Correcting Your Dog —How Much Is Enough?

Correction is better than punishment, but you need to know how much and what type of correction is acceptable. It is an effective way to get your dog’s attention, make him listen, and understand why he is not to repeat a specific behavior.

When will you know that your correction has been too harsh? When your dog cowers and shows signs of fear, your correction may have been too cruel. The intensity by which you correct your pet should be enough not to instill fear rather than understanding. Instead of correcting a specific act, the way by which you correct your pet may be doing more harm than good. A stronger intensity of correction can instill confusion, fear, and insecurity, thereby fraying the bonds of trust between you and your pet.

However, if the intensity of the correction is weaker than the dog’s resolve, there is a tendency that your dog will not listen. Dogs should be treated in a humane way. They should never be hit because the act is not a natural and accepted way of communication in dogs.

By instinct, dogs correct each other by using body language, verbal sounds, biting, and even body blocking. While it is not recommend that you correct your dog with a bite, you can mimic some movements if the situation warrants correction. For many dog trainers, the ultimate corrective measure for dogs is to make a dog do an alpha roll, that is, making him lie on his side. An alpha roll is not recommended to correct minor misbehavior and may confuse your dog with such a strong reaction.

When correcting an undesirable behavior, timing is very important. If your timing is off, there will be miscommunication between you and your pet, resulting in confusion for your dog. Moreover,Correcting-Your-Dog-—How-Much-Is-Enough some dog owners make the mistake of applying human psychology to dogs. However, dogs are not humans, and their behavior is governed by canine instincts, which are rooted to their days in the wild.

Positive reinforcement should always be a part of correcting negative behavior in dogs. Positive reinforcement encourages positive behavior. Since dogs do not think the way we do, undesirable behaviors still need to be corrected using accepted methods to make sure that a dog fully understands what behavior is accepted or not. When a dog shows a healthy reaction to the way you corrected his mistake, this means the method and intensity that you used was effective and successful.