Written by Joanne Bardsley - Canine Comprehension Dog Trainer and Tutor.
Reward and praise are vital for the learning process, We want happy dogs that are happy to listen to our commands. We also need to set parameters around what is and what is not acceptable behaviour - this is the only way to have dogs safely in our family environment. We sometimes use the “No” and circle correction (Developed by Greg Fontana - Alpha Canine Group) are tools we can use to mark the exact moment that the dog made the mistake and give a consequence for making the mistake – i.e. walking the dog in a circle. The reason the circle is a great ethical negative is because it doesn't hurt or intimidate the dog - it merely shows them that when they don't listen they are restricted. They earn more freedom, the more they listen to us. It has been shown that not only does the correction work, it establishes a clear leadership and bond between the handler and the dog.
We also encourage our puppy owners or owners with shy dogs to use the "No" and hold technique - where you don't walk to dogs around in an entire circle, you just gently hold them to your leg for a few moments. This restriction is often enough to show the dog that when they are not listening to commands, they will be restricted. Of course, if the Hold Technique doesn't work, there is always the circle.
The reason that the Hold and / or Circle correction is so effective is due to the pattern it is taught within. After each circle (a negative), a “good dog” (positive) will follow. This contrast allows the dog to start to understand what happens when they ignore the command (restriction) and what happens when they listen (praise and freedom) - thus moving the dog towards making better choices.
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