Black Lab with puppy training tool

Dog Training 101: The Benefits of Early Discipline

Nobody likes to be considered a jerk, but when it comes to a well-behaved dog, sometimes you have to accept the fact that “nice guys finish last.”

If it was as easy to simply train each dog through treats, everyone would do it, and there would be no dog trainers around. However, I can tell you from 20 years of experience, every dog, regardless of breed, requires some sort of discipline. This being said, I recommend some corrections early in the puppy process.

Now that does not mean to get your puppy home and start disciplining with a leash and choke chain right away. In fact, my theory is, “let a puppy, be a puppy.” What it does mean is establish some ground rules right away. Begin by making your young pup wear a collar right away. Most pups don’t like them, but with time will slowly get used to it. This will enable you to put some sort of a leash or check cord on at an early age, which will enable you to start with some light leash corrections.

When the puppy gets used to your home environment, quickly begin to eliminate behaviors that may seem alright now, but as the pup grows, will turn into an unwanted behavior. Choose certain behaviors that you will not desire in the future, and set the tone right away. Let’s discuss two of the more common unwanted behaviors: barking and jumping up.

German Shorthaired Pointer PuppiesPutting on a collar right away will allow a new dog owner to establish ground rules.

Barking is something that nobody likes and it sounds so cute when they are young puppies. Keep in mind that this cute noise that a young pup makes quickly turns into that annoying bark that everyone hates.

The key to avoiding this habit is to address this early behavior with discipline. Respond to these early noises with something the pup does not like. A spray bottle with cold water is a great starting point. The key is consistency with this action to be effective.

If this negative action is not getting the response you need, and the pup continues to bark, you have to “up the ante” and start to increase the level of discipline. Do whatever it takes to eliminate the behavior, but make sure to show the dog affection after the discipline. This will help the pup realize that you are not mad at it directly, but upset with the behavior, which is the yapping.

As far as jumping is concerned, once again it is important to realize that this cute puppy trying to get your attention, will soon be that adult dog that is getting your pants dirty. Address this behavior early and give the pup a light knee down. If this does not work slowly increase the bonk down until the pup realizes that you are consistent in your actions. To speed up this process, invite the dog to jump up and give a correction immediately. It also important to show the dog affection after this so the dog understands it is the jumping you dislike, not the pup.

If your dog is an inside dog, another unwanted behavior is going “potty” in the house. I always recommend crate training during this process, which means keep the puppy in a crate when you don’t have your eyes on it. Let the pup outside immediately after taking it out of the crate and create a word for going to the bathroom. Praise the dog after the business is done, which will reward this outside activity.

Crating a puppy is still the best way to help the potty training process.

Mistakes will obviously take place and if the pup happens to go potty inside start immediate discipline by simply raising your voice and take your dog to the area that the accident happened. Repeat the word, “No,” and take the pup to the door and repeat your “potty outside” word. If the accidents continue, raise your voice and begin some sort of discipline to put a little nervousness into the dog. A common practice is to rub the dog’s nose in the area of the accident. Again, depending on the dog will depend on the amount of discipline. The key here is the consistency of the discipline. Every mess the pup makes should result in a correction.

Remember when I say, “It is OK to correct a young dog.” The earlier you start, the less bad habits will form. Keep in mind it is also important to give the dog positive reinforcement for good behaviors. However, if you have to discipline your pup, don’t feel bad. Giving affection after each correction will help show puppies that it is the behavior that you do not like, and not the dog. A well-mannered pup will be a more enjoyable dog in the future!

Shop The Sportsman’s Guide for a great selection of Dog Supplies/Training Aids!

Jason Dommeyer has a lifetime of hunting experience and 20 years experience as a dog trainer. He has turned many pets into expert hunting dogs at Cannon River Kennels. In addition to training hundreds of hunting companions, he has trained dogs for premier pheasant hunting lodges in South Dakota along with duck hunting lodges in Mississippi and Mexico. His experience also includes both hunting and guiding for upland and waterfowl game from Canada to South America. 

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4 Responses to “Dog Training 101: The Benefits of Early Discipline”

  1. Paul Huyette

    Your help please?

    Sir; your article regarding K-9 training was VERY informative
    Thank you!
    Kindly, please?
    If you are aware of ANY K-9 training facility/s that could help me find a Dog?
    And help me get her trained? I would be grateful!!
    I have a “Seizure” disorder caused by injuries from the Military!
    I would be grateful if someone could Point me in the right direction/s??
    If possible? I grew up with a “Black Labrador” & if it is NOT to arrogant ??
    Would like to & or benefit from familiarity ??

    Paul Huyette
    (281)- 432-1456
    I’m a little North of Houston TX.

    I’m hoping you’ll understand my story.

    My past was really good to me! Unfortunately, falling sick due to an injury years ago while in the Military caught up with me!

    Before leaving work I accumulated over > 700 days of Sick Bank. In short, I did NOT know how to be sick
    Shortly after a onset of “seizures.” I exhausted ALL means of a cure via multiple Medications, ALL With negative results & terrible side effects!

    Months later & after MANY seizures, a team of Doctors at “Baylor” decided that removal of roughly 20% of my brain would result in some kind of cure. Unfortunately NOT.
    To date, my seizures (some Gran Mal) caused shoulder dislocations, resulting in broken shoulders. Fortunately I received a NEW shoulder! Unfortunately a few months later seizures caused the Hardware in the shoulder to break apart!

    In-turn the Orthopedic’ Doctor was kind enough to operate and put in another NEW shoulder (#2). To date I’m in needed of another replacement (#3) due to MORE seizures.

    The Orthopedic surgeon understandably will NOT grant me a NEW shoulder until I have been Seizure free for >24 months.

    In short of the above I still have a broken shoulder, I’m now Right handed (used to be L handed). My Cognitive skills are poor, missing many teeth. (I have gone thru several sets of dentures) All have been broken due to seizure actives, besides being VERY scary to have dentures with seizure due to aspiration of.

    Pleaseee this is both VERY humbling & horrifying to put my “HAND OUT” for help! Never dreamed I would be without:

    20% of brain ( R temporal lobe removed)
    Missing MANY teeth (I’m hopeful of Denture free replacements) (also loosing weight cause I can’t eat or chew so well)
    Poor cognitive skills
    No driving privileges’
    Limited use of L arm
    R handed (used to be L handed)
    Deplorable sleep hygiene
    Followed with Medication/s causing POOR side affects.
    Credit privileges exhausted
    Mountains of debt

    I could go on, however together with lack of “skill sets” & this 12+ year old hand me down word product device! Challenges my note creation capabilities! (Forgive please)

    Respectfully I, Paul, am asking for a NEW START/ 2.0 as to become a real contributing member of Society once again.

    If you are aware of ANY job openings, in the North Houston area, please forward my way!

    With thanks that you took the time to read this. LIFE changes occurrences and my hope to start ALL over again with your help.

    I would really appreciate any help you can give.

    With Aloha

  2. Carl

    Good article on training dog’s: Man’s best friend.!

  3. Ted

    Real good stuff! Thank you

  4. Mark Anderson

    What are your thoughts about using shock collars for training? The next German Shepherd we get I was thinking of training it from a young age not to eat anything outside the kitchen. I’m pretty concerned that we will lose a dog through baiting. I was thinking of putting the shock collar on and watching through a window and if it tried to eat a bait (non poisonous) I would give it a shock.

    I’m not to into shocking an animal for normal training. What are your thoughts? Both our previous dogs would go crazy when the door bell would ring. (We unfortunately didn’t stop it very early on.)


    Mark A.