Dear All,

I have had my puppy since he was 4 months old. I have a strong love for animals, but this is the first time I have raised a dog outside of childhood and without my parents really training him. The puppy's name is Pete. The problem I am having is that Pete gets more and more scared of me every time I scold him. I punish him for eating trash out of the trash can, chewing on furniture, biting, and using the restroom inside. I only punish him for using peeing inside when he does it right after I take him out. I know puppies have a small bladder and never punish him when I have not taken him out in a few hours. The way I punish Pete is by scolding him in a loud voice for stuff like the trash, and a spray water bottle for biting. I promptly put him in his kennel right after I scold him. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I have never and will never use physical force for punishment. Pete always can tell when he gets in trouble and when I'm angry because he will tuck his tail and run as far away from his kennel as possible. Over the past few weeks Pete started peeing whenever I would raise my voice at him or when I would pick him up to carry him to his kennel. It is has really been bothering me because he seems to be growing more and more afraid of me sort of. He used to always want to play and was hyper, but now he always has his tail tucked until I start loving on him to try to cheer him up. Maybe this is because I yell to loud or to frequently? I never not yell NO or BAD and then immediately put him in his kennel. I even do this up to five or so times a day, especially for eating food out of the trash. He also has plenty of play toys and I know his teeth are coming in and dont punish him for chewing everything up on the ground; just furniture. What are ways to make your puppy not feel afraid of you or afraid he is going to get in trouble?

I would like to courteously request that no one responds in a lecturing way on how I miss treat my dog. I simply need a solution, not a life lesson on how to train a puppy and how to properly take care of it. I am a very loving and responsible owner and that is why I am seeking advice.

Thank you all very much,
Vince
Nice of you to look for advice, you do sound caring, I'm a cat person so can't help you but I hope someone can!
Its your voice. If you sound really angry then the dog will cower and get nervous. I have a female who is very skittish and a calm firm voice goes a long way. When I am really angry I snap and point to her "doggy jail" and she goes automatically now even if I am nowhere near the kennel I just snap and point in that direction and she goes. My girl was also a very sad puppy, she wouldn't move literally for the first couple of days but once we started bonding over food she was just fine.
Agree, it's probably your voice/tone. Animals react to our tonality just as much as children do.
Hey Vince, just to put in my five cents. I have no doubt you love your dog however I have to say you're training him wrong. If your dog is being skittish and fearful punishment is just not an option it will actually encourage the said behavior. You need to use positive reinforcement all the time and ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior. I suggest clicker training! Its actually a lot of fun . you use a thing called well, a clicker. It makes , you guessed it, clicks. You first feed your dog treats like a slot machine and click before every single treat. Soon your dog will associate good rewards come after a click. Then you begin to use it for training. Instead of punishing accidents ignore your dog and clean up. But when he does goes outside praise him lavishly and click and treat. You use the click to "mark" good behavior. For example your dog walks next to you perfectly on a walk and is in the correct heel position click and give him a treat. You must be accurate with the clicks because it marks the good behavior at a precise time. So you must administer a click that rewards the dog exactly when it is doing something well. Now don't worry if he drops what he is doing and runs over for a treat. That is a good sign. Just let him be until he resumes the good behave and click and treat. Punishing fearful dogs is very counter productive. If anything it will teach him that doing this gets me noticed and he will continue. He will also mistrust you. Alpha leads a pack and a good alpha leads with no punishment and the result is food for the pack. Also since clicker training is focused on marking good behavior it keeps the dog owners mindset happy as well. If you're getting angry and frustrated your pooch will follow suit. Stay happy Emotion: smile your dog will love it.
Put the trash where he can't get it. Stop yelling at him, dogs have sensitive ears. Don't throw him in the kennel as a punishment.
This is an awesome recommendation! You can even use the fundamental idea behind this and start off with subtle praises throughout the day. The "clicker" sounds like an incredible invention. But if the opportunity isn't available to me to make that investment, then just by staying committed to the theory behind it, I assume it could be just as productive. Great post and, conversation, overall!