Ten tips for ultimate retriever training- Tip #9

IMG_6781.jpg

Today’s tip is:

Getting the most value out of punishment.

Last week I talked about getting the most value out of praise. Today, we are going to flip that coin and talk about punishment -- the dreaded subject many don’t want to talk about and often avoid.

Punishment that is not done fairly, justly, consistently, proportional, and appropriate is cruel. However, punishment that is done fairly, justly, consistently, proportional and appropriate aids in training the ultimate retriever.

Too many people do not teach their dog correctly. Where this is very evident is with the electronic collar. The electronic collar has helped train many dogs, but sadly, I believe it has hurt more dogs than helped.

How can this be?

It happens when people use the collar to teach instead of use it to reinforce an already learned behavior.

Inexperienced owners and trainers often use the electronic collar as a quick fix. But the collar should be used more like an insurance policy, something you hope you never need to use but you have it just in case.

When applying punishment, there should be no confusion on your dogs’ part on why they are getting punished. You should never punish because you are mad or frustrated. Dog training takes patience and understanding.

Before ever applying pressure/punishment stop for a split second and look at the situation from the dog’s perspective. If you are not sure the dog understood or if the punishment is for something they have not learned yet, stop, take a deep breath. This is not the time for punishment.

Until next time happy retrieving.

Steve Smith