All it takes is a simple dog-training question to bring out The Crazies.

Recently, the author Tim Ferriss posted this question on his Facebook page:

I’m all for positive-reinforcement dog training, but most experts seem to dodge a major question: What can you do when pups do something “bad” … besides ignoring it? Re-directing is one way to get them to temporarily stop, but it wouldn’t seem to teach them that something isn’t allowed. Anyone with experience out there? Thanks!

Of course, this totally legit question brought out all kinds of drama as people started getting emotional over different training techniques. You know, how you should never scold a dog because you could scare him and that sort of thing. Please.

I thought it was a good question.

How to stop a dog's bad behavior

When people truly have questions about how to train a dog, I think it’s important to offer down-to-earth solutions without going into attack mode.

I’m not worried about Tim Ferriss, but I’m a little worried for other new dog owners who ask innocent questions.

So, I thought I’d ask all of you the same question.

What do you do when a puppy does something “bad”?

Leave your answer in the comments.

My answer:

If a dog or puppy is doing a behavior I don’t like, I’ll calmly say “no” and then re-direct the pup to a more appropriate behavior and reward that. I also do all I can to prevent the unwanted behavior in the first place.

That’s pretty much it.

Is this positive reinforcement? Is it, God forbid, aversive? I don’t really know or care.

I think we tend to overcomplicate dog training, which is probably why so many people do not bother to train their dogs at all. They truly think they can’t because everyone is flooding them with advice, and that advice is often conflicting.

I actually try really hard not to give people dog training advice unless asked.

Pitbull puppy

Yes, my blog posts are often written about training, but people are free to take or leave the information or adjust it for their own unique dogs and unique circumstances. I never want to tell anyone else what’s best for his or her own dog.

A good example is the post I wrote earlier this month on electronic dog fences. I loved the responses I got form that post. Lots of positive comments even though we don’t all agree. Not a single person became overly emotional or rude in the comments. Not one.

I think it’s because we have a great, open-minded online community here.

That’s a rare thing.

Thank you.

How do you stop a puppy’s unwanted behavior?

Let me know in the comments! This will be a great resource to share with new puppy owners and first-time dog owners.