Negative Dog Training

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Many posts I've read online take the position that there should be no negativity in dog training. If he play-bites, yelp or try to distract him, but don't be negative. If he takes another dog's food, or if he's picking up something to eat in the yard that he shouldn't be eating, try to distract him with a treat, but don't scold. Nothing negative unless he's killing a neighbor kid, and even then it's disfavored.

Now, before some of you start assuming I'm going to advocate beating the daylights out of a puppy, I'm not. I absolutely understand many go to the negative too quickly and overdo it when they get there. I grew up in a house with a guy like that. I absolutely agree positive is better.

But "no" negativity doesn't make sense to me. When older dogs correct younger dogs, they don't do it with treats; they snarl and nip. It's the same in other parts of the animal kingdom. When one of my horses bothers the other, the bothered horse doesn't point toward the hay and say "Look at that! A treat!" He puts his ears back and, if pressed, takes a nip at him or even, if he's in a grumpy mood, kicks out at him. That's how they express displeasure.

And when we're training horses we aren't afraid to bark at them if need be.

So why is it wrong to scold a dog that does the wrong thing when you're pretty sure he knows it's the wrong thing?

Again! I'm not saying yell at him when he just doesn't understand what you want. I agree negativity should not be the first tool. In fact, if it is it probably loses any value and just makes the dog afraid or angry or both. But logic tells me it has a rightful place.

Then again, what do I know? Tell me why I'm wrong. I'm genuinely interested.

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