by Ms. Dany Canino
When all puppies were still with their mommas, and whenever they did something that displeased her, she would grab them by the scruff of their necks and shake them. She would also growl to verbally state her disapproval of the pup´s behavior. This very quickly taught the pup that if he started to do something wrong and his momma would growl, he had a sense memory of the correction to his scruff of neck. When the bad behavior stopped, momma would lick the pup about the head to let the pup know that she forgave him. Rarely did the puppy make the same mistake twice.
When we take a dog into our home we need to try and simulate our actions of teaching and correcting the pup like momma did.
To accomplish this you´ll need to put a collar (preferably a choke chain) on the pup and attach a leash. Lay down some objects that you don´t want the puppy to ever bother; the TV remote control, a dirty sock, the couch pillow, and a magazine or newspaper.
Walk the puppy over to any of these objects and as soon as he attempts to grab one, give a quick jerk of the leash as you scold, “OUT” to the pup. Make sure that you sound like you´re growling. When the pup stops his curiosity of the object, praise him both verbally and physically.
Chances are that if you approach any of these objects again, the pup will look away from them.
Don´t be afraid to make it an effective correction. If you only give him a tiny tug, he´ll have trouble believing you and, you´ll find yourself repeating this correction many times. Whereas, one good correction would teach the pup; not nag him.
In time, you won´t have to sound like you´re growling when you give this correction and you´ll be able to use it even when the dog is off leash.
There is no reason why your dog can´t learn that certain items in your home are “off limits” to him, but that he can still have his toys. If you take the time to work on this, it won´t be long before the pup can have the freedom to be in the house without tearing things up.
Also, in time this corrective word can be used to stop any behavior that you disapprove of. Such as, excessive barking, scratching at the back door to get in, chasing the cat, or trying to drink out of the aquarium; (or some other household water container!).
It´s not good to use the word “No” for corrective work because if you have children around this can become a common household word. Therefore, your dog will think he´s being corrected when he´s not even doing anything wrong. Also, you can´t really growl when saying the word “No”, but you can sound like a real canine when you use the word, “Out”. Remember, we´re trying to simulate momma dog and her sound of correction.
This form of correction can be introduced to pups as young as 9-10 weeks of age. Obviously, if the dog you were working with was over 1 year, your correction with the leash would be stronger than it would be on a young pup under 1 year.
One of the most important things to remember is to verbally and/or physically praise your dog after a correction and, also whenever he does something appropriate; such as choosing to walk away from the remote that´s on the floor, or those dirty socks your kid has left out of the hamper.
By the way, if you are using the word “Out” to tell your dog to go outside; don´t panic that you´ll confuse your dog. Your tone of voice when you tell the dog to go out to the backyard is never growled. Your tone of voice can define a correction or simply imply a pleasant action. You make that decision.
Before you know it you´ll have a well behaved dog that respects your things and is content to play with “His” toys only.