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Dog Training: Punishing - Rewarding
( Originally Published 1943 )
It already has been stated that the dog not only should be but also must be punished for disobedience, that he must be rewarded for doing his work properly; also that punishment or reward must come instantly after the deed.
Further, it has been stated that the dog is not to be punished too quickly; he must have full opportunity to obey the command: the master must be certain that the dog has understood the command fully.
The dog seeks zealously and sincerely to please his master and to do his master's bidding. He is to be judged at all times as a dog and by dog, not human standards.
Cruelty, is never a part of punishment. Sharp talk or a loud reproof roughly spoken, is sufficient for the dog that has confidence in his master and has been steeped in obedience. The drawn-out spoken "shame" is sufficient for the well trained dog. Much punishment may be too much: it defeats its purpose and creates a remembering, resentful dog.
However, there come times when physical punishment is necessary. But these occasions should not be ones of anger or vindictiveness. The dog is to be punished with dignity by the master in natural, normal condition. Usually a slap with the hand serves the purpose. The dog has a sense of pride; he dislikes to be humiliated before other dogs or humans, particularly those humans he knows well.
The dog should not be called to the master for punishment.Perhaps no practice harms the sense of obedience in the dog more than does that of calling the dog to you, especially in a friendly tone of voice, and after he has come, whipping him for a misdeed. This is deception that will bear evil fruit. Soon he will refuse to come when called, having in his memory the picture of punishment.
If a dog is to be whipped, he should be come upon openly and promptly and in act of his misdeed; go to him slowly to punish him. It is advisable, after a misdeed, when he can not be caught in the act, that the punishment be limited to a severe reprimand.
Should a whip be used? Yes, in rare cases, those cases where a perverse, knowing dog persists in misbehaving, particularly a dog of large size. But a whip is not a necessary nor desirable part of training equipment. It is for use as a last resort in canine criminal cases.
Never use a leash or chain for punishment, as the dog always must associate these with his work and with such joyous events as going out for a run.
Do not strike the dog on the muzzle, head or ears, or on his paws. The ears are exceedingly sensitive; they are much more useful to the dog than are ears to the human.
Do not strike the dog on the backbone; to do so may bring on paralysis. Strike the dog on the upper thigh, near the tail or on the side. It is not necessary to bring blood or be cruel.
Strike him with the open hand or with some light flat instrument. A rolled newspaper serves this purpose perfectly.
Who kicks a dog should be reproached by his neighbors and held as unfit for association with good people and good dogs.
Who kicks a dog kicks his own soul toward hell. Who is cruel to a dog, is more cruel thereby to his own soul.
Rewards in a dog's life are small things in value and effort and little considered by the master, but they are great and mighty things to the dog himself.
A dainty morsel, a bit of meat, or a sweetened crust, given at the end of a training act or after a piece of work well done, is allowable reward. But it should not be given often, else the dog will understand that he is doing the work for the reward and not because he is commanded to do it and must do it out of sense of obedience.
The best praise to give a dog is a soft word of approval and a pat on the head. Only a second of time, a breath of voice and a wave of the hand are needed on the part of the master. They are silver and gold to the dog; they repay him, in his estimation, for any labor or danger he has come upon.
Reward always should be given when deserved. The dog expects this. It should be given quickly so that the dog may associate it with his work. Likewise a quick reproof must follow when deserved. Overlook neither one nor the other.
It may be said that the prospect of reward appeals more strongly to the dog than does the prospect of punishment in the way of causing him to change his conduct. One must use fine discrimination in deciding how much to reward or punish. Whenever possible, reward should be the method used and the reward should be one which appeals most strongly to the dog.
Where there is more than one alternative, where the dog has a number of choices, punishment should not be given. When he does take the right course, he should be rewarded promptly and effectively. Punishment can be used better when the dog has learned to do a certain thing and then refuses to do it or does it wrongly or in an unsatisfactory way.
If there is any doubt in your mind whether your dog should be punished, do not punish him; if there is any doubt in your mind whether your dog should be praised, praise him.
The obedient, safe and dependable dog is not the one that has been petted and fondled and permitted to do as he pleases without restraint.
This is kindness which later turns to disaster and regret when the unruly dog bites and destroys. On the contrary, the obedient, safe and dependable dog is the one that has been restrained properly, punished when misbehaved, and controlled firmly, yet with consideration; this is kindness which at all times yields a devotion and service from the dog.
The comradeship between man and dog is not injured by reward and punishment, but by undeserved reward and undeserved punishment. The dog that has full respect for his master, will lie by his side for hours, listening to every sound and watching every move of his master, understanding his master more than his master thinks, and the two together can converse for hours with few words, or an occasional sigh that to the outsider signifies nothing, but between the two is filled with meaning. The accidental bump, the rather hard blow received in play with his master is little noticed whereas, gotten from another or incidentally, brings a yelp of pain from the dog.