Why, when and how should I put my dog in timeout?
Today we look at putting a dog in timeout, why we might do that, how we might do that and when we might do that. Parents often use timeout for children and it can be a quite an effective way to draw a line and stop bad behavior. In the same way timeout or rather isolation is used in nature when a pack-member is removed from the pack if they behaved in a way that was completely inappropriate. This is quite a strong measurement as it might mean the end for that dog or wolf if they are not allowed to come back in the pack. This is one of the reasons why dogs tend to play up when they are separate from us.
So when should you use timeout? You can use timeout as a last resort or you can use it when you do not know what else to do. Or maybe you simply want some space. Use timeout or isolation by getting hold of your dogs collar and start walking him away without a word, don’t do it fast but make it happen. You take the dog into a room, outside or you might tie him up somewhere. The important part is you do that without making a drama or giving your dog attention. You want to be dismissive but at the same time you want to be clear and firm when you remove your dog so your dog realises you mean business. It is also crucial that your dog is alone whilst in timeout. If you have two dogs, make sure they are separate from each other during timeout.
If you have a dog that has become prone to jumping, whining and playing up when you are not around, you might want to create separations when you are home in order to work through any separation issues first. Also if your dog is prone to chewing things, you might to prepare a place for timeout where your dog can’t destroy anything and cannot harm himself. There are many cases where dogs keep on barking, whining and jumping when removed. In some extreme cases they might play up for hours. If that is the case you want to create easier separations first.
For normal complaining while being removed the key is to let it run its course. Once your dog stops and is calm for a while, you can open the door and let your dog back in/out. Make sure to ignore your dog for a while when he is being let back in. You might increase the duration of timeout if the behaviour is not improving. You can obviously try to deal actively with an undesired behaviour if you struggle to make any progress, yet timeout is always a safe way to let your dog know that a current behaviour is not acceptable. I hope this gives you a good understanding of using timeout and inspires you to practice. Have fun and let me know if you have any questions.