Correcting Your Dog
You have to correct your dog the right way or you will do more harm than good. We use corrections to change a dog's behavior. A correction needs to communicate to your dog it has not done what you wished, by learning what not to do, dogs will quickly learn the behaviors we need to teach them to fit into our daily life.
A correction combines physical or (preferably) emotional pain with the word "NO." The preferred method of correcting your dog is with a squirt bottle: a quick squirt to the face and a loud firm "NO." It is important that you squirt the dog in the face or they will not even notice. With many dogs you will want to add a small amount of mouthwash or vinegar to the water in the squirt bottle (just a small amount) so the water is a little more of a deterrent. You should only add a teaspoon for a whole squirt bottle and even less for smaller squirt guns.
It is very important to recognize the difference between correction and punishment. Punishment has nothing to do with teaching your dog proper behavior and everything to do with you venting your anger. Trying to correct a dog for instance for an 'accident' in the house you find even a couple minutes later must be avoided. The dog has long forgotten its transgression and correction (punishment) now will only confuse the dog and make it more anxious and stressed, even more prone to future accidents.
Since timing is so crucial you should have a squirt bottle on your belt or in the immediate vicinity when training a puppy.
Just as important as the correction is the praise immediately following. You have to praise your dog when it has stopped doing the undesirable behavior immediately so it associates your praise with the correct behavior.
For instance, if your dog is barking too much and you correct it, as soon as you shoot your squirt bottle and the dog stops barking, you immediately offer your praise, "Good Quiet, Good Boy!"
A couple more ideas for non-physical corrections are to ignore the dog, refraining from eye contact and to make a loud sound to startle the dog. This can be a stomp of the foot, a snap of the fingers or if you have a few minutes to kill you can make a very effective tool by dropping a hand full of pennies in a can or a water bottle. Shaking that can is now guaranteed to stop your dog from whatever it was doing.
In summary the key aspects to remember are to properly time your correction (you have to catch the dog in the act) and to give praise as soon as the dog stops the unwanted behavior.
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