Correcting your dog. (Long)

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Postby muse » June 24th, 2006, 3:02 pm

I read a lot about training and behavior here and other forums. I read a lot about NILF and crates and canned pennies and squirt bottles. I read a lot about different behaviors and how they are handled. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone using hands on approach when correcting their dogs.

I’ve found that sometimes none of the above cuts it in certain situations. Sometimes the only way to get my dog to understand the importance of a situation was to swat her on the backside with an open hand. For example, she somehow managed to escape out of the house and run across the street to neighbors. I called come without using her name and stood there until she came to me. I beat her backside as I was dragging her across the street and put her immediately in her crate. She hasn’t done it since, AND I put extra locks on all my screen doors. I realize that both her and I were in error, but the thought of her getting hit by a car scared the hell out of me. I wanted her to understand how ticked off she made me and how BAD an idea that was.

Sometimes as a puppy, it was all she understood when it came to being aggressive. The only way I found to get her to know her place, was to get hold of her when she was having a fit, on leash, inside, and hold her butt down until she gave in. Man was she strong. I had to use muscles I didn’t know I had to hold her on her back. I had tried everything else suggested and was finished with her thinking she was top dog. She was spoiled beyond belief when I got her. NO manners at all. Completely void of training or correction of any kind. It was all pretty daunting considering she was my first pit bull. I had children in my home and she had sharp teeth. I’m not sure what made me do it, not sure why I thought to do it then, but, it worked. She never bit at a face again. Never tugged on her leash. Never bit at your legs when you walked her again. I don’t want to give the impression I beat the crap outta my dog. But honestly, she has gotten a good swat to keep her in check, because I love her so much.

I was hesitant to post this, but three things occurred to me.

1. Am I the only one who sometimes swats their dog?
2. This forum (i hope) wont jump down my throat for using such methods of correction.
3. In doing so, the behavior that was unacceptable has stopped, which could be helpful to other new owners.
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Postby rockermom » June 24th, 2006, 3:23 pm

Well I dont believe it hitting my kids I prefer alternative discipline. However there are times when I loose controll and swat. Cant help it. But after I just feel worse and I only tought when angry use violence. Over the years I learned Its really not very effective. To each his own with training methods. We are not perfect and Im sure many of us have swated our dogs at least once in anger. However I dont think it sould be condoned as a training method. Even for kids the best way is to reinforce good behavior. Something Rocky tought me I dont do enough with my kids and I have been trying hard to change this.
When I see the dog my dad adopted who was clearly trained using hitting and probably worse, I see the damage done even though my dad has had him for 9 yrs now the dog has never forgotten. My dad never ever hits his dogs never hit me either for that matter. For my dog positive and treats have been the ticket. And the shaker can you think has jumped out of the closet and beat him the way he reacts when he even sees it. Which is why I had to hide it in the coset for a last resort. The slightest sound of it and he is hiding.
Last edited by rockermom on June 24th, 2006, 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cheekymunkee » June 24th, 2006, 3:24 pm

I've swatted a few doggie butts in my time but try to make them think that what they did wrong is what hurt them..........not me. For example, when Munkee was young he thought it quite fun to climb over the fence & go bark at the across the alley neighbor dogs. I would catch him, call him back and he would "forget" how to get back across the fence so I would either have to toss him over or open the gate & drag him in with a swat to the butt so he started to ry being sneaky. One day he REALLY pissed me off with his forgetfulness so I reached across the fence, grabbed his head & DRUG his butt across the fence. The top of the fence scratched hs tummy & you know what?? He NEVER EVER did it again. 6 years now & he has never tried it, IMO he thinks the FENCE hurt him so he stopped. Granted I know NOTHING about doggie behaviour.......only what I have observed from mine. Justice used to counter surf but if I caught her she would slink away and be sneaky the next time. So, I would catch her, sneak up on her & swat her. She learned the counter hurt her ( more her feelings than anything) so she has stopped. She has stopped chewing shoes because the shoes swatted her behind.
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Postby katiek0417 » June 24th, 2006, 3:33 pm

I'm not going to jump down anyone's throat....nor will I lie. Yes, I've swatted my dogs' behinds...I've swatted Sacha in the nose for trying to grab food from me (not with soft mouth). I scruffed my puppy when I first got her at 6.5 weeks old for constantly biting me...I've nudged both my dogs' behinds with my foot to get them out of the way.

Do I have dogs that dislike me? Do I have dogs that are hand shy? Do I have dogs that are afraid of me? Do I have dogs that are afraid of other people? No, I have dogs that adore me, are not afraid of me, and are even eager to meet other people....and are certainly NOT hand shy....

If you were BEATING your dog, I might have another thing to say about it....but, IMO, a swat on the butt will not harm the dog....
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Postby Marinepits » June 24th, 2006, 3:50 pm

Mine have also gotten swats on their butts, mostly because they decided to do something ridiculously dangerous.

When Mac was younger, but still crazy tall with giraffe legs, he tried to put his feet on the gas stove while it was on and I had oil heating in a pan. I had walked into the living room to put away some items -- there was no way I could reach him in time, so I threw a book at his head. To this day, he won't go near the stove. Yes, I feel bad that I threw a book at him, but I would have felt ten times worse if he had gotten burned by hot oil.
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Postby Maryellen » June 24th, 2006, 4:08 pm

as long as you are not being abusive, a swat wont hurt.. thats what alot of kids need today, a good smack to put them back in line... all mine have gotten spankings to... they are fine with me, they never did what they were doing to get a spank again, so they are fine..
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Postby muse » June 24th, 2006, 4:12 pm

Ive never had a dog quite like Jess. Shes far more head headed then any of my children. Im pleased to say shes not hand shy or people shy either. :clap:

Swatting her on the bottom has probably hurt my hand more then her butt, shes nothing but muscle, the wench. :)

Its nice to know Im not alone, thanks guys for all the input whether in agreement or not. :)
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Postby mnp13 » June 24th, 2006, 4:22 pm

Rockermom - your story is exactly why I don't like penny cans or squirt bottles. They are pure dominance and fear. Some people use them effectively, but they are few and very far between; it is much more common to end up with a dog who runs from every squirt bottle they see.

I've swatted Ruby and Riggs, but it's pretty rare. I have problems wth my hands, and smacking them invariably makes my hand hurt for an hour - and they act like they didn't really notice anyway. I think the "swat" works because it startels the dog, not because it actually hurts them.
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Postby cheekymunkee » June 24th, 2006, 4:29 pm

I think the "swat" works because it startels the dog, not because it actually hurts them.


I think so too because I have swatted both of them much harder in play & it hasn't bothered them. I think it is more a startle & hurt feelings than actual pain..............except Munkee's fence incident. That DID hurt him but it worked.
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Postby rockermom » June 24th, 2006, 4:58 pm

mnp13 wrote:Rockermom - your story is exactly why I don't like penny cans or squirt bottles. They are pure dominance and fear. Some people use them effectively, but they are few and very far between; it is much more common to end up with a dog who runs from every squirt bottle they see.

I've swatted Ruby and Riggs, but it's pretty rare. I have problems wth my hands, and smacking them invariably makes my hand hurt for an hour - and they act like they didn't really notice anyway. I think the "swat" works because it startels the dog, not because it actually hurts them.


I understand I dont like that he is so scared of it. But honestly nothing else worked for counter surfing It was so bad every 5 min he was up there and it got dangerous. Squirting did not work. Collar correction did not work. Nothing. So I dont regret it. The other time I used it was when he was trying to boss my son off the couch and that was the last time I used shaker can. I had to hide it cause a couple of times I knocked it down and he was scared wondering what was wrong. So I can understand why you would not be a fan. I just wanted to know why. But still I think it could be very effective in a home with children in order to stop some behaviors.
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Postby Maryellen » June 24th, 2006, 7:56 pm

when you have a dog that is doing bad behaviors, what works the best is have the dog onleash and tied to your waist. this way, the dog is with you all the time, and cant get into trouble.. the next time rocky decides to do something bad, tie his leash to you and this way he cant go and do something like countersurfing as he will be tied to you :) i tie all my fosters to my waist so that they cant get into too much trouble.

i have used the squirt bottle for certain occasions, and for me it worked . now the dogs are not afraid of the bottle. i just have to say water bottle and they stop what they are doing and shake it off.. sometimes when they start playing too rough in the yard i will say it, and they stop, and then come to the deck and shake themselves off like they are wet.. the pennies in the can never worked for them
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Postby katiek0417 » June 24th, 2006, 8:18 pm

Maryellen wrote:when you have a dog that is doing bad behaviors, what works the best is have the dog onleash and tied to your waist. this way, the dog is with you all the time, and cant get into trouble.. the next time rocky decides to do something bad, tie his leash to you and this way he cant go and do something like countersurfing as he will be tied to you :) i tie all my fosters to my waist so that they cant get into too much trouble.

i have used the squirt bottle for certain occasions, and for me it worked . now the dogs are not afraid of the bottle. i just have to say water bottle and they stop what they are doing and shake it off.. sometimes when they start playing too rough in the yard i will say it, and they stop, and then come to the deck and shake themselves off like they are wet.. the pennies in the can never worked for them


European leads work well, too...(also called police leads)....and they can convert to 6-foot, dual walkers, and 3-foot.... :clap:
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Postby rockermom » June 24th, 2006, 8:43 pm

Honestly Rocky has been quite behaved this is going back months Im talking over 6 months ago. I too just have to mention the shaker can and he looks around for it. I do sometimes put a leash on him when my sons friends come over and Rocky acts up. He has earned new house freedom that gets taken away if he acts up.
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Postby babyreba » June 24th, 2006, 10:22 pm

i don't hit or swat my dogs. or at least, i don't anymore.

i have had poor reba since i was barely even an adult and she learned a lot of things before i knew what i was doing with dogs. she got swatted and smacked a bunch of times and i can say it didn't really teach her a damn thing . . . just that i had a crazy hand that sometimes contacted her nose or her ass when i got angry. and i would get more frustrated because she wasn't "learning" what i wanted her to learn--to come when called, to not go in the trash, etc. instead, she acted out even more, prolly because she was just confused and frustrated with her crazy mommy.

thus, i don't swat the dogs anymore. i'll manhandle tucker from time to time when i need to, but physical corrections like that make him panic and get more crazy rather than chill him out. he responds better to leash corrections and/or voice corrections. i think i popped him on the nose a coupla times when he was younger, but even that made him even more punchy so i stopped doing it.
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Postby SisMorphine » June 25th, 2006, 8:06 am

Halo gets swatted, but mostly because he gets so high in drive that he can't focus (usually around a ball or a hose). So I'll whack him to bring him back down to earth. Nothing hard or anything. Like how you would smack someone on the arm if they weren't paying attention to you. He doesn't flinch. He just looks at me like "Oh right, pay attention." But he will look utterly ABUSED if I say "drop it" even though I have never whacked him for not dropping something (he always has dropped on command anyway) but he still hangs his head, pins his ears, and gives his best abused child face. Dork.

I have never whacked Wally. He hasn't needed it. Not to say I haven't used physical force with him. Being the dominant jerktard that he is, we have come to a head a few times. The first being the first night I had him. He had already made himself comfy on my twin bed that I had at the time (boy am I glad we moved up to a queen). I went to crawl into bed to shove him over and he jumped up and snapped at my face, I felt teeth against my cheek. Reacting on instinct I shoved that mofo out of bed and screamed at him at the top of my lungs. He landed HARD on the hardwood floor and frankly it was the best learning experience he could have had in that situation. Momma has not felt his teeth since.

I know people in the thread have said that they don't like penny cans because it scars the dog. That's what they're supposed to do! I have absolutely no problem scaring the crap out of dogs if it's for the right reasons. If they're counter surfing then shake that penny can! Just make sure everything is timed correctly and you do it right.
My friend's pug puppy has this horrible new habit of biting your fingers if you're standing with your arms hanging at your sides. Well we were in my kitchen and he was doing it to her and the penny can was within reach. She grabbed it and went to shake it, but it slipped out of her hand, landing on his head. Unfortunately he wasn't still biting when this happened, he had already let go. So now whenever he comes over he will walk all the way around the center island just to avoid that one spot . . . and he still bites fingers. Little jerk.
Meanwhile I have never used a penny can with Wally. Not once. Yet if you pick one up he heads for the hills.
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Postby mnp13 » June 25th, 2006, 10:11 am

SisMorphine wrote:I know people in the thread have said that they don't like penny cans because it scars the dog. That's what they're supposed to do! I have absolutely no problem scaring the crap out of dogs if it's for the right reasons. If they're counter surfing then shake that penny can! Just make sure everything is timed correctly and you do it right.


that's the key - timing. The correction has to be timed so that the "startle effect" is related to the behavior and not just scaring the crap out of the dog.

Jen's dog is not afraid of books, he doesn't jump up on the stove anymore because a well timed correction came out of "nowhere" and that was the single event that he needed to change his behavior (Chris uses a phrase for that... but I can't remember it)
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Postby rockermom » June 25th, 2006, 6:24 pm

Exactly I had perfect timing when I used the shaker can. That was the end of counter surfing but still he is afraid of the can. Not just any can only the can with pennies in it. And I would use it again if he started a bad habit I could not break using other corrections.
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Postby Mind_doc » June 27th, 2006, 9:25 pm

I think the main points to keep in mind is that the "swat" does have to
be connected to the behavior AND used only when other methods can't be
used. The counter-surfing near a hot stove is a great example. A stingy
butt is much better then 3rd degree burns. Its also difficult to use
positive for NOT counter-surfing. Swatting him even a few minutes later
would not have been as affective.
I was training my Springer using all positive. The one day in the field
he just took off, ran across a busy road and chased a car for a 1/4
mile. He was nearly hit several times. when I finally caught up to him
I thought there was only one way to teach him he can NEVER do this
again. I spanked him good and yelled like crazy. I felt SO bad about it
an hour later and even feel bad today, 12 year later. He never chased a
car again.
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Postby Nelson » June 27th, 2006, 10:41 pm

I wrote this article a long time ago for the newsletter of the dog sport organization I was a member of. I thought it would be usefull for this topic.
_____________________________________________________

Since some people have asked me different training questions and seem to be a bit misguided on some very important points, I'd like to state my vision on one of the most important aspects of dog training. The correction. A corrections seems as natural in training dogs as drinking water is to us. But just how simple or complex is our approach to corrections? When do you correct? Why do you correct? How is a proper correction applied? Simple right? Let's see.

First of all, to be able to correct you must need to have a dog. And the dog must be in some sort of training. So let's look close at this. Dogs can't choose their owners and/or disciplines they want. So it's up to us to prepare ourselves in the area of choice as best as possible to keep our dogs learning process as smooth and swift as can be. Another very important thing to keep in mind is our dog's health. No dog should undergo any training what so ever, if it's not in excellent health.

Second thing I'll address is "when" to correct. A correction should come only if the dog knows and demonstrates the correct behavior, response or action and decides not to obey. So, disobedience should be corrected. DISOBEDIENCE!!! I can't stress it enough. Why? Many people out there correct dogs who are not disobedient. They're correcting the dog's mistakes. This is crucial to dog training, learning and overall dog's acceptance and motivation to you. If we as rational humans beings make mistakes and get confused, what makes you think that an irrational creature like a dog won't make them? Let's look at an example. Your dog is standing and you command him to "down". He looks at you and responds immediately but instead of lying down he sits. Did he disobey? ......... Nope! He DID try to do something, but he got the wrong position. Disobeying would be if he looked at you (or didn't) and just refused to do it. Of course there are tangibles you must keep in mind, like any distractions, health issues, environmental issues, etc. But overall that's the main idea here. Nothing will tear down your dog's confidence in you more than him getting a correction without know why he's getting it for. Remember that in your dog's mind, he thinks he IS obeying you.

Now let's get into the "how". This is a very crucial part of dog training that can make or break a dog. First and foremost is "timing". We only have 2 seconds to give our dog a correction that he can relate to the misbehavior. After that 2nd second the dog's ability to relate a correction with the mishap is almost null. So, in training try to make it as clear as possible in the dog's mind why he's getting a correction and then give the dog the opportunity to do it right. That's the stress relief. All training causes stress, and corrections even more so. So always try to level out the stress of a correction with some kind of positive stimulus that your dog likes a lot once he does do the proper response. Another aspect of the "how" is the intensity of the correction. This is also huge in dog training because too harsh of a correction can break a dog and turn him into avoidance. This would be a major set back for you, your dog and the training especially if your going for a trial and have set your goals to compete at a certain time frame. The other aspect of intensity would be the "under-correction" where the dog gets a correction and it doesn't phase him at all to comply. Yet we see it all the time, don't we? Why's that? It's mainly because most people don't know just how harmful it is to training especially for the competition dogs. When you give a little pulls on the leash or small "pops" or jerks on the collar where the dog doesn't really react to it, you are, in human terms, nagging. I've seen numerous people always popping the dog into the position they want. And the usual result is the dog not doing it when off lead. There is a reason for this. In the dog world there is no such thing as nagging. In their social life dogs interact in a pretty "black & white" way. Anyone who steps out of line is "corrected" in a very decisively way. So when you start nagging a dog into obedience what you're actually doing is teaching your dog to disobey you. When you do that you're accustoming your dog to YOU doing the training instead of him. Which puts in his mindset the attitude of "why do it if he's going to? let him do it!"

So bear in mind that dogs are very smart creatures and can easily be misguided by improper training. So it's up to us to keep our abilities sharp to make sure we're not taking our dogs to doom, but making them clearly understand the skills we are trying to teach them. We owe it to them.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » June 27th, 2006, 10:48 pm

Nelson, you're so quiet, but when you do pop in - POW! Great posts!
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