18 Jun Corrections might work but they make you feel like…
I rarely use corrections with dogs for lots of reasons. Here’s a brief list:
- Punishment doesn’t tell the dog what you want him to do, only what you don’t want him to do
- If your punishment doesn’t work, what options do you have next? To correct harder? Where do you draw the line with abuse?
- If the dog connects you with the punishment, he will still do it when you are not around. ie. counter surfing
- Punishment ruins the relationship with your dog. Do you want your dog to fear you, and potentially cower when you approach.
- One of the best parts of dogs is their clown personality. Punishment kills their spirit, so they don’t do or try anything funny.
- Punishment comes after the ‘bad’ behaviour has already happened. Meaning the pattern of behaviour has been repeated and most likely the dog has already been reinforced. For instance, imagine your dog stuck his head in the dishwasher and licked a plate. If you punished him, he would already have licked the plate. Wouldn’t it be better to teach him to do a down before you open the dishwasher as opposed to punishing him after he licked the plate?
- and finally, punishment makes you feel like a JERK! Here’s why
Yesterday I corrected a dog. He was mounting another dog and I grabbed him by the flank (inner thigh) to pull him off. He made a yelp and thought twice before doing it again. The thing is he went back to mount the dog not too long after. So what were my options? Flank him again? Some other dog walkers already thought I had grabbed him by his private parts so I was looking really bad and already regretting my actions. And if I repeated it I would have to do it harder. And what if someone copied me but used the correction in a different way or really hurt their dog. Honestly, the whole this sucked. I felt like a jerk. If I had used my brain, I would have realized that I had some other options. This dog happens to be really ball motivated. Had I brought the ball out, I’m sure he could have been redirected. The bottom line is corrections suck and there really is a better way to train.