How to Discipline a Dog Without Punishment

How to Discipline a Dog Without Punishment

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Dogs may be one of the sweetest animals in the world, but a true dog lover and all dog owners would know that they are spontaneous, and they often misbehave. This is true especially for puppies, which are more prone to play biting and have the energy of an energizer bunny 24/7.

Occasional zoomies and harmless nipping on the leg is tolerable, but they can really get on your nerves once they do it over and over again.

When zoomies lead to hitting furniture, spilling dog food all over the floor and biting becomes forceful, that’s usually when dog owners lose it.

However, this is friendly advice from one fur parent to another to never hit your dog. According to Ziv, 2017, hitting your dog and other aversive training methods (either positive punishment and negative reinforcement), can jeopardize both the physical and mental health of dogs.

If you want to know how to discipline your dog without punishment, here are the steps that you can do.

Table of Contents

Incentive Motivation

Incentive motivation or positive reinforcement is the use of food rewards, physical affection, and verbal praises in animal training.

If you are training your dog to follow simple commands such as sit, stay, and shake, and they follow you, you can hand them their favorite treats, tell them they are a good boy or a good girl, or give them belly rubs.

On the other hand, the inability of following such commands will mean that you will not hand them any of these incentives.


If by any chance your dog shows aggression to other people or other dogs during an afternoon walk in the park, it is like a knee-jerk reaction for owners to just tug on the lead which may cause extreme discomfort and even fractures on your dog’s neck.

Doing such will not stop them from barking at all; what this does is just fuels their anger towards others because they will associate it with the pain that they are feeling during the tugging.

One of the best punishment-free ways of disciplining your dog in these instances is a distraction.

Blocking his view towards the person or dog, or changing the direction of where you walk, or using squeaky toys to grab his attention will distract him and prevent him from lunging or barking at them.

Once they follow your lead, you can then give treats for positive reinforcement. They will then associate being calm around others to getting treats afterward.

Ignoring Your Dog

Much like toddlers, dogs often throw tantrums or show excessive affection by jumping at you or grabbing the hem of your clothing.

This is most likely tolerable for small dogs, but this could be a problem with large dogs.

Both you and your dog can get badly injured, so this has to be corrected.

But correcting this doesn’t mean that you will push your dog away or smack his face.

Turning your back from him is enough to send a message without hurting him physically and emotionally.

Spray Bottle

This is particularly effective on small puppies and small breeds. These dogs often get away with everything; may it be food aggression, gnawing on furniture, and biting their way to get what they want.

When this happens, spritzing your dog’s face with water is an effective way to make them stop. Their behavior will then be corrected without hurting them.

Remember, there is no such thing as bad dogs; only untrained ones with bad owners. A big part of raising a dog is making sure that they are well-behaved and well-mannered, without them getting hurt.