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  • Richard Chan

You need a hammer to build a beautiful house

If you have tried to ignore an inappropriate behaviour such as barking, jumping, biting, chewing...and it has gotten worse, you are not alone. I have met lots and lots of owners in your shoes. Will ignoring an illegally parked car make the owner stop parking there? Will ignoring shoplifting make the person stop stealing? Ignoring is not a form of effective punishment when it comes to self-rewarding behaviours such as barking, chewing, chasing squirrels,...etc. When you are simply ignoring these behaviours, you are rewarding them because it feels so good for the dog to keep doing them. The act itself gives the dog a lot of fun - the more the dog does it, the more he would want to do it - much like speeding in a brand new sports car. Saying “do not punish your dog because it will ruin your relationship” is like saying “do not ever use a hammer because you will hurt your thumb”. Instead of being scared of correcting your dog, why don’t you learn how to do it properly? If you want you and your dog to live a happy life, you need to stop behaviours that make your life a nightmare (e.g. chewing through your wall, growling at your children, jumping up and knocking down your guests, barking at everything all the time, attacking other dogs, whining all day all night...) When your dog stops these behaviours, you can take him to all sorts of places and do all sorts of fun stuff together. You and your dog will both have a higher quality of life as a result of that. It is a win-win. There is nothing negative about that. On the other hand, not being able to or not willing to correct the inappropriate behaviour will greatly limit your dog’s freedom and really cut down on where you can go and what you can do with your dog. If it keeps getting worse, you may need to give up your dog. There is nothing positive about that. Do not be afraid to use the hammer. You can build beautiful houses with it when it is used properly. Just learn how to use it. It is one of the many tools you need to have in your tool box. Correction should not be all that you do, but it should be something you know how to apply properly when you need to. It should be one of the many tools in your training tool box. Correction is not abuse; correction is all about giving dogs a higher quality of life. Your dog can be the best he can be when he knows clearly what he is supposed to do. Correction is simply a part of this learning process towards a happy life for you and your dog.


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