Should You Ignore A Dog’s Bad Behavior?
Positive reinforcement-only trainers (food and clicker trainers) believe that you should ignore the unwanted behavior and praise the good behavior. Their method for correction is avoidance or time out in a crate. However, dogs do not understand time out and they view avoidance as backing down and not showing leadership!
Here is an example of positive reinforcement-only training, also known as reward-based training:
Let’s imagine your dog is chewing up your favorite sofa. Training with food or a clicker only distracts your dog for a moment. A strong working dog will ignore your food and go right back to tearing up your lovely couch. Once the dog stops chewing, THEN you can reward him for NOT tearing up the furniture. Let’s hope your dog is not very determent and he actually does stop at some point.
This is what your dog thinks when this outcome ensues: He gets to chew up the sofa without getting in trouble. So, he is doing something he enjoys doing and, by sitting back and watching it happen, you are automatically praising him for his behavior.
Once he takes a break from the destruction, you offer him a cookie as a reward. This makes your dog think that every time he chews up the couch, he gets a treat!
Now, if you were to correct your dog by correcting him using a verbal command or physical touch (seek a professional’s help), he will stop what he was doing. By doing this, you have just let your dog know that this type of behavior is not allowed.
Humans tend to forget that a dog’s brain is not developed the same way as ours.
Correction is a normal form of communication among dogs. Dogs communicate using their voice and body. They use calm or stiff body language to demonstrate whether they are happy or irritated.
You get faster results when you instruct your dog to stop an unwanted behavior with a correction. Corrections allow you to speak to your dog using the language they understand.
By speaking to your dog in his language, you build a strong relationship with your dog. Always remember to praise the good behavior to avoid confusion and separation. Your dog needs to know when you are upset and when you are happy with certain behaviors.
A balanced dog is raised by a balanced owner who only praises for good behavior and corrects the bad behavior.