Why You Should Never Correct Your Dog


The Secret Of Kinship ®



Everyone talks about positive reinforcement. Books, breeders and trainers, then they explain how to correct your dog for doing things wrong. The next thing you hear is NO! NO! NO! Don’t do that or that or that. So there are these trained dogs out there with owners running around yelling NO! Heel! Heel! Don’t do that or that, especially that, I hate it when you do that.

1. Corrections reinforce the bad behavior and cause avoidance.

Behavior that continues to occur is rewarding. If you have been correcting your dog for something and it still does it, the correction is rewarding the bad behavior or the behavior is more rewarding than the correction. The correction probably only caused your dog to be scared of you, not the behavior. If your dog is chewing the rug and you correct chewing you are not teaching your dog what to chew, you are negatively reinforcing chewing. If you negatively reinforce chewing you are reinforcing chewing.

If a dog is jumping on you and you say “No!” And knee the dog in the chest, you are not teaching don’t jump but rather don’t get kicked. So only if your dog avoids getting kicked will it not jump. Getting kicked must be present in order for the dog to avoid. Behavior that causes pain will be avoided. The pain will be avoided and subsequently the behavior. But the motivation to avoid the behavior is the pain. So only if an element of pain is present will the behavior be avoided. If a dog jumped on a hot stove and was burned, the dog will avoid jumping on hot stoves, not cold stoves. So if you do not threaten to knee your dog it will jump on you or anyone who doesn’t threaten to knee it.

Punishment and corrections are generally ineffective and will not eliminate behavior. Punishment (and the punisher) will be avoided, not the behavior. Your dog will learn to jump on your side. When not given choices, individuals will be slow to give up behavior even if that behavior results in pain or punishment. Without being taught to do something else your dog will become frustrated and continue the bad behavior. And if you do not teach your dog what to do instead you won’t correct the bad behavior. Without knowing what else to do a dog will become frustrated and continue. Negative reinforcement and punishments must be given every time you let your dog misbehave (a lot of trouble and you never get to stop, corrections don’t work). People seem so busy trying to stop their dog from doing what they don’t want, and approach training them by correcting bad behavior that they have forgotten the most important thing! What do you want your dog to be doing? If your dog is sitting it cannot be jumping. Get your dog to sit, don’t correct it for jumping.

2. Corrections can cause fear and aggression.

Corrections often cause your dog to be scared of you, not the behavior. Your dog could learn to avoid you and defend himself from you. Your dog could feel confronted by you and challenge you. This will lead to aggression. Punishment happens after the fact. Your dog will think that the only reason you are correcting him is because you have no control and that you are not the leader, but challenging him, which causes aggression. Corrections can cause aggression. This is why dogs turn on people.

3. You cannot do a don’t.

Try to do ‘don’t think of blue’. You have to think of blue to not think of it? It’s like I poured milk on the floor and you yelled at me “No! Don’t do that”, how can I not spill the milk on the floor? I can clean it up. I can be careful the next time but I cannot not spill it. This is something your dog cannot understand and will cause them to become frustrated and confrontational.

Most dog trainers are truly caring individuals. Sometimes with well intended but false ideas about how to get the results they want. Most of them teach techniques and corrections. These individuals usually want a way to make contact that would give them the relationship they’re seeking but don’t know how to get it. Some don’t even know that contact exists or that it is important. What is missing for them is the attitude that makes it all possible, the attitude that allows contact to occur. What I offer is a whole new frame of reference. All the other trainers I’d met or read gave lip service to positive reinforcement and positive training. They just didn’t do it. The worst offenders were the ones who claimed to be “humane” trainers. Then they’d try to teach me ear pinching or how to knee a dog in the chest for jumping, hitting with a rolled up newspaper and cans full of pennies used to scare the dog.

4. Dogs really don’t do bad things.

At least from their point of view they aren’t bad… we have to teach our pets what to do so they won’t misbehave. Not correct them for misbehaving. A dog can only do what you let him do. A dog should not know any better and won’t until you teach him. . It takes training not correcting.

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