Puppy Training – Should I Use Corrections Or Not?
Dog training has a dark side. What is the dark side? Improper use of corrections. Whether you use collar corrections, ear pinches, shock, or verbal corrections the improper use of the correction can damage the training and even harm your dog.
Puppies Should Never Be Physically Corrected
From the time they are born until around 3 months puppies are in various stages of development. One slip up can cause the puppy to view the world harshly, something to be afraid of, or fun, something to be curious about and enjoy. Correcting a puppy can easily cause them to become suspicious, fearful, and can lead to aggression as an adult.
Even if they use the bathroom in your home you should not physically correct the dog. First, it is 100% natural for a puppy to urinate and poo. Second, correcting them doesn’t teach them anything.
Even if you catch the puppy going potty in the house you should not physically correct or use harsh verbal corrections. Simply give them a cue, “outside,” pick them up and take them out to use the bathroom. If they have already finished, do it anyway. The point here is to teach the puppy to go outside when they have to go to the bathroom, not to run from you from fear of being hit, yelled at or having their nose rubbed in it.
When you approach training your puppy using positive reinforcement, that is you add something desirable to reward them, and negative punishment, that is, you remove something desirable to punish them, your puppy will learn to behave without harsh corrections.
Puppies are Babies
They are learning. Give them a break. You wouldn’t hit a 2 year old for dropping milk on the kitchen floor, would you? Why would you spank an 8-week old dog for not being able to hold their urine? You wouldn’t right.
Instead of correcting your puppy think in terms of helping them figure things out. For example, if I have a chewing machine instead of yelling at her I would offer her a proper chew toy and praise her when she takes it. Over time, she learns that the chew toy receives praise and reward while chewing on the couch leg results in her losing attention (I would put her outside, or in a wire kennel for a moment removing the dog from the chewing is a non-corrective way of dealing with it) and nothing fun occurs.
I have used that exact method on all my dogs. It has worked for every one of them.
Corrections do have their place in certain training practices but for now, avoid them. Your pooch will thank you for it by behaving like a world champion.