• Raychel Hill BSc (Hons)

How do I tell my dog off?


Raychel, how do I tell my dog off when they've been bad?" Simply put you don’t! Your dog doesn’t need to know what we don't want them to do, they need to know what we want them to do 🐶 Many people like positive reinforcement training but this question is still asked. It is in our nature as humans to react to negatively to undesirable behaviour (I never use ‘wrong’ as most behaviours are natural to the dog) but we can train ourselves to think differently 😉 Punishment may look like shouting, scolding, threats, dragging by collar, lead jerks, bark collars, air correction sprays etc... In this picture, Scrumpy has just taken something from the washing machine, I got excited about his favourite toy and he dropped the item of clothing to play with the toy- no need to say no, shout or open his mouth to get the item. A dog has the cognitive abilities of a 2 year old child and can’t feel guilt and complex emotions such as spite. Science tells us that methods of punishment is unnecessary as dogs learn well using positive reinforcement and that punishment methods induce unnecessary stress. They simply see behaviour as rewarding vs non- rewarding and safe vs dangerous. If the behaviour is punished when you are there such as toileting in the house the dog understands it is dangerous to toilet when you are around and safe when you are not there. So how should we deal with undesirable behaviour?? Simply put don’t allow it to happen, so prevention and training an incompatible behaviour. It was my fault that Scrumpy was in the room and able to access my underwear, rather than being his fault he took them- it’s a natural behaviour, and the more he practices this behaviour the better he will get at it. After you sorted the prevention to can start teaching a new behaviour such as capturing the behaviour you like and rewarding that. You can also use a positive interrupter to interrupt and redirect their attention to a more appropriate activity. Teaching is about knowing the student and presenting info in a way they can understand. If a student doesn't get it, it is not the student's fault .... it's the teacher's. The teachers you liked the most inspired you to do more, be better, try harder and get good grades. They certainly didn't tell you that you were wrong all the time. Be that teacher to your dog! 🍎 👩‍🏫


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