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Behavior Training

Rewards and

Introduction to


 Dog Behavior Library

Menu of Corrections for the Dog

Page 3

Physical, Non-Painful Corrections

Unfortunately, people tend to use slip collars inappropriately. If you don't couple the short and quick tug-release with praise when the dog looks at you or by telling the dog to "sit" to help the dog gain control by lowering the dog's arousal, then the dog learns to gradually ignore the collar correction and, in fact, pulls more from confusion and frustration.

A gentle physical correction is using a water spray bottle. Some dogs don't like the surprise of the water. Most are at least interrupted by it allowing the owner to praise this response and redirect behavior. Others seem to like it; some even want to play with it.

After Any Correction

After any correction or reprimand, act "neutral" for 5+ seconds as a "start over" and then crouch down in a non-threatening position with your arms open wide and call the dog to you. Praise him for coming.

If the dog won't come, he may be too intimidated. Instead, ask him to sit. If he sits, it means the correction was well received. The "make up" allows the dog to do something positive to restore the relationship. Remember that an occasional correction if delivered in a clear, non-threatening manner, does reinforce your position as leader and has a positive bonding effect with your dog.

Anticipate and redirect behavior to avoid corrections.  Use lowest correction needed to redirect the behavior.  Never hit your dog!

Corrections To Avoid

Here are five corrections you should NEVER use to punish or correct your dog's behavior.

  1. Never hit your dog. Dogs don't understand being struck, and their confusion and fear causes them to distrust and dislike anyone who does it. Your dog won't see you as a reliable leader if you hit him.
  2. Don't slap a newspaper loudly into your hand to correct the dog unless it is in your hand at the moment the dog misbehaves.

  3. Don't ever kick or in any way physically cause pain. Dogs don't understand pain as a correction; it confuses them. may be interpreted as aggression which often leads to an aggressive response.
  4. Never stand over and yell at the dog. He doesn't speak your language, and understands only a few carefully-taught verbal Instructions. (See "Instructive Reprimands") Once you lose your temper with your dog, you lose your dog's respect and trust and therefore the dog's willingness to learn and respond to you.
  5. Do not do an "Alpha Roll Over" (pin the adult dog on his side or back). This behavior on your part is too often misunderstood by the dog. And, in an otherwise passive dog, you might incite an aggressive response.


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