Underestimating The "time-out"

Hayley Thompson

Well-Known Member
So I have heard before of people to use the time out method for correcting behavioural problems, and I am not going to lie, I was lazy and didn't want to.

Riley was/ still is a jumper, she wants to be in your face and lick you when she gets exicted, she also was/ still is a barker when she wants to play, so I tried everything... being a tree, tossing treats to the side, tethering her for 70% of the time with myself in the room of course, shaking a noisy can, yipeeing, and nothing really phased her, because all those methods with the exception of tethering, to her, were like "Woooohooooo we are about to have some fun right now!!"

I had made a post awhile back about her barking too much and not allowing another dog friend of hers to be around us. I don't know if it was the first time I heard it or the just the first time I paid attention, but someone told me (I'm sorry I forget who at the moment) to give her a time-out for 30 seconds...thats it...and let her join the group again. And to my surprise, it worked almost immediately! After each time out, the time it took for her to misbehave to deserve another time out gradually got longer and longer.

So I decided to try this with other behavioral problems....Jumping up- 30 second time out...Barking- 30 second time out...Mouthing- 30 second time out...and it is starting to work amazingly! She still needs time outs multiple times a day but the amount of time she is spending sitting on the floor knowing she gets far more attention than jumping, is increasing!

One of my major problems before wa like I said I was lazy, and when I would tether her intending for it to be a time out she would be so quiet and good that I would just leave her tethered, why bother her? But then when I would finally release her she would be so excited to spend time with me again it would start all over.

I think the biggest thing is the short duration, no matter how annoying it may be to get up and give 3 30 second time out's in a row, it pays off when her and I can enjoy sitting together calmly!!


Well-Known Member
:)great question!
I think time out is fab for things like barking and over excitement whithout telling a dog off in a real negative way,specially when you are in an environment with to much going on,like having more doglets around,far harder to teach your doggy with other methods:barefoot:
If your dog is jumping up,its better to just turn away from her and ignore,the more boring you can make yourself,the better,that will work with lots of other dogs being around,too,and dont be tempted to say hi very enthusiastically to any other dog either,in case they will jump up,as your dog may lead by excample and think its ok if another dog is doing it(y)
With the mouthing you could make a loud screaching noise (if you can manage,I never could,lol) thats what dogs do to say "Ouch,you ve hurt me!!" or again,time out,but you would just have to get up and stop play and remove YOURSELF not your dog,again its very boring for your dog:)
Tethering,hmmm,I ve seen Victoria do this,to help 2 Old English Sheepdog to learn to calm down when people are in the living room,it worked fab,but I can not see this method work if you think "As long as she is quiet,I keep her tethered:sleep:" thats not the idea, you may have to get up and do it up to 30 times (:eek:yep:p) but only short durations,that will teach her far better AND quicker,and she wont go all loopyloo when she is released again,as you said,its not really teaching her to stay calm.is it;) Best of luck,I m sure that they will be tons of advice on the way from more experienced members :love:


Staff member
I used to use time-outs for Jinx and Isis. They used to run out on our porch and bark at the neighbors. When every they ran out and barked they would be called back in for a time-out. They stopped barking outside thankfully when we lived in TN but they just started again now that we have the workers out in the nursery where they can see them. We had to go back to time-outs again.

Time-outs definitely have their place in behavior modificaion. You just gotta know how to use it.


Honored Member
One of my sheps, Alfie (the darker one, on the left), is very vocal. When I first adopted him, he would have barking fits that just wouldn't quit! He had many other issues also, so I was working with a trainer (+/reinforcement) and also called in a vet/behaviorist for a consult. One of the issues we discussed during her visit was his non-stop barking, and she recommended time-outs, removing him from "the action" (wherever we all were) and to a different room, and closing the door, and leaving him alone for as long as it took him to stop barking + ~30 seconds. We started them immediately, because of course, he went on a tirade while she was there (she actually was quite shocked at his barking, he was horrid!! - but I was glad she got to experience it, and more than once - ugh). I promptly removed him - he proceeded to bark for ~5 more minutes, then after 30 seconds of silence, he was allowed out. This went on so many times each day, I can't even count, but it took him less and less time to quit barking when he was removed, and within no time, he had stopped those horrid barking tirades. That was 4 years ago, but as awful as they were, I still remember like it was last week. We had tried so many things, too - and time-outs really make an impact. When they're separated from their family, and it's done quickly and quietly, no anger, no frustration, just promptly and consistently, they catch on quickly to what they're doing that's making this "alone time" happen. They don't like it, and will avoid whatever they're doing to stop the isolation - they want to be with their families.

Riley was/ still is a jumper, she wants to be in your face and lick you when she gets exicted, she also was/ still is a barker when she wants to play
Because Alfie barks for any and all occasions, he also barked constantly when we'd play ball outside. It annoyed me, so I'm sure it annoyed the neighbors, too. I don't mind dogs barking when they're playing, but his need to constantly bark was making me into a basket case. He barked incessantly when we were playing, to the point I dreaded going outside with him (the barking would start in the house, proceed on outside, and carry on til we were finished - only stopping when he was carrying the ball in his mouth) -- so, we started time-outs during 'ball' time, also. I'd give him one chance at "quiet", and if he didn't quit, I'd stop, bring him in the house, go back out, and continue playing with my other dog. I'd throw a few balls, go get him, and we'd try again. Some play sessions were soooo frustrating, it seemed all I did was walk back and forth to the house, taking him in, and letting him back out. But within a couple weeks, he was so much better - and within a couple months, the barking had all but stopped. I had to keep my eye on the goal, a nice quiet, relaxing play session - and it made all the trips back and forth totally worth it. It got thru to him where nothing else had. They want to be with their people - and when they lose that privilege, they'll do anything to make things right.

Hayley Thompson

Well-Known Member
Hey Dodge, thanks so much for your response, it wasnt so much a question as sharing my experience. Your advice is great but sadly we already tried those techniques and none of those options worked for Riley.

If we would turn our backs at jumping she would be like no mom your silly, im right behind you , maybe if I jump higher or bark louder youll remember I am here!

And with the ouching and yipping, she is like wooohooo now you are ready to play!! Thats why we found the time out to be the best is because she is very family oriented!

Jackienmutts and Charmedwolf, you are so right that the time outs need to be implemented correctly, and we do ours without verbal correction, as in some instances these behaviours may be ok to a certain extent, mainly she only gets time outs when we are lounging on the couch at 9pm and Riley feels like hey im going to jump up on you or bark at you so we can play instead of bringing a toy to us to play. So we simply remove her calmly without verbally correcting her and she gets tons of praise when she is quiet along with us then giving a gentle quiet command.

She is so driven by wanting affection and actuall quality play time with us she often settles down after one or two time outs in a row and then we can play nicely!!

I am lucky though because she doesnt bark just because she is bored and wants to hear herself, she will bark/jump because she wants to play, she would always take toys over to you when she wants to play, but now she is beginning to realize she can just skip the bossyness and simply take a toy over!

Oh and to add a final note (I need to be a proud momma) our male friend came over last night who she has met before but hasnt let him pet her, and she barked and jumped, Grant gave her a quick time out and released her and then Grant said she actually went over and was playing with our friend and even let him scratch her back and then relaxed and flopped over and let him scratch her belly (in a relaxed not submissive way)!! What an attention hog!! Just like her momma ;)

Hayley Thompson

Well-Known Member
PS just a funny little side note that has nothing to do with the above posts, but just about how different and individual Riley's stubborn personality is: when she was a pup we tried everything to stop the nipping and nothing was working so even though I was holding this as a last resort I went to a pet store and bought bitter orange (or apple I cant remember) anyway I asked the guy what it was like and he said he tasted it himself and it was horrible! So I got in the car, and couldnt resist trying it myself and almost threw up it was so bitter!! I get home and spray it on my feet and low and behold Riley LOVED it...so I googled if I used it right and they said sometimes a better option so they only have to taste the bitterness once is to saturate a cloth with the spray let her nibble on it for a second, she get disgusted and then anything that simply just smells like it she wont go near, so I give the cloth to Riley and what does she do but plant her belly on the floor and starting EATING the cloth!! They say that dogs do have different taste buds just as humans and not all dogs are put off by bitterness..and Riley is one dog that falls into that category!!