REGALWISE SHEPHERDS

This article is provide courtesy of www.doggiedoor.com. For more information about various topics related to dogs, please visit their website. The opinions expressed in this article may not represent all dog trainers, but if you have had training problems, this may be an alternative for you.

Correcting Dogs:(alternatives for) - Punishment with Shake Cans & Squirt Guns

New Creative Perspective: Patience & Teaching
Let's teach you to stop tapping your foot while sitting at the computer. I will wait patiently for about 15 or 20 minutes until your foot pauses and you stop tapping. When your foot is still, I will say "Good!" and give you $10.00. Boy! Why did you get that? Another 15 minutes go by and your foot is still again..."Good!" Here's $20.00! Over the course of a few days, you would probably figure out that keeping your foot still brought you good things: my praise and something you like: money. What does your dog like? Try food, a toy, a favorite game, and of course, your praise and attention.

Another New Creative Perspective: Safe Environment & Teaching
Let's teach you to stop typing on the computer. Easiest way? Take away the keyboard so that you make it inaccessible. If I give you a "safe environment" where you can not make a mistake, it will be easier to teach you to only use the mouse. If I can't take the keyboard away, maybe I can cover it with something so that you can't push the keys. At the same time, I can praise you for using the mouse, reward you for using the mouse, and teach you (with praise and rewards) how to use the mouse so you eventually stop thinking about using the keyboard. Unfortunately, our society focuses too much on punishing bad behaviors instead of rewarding appropriate ones. Sometimes it takes a lot of patience and creativity to figure out how to teach a puppy or dog something without resorting to threats and aggressive acts, but it is necessary to be creative, otherwise we risk loosing the dog's trust which is the heart of the master/dog relationship.

Clicker-Training and its concepts can introduce you to a creative way of training your puppy or dog instead of resorting to unfair punishment. Remember, it is unfair to "punish while teaching" because the puppy or dog has not even learned what it expected yet and therefore you are undermining your own efforts. If you do not like the idea of clicker-training then please take the time to learn the concepts of operant conditioning, the concepts will work without a clicker (although dogs usually learn quicker and easier with a clicker). I personally do not use clicker training with my dogs regularly, I did not know about clicker-training when I taught my dogs, but I have tried it and when I want to teach my dogs something new (or teach them *not* to do something) I use the clicker, or at least the concepts of operant conditioning, focusing the importance of my relationship with my dog and continually building mutual trust and respect.

Your Homework: 1. Praise your puppy or dog at least twice each hour that you are with the dog when the dog is doing something right. Examples: lying down quietly, chewing on a chew toy, simply looking at you, following you around without getting into trouble. Vary your praise choices, sometimes using voice and touch, other times use food, toys, games, or belly rubs. 2. When your puppy or dog does something inappropriate, remove the inappropriate object, or remove the dog from the inappropriate environment swiftly and immediately replace the object or environment with the appropriate one so that you can praise your dog.

Examples: 1.Chewing on inappropriate chew item - remove item from mouth swiftly then run to the dog's toybox and encourage and praise the dog to find an appropriate toy, when the dog does, play with the dog and praise. 2.Housetraining accident - swiftly pick the dog or puppy up or push (not hit) the puppy's butt in an attempt to get it to stop peeing and then take it outside where it can pee and be praised. 3.Jumping up on people - swiftly turn your back to the dog until four paws are on the ground, and then kneel down and pet the dog and praise. Or remove the dog from the people swiftly (by picking up or physically helping the dog walk away by placing hands under the dog). Then the people can approach the dog and kneel down (to make it easy for the dog to keep four paws on the ground) and praise the dog.

Timing is very important. And let me emphasize that you are not praising your dog for stopping a behavior, but for behaving correctly. This means that you should be praising your dog through normal daily routines as your dog is looking at you, following you, lying quietly, etc. Once this type of relationship is established, a simple "Hey! What are you doing?" will likely cause the dog to stop whatever they are doing and look to you, a perfect opportunity for you to encourage the dog into an appropriate behavior. This means that you praise your dog during the good behavior. Timing is just as important in punishment as it is in rewards. Many people have poor timing when they first begin to teach dogs. But if you reward at the wrong time, your dog will still want to work for you. If you punish at the wrong time it is quite detrimental to your relationship with your dog. Either way, poor timing is your mistake, not your dogs. Why should your dog pay for your mistake if you punish at the wrong time? You will find that for every problem behavior you can create a solution that requires patience, commitment, and respect for the dog. It won't be long until you discover that it is the answer to possibly all of the dog problems that you encounter.

Find a clicker trainer or school near you:
http://www.wazoo.com/~marge/Clicker_Trainers/Clicker_Trainers.html
More Clicker Info: http://www.clickertraining.com
http://www.stbernardrescue.org/behavior/clicker_training.html

written by Brandy J. Oliver, MA 1999, copyright protected. This article is being published by the permission of the writer.

Ronda's Note: To learn about operant conditioning, I strongly recommend the book "Don't Shoot The Dog!" by Karen Prior. See it on my Bookstore Page 

 

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