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Corrections are a vital part of your dogs learning and conditioning process. Your dog will never completely ‘get it’ to the point that you never again have to correct unwanted behavior.
Every once in a while you will see your dog attempting something it has been corrected for doing in the past. Your dog has survived for thousands for years of evolution because it ‘pushes the envelope’ and attempts things that it has learnt it can’t do but attempts them again, just to see what happens that time round. Why? Because it’s instinct. You would be wrong to think this conduct is defiance or cheekiness. It isn’t, although the way your dog goes about it may be. It is not your dog’s way of challenging your leadership either. It is not a sign that your leadership has weakened. A lot of people take it personally and it really isn’t. Your dog is just experimenting with some new ideas. “I wonder what would happen if I…?” That’s what is going on in your dogs mind. Depending on what your dog gets away with will depend on you. The more times your dog, ‘gets away with it’, the more the behavior will be harder to manage.
As soon as you notice your dog is starting to attempt things that it has learnt in the past it can’t get away with, then it’s time for you to correct your dog. The right way to do this is to plan for the event. Dogs are really good at waiting for the right moment to try something, usually when you’re not around or not looking. This is where you have to show you are smarter than your dog and set up an opportunity for your dog to believe you are not going to notice or are preoccupied and set your dog up so you can correct him. This kind of set up and correction is vital and serves two purposes. 1. It causes the dog to act when you are ready for it and not when your dog is ready. 2. ‘Setting up’ your dog early, stops history from being repeated and undermines any pattern in bad behavior that could be repeated unconsciously by your dog in times of stress.
In Summary – Prepare for the administering of a correction. Set the stage. Correct your dog at the first signs of unwanted behavior.
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