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Time Outs
Please Stop... Barking, Mouthing, Chewing, Nipping, Jumping, Whining, Digging, Peeing, Pooping, Puking, Pulling, Lunging, Stealing, Running, Chasing!!!
(How to Use Time Outs)

It is amazing how much dog training is centered on getting the dog to not any of the above. Sometimes it seems that if we could just extinguish all of these annoying, unsafe, disgusting behaviors we would have a perfect dog. The kicker is that every behavior that you get rid of just makes a space for another behavior to crop up. So rather than train by the process of elimination, why not show your dog what you want him to do?

Instead of barking, your dog could be trained to lie quietly on a mat and chew a bone. Instead of jumping, your dog could be trained to sit and pay attention. Instead of mouthing, your dog could be trained to bring you a toy to chew on.

Training each of these better alternative behaviors is the best way to approach any problem behavior. However, some problem behaviors are inherently rewarding enough to the dog that they will choose to repeat them rather than be rewarded for the better alternative behavior. In this case, a fair and consistent time out can work wonders. Many undesired behaviors are requests for attention from you. By taking away your dog's opportunity to be near you, you are showing your dog that the undesired behaviors will not work. If on the other hand, you look over at your dog and tell them, "No!" every time they display the behavior, your dog is being rewarded and is in fact training you!

What is a time out? A time out is a brief period (30 seconds to 5 minutes) of isolation that is not scary or painful but also not fun for the dog.

How does it work?

1. Remember that whatever behavior you want to get rid of, you must have another, better behavior to put in its place. Hanging out in a crate, laying down and chewing a bone, or watching you quietly are all good default behaviors for your dog to learn.
2. Recognize that there is a reason for everything your dog does. Is he whining because he needs to go out? Is she mouthing because she is teething? Is he pulling because he hasn't had enough exercise? The best way to alter behavior is to figure out why it is happening and change the dog's motivations-get on a consistent housetraining schedule, provide appropriate chew toys, and be sure your dog gets enough exercise.
3. Keep time outs as non-dramatic and matter of fact as possible. Your dog should think that the (rather distasteful) isolation that comes after barking is a natural consequence to his behavior, not some sort of revenge from you. Simply treat his barking, whining or mouthing as a request for some time alone. If he doesn't want to be alone, he will choose to behave differently.

How do you use a time out?

1. During the behavior you would like to extinguish, clearly say, "Enough." If your dog stops the behavior, immediately praise him. Next show him exactly what you want him to do, whether it is to lead him to his bed and show him his bone, ask him to lay down, or ask him to go into his crate. If he engages in the preferred activity, tell him how brilliant he is.
2. If he resumes the poor behavior, clearly say, "Uh-oh." This is a no-reward marker, and tells your dog that what he is doing will not result in any of the good things you can provide such as treats, dinner, walks, toys, pats, attention, or praise. If he engages in the preferred activity, tell him what a genius dog he is.
3. If after the two warnings he again resumes the poor behavior, clearly and calmly say, "Too bad." This tells your dog he just derailed from the path to Good Things. Gently take him by the collar and escort him to his time out area. It can be outside (provided it is safe and not a reward for the dog), in his crate, or in a bathroom where the soap, toilet paper, and towels have been removed.
4. Thirty seconds to two minutes is plenty of time for your dog to become bored and tired of being alone. After this period, calmly (no dramatic reunions!) let him out to try again. If he engages in the desired behavior, praise him and make a fuss over him to let him know that he has chosen correctly!

Remember to be consistent: one "enough," one "uh-oh" and one "too bad." Don't nag your dog to stop misbehaving-the nagging may be just enough attention to keep him going. Be ready to supply consequences that are safe but not fun for your dog. If this means putting them outside while you are still holding onto the leash inside, be ready to do it.

Try not to lose your temper. This can be difficult because we're only human, but remember that one of the things you love about your dog is that he never lies. If his behavior has worked in the past, that is why he keeps doing it. Try to determine why he misbehaves and address the root of his behavior. Provide him with other options and show him which choices will earn him praise and which will not. Reward generously when he makes good choices!