dog disciplineDiscipline for a dog means structure and giving it what it needs, it is not affection or punishment, and is more important than both of those things together.

This may seem like the opposite of affection, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Discipline is about a dog knowing its place in the world (not being scared of everything) and feeling secure in knowing what it can and can’t do.

You will notice that this school of thought has increased dramatically in popularity ever since Cesar Milan made it popular on the mass media, but dog trainers the world over have known what he is preaching for many years. The only problem is that many dog trainers want you to use their services, and their exact techniques, so they will tell most people how bad Cesar Milan’s methods are, in order to attract you to their ways of thinking. From what I have seen I respect and believe in Cesar’s methods, but more on that later

A dog’s expectations.

When a dog is borne it is automatically part of the pack. It snuggles with its siblings and its mother looks after it tenaciously. Only once it start playing and finding out who is stronger and it has to fend for itself for food, does it have to work out is position in the pack. Is it a leader or at the bottom of the pack or somewhere in between.

Dog will sort this out fairly quickly and every couple of months there may be some challenge in the order, but this is mostly in the middle ranks, and it is usually handled by physical strength tests during play.

Unfortunately when man decided to make dogs purely companion dogs (not for working purposes) he started spoiling dogs and forgot their need to know their place. And specifically to know who the pack leader is.

All of the information that you have heard about getting a dog to sit whenever it is overly excited and wants to do something else is true. Making certain areas of your house off limits, making furniture off limits and 100% keeping your dog off your bed go a long way to letting them know that you are the boss.

Why do you need to be a dogs boss

There are countless reasons but here are some of the major ones. A dog that has a weak leader will try and assert itself. It will become unstable around other dogs and humans and may cause fights more often. It is likely to have less recall and will pretty much use your whole house as its kennel. You won’t be able to bring friends around as often and your whole life will suffer.

Your dog is looking to you for leadership, and if you don’t give it, it will have to make up its own rules.

Dogs and structure, make for a happy dog.

Besides learning basic training and daily socializing your dog off lead, dogs crave structure. Like children they need to have boundaries and have regular times when they exercise and when they eat etc. If you want to be the boss, you need to supply it with regularity, otherwise it will think that its pack leader can’t provide for it, and it will go unstable.

What dog discipline means

It means providing it with good exercise daily and good raw food for energy. It means giving it easy to follow rules and consistently enforcing them. Discipline does not mean punishment. Too many people equate discipline with memories of their own childhood, when physical punishment by parents or teachers was more acceptable than it is now.

If you choose to throw something at your dog, wack it on its sensitive nose with a newspaper, yell at it, or kick it into position, rather than using your arms to correct it, you will be doing nothing more than a hostile dog from outside your pack would be doing to it, and your dog will only behave under sufferance. It won’t be learning, because they respond to positive reinforcement, not fear. Fear will only go so far, it will help in the short term but will not give you respect, and will not have a dog listen to you under crisis.

Remember this blog by Jenny is about dog happiness, and all posts are meant to be a positive step towards that.

179 thoughts on “What makes a dog happy – discipline AND affection

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