A husky gets a reward.

Do you ever find yourself feeling irritated and frustrated with your dog, and in response, you immediately begin yelling? This is not a good habit. Since dogs do not possess the same reasoning abilities as their human counterparts, they usually do not understand why you have raised your voice and are not happy with them.

Your dog might even stop doing a certain activity temporarily because of your yelling, but he will eventually return to whatever behavior he was displaying which made you angry in the first place. Your shouting does nothing to fix the issue and only works as a temporary solution.

Yelling and shouting at your dog can put him under stress which is bad for his health. Dogs that are repeatedly yelled at in a harsh manner are at risk of developing fear aggression. Such aggressive behavior may appear when the dog growls, shows their teeth, or even bites when they are cornered in a fearful situation. In addition, yelling or punishing them for this reaction can end up making things worse.

In the event of potty-training accidents, good timing is critical, and yelling is not. Yelling hours after the accident is the very definition of bad timing. The dog may cower and look guilty as though he knows exactly what he has done, but do not be fooled! Yelling at a dog after-the-fact is the equivalent of yelling at a brick wall! The most opportune time to correct the behavior is to catch the dog in the act, interrupt with stern words, then take him outside immediately to finish the job. Once he takes care of business outside, praise him over and over and offer an incredibly special treat. Patience is a far superior method for training.

How do you react when your dog begins to bark? One effective method is to completely ignore him when he barks but treat and praise him whenever he stops. Another method is to teach your dog the “quiet” command, or simply figure out what triggers the barking and remove the trigger. Keep in mind that a bored dog, or a dog with pent up energy is likely to be a barker. Sometimes solving barking issues is as easy as making sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Dogs have an uncanny ability to read the energy of the weather. They know when a storm is brewing before humans do. They also can read our mood or our energy. No matter what words you are saying, your energy speaks to your dog. He is watching, listening and interpreting every subtle change in your behavior and energy. Losing your cool causes you to lose your dog’s respect.

The best way to train your dog is not through yelling, but through positive reinforcement. This is what dogs understand far better than anything else. When they do something right, and you reward them with treats, verbal praise, or play time, that is when they start to think, “Oh! That’s what she wanted!” And that is when dog owners begin to reap the benefits of their training efforts. Rewards need to be given immediately after the desired behavior occurs. In fact, studies show that the quicker the reward is given, the quicker the dog catches on. Once a dog begins to understand that desired behaviors lead to good things, he will want to do them over, and over again.

Practice makes perfect, so be sure to practice skills daily. Keep doing them even after the skill has been learned. Practicing and repeating skills, being consistent in your approach, and always using the same command are key if you want your dog to learn the skill and remember it. Positive reinforcement will always bring the best results.

Keep the Heartland Dog Club in mind for your future training. Classes are expected to resume in September. For additional information, please call 863-443-0571.