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Time Outs – January 13, 2011

There are many ways to do an effective time-out. The most important element is good timing. As soon as your pup begins to jump up on someone, bites too hard, barks for attention, or is heading for food on the kitchen table, say something that informs him that he just earned himself a time-out (like “Too bad” or “Time-out”), and then swiftly escort him to his time-out place. The whole idea of a Time Out is to withdraw attention. All attention is very rewarding for your dog and withdrawing attention is a very effective negative consequence. None of this should be done in anger – just a neutral “Too Bad” and then either remove the pup or remove yourself for 30 seconds.

• To do a time-out when you and your pup are in a puppy-proof room, you can just leave the room and shut the door.

• If your puppy is ok being left alone in the kitchen or family room, you can be the one to leave. Say “Bye” and walk into another room and close the door behind you.

• If your pup is in an area that will be fun or dangerous, you will need to tether or crate him for his time-out. To crate him, simply place him in his crate and leave. A small utility room or ex-pen serves the same purpose.

• A utility room makes a good time-out place. If you are using a bathroom, make sure that toilet paper and shower curtains are out of your pup’s reach. The more puppy-proof the room, the better.

• Tether stations can be used for time-outs and to keep your puppy out of trouble when you are nearby but unable to supervise him closely. It is handy to have several tether stations around the house, so that one is always nearby. Tether stations are simple to set up. Screw an eyehook screw into the wall or the floor and attach three feet of clothesline cable, with a clip at the end to attach to your puppy’s collar.

• A good option for time-outs when you are out and about with your pup is to put the leash under your foot so that pup cannot go anywhere or jump up on you, and to wait for a few minutes, ignoring him completely. You can do this for pulling on leash if you are unable to change directions (because of traffic or pedestrians).

• Regardless of what type of time-out you do, only release your puppy from his time-out when he has been well-mannered for at least one minute (no tugging, jumping, whining, pawing, etc.).

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