Posts Tagged ‘punishment based dog training’

The Bank account

Dennis Fehling and his best buddies

Hi everyone, I hope you and your dogs are doing well. The topic for today is the Bank Account. What does banking have to do with your dog? Well I am glad you asked as it is a very important thing between you and your dog. From the day you bring your dog home either from a breeder as a puppy or as an older dog from a shelter or a rescue that bank account starts. We have so many opportunities to add to that account by giving them a safe loving home, a good diet, training, enrichment, proper veterinary care and our patience. Each time you make a deposit in that relationship bank account it prepares both of you for the day when you have to make a withdrawal from that account. You might ask what is a withdrawal? a withdrawal is anytime you have to expose your dog to something he/she finds punishing. An example of a withdrawal might be nail trims. If you have not prepared your dog for nail trims then you are making a withdrawal. If you have to take your dog to the vet for shots or an exam and you have not prepared your dog for the exam and the shots you are making a withdrawal.

These types of withdrawals are a normal part of a dogs life but if we were to ask the dogs they might say ” I really do not want to do this” for some dogs nail trims can be very traumatic, for some dog going to the vet depending on how the other visits have gone can also be very traumatic. If we have dogs these are things that we have to do for their overall health and welfare.

There are other types of withdrawals that I need to talk about and can be a bit of a touchy subject depending on the person and their dog. The withdrawals are in the form of punishment. To be clear there are many types of punishment that can be inflicted on dogs. Punishment can be as simple as saying no to your dog all the way to physically abusing a dog. One persons opinion of what punishment is can be totally different from another depending the circumstance. One example of a punishment withdrawal from the relationship bank account might be you ask your dog to sit and they do not do it and you get angry and say ” what a stupid dog you are”

I am not sure if your dog knows what the term stupid dog means but they do know what your body language and tone of voice is saying and they might respond by trying to appease you which can look like a tail tuck, a lip lick, a stress shake or even walking away from you and hiding. How do we build that account back up. When you and your dog are together again give you dog another chance and reward your dog for even trying and start practicing sits more in different environments that are not so distracting. I have seen some of the best trained dogs not even be able to sit depending how stressful the environment is. We might think of that dog as stubborn when in fact they are stressed and have not been prepared for that task.

On the extreme end of punishment might be if a dog is severely corrected for growling at another dog or child by using shock, choke, yelling. Depending on how full your bank account is with your dog the withdrawal might just put you in the red with your dog. In my honest opinion there is never a need to severely punish a dog by using physical force. If this happens a lot then that relationship bank account is depleted as the amount of withdrawals are more than the deposits. The relationship with your dog will continue to deteriorate and it might be next to impossible to rebuild.

Lets talk about how you can make deposits in that relationship account. I believe our dogs love just spending time with us whether it is going on a long walk, training. camping, individual time alone, playing with them Etc, Etc. We have so many opportunities to build that relationship account so if we have to make a withdrawal it is not as hard on our dogs or us. Every time you reward your dog for good behavior the account gets fuller. Let’s say you come home and your dog doesn’t jump on you. That is a great opportunity to add to the account. You and your dog are walking and see another dog and your dog looks at you, this is another opportunity to reward your dog for good behavior and build that account. I could go on all day about ways to reward you dog for good behavior and keeping that account full but then I will need a publisher.

Just remember in closing that the more you add to the relationship account between you and your dog when you have to make a withdrawal it will be much easier to get it back to where it should be. OK, get out there and make some deposits.

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Categories: Dog Training   Tags: , , , ,