Are my dog(s) behaving badly because they are being spiteful?

Dogs act on instinct and learn through association. They are not capable of rational thought (the ability to reason); therefore, they CANNOT be spiteful. What most people take for spite is actually a dog communicating a behavioral issue/problem. An example would be:  The dog is alone in the house and he chews up a shoe. Most people would say “He is being spiteful because I left him home alone.” This is absolutely NOT the case at all.  The reason for this action is that he may be a dog with anxiety and/or exhibiting frustration from lack of exercise (too much built up energy).

Should I Punish my dog for bad behavior?

There is a major difference between Punishment and Discipline. Corrections should NEVER be done by means of striking them. Corrections should NOT be made by yelling at them. They have no idea what you are saying. Addressing a dog in anger or frustration is an act of cruelty. With dog aggression issues or fearful dogs, this kind of tactic may make the problem worse.

How do I teach my dog the rules?

In order to correct a behavior, it has to be done “In the Act”.  The reason for this is that dogs learn through association. If the correction takes place after the unwanted behavior, the dog will not be able to interpret the message being given to him/her.

If I yell at my dog will he/she respect me?

The only thing that is communicated to your dog is that you are unstable and they begin to fear you.  Dogs will follow you and listen to you if they RESPECT you but will never listen to you if they FEAR you.  Respect and Fear are two totally different things. It may appear that they are listening to you at the time, but in reality they are moving away from you because of fear and you will later find them doing the same unwanted behavior over and over again.

How long will rehabilitation take?

The first thing to remember when it comes to dog behavior modification is that there is no such thing as a quick fix. The next thing to keep in mind is that it depends on you and how much you put into it. The secret to all of this is: Patience and Consistency. The more you stick to the role of leadership and guidance; the quicker the turnaround rate is for your dog.