Punishing Dogs for not Obeying Your Command?

Recently I’ve seen and heard about a post going around social media regarding the way an owner train her dog to obey her command. Most of you would have seen it. However, I will not go into details on it.

My observations and thoughts on the method used to correct the dog was totally an abuse. If an owner punishes a dog using an intensity greater than needed, it’s pure abuse. Or if a dog is fixated or obsess with a bad behaviour which requires a very hard physical correction, that’s pure abuse! What then, many will ask… is the best way? Well, as Ian Dunbar always say; there are many things that motivates a dog. It can be food, toy, swim, etc… Use these things to lure and reward them, rather then physical punishment. That being said. It can be difficult to understand how to use such reward at the right time. Of course, it’s safer to approach a professional. But it’s important to understand the methods different behaviourist or trainer is using and adopt.

Having been to many homes, I’ve noticed that most people make the same mistake. They reprimand, or spank their dog on the butt. Both methods are as good as useless. The dog is always losing, never winning and never able to understand what he/she did wrong, and nothing is rewarded for the right behaviour at the right time. Human hands are one of the most untrustworthy parts when it comes to correcting a dog’s behaviour. When a human reaches frustration, it doesn’t matter if you are using a gentle leader, chest harness or even the usual harness. A human’s hand can turn into an abuse, tugging on the leash so hard that the dog flies, using the leash as a punishment tool, etc… This are the actions I’ve seen while observing dog owners walking their dogs on any normal day.


Question: Is it necessary to use brute force to punish a dog for not obeying your commands? Does using brute force makes you more frustrated? Does shocking your dog makes you more sadistic?

There are many gentle and respectful ways to manage behaviours and/or cases where your dog disobey your command, or not acting on your command on time. It’s all about respect that we humans have to learn to give before receiving. Every behaviourist and trainer knows that dogs do not have deductive reasoning. So the best way is to use rewards to lock-in a desired behaviour. Yes, sometimes dogs need to be discipline. But discipline or punishment can be as gentle as holding back food, treating the dog later, ignoring the dog until the desired behaviour, etc… the list goes on… There are so many gentle methods of disciplining a dog by not even touching the dog and hurting the dog. These are ways of communicating with your dog whats desired and whats not. It’s much calmer, and more fun.

Therefore, my conclusion to such training from the video that has been circulating around is pure abuse! It’s not sportsmanship in anyway and it’s 100% disrespectful to God’s creation and gift to us humans. The dog is doing out of fear rather then respect. And here at The Dog Behaviourist, and I believe many of my other trainer friends agree as well, we as humans must respect dog’s natural needs and instincts before receiving the respect back from them. We must stop being egoistic when it comes to dog training.

Note: Someone has to speak out about such form of training. Even if it causes unhappiness, I stand for what is right and what our wide range of sources can provide in terms of dog behaviour and training. If the world class behaviourist and trainers do not need to use such abusive methods, then no one needs!!

By Ezra Koh

The Return – Paw-in-Hand workshop 2014 II

Yes, I’ve decided to do one more workshop this year after a successful workshop in March.

Thanks to the attendees of the last workshop, they were very happy and satisfied that they have been introducing their friends.

This will be the final workshop for this year before I fly off for my further study in dog behaviour with my college from August onwards.

To register for the workshop, kindly click here to register. Alternatively, you can copy and paste this link (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/17GGh0cFyWaPHcy1033wHVhAJ3OA4kPC48za9y3i6wDQ/viewform).

Closing date for registration is 1st June 2014 or when we reach the maximum number of attendees.

Early Bird registration! Hurry!
1. 10% off for early bird registration ends on 12th May 2014.
2. Special rates for shelter volunteers ends 23rd May 2014.

The Return - Paw-in-Hand Workshop 2014 II-A&P

Basic Obedience Class is open for registration!

Dear Dog Owners,

Our Basic Obedience class is now open for registration! Classes will commence on the 26 & 27 April 2014. It’s gonna be fun, empowering, lots of things to learn with your dog. Wait no longer! Email us right away!

Basic-O April 2014

The Return! Paw-in-Hand Workshop 2014

Because it was a success and those who attended have been sharing with their friends, we are deciding to conduct another workshop.

If you can get enough “LIKES” and enquiries, we might do one in either May or June 2014.

Paw-in-Hand Workshop Success

Paw-in-Hand Workshop 2014 Updates!!

A successful 1st workshop! As tiring as everyone was, I hope everyone enjoyed and learn a lot.

photo 1Friday & Saturday session. Cozy, relax and interactive session.

photo 2Sunday’s practical session.

photo 4Heidie the Corgi cross is an anti-social dog. She lunges at other dogs when in sight and walking pass. With positive conditioning session on socialisation, she cross her threshold step-by-step. Still lots of practice for her owner, Josephine one of the attendee.

photo 3Certificate presentation. Look at the smiles on their tired faces 🙂 It was a long and mental stimulating workshop for all 😉

Basic Obedience & Dog Behaviour Class

Finally!! We decided to start doing basic obedience classes after much persuasion from clients and friends.

That’s not all! Apart from the usual sit, down, stay & recall disciplines, we decided to include more fun and empowering knowledge about dog behaviour and psychology into our program. Whether it’s conducted in a group setting or in your home, this program will help every owner understand dogs better and know how to prevent unwanted behaviour from developing over-time.

Email us to find out more and to book a slot! Email us now! Hurry!

Basic-O 2014

Eyo & Toshi – Love, Hate Relationship

Working with Ezra from The Dog Behaviourist was a really positive experience for both our dogs and us as the owners as well. Ezra didn’t just leap-in and enforce rules blindly, he took the time to get to understand us and our situation, and customized a training plan based on our needs. We were particularly firm in our desire to only use positive training methods, and this was a perfect fit with Ezra’s style.

photo7He also helped us as dog owners – helped us understand them, how dogs learn, and the role we play in their development, their confidence and their happiness.

We had two different dogs with different challenges.

image (7)One was a 6 month old puppy, super excited and lovely but in need of some boundaries.

photo15The other was much older and very smart and obedient, but also very nervous and wary of strangers and her new little brother being in the house.

photo9With Ezra’s guidance we now have a much more peaceful home, with a well behaved but still very fun young boy, and the older girl is now much more accepting of his presence and they even play together and sleep in the same place.


This is what we do…

Educating dog owners how we can work paw-in-hand with dogs in a respectful and positive way.

Clarification: “The difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviourist is, a dog trainer is like a teacher, and a dog behaviourist is like a counsellor”. This being said, it doesn’t make either one of us more superior than the other, but being focus on what we are train to know and what we are good at. As dog behaviourist, we do not teach agility, search and rescue, etc… we will always refer to a dog trainer. Like wise, our friends who are trainers will refer behavioural cases to us. It’s about complimenting both profession and not going against.

Thanks to Temasek Polytechnic students from Mass Communications course who film this short documentary clip about our job here in Singapore. Great job done!

Paw-in-Hand Workshop 2014

Paw in Hand workshop is for everyone who loves dogs and wants to understand more about dogs.

Simply click here to reserve your slot. Slots are limited!
(if unable to click on ‘here’, copy link:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1LGTTe-u5QQaHZy8KP-gkBQCZgJB53RYIJazmDCFAejQ/viewform )

Paw-in-Hand Workshop 2014-A&PFor more enquiries, drop us an email.

Date of workshop: 28th – 30th March 2014
Workshop fee: S$280.00
Includes: Notes, Starter Package, Meals & Certificate of Participation
Location: 28th March @ Ang Mo Kio (Kawaii Pets Shop), 29th & 30th March @ Sengkang