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How To Discipline A Puppy – Is Punishing Bad Behavior OK?

Why Disciplining Your Puppy is Important

Disciplining your puppy is essential and necessary. We believe discipline is the key to success when training your new puppy.

Discipline is important because it helps dogs learn how to behave appropriately in different situations. It teaches them self-control and how to follow the rules. When puppies are disciplined, they are more likely to succeed as grown-up dogs and become great companions.

Discipline can be difficult for puppy parents, but consistency is important. Rewards and punishments are staples and helpful tools. Ultimately, what’s most important is teaching your dog the value of good behavior. With time and patience, your puppy will learn how to behave properly and will be less likely to cause problems in the future. 

How to Recognize When Your Puppy Needs Discipline?

There are several signs that your puppy might need discipline, such as when they are chewing on inappropriate things, not listening, not following basic commands, or being unruly and naughty.

If you catch your pup in the act of doing something wrong, calmly say “no” and put them in a time-out area for a minute or two.

It’s important to remember that puppies are still learning what’s right and what’s wrong, so be patient and consistent with your discipline methods.

We will uncover some very helpful tips to get excellent results from your time spent training your puppy 

How to train your puppy

Reasons Why Your Puppy Might Exhibit Bad Behavior

It is not uncommon for puppies to exhibit bad behavior because of their limited experience in life and because they are just that: Puppies. However, there are some reasons your puppy might behave extra bad:

Lack of Exercise: 

One reason might be that the puppy is not getting enough exercise. 

If you restrict your puppy’s movements by keeping it caged or bound to a leash all the time, the dog will show behavioral issues. 

These may include aggression, hyperactivity, and excessive barking or chewing on everything. Hyperactivity is mainly observed when your pet becomes anxious due to a lack of physical activity.

Lack of Adequate Socialization:

It could be that the puppy is not being socialized enough. If a puppy is isolated and does not have enough contact with other people and animals, it may start to adopt extreme behaviors it could become very aggressive or very fearful.

Lack of Proper Training: 

It could be that the puppy is not being properly trained. This can be fixed with ongoing discipline and training. Without proper training, a puppy may begin to exhibit bad behaviors such as jumping on people or peeing and pooping all over the house.

You’re Reinforcing Bad Behavior

Puppies exhibit bad behavior to gain their owners’ attention. For instance, your dog may bark at you for attention. You will reinforce its behavior if you respond to it even by yelling at him to stop.

This is because the puppy is getting what it wants. So you should not let your dog get rewarded for misbehaving. Instead, focus on ways to meet its needs without having it display bad behavior.

Your Pet is a Puppy

Dealing with young puppies can lead to behavior problems sometimes. They haven’t been trained enough to serve as good companions. 

It is also difficult to adjust to a new home and people. So your puppy may feel anxious in the new environment and show behavior problems. This also applies if the dog feels threatened by another pet in your home.

By understanding why your puppy is exhibiting bad behavior, you can work to correct the issues. 

When is The Correct Time to Discipline Your Puppy?

 The best time to discipline your puppy is when he is new to your home. This is a good time to establish the rules and set the expectations. Initially, you must train your puppies for a specific duration daily to establish a routine and achieve your personal needs.

Some parents wait until their puppy has done something wrong before disciplining them, but this can often lead to inconsistency and confusion. It is better to have a set of rules that you enforce consistently and only punish when they break those rules.

You must also discipline your pup every time they exhibit bad behavior, such as:

  • Jumping on people
  • Excessive barking
  • Hyperactivity
  • Showing aggression
  • Excessive digging

At What Age Can You Start to Discipline a Puppy?

You need to start as early as possible. Eight weeks is a good place to start, but whatever your circumstances, just don’t allow the puppy to get away with something even for one day because he will expect to do it again the next day. By one-year-old most dogs need to be already trained enough to know what’s right and what’s wrong.

How Strict Should You be With a Puppy When Training?

When training a puppy, you should be strict and yet fair. What does this mean for housebreaking, obedience training, and general behavior?

As a general rule, use a firm but not a harsh tone of voice. You should never shout at the puppy or make it feel that you are angry with it. This can cause your puppy to have the wrong idea about you and think that everything you say is negative. Consequently, he will stop listening to you and ignore what you are saying. Keep being calm and collected. 

If you do use touch to correct the puppy, make sure that you are only using a light, gentle touch to the dog’s body so that you do not cause any pain.

Whatever you do, punishment should never be part of the discipline. He needs to see you as a reliable, predictable, and entertaining friend and protector.

Disciplining Methods – Best Way to Discipline a Puppy Correctly?

Every pup is different and will respond to different types of discipline in different ways. The key is to be consistent with your methods and patient while training your new furry friend. But all puppies need to be disciplined to learn what is acceptable behavior and what is not. 

Here are the top methods to use:

Be Fair But Firm

Dogs respond best when discipline is fair. You should be fair but firm while setting the rules and expectations. Reward when the dog deserves it and ignore when the puppy is not following the rules.

Establish Rules, Boundaries, and Expectations

Before starting the training, you must establish some rules that your dog must follow. Setting boundaries will help you discipline your pet effectively. 

Set clear distinctions between what your dog can or cannot do. These rules should be consistent and have clear consequences for when they are disobeyed.

There should be no middle ground, such as letting your dog get away with specific behavior at times. This may include barking for attention. You must always tackle the problem immediately to avoid repeating the unwanted behavior.

Another rule is that the puppy needs to always obey commands. There are a few basic commands that all puppies should learn, such as sit, stay, come, and down. Training a puppy can be a lot of work, but it is worth it in the end when you have a well-behaved dog. 

Setting some expectations to know your dog’s progress is a good idea. Setting milestones will also help with achieving them efficiently.

Create a Routine

You should also establish a routine and stick to it as much as possible. Puppies thrive on structure and knowing what is expected of them.

Use Positive Reinforcement: Reward Good Behavior

Positive reinforcement is an effective method for disciplining your dog. You should praise and reward with positive attention or treats after following the rules or achieving specific milestones. This will help your puppy learn and feel happy. 

However, you should do it moderately and timely to reinforce and associate that good behavior is desirable. Rewarding too early or too late can be counter-effective.

Negative Reinforcement and Punishment

Negative reinforcement is the act of removing a pleasant condition after the undesired behavior is displayed. This can be done by withholding food, treats, or attention until the desired behavior is displayed.

Punishment is the act of inflicting an unpleasant condition after an undesired behavior is displayed. This can be done by scolding the dog, collard shock, or spraying it with water.

Both negative reinforcement and punishment can be very effective methods of disciplining a dog. However, it is essential not to overuse them.

Negative reinforcement should only be used when a desirable behavior needs to be increased. 

Punishment should only be used when an apparent behavioral problem needs to be corrected. Whatever you do, don’t over-punish your dog, and always be consistent.

How to Use Time-out to Discipline Your Puppy 

How to Use Time-out to Discipline Your Puppy 

Time-out is a much more effective way to get your puppy to understand that it has done something wrong.

To put your puppy in time-out, simply remove him from the room or area where he was behaving badly and place him in a small, confined space like a bathroom, laundry room, or even his crate. Time-out is usually a short, predetermined amount of time that the puppy spends in a designated space. Make sure there is nothing for him to chew on or play with, and don’t leave him alone for too long. A few minutes should be enough.

Timeout is not a punishment but rather a way to help the puppy calm down and learn how to control their behavior. 

Once your puppy has calmed down, you can let him out and talk to him about why he was put in time-out. Be sure to praise him when he behaves well afterward. 

Don’t Resort to Physical Punishment: It Can Be Ineffective and Harmful

Punishment is effective for tackling physical behavior problems in a dog. However, it has a lot of drawbacks and can cause your puppy to have mental health issues. 

Your puppy may become distant and unhappy due to over-punishment. So you should only use it sparingly.

Be Consistent: Stay Calm and Patient

Owners must be patient when disciplining their pups. Dog training does not happen overnight, so you should not hurry for the results. The positive changes will occur gradually and have a lasting effect. 

Remember to be consistent. If you are constantly changing the rules or being inconsistent, your dog will become confused and may become aggressive or fearful.

Dealing With Specific Common Puppy Behavior Issues:

Now that you know the methods for disciplining, here are the top issues you may face with your puppy and how to tackle them:

How to Discipline a Puppy for Peeing in the House

If you have a backyard, provide a designated space for your pet to relieve themselves and take them on the leach to the desired spot.

Dogs usually learn best when they are rewarded for good behavior, so be sure to praise your pup when he or she goes in the right place.

If you catch your puppy in the act of toileting in an inappropriate spot, say “NO” in a loud, firm voice and immediately take them outside to their designated potty spot. Make sure you take them out frequently (every two hours or so). Especially after they woke up and after they eat.

Remember that yelling and scolding can be counter-effective. For some puppies, punishing them may cause them to get worse with “submissive urination.” Submissive urination occurs as a response to fear or anxiety.

How to Discipline a Puppy for Pooping Accidents in the House

The first step is to create a potty routine for your puppy and be consistent with it. You’ll also need to be patient and consistent with disciplining your pup when they do mess in the house.

Remember “Don’t punish your puppy for eliminating in the house. If you find a soiled area, just clean it up. Rubbing your puppy’s nose in it, taking them to the spot and scolding them or any other punishment will only make them afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence. Punishment will do more harm than good.”  and “Clean the soiled area thoroughly. Puppies are highly motivated to continue soiling in areas that smell like urine or feces.” as mentioned in the Humane Society website

How to Discipline a Puppy for Chewing Behavior

Dogs chew for many reasons: boredom, anxiety, teething, and aggression. This behavior can be traced back to when they were puppies and were teething. If your puppy is chewing on everything in sight, it’s important to determine the underlying cause and address it. Start by consulting with your veterinarian to rule out any health issues. Once you’ve decided that your dog is healthy, here are some steps to help control their chewing behavior:

  • Provide plenty of appropriate chew toys.
  • Supervise your puppy when they’re around chewable objects.
  • Discourage chewing on inappropriate items by using deterrents such as bitter apple spray or a loud noise like clapping your hands.
  • Correct your puppy when they start to chew on something they’re not supposed to with a firm “NO” and redirect them to an appropriate toy or bone.

How to Discipline a Puppy for Biting and Playful Bites

This is a common problem that many dogs suffer from. The dog may start biting you or, worse yet, biting strangers, especially when the puppy is teething. 

There are many reasons your puppy might bite, but some of the most common reasons are fear, anger, and pain. Dogs might also bite if they are trying to protect their territory or themselves. For some dogs biting is a sign of dominance. 

In some cases, many dogs will bite playfully, often without breaking the skin.

Playful biting is a normal part of puppyhood, and most dogs continue to engage in it throughout their lives. It’s important to remember that even though these bites may not seem harmful, they still lead to bad behavior issues and need to be controlled. 

If your puppy is teething, you should provide biting toys.

It is also beneficial to learn the triggers that lead to biting. You can remove those things from your pet’s environment to prevent the situation.

Best Way to Discipline a Puppy for Excessive Barking, Whining, and Growling

Barking, whining, and growling are all common behaviors in dogs, but they can be very annoying to dog owners and neighbors if they become excessive. In most cases, these behaviors are expressions of excitement, boredom, or anxiety but can also be signs of aggression.

If you’re having trouble with your dog’s excessive barking, here are a few tips to help you manage your dog’s behavior:

  • Start with basics like obedience training. A well-trained puppy is less likely to bark out of boredom or frustration.
  • If your dogs are barking for attention, ignore them and provide positive reinforcement when they are quiet. This could include treats, petting, or verbal praise. Teach them to communicate differently, such as putting their paw on you when they need petting.
  • If your puppy is barking out of excitement or fear, try redirecting his energy into something more positive. For instance, if he’s barking at other dogs or people, bring him indoors and calm him down.
  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Provide plenty of appropriate toys and chew items to keep your dog entertained.

If the behavior is out of control and you can’t correct it, consult a behaviorist trainer to help you address the problem in a more professional way.

How to Discipline a Puppy for Aggression and Damaging Propriety

Dogs are known for their high level of energy and enthusiasm. These characteristics can sometimes lead to dogs becoming destructive in their own home, particularly when it comes to furniture, rugs, or other household items that are important to the owner. 

Aggression is also a common issue in puppies when they do not receive enough physical and mental stimulation. They may bark too much or bite. They can also chew on everything and damage your property.

To prevent this behavior, it is essential to provide enough exercise to your puppies and properly discipline them while still young. 

An expert can help you understand the causes behind the destructive behavior and aggression and design a program to eliminate the issue.

How to Discipline a Puppy for Excessive Digging Behavior

Dogs love exercising because of their active nature. Part of their activities is digging. But it can become a problem when your dogs start digging in your garden, flowerbeds, under the fence, or anywhere else they’re not supposed to. 

The best way to control your dog is by designating a digging zone. You can allocate a specific space in the yard for this action and train your puppy to only dig in that area. This will help you maintain your property’s appearance and give your pet some satisfaction.

You should also be extra firm and make a loud noise when the dog starts digging in other zones. During training, you can use a specific command language just to control this behavior for better results.

How to Discipline a Puppy For Being Overly Energetic and Hyperactivity

Dogs that are overly energetic and hyperactive can be challenging to deal with. They may be hard to control and can get into things they aren’t supposed to. They are also a lot of work when it comes to exercising them. 

Here are a few tips for dealing with this challenge:


A tired puppy is a good puppy. Regular exercise is key to keeping your dog’s energy level in check. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise can become restless and destructive.

The best way to provide your dog with the exercise he needs is to take him for walks or play with him in the yard.

In addition to regular walks or playing sessions, you can also give your dog toys that encourage him to run and jump around. Examples include balls, Frisbees, and tug-of-war ropes.


The proper diet can help to keep your dog’s energy level under control.

You’ll want to choose a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates. A balanced diet can help your dog feel good and calm. Your veterinarian can help design a diet that would better fit your puppy.


Training your dog early on can help to redirect their energy in a positive way.


Stimulating your dog’s mind can help to tire them out mentally.


There are some supplements that can help to calm your overactive dog.

How to Discipline a Puppy for Food and Resource Protection

The instinct of guarding food in dogs goes back to when they lived in the wild. An animal that guards and protects its resources is most likely to survive. Dogs mainly used to hunt in packs in their natural habitat. So the dogs have a tendency to guard their food against other members. 

However, today engaging in this behavior is undesirable. But when dealing with this issue, you must avoid punishing your puppy because it is a natural instinct. Instead, use positive reinforcement methods to teach your dog that it is normal when a human approaches its food.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Don’t bother your puppy while they’re eating.
  • Feed them in a private room or their crates.
  • Feed the Dogs Separately, especially if you own multiple dogs. This will help prevent any competition for food or resources.
  • Supply them with generous portions so they will not be inclined to guard their food.
  • By no means never attempt to remove your dog’s stolen or scavenged food.

How to Discipline a Puppy for Jumping Up on People

Jumping up on people is a natural thing that many dogs do. However, it can be a nuisance if your puppy does it excessively. This is because people are often surprised by the dog’s sudden behavior and may even react unpleasantly. 

Some people are polite to animals, while others experience danger. This can produce many problems for you.

The best way to prevent your dog from jumping on others is that you should ignore the pet when it jumps toward you. For instance, the dog may do this when you return from work. 

The dog will repeat the same behavior if you respond by petting him when it jumps on you. So you should use alternative greeting methods to prevent this type of action. For instance, train your dog to sit to greet people instead of jumping.

The Importance of Consistency and Patience in Disciplining a Puppy

Many dog owners will agree that consistency is essential when disciplining your puppy. Dogs thrive on routine and knowing what is expected of them. Frequently disciplining your dogs for the same behavior but then letting them get away with it once in a while is not a good idea. Here is why:

  • They will become confused.
  • They may not know what is expected of them
  • They start acting out more.
  • Consistency helps your puppy adjust to the different training exercises.
  • It will make training easier
  • It helps prevent anxiety issues in your pet
  • It will allow you to communicate effectively with the dog.
  • A clear and consistent set of rules will help to create a strong bond between you and your dog.

Follow these tips to create a foundation of consistency when disciplining your dog:

  • Make sure everyone in the household is on board with the discipline plan and uses the same rules.
  • Be clear with your expectations and enforce them consistently.
  • Reward your dog for good behavior with praise and treats, and ignore bad behavior.
  • Punishment must also be consistent in order to be effective.

How to Discipline a Puppy That Won’t Listen – The Puppy Doesn’t Respond to Discipline

Training your puppy can be relatively challenging. If the discipline fails, you must try the methods again more assertively. Learning things that will stimulate your pet’s positive behavior is also best.

Using your dog’s favorite toys is effective for mental stimulation and encouraging him to play. Moderate punishment will also help you, but you should avoid being too aggressive with your puppy. Otherwise, it will experience mental health issues.

If everything fails, you must seek help from professional dog behaviorists and trainers.


This is everything you need to know about how to discipline your puppy. You must identify your pet’s bad behavior and use different disciplining methods during the training. 

Besides that, you must also avoid using negative reinforcement and punishment. These methods are only preferable when everything else fails. The puppy may be stubborn, but consistency will help them understand what is expected of them and help you be an effective and loving puppy owner.