The fastest and most humane way to get your dog to stop any unwanted behavior is to attach a motivational NEGATIVE association to that behavior.
Your dog is no dummy, and he will not continue to do a behavior which does not feel good. In fact, if the negative association is motivational, he’ll drop that behavior quicker than you can imagine.
The safest way to give your dog a motivational correction is to replicate the way the mother dog will correct the puppies, or the way the Alpha dog will correct the subordinate dogs, and this is by giving a NIP on the neck. Now, you can go ahead and get hair in your teeth… or you can use a pinch collar, which replicates the Alpha dog’s bite.
For most dogs– with a few exceptions for the toy breeds– this will be the best collar to use.The pinch collar is actually the safest collar for training if you use it properly because it does not put stress on the dog’s trachea like the choke chain or slip collar does. Also, it will not irritate the hair or the skin on the dog’s neck, like many of the other types of training collars do. Plus, it has a safety ring at the bottom so that you cannot accidentally choke the dog out, like you can with the other collars. And the most important reason is that it’s like driving with power steering. It’s always much better to give ONE motivational correction, than 1000 nagging corrections.
Here are some tips for how to give a motivational correction:
1.) Add or subtract links from the pinch collar so that there’s only enough room to slide approximately one finger space between the prong and he skin of the dog’s neck. This will also mean that, when you put the collar on the dog, you’ll need to break apart one of the links in the middle and put it on like you would a necklace. If you’re sliding the pinch collar over the dog’s head, then the fitting is too loose.
2.) If you were a canine rather than a human, you would always have your mouth to give the dog a bite on the neck. So to replicate this form of being able to consistently give a correction, always let the dog wear the pinch collar any time you’re with him. Only take it off if you leave him unsupervised or confined… or at night while you’re asleep since you won’t be giving any corrections. Remember, you don’t want the dog to become “collar smart.”
3.) Leave a tab attached to the pinch collar while you’re around the house. It is impossible to just pull on the chain part of the pinch collar to give a correction. You must get slack. And to do this, you must have a leash or tab (short leash) on the dog when he does something wrong.
4.) Keeping slack in the line means that the harness snap of the tab or leash is hanging straight down. When you give a correction, you should “Pop” on the leash, so that the leash goes from SLACK-TO-TIGHT-TO-SLACK again… all in about 1/8 of a second. The leash should never remain tight. No dog ever bites another dog on the neck to give a correction and keeps his mouth clinched tight. It’s always a nip… and this is what your correction should replicate.
5.) After you correct the dog, immediately tempt him to do the unwanted behavior again. Offer him the choice: If he does the behavior again, then most likely your first correction wasn’t motivational. Try correcting harder. If he refuses to do the behavior, then praise him since he’s just made the RIGHT decision.
6.) Never praise your dog immediately after you correct him. If you do this, you’re confusing him. Many people think, “But he stopped the behavior?” No. YOU made him stop the behavior. HE did not choose to do it on his own. After you orrect him… then give him the choice to do it again. If he THEN chooses not to do the behavior, THAT IS when you praise him.Remember, there are three keys to fixing pretty much any problem behavior: timing, consistency, and motivation.