We have heard (and actually see) how some people who profess to be animal lovers discipline their dogs. Often times we see owners rub the nose of the dog on the mess it had created on the carpet. A dog exuberantly meeting and jumping on the owner will be met with a spank on the rump or worst with a kick. An incessantly barking dog will be doused with cold water or a yanking of the choke chain. Others would threaten and yell at the dog. On the other hand some very “loving” owners would not mind the bad behavior of the pet… would never take the trouble to discipline the dog believing that these are animals and they should not be expected to know better.
If you are a dog owner and you use the above mentioned methods to discipline your pet or you are one that never disciplines the dog at all, YOU ARE INSULTING YOUR DOG! Dogs are intelligent creatures… they understand what we say and they interpret the meaning of our gestures. However, their scale of understanding and learning is not at par with what humans have. For instance a dog will not understand why it is OK to jump at the master when she is wearing house clothes and not when she is all dolled up to go to a party. To avoid inappropriate conduct, disciplining the dog is necessary.
Punishing the dog always brings negative results. Anticipating punishment, the dog would either cower when a hand is raised or would be aggressive to defend itself. Because of fear, the dog would not obey the commands, would not even come near the person inflicting pain. Dogs however, value positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is anything that the dog will work at to earn and these are foods, toys, praises and the master’s attention. Food is necessary for survival. Being affectionate animals, a dog will bask in the attention and praises given by the master. Like food, toys will help establish the correct and desired behavior of the dog.
Positive reinforcement is considered to be a most effective tool that will shape and change the unwanted behavior of the dog. Because a dog has an inherent desire to please its master, a pat in the head and”good dog” praise will come a long way to establish the correct behavior of the dog. These positive reinforcements must be given right after the dog has performed what you wanted him to do. The treat and the praise is hoped to be considered by the dog as a reward and associated with the behavior or the action. Positive reinforcement is a proven technique that speeds up the shaping of the dog and undoes the undesirable barking, chewing, digging and the aggressive behavior of the pet.