Time out

Time Out

Manic, attention-seeking, manipulative mutts, cantankerous, man-mauling catastrophic cats and even ballistic, finger-nipping, belligerent birds can all have their behaviours improved using the technique of Time Out.

Time out simply refers to placing a pet in an out-of-the-way place when unwanted behaviour occurs but unless you use time out correctly, you can cause more problems than you solve.

The goal with time out is not to punish bad behaviour but to halt it, so that good behaviour results. You can then reward this resultant good behaviour. Here, time out differs from a closely related method called the sin bin technique – a behaviour management procedure that is often used with children (and sportspeople).

Sin-binning is a punishment technique that usually involves lengthy confinement. It requires the person to have plenty of time to reason why his or her freedom has been removed.

The sin-bin process does not work well for pets because to learn anything from the lengthy confinement requires the ability to reason at levels that are not possible for pets.

Time out involves a short period of confinement – generally no more than five minutes.