What's More Dangerous?
A neighbor recently shared her awful Thanksgiving Day experience with me concerning her dog. At the family gathering, her new pup, a Jack Russel/Poodle mix, was left to his own devices. He managed to climb onto a chair, up onto the counter, to grab a bag full of human goodies packed away in a guests purse. By goodies I am referring to human prescriptions consisting of anti-depressants, pain medication, blood pressure meds, only to name a few. This little guy consumed just about all of what he found and as a result was was rushed to the ER for an intensive 2 days worth of life saving treatment.
A little back story regarding this neighbor: coming from a pure positive mindset, she firmly believes that any aversive, correction, or punishment given to a dog is purely animal ABUSE. That telling your dog “NO” and following it with clear, no nonsense message to stop bad behavior is simply inhumane. I hear oodles and oodles of baby-talk, with no real meaning behind any command being given. My question would then be, what is more dangerous or harmful for your dog, a simple 5 second correction that clearly defines the rules regarding counter surfing, or the life saving treatment needed for the dog’s bad decision due to the lack of accountability on his leader’s behalf?
Until you attach a correction significant enough for your dog to stop an unwanted behavior to the word “No”, he will not understand what not to do. Punishment is not abuse. It’s feedback or little bits of information that help steer your dog in the right direction. We reward 95% of the time for the behavior we want, and correct for the 5% that shouldn’t be allowed. Consequences prevent a dog from acting on impulse. I’m pretty sure all of us can agree that a 1 second correction for any dangerous behavior, counter surfing being one of them, is better than your dog dying due to the lack of clearly defined boundaries.