Events during this morning’s walk brought me to write this post. And as you can tell from the title our walk this morning was … well … interesting! Don’t get me wrong, Thai is lovely, gorgeous and a joy to be around. Apart from this morning where I could have booked her back on the first flight to Thailand. Don’t be fooled by the whole “butter wouldn’t melt look” on the photo. Little terror! Only kidding of course. She’s still learning our language. And we’re still learning hers!
When things don't go as planned
It all started so well – Thai responds to her name when called during walks. Her recall has improved so much compared to when we first had her (no doubt helped by small treats for positive reinforcement!). We very nearly got to the end of the walk without any drama. That is until she sniffed out a large bone. Oh.. so close – lol! … Goodness knows who on earth had disposed of it near the beach (just to reassure you it wasn’t a human bone!) Before I knew it she had legged off with it, hopped over the sea-wall and had stretched herself out on the beach with her prize possession. No amount of calling, shouting or waving around their treats (which up until that point she had loved .. traitor!!) would persuade her to give up the juicy bone. Well, let’s face it: juicy bone with meat versus peanut butter and apple biscuits .. not really a competition is it?!
Simba on the other hand decided to perform all the tricks in her repertoire, just in case she could get in on the action and get a treat. Sit, paw, spin .. she was giving me all her moves while I’m frantically trying to persuade the other one to get back to our side of the sea-wall. I must point out at this point that the other dog walkers are unable to see Thai because the sea-wall is raised from the path, keeping her well out of sight from anyone else. All they can see is a mad woman with one dog frantically shouting at the sea.
What do I do now?
In the end it took me a good 20 minutes of frustration and persuasion to get her to come back to me. Eventually it resulted in me running in the opposite direction to get her to chase me – much to the amusement of the other dog walkers, and confusion of Simba who wondered where the heck we were going.. “We’ve just come from there..?” Needless to say I was not happy at the time. All is forgiven now of course. We’re all back in the warmth and we’ve had a good laugh about it. Not so funny when standing in the freezing cold shouting towards Kent!
How to punish your dog
Of course in the above scenario taking the bone was something that came naturally to Thai. She had no idea that she was being naughty (apart from not listening to her name when being called!). So telling her off when I finally got her back would make no sense to her .. “I’ve come back to you .. I thought that’s what you wanted? But now you’re shouting at me? .. I’m confused”. So how should you punish your dog? Should we punish at all, or merely “correct’ their behaviour?
Don’t get physical
Goes without saying really, but don’t ever hit or kick your dog. Getting physical with your dog will result your dog becoming stressed and fearful. Ultimately this may result in aggression fear. Besides, hitting your dog may leave them confused as to why they are being hit. Ultimately this is counterproductive and is a no-no.
Remove your attention
Ignore their bad behaviour
Ultimately all dogs are different and what works for one dog, may not work for another. It also depends on the scenario and type of behaviour you are trying to address. Whether you call it correcting or punishing, the ultimate aim is to reduce undesired behaviour.
And if you’re really stuck, don’t hesitate to call in a dog behaviour specialist. Your vet should be able to point you in the direction of someone with the required qualifications for some professional input!