly on a “search and destroy” mission.
So Why Do Puppies Chew?
Dogs and puppies “get into mischief” for many reasons:
To test their limits – to find out what they are allowed to do and NOT allowed to do.
Stress – often resulting from too much freedom and no apparent limits set on their behavior.
To get to something else – ie: a toy hidden in the cushions of the couch.
To use up energy – If you don’t exercise them, they’ll find a way!
Separation Anxiety – a psychological disorder
Plus a few we haven’t quite figured out yet
If you haven’t figured out my solution to the problem of destructive behavior yet, here goes:
IF YOU CANNOT MONITOR AND CONTROL YOUR PUPPY’S/DOG’S ACTIONS, THEN HE MUST BE KEPT IN A SAFE DOG-PROOF PLACE!
ANY DESTRUCTION YOUR PUPPY DOES IS ULTIMATELY YOUR FAULT, NOT YOUR DOG’S.
Puppies are destined to be bad – they don’t know any better. It is up to you to guide your puppy to appropriate releases of energy. This does NOT mean your puppy will always be bad. IF you put the time and effort into showing him what is right – he will learn to be good.
Think about possible solutions to the puppy mischief that goes on when you cannot watch. You will be surprised that YOU can probably answer your own questions on how to control it.
KEEP YOUR PUPPY CRATED WHENEVER YOU CANNOT WATCH HIM
This, of course, means puppy will be spending a lot of time in in his crate during his first year with you. IF you spend the time needed to guide your puppy as he learns your house rules, then that time will decrease as he grows and learns. YOU will need to invest time EVERY DAY in lessons in living for puppy. This time investment should happen naturally as your day progresses. You don’t need to have guilt driving you (gosh, I need to TRAIN my dog. I need to spend a half hour or he wont’ grow up to be a GOOD DOG…). Lessons may only be 5 minutes long. Puppies don’t have the attention span for long lessons. They do need consistent guidance.
KEEP THE PUPPY WITH YOU AS YOU MOVE THROUGH THE HOUSE
This can be accomplished in a couple of ways:
Invest in enough baby gates to barricade him into a small area where you are. This works well – if you remember to WATCH him! Your thoughts can never wander far from the puppy!
Buy a cheap 6 foot leash (preferably a thin, light one), clip it to puppy’s collar, and tie the other end to your belt! This is called the “umbilical cord technique”. It’s a wonderful way to keep your puppy near you, and the little tugs you feel will remind you to keep an eye on him. This technique is not foolproof; you will still need to watch your puppy, but as you move through the house, you don’t need to take any barricades with you. Some puppies will chew through the leash – so watch for that. As you move around your house, with puppy in tow, make sure to provide something safe and appropriate for him to do. Bring a chew bone or a durable squeaky toy to keep him busy. I like to teach my puppies to understand the phrase “chew your bone” or “get your bone”.
As your puppy becomes more reliable, you can combine the baby gates with the umbilical cord. Untie the leash from your belt and let the puppy drag it. This MUST be done with complete supervision, because a puppy could get tangled or knock something over. If puppy gets into trouble, you catch him by simply stepping on the leash, rather than making a mad grab for a tiny dog. This works very well for the puppy who quickly learns when you are angry and won’t let you catch him. By stepping on the leash you’ve avoided a game of tag!
The BEST combination for puppy control is actually a combination of everything we’ve discussed. Puppies NEED plenty of time-out crate time and they also need supervised “free-time” to explore and learn. It’s up to you to decide how to use the steps I’ve outlined to meet your particular needs.
Here we cover some of the DOs & DON’Ts of safety around dogs:
Safety Dog Reporting For Duty!
Always ask the owner’s permission before approaching or petting a dog
Remember: not every dog that wags its tail is friendly
Always approach dogs slowly and carefully
When meeting a new dog, let it come to you and smell you first
Know where the dogs in your neighborhood live
Stay away from stray dogs
If a dog approaches you, remain CALM. Don’t scream! Stand still (Be a Tree!)
Always protect your face, neck and arms (Be a Rock!)
If you are attacked, give the dog a book or backpack to chew on
If a dog knocks you to the ground, curl up into a ball (Be a Rock!)
If you are attacked, cover your head and neck. Protect your head and face
When a dog you don’t know comes close, be very still and avoid eye contact (Be a Tree!)
Always use a leash when walking a dog
Remain CALM around dogs.
When greeting a friendly dog, present the palm of your hand for the dog to sniff, first. If the dog is still friendly, then you can pet the sides of the dog’s face (his cheeks). Avoid petting the top of a dog’s head. For very friendly dogs, you can also pet the dog’s shoulders (on the side) or the dog’s chest (front of the dog).
Don’t make loud noises or scream around dogs
Do not stare at a dog
Don’t bother a dog while it is sleeping or eating
Never tease or chase a dog. (Remember The Golden Rule!)
Never reach through a fence to pet a dog
Never put your hand between two dogs
Never try to help a hurt dog – get an adult to help
Never put your face close to a dog
Never enter a yard with a dog in it without permission. If you don’t know if there is a dog in the yard, do not enter!
Never leave a baby alone with a dog
Never bother a mother dog while she is caring for her puppies
Never pull a dog’s ears or tail
Never try to take away a dog’s toy
Avoid standing over the top of a dog you are not familiar with
Behaviors that are natural for dogs to do are the most difficult to eliminate. It is almost impossible to train a dog away from a natural or instinctive behavior. Dogs dig for many reasons:
To bury something
To get to an inanimate object that is buried (root, rock, piece of plastic or metal, something they previously buried, etc)
To get to a small burrowing creature such as a chipmunk, mouse or mole
To expose cool soil to lay on
To make a sleeping area
Puppies are the most persistent diggers. They are the ones who dig to explore their relatively new world. They want to learn about that world, so they dig!
The most effective control for digging is management. Management means close supervision of the dog when they are in likely digging areas. If a dog is left in a yard to “be”, they WILL be a dog and do dog things, like dig! So, if your yard looks like the moon with craters all over, that is not your dog’s fault – it is yours!
Here are some methods, besides management & supervision, which you can try:
Put dog poop in the holes your dog has dug. Because most dogs don’t like poop on their paws, this usually will keep your dog from going back to the same holes – but it will not discourage him from digging new ones.
Sprinkle any number of dog deterrents available on the market into the already dug holes. These may or may not work. They must be reapplied after each time it rains.
Sprinkle something the dog does not like the taste or smell of into the already dug holes, like original Listerene mouth wash (or even the generic), alum (it is a spice used in pickling), or super hot sauce (but some dogs enjoy its flavor!). These must be reapplied after each time it rains.
Bury, just below the surface of a hole, a small piece of wire mesh. When the dog digs, he will scrape his paws on the mesh. This is a method that requires supervision, because the object is NOT to hurt your dog, but to catch him and re-direct him away from the hole.
An old wives’ tale says to fill the hole with water and put the dog’s head into it — THIS DOES NOT WORK!!!!!!!!!!! DO NOT DO THIS!!!!! THIS IS CRUEL!!!
Please notice each of these methods can only be done with existing holes – it doesn’t help to prevent new holes from being dug! The only method of the above that I have used is the poop method, because all the other methods require just as much supervision and effort as I would use for the digging itself, and I am not “into” hurting my dog!
Terriers are notorious diggers. Well, imagine that! “Terra” means “earth”! Terriers are BRED to dig! They are varmint dogs! If you have a terrier, you will not have a decent yard unless you closely supervise.
Beagles are also notorious diggers. They also hunt animals that have burrows in the ground – rabbits! Again, you must closely supervise this breed!
If you want to have a dog AND a yard, you must use your human brain to come up with solutions to keep your dog from digging. Besides strict supervision, which is my method of choice, here are a few other suggestions:
Make a “free-digging zone” for your dog – a veritable doggie sandbox, if you will! Encourage digging in that area. Hide treats just under the surface of the dirt or sand. Create fun digging projects for your dog in that area alone.
Provide plenty of durable outside toys and “projects” for your dog, so he can be kept busy doing other things besides digging.
Erect garden fencing to keep your dog out of the perennial or vegatable garden, and teach your dog he is unwelcome in that area.
Use any of the animal repellants on the market and apply regularly to the perimeter of the areas you don’t want the dog in. I am not convinced those repellants work (I have tried a few, and I don’t use them), but you can give them a try!
There are motion-detector sprinklers that can be placed in the garden areas or wherever else you don’t want your dog to go. When a dog (or cat, deer, rabbit or child, for that matter) goes near the area, the sensor turns on a sprinkler that sprays water to chase the culprit away. These sprinklers may also spray when birds come, too…
I am NOT a big fan of invisible or underground fencing, but this is one area where electronic fencing could be used.
The moral of the story is: The most effective control for digging is MANAGEMENT and SUPERVISION!
If you ever think you may kennel your dog (meaning at a boarding kennel or even a friend or relative’s house), consider taking your dog there when he is young for a “test run” night or weekend. Ask your friend or the kennel personnel to report on your dog’s behavior. This way, you can get your dog used to the idea of staying someplace different and have an idea how he will react.
If You Go The Kennel Route:
When you take your dog and leave him — DO NOT cry and hug him and tell him how much you will miss him! DO NOT become emotional in front of the dog — NO KIDDING!! Your dog will think: “Why are they SO UPSET?? This must be a bad place!” DO take your dog there with a positive, happy attitude and tell him hat a good time he will have, then give him to the attendant and walk away. You can do your crying in the car (I do!). If you become emotional, you are setting your dog up for fearful and panic-like behavior at the kennel!
When you kennel your dog, it is best that he eat the same thing you feed him at home; that way the stress of the new environment AND new food won’t set him up for vomiting or diarrhea. Make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccinations – this is the simplest and least expensive way to protect your dog against the contagious things we CAN prevent, like Bordatella, Coronavirus, Parvovirus, etc.
I ALWAYS make sure my dog has prevention against Heartworm and especially fleas (and ticks, if necessary) by having them on Sentinel (by Novartis – a veterinary prescription product), and I may even put either FrontLine, Topspot, or Advantage on them. At the very least, it is not a bad idea to have the kennel bathe your dog the day you pick him up. This way, if you request a flea bath, the fleas he may have picked up will be left there and he will be clean from any kennel smell he may have picked up.
If You Take Your Dog Travelling With You:
If you want your dog to behave and be comfortable in the car, then start young, and take him to fun places. Many people don’t understand why their dog doesn’t like car rides, but say they only take him to the vet, kennel, or groomer! Gosh, I wouldn’t have fun either!! When I have a puppy, my puppy goes with me on short trips to the corner store, to the post office, to the park, to the pet store, etc. Trips should be frequent, short and fun to make a good “go Bye Bye” impression on your dog.
Traveling with your dog is safest when the dog is either in a crate (see more on crate training here) or with a seatbelt on. That way quick stops or accidents don’t have to mean injury to your dog. This also keeps busybodies in one place! If you have doubts whether your dog will be carsick, DO NOT feed at least 12 hours before travel.
If you must leave your dog in the car for any length of time, remember that even cloudy, cool days can kill your dog! The heat in your car can become unbearable within minutes. Windows should be more than cracked (I found window guards which allow me to open my windows further without letting would-be thieves get their hands inside), a sunscreen should block the windshield (they make nice reflective ones), and you should park in the shade. Vans or minivans (especially if they have smoke glass side and rear windows) stay much cooler than cars and they have more windows that can be opened. If you are gone any length of time, CHECK on your dog frequently. When you come back, give the dog a drink of water. Don’t let him gorge, just let him drink some and then wait a bit and offer more. Dogs will sometimes vomit if a large amount of water hits their stomach all at once.
Speaking of water, it is a good idea to bring a jug of water from home, both for on the road use and also because some dogs don’t get used to other water easily and can develop vomiting or diarrhea from an unfamiliar water supply.
Some Hotel Hints
When you take your dog to a new place to stay (hotel, cottage, etc.) they may not be on their best behavior. They understand what the routine and rules are at home, but may not understand that those rules pertain no matter where you are! Often the best insurance for that is to bring your dog’s crate along on the trip (you did purchase a fold down suitcase style variety, didn’t you???). This will do two things: it will provide a confinement for your dog and prevent damage that you may have to pay for, and it will be a safe and familiar place for your dog to call his own while you are on the road.
If you leave the motel room, I would first try to leave for a short trip (maybe to get some ice) to see how your dog acts in the room. You don’t want your neighbors complaining. Even a dog-friendly hotel won’t hesitate to kick you out if you disturb others! Still, a new traveler will react to passers-by by barking – it is up to you to let him know this is NOT acceptable. If I leave my dogs in the room, I leave the room vent/air conditioner on, and the television on to create some white noise to drown out all the outside noise the dog won’t be used to.
Things To Bring Along
When I travel, I have a bag I pack just for the dogs. In this bag are things I have learned that I may need.
A blanket or king sized flat sheet to put over the covers on the bed to keep the dog hair off for subsequent guests.
Towels to wipe wet dogs, or dirty ones (I once had to take Cody to a coin operated car wash for a hose down after he had diarrhea in my van! Luckily, I had the seats covered and I just had to throw the cover out, but I did not have towels to dry him off!)
First aid kit for dogs
Cleaning and deodorizing solution and paper towels
Travel bowls for food and water
Jug of water from home
Shampoo – for those emergency baths
Travel leash (your dog should be on a leash at all times – after all, he IS in a strange place) and Flexi-leash for more freedom
Identification tags (on the dog!!!)
Baggies to clean up the dog poop (you DO clean up after your dog, don’t you???)
Large garbage bags for big problems like Cody’s diarrhea incident!
Heartworm preventative and flea and tick medication
Brush (I once had to pick burrs out of my dog’s coat after a romp in a field)
Problem Cases – How To Desensitize
Dogs who become carsick must be exposed SLOWLY to riding in the car. Each step should take a week, and if the dog gets sick on a step, you need to back off to the previous step until he doesn’t get sick.
Put the dog in the car. Have a toy to keep the dog’s mind off the car, but don’t let him get too rowdy.
Dog in the car, car started and running in driveway.
Dog in the car, car started. Back down the driveway and then move back up the driveway (IF the dog hasn’t gotten sick on the way down!)
Dog in the car, take car around the block (shorten the trip for a week if even that is too much)
Dog in the car, take car to local convenience store and back home (or any place close but farther than around the block with a couple of starts and stops along the way).
Dog in the car, short trip (you decide the length based on how your dog is responding.
Dogs who get carsick will especially benefit from either a crate (especially the more enclosed plastic crates) or a seatbelt (check your local pet shop for dog seat belts). These will limit unsteady movements. Keep in mind, dogs don’t always vomit when they are carsick. Some may just drool excessively or look wet around the mouth and may have a sick or queasy look in their eyes. Watch your dog for signs of carsickness and work with the steps above to make both of you feel better!
In dog training (or in ANY interaction with ANY species, for that matter!), there is no room for direct angry contact of any human body part (e.g. hand, foot) to any part of the dog’s body. Of course, there IS room for kind contact of any kind: petting, patting, stroking, etc.
Sorry – Only The Cat’s Allowed To Beat The Dog…
Hitting does not teach a dog anything…
Spanking only vents YOUR anger, YOUR frustration. Slapping only teaches a dog to shy away from your hand (become hand-shy). Smacking can result in your dog snapping back at you! What other recourse does he have? He can’t tell you or even ask you to stop. He can’t push your hand or foot away. A dog’s mouth is his hand, and he will use it similarly.
Rather Use Your Voice
TONE OF VOICE (see my related article) can accomplish SO much! A correct tone of voice can stop a dog in his tracks. Your tone of voice can quickly tell your dog that you are displeased. A dog that respects your leadership will understand. Your tone of voice is what will get your dog to listen, learn and pay attention to you.
I spank my dogs all the time – but I spank them when I tell them I love them! I grab their little butts and I give them a few swats as they turn around and try to kiss me, wagging their tails the entire time. I could not hit my dogs hard enough to hurt them “to teach them a lesson”. Their coats buffer blows just as it keeps most bites from causing wounds.
When Hitting Your Dog Is OK
If I hit my dog, it is to get their attention (“HEY!”) in an urgent situation. I make sure my voice carries more weight than my touch, and I praise when they turn to look at me. My swift swat is, at this point, punctuation to my words – kind of like what a collar and leash does. And because I RARELY swat my dogs, they have learned I mean business when this happens. “HEY! Get your face out of the garbage!” “HEY! You WAIT for me!” “HEY! Leave it!”