by Jon Dunkerley
There are headstrong dogs that know too well that a verbal “no” from you is the worst that they’re gonna get and this will quickly lead to them ignoring the handler. In the wild when one of the pack is out of line, he is corrected by the Alpha. Now if the dog knows what the correction is, then that is all and good, but seeing people correct their dog and the dog not being familiar with the correction and its purpose troubles me.
This is why I would prefer to teach the correction to the dog while teaching the heel command while walking on leash. If taught properly, the dog will quickly learn to associate undesirable as well as desirable heeling behavior. We must remember, at a young age, our dogs do not know what a negative behavior is. What they learn to be negative behavior, is what we instill in them. Usually our idea of negative behavior is the inability for the dog to perform the desired learned task, thus resulting in some sort of correction whether it be verbal or some other kind.
Top trainers will tell you to find what works best for your dog. No dog is the same, and while one may be very subject to verbalizing, another maybe of a more stubborn breed needing the actual physical contact to help achieve the desired result.
Personally I am now at the point with my dog where verbalizing my unhappiness with him will attain the desired result. My dog is a Lab, and being of a more placid breed, he is not head strong and he can be effected quite easily by rough treatment. However there are even times today when He will be distracted by something to the point where a firm correction is needed to retain his attention.
Adam Catz, is a Trainer working in the U.S. and he has written a book specifically dealing with aspects of dog training/behavior modification. He is a big advocate fore “tough love” and although I do not agree with some of his methods, he is very popular and has helped a lot of dog owners with problems that they were having with their dogs.