I love this photo of Luke listening to his Dad. 

How long has the term correction been used in the dog world?  I'm not exactly sure but in my books; far too long.  I have tried very hard to eliminate it from my regularly used terminology when discussing dog training.  Let's have a look at the term first.

Correction:  punishment intended to reform, improve, or rehabilitate; chastisement. 

For those who use the term correction to mean a yank on a leash; it gives very little information to the dog except for "don't do this."   I've probably used this example before but here goes.  I remember being on a float during a parade a couple of years back.  One of the woman who had brought her dog was having issues because the dog was nervous and barking.  There was another trainer on board, a conventional trainer.  His solution to the problem was to correct the behavior; meaning yank on the dogs collar.  The woman sheepishly obliged; which did nothing because she barely yanked.  He grabbed the collar and gave it an almighty yank, the dog yelped, his ears went down and he was then fearful of the man in the float, charming.

Often the fallout of a correction is fear and the dog learns not to show emotion.  A dog that stops displaying how they are feeling is a scary situation.  As a positive trainer; displaying is what I'm always looking for.  I want to see how a dog is feeling about everything, that's how we get it right.  Instead of yanking a correction on your dog's neck; use a verbal error marker, I use AHHH or WRONG.  Each dog learns what this means, basically "you got it wrong, try again." 

Picking out small behaviors to reward works far better than yanking.  For the pulling dog; reward like crazy when they are not pulling.  Keep their mind occuppied while on a walk, busy, busy.  When they start to pull you stop the walk, pulling = no walking. 

Yanking is a horrible thing that we humans have learned to do over the years.  I try very, very hard to never yank.  Unless of course it is Jessie on her harness because she can no longer hear me saying anything.  We communicate far more through touch and tugs now.  Poor little gal.  Dogs are not robots; they are very much living, breathing beings with their own mind and own agenda.  Teaching them what we want is our job; and positive reinforcement always works better than punishment training. 

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