In the dog world, there is balance. That is what we strive to bring with our dog training and behavior modification…balanced training. In quality balanced dog training, positive AND negative reinforcement are used as well as positive and negative punishment. Now, when I say this, some people may think “Oh my gosh! What will he do to my dog?!” Stay calm! Negative punishment can be something as subtle as, telling my dog to sit for his food at feeding time. When he doesn’t sit, I walk away with his food. I want to share the below blog post from Steph Mahrle of Good Karma Training, NJ on correction. Great way to bring it into perspective:
Corrections Are Natural, And They Start With The Dam
This is a perfect photo of pups socializing with their dam. Here, the dam (Momma dog) is calmly correcting her pup for some sort unacceptable behavior. In nature, thriving, healthy animals correct their young. The corrected pups respond by choosing to avoid the unwanted behavior. The pups are not devastated by the dam’s correction. The pups don’t cower in fear of the dam. The pups don’t resent the correction. Instead, the pups absorb the instant communication, and move right along to other challenges, by testing their boundaries, and observing the environment. A balanced dam doesn’t wait for her pups to present good behavior, and respond by profusely rewarding the pup. Instead, the dam communicates instantly to the pup, if the behavior presented is acceptable, or unacceptable, she then quickly moves on. A healthy, balanced dam doesn’t hold a grudge, or excessively punish her pups for infractions. This type of early, calm, predictable communication amongst the dam and puppy litter mates, is SO crucial to the long term wellbeing of an adult balanced dog. I believe we could all learn a lot from observing a dam interact with her pups. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with calmly correcting your dog.
A very special thanks to Old-Time Australian Shepherds, for taking this picture, sharing it, and for breeding some of the most amazing Australian Shepherds I have ever seen. -Fun fact, Old Time Aussies bred Good Karma Training’s own very tenacious, and bold, Cricket.
For more information regarding Old Time Aussies, please see their website: http://www.old-timeaustralianshepherds.com