5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Yell at Your Dog
Yelling at your dog might seem like a quick way to get them to stop what they are doing and once it was seen as an acceptable part of training, but now we know there are much better ways to change our dog’s behaviour.
Think about it? Is yelling at your dog making their bad behaviour go away or is it causing a bigger problem?
Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t yell at your dog.
Going on a tirade might make you feel better but the reality is that your dog won’t have any idea what you’re yelling about. A string of angry words will just confuse and possibly frighten your dog.
Have a think about how often you’re resorting to yelling at your dog? If it’s the main way you communicate with them then there’s a training problem. Better use of your time and energy is to teach your dog the behaviours you want them to be able to do and to manage the environment (for example, putting the rubbish bin out of reach so they can’t knock it over) instead of punishing them for doing the wrong thing.
It Creates Confusion
If you come home to a hole dug in your lawn, your first instinct might be to scold your dog for it. The problem with this approach is that your dog won’t associate the punishment with the crime. Sure, your dog will probably give you the appropriate appeasement postures when you shout at them – hunched shoulders, tailed tucked, eyes downcast – but your dog is reacting to your anger in that moment. It’s not “shame” or acknowledgement of wrongdoing, your dog’s behaviour is actually an attempt to appease you and calm you down.
When you yell at your dog hours after an incident has taken place they don’t associate your yelling at them with the act of them digging a hole, after all digging is a normal dog behaviour why would you be angry about that?
It Causes Training Problems
Maybe your strategy for dealing with a dog that jumps on visitors is to yell at them when they do it. Yelling at your dog might startle them and stop the behaviour for a moment but does it teach them what you do want them to do? Nope. Scolding your dog might help you to blow off some steam when your dog is doing something that is making you angry. It might even make you think your dog is going to stop the behaviour, but the truth is the same scenario will probably just repeat itself every time you have visitors over.
To change behaviours you need to teach an alternate behaviour that your dog can perform instead of the behaviour that is annoying you. A dog that is jumping up can be taught to sit instead when it greats people.
It Increases Fearfulness
Some dogs cope no matter how rough their handling, while others are much softer and are unable to withstand even an angry look. Yelling isn’t a great strategy for any dog no matter how resilient they might seem, but sensitive dogs in particular can experience all sorts of setbacks when scolded. Some delicate dogs become almost helpless when dealing with a yelling human and cease to offer any behaviour for fear of bringing on another episode. These dogs feel that action is useless and usually results in getting reprimanded so instead shut down in fear.
It Can Encourage Bad Behaviour
For some dogs any attention from their owner is better than being ignored. Behaviours like stealing things off the coffee table that result in you chasing them around the house. Jumping up on you to get your attention that end up with you yelling “NO” and pushing them down. Barking when they are bored where you join in on the barking by yelling at them to be quiet are all activities that mean that your dog is receiving some sort of attention from you. A much better way to deal with attention seeking behaviours is pinpoint the cause of your dog’s behaviour and work out proactive ways to solve it. Sometimes it can simply be about having a game with them or providing an activity before they start searching you out to get your attention.
It is always challenging to break habits and the habit of yelling at your dog will be hard to change as well. Give it a go! It’s definitely going to improve your relationship and the bond you have with your dog.