I was asked by a client a few weeks ago “is it ok to punish my dog?”
Before one can answer the question, one has to understand and be clear what punishment is. In our culture, many associate the term with retribution or physical abuse, and because of this the word itself produces a negative perception.
I must make it clear that this client doesn’t, and hasn’t, physically abused his dog. However, continually shouting and showing frustration and anger is a form of verbal abuse, and will have a negative effect in correcting the problem. In fact, not only will it make the problem worse, is also affects his relationship with his dog.
I would therefore like to replace the word punish with correction, making the question ‘is it ok to correct my dog’? With this new word in place the client’s understanding of the situation completely changes.
With the new principles of positive reinforcement and motivational training explained and the techniques demonstrated, the client understands his dog better, and has seen a rapid improvement in his dog’s behaviour.
In the client’s words: ‘this approach to dog training has given me a greater understanding of my dog and has produced results’.