Error marker

Correction:  punishment intended to reform, improve or rehabilitate, chastisement, reproof.

I try very hard not to use the term correction; in the most common understanding of the term it is a word associated to stopping a behavior.  Most of us learned that term correction was used to replace a collar yank, a choke collar "correction."  Being that the term itself has such a negative association I try very hard not to use it.  This is made easier by the fact that I do not give collar corrections to my own or others dogs who I am working with.

The only time I find myself using the term is when I see a "self correction."  I should start using the term "self error marker."  I love when this happens; a natural reaction is caused by an action performed by your dog without your interference.  This typically leaves a lasting impression; a lesson well learned so to speak.  A "self error marker," can happen at anytime and with any behavior.  The similarity to them all is that the marker is caused by some sort of behavior.

Yesterday we had perfect example of a "self error marker," happen.  Elsa was getting a tad out of control; she was getting over tired which is usually when she gets into trouble.  She was harassing Luke and after much ignoring of my redirection she chose to make one last dive at him at the exact same time as he decided to get off of the couch.  There was no anger intended by either; it was all circumstance.  As Elsa made a leap to pounce upon Luke he was in mid motion of getting off the couch and she crashed.  Elsa crashed to the floor; I watched it all unfold and watched her reaction to this "self error marker."  She made the smallest yipe; shook her head, stood looking at Luke at this time had finished his decent from the couch and was very nonchalantly looking at her.  I could tell that she thought that he was very serious, he had meant business this time.  She did a few double takes in Luke's direction and headed towards Mom for some reassurance.

This type of situation is actually highly desirable; a lesson given and learned without us, the owner having to be the bad guy.  I was nowhere near where it all came down and sat watching across the room so there was no negative association on me.  Once done Luke walk away calmly so Elsa was simply left with a "guess I pushed him a bit far lesson."

I remember a lesson that happened to a wild and crazy dog several years back.  It was just a dog in the park but the timing and delivery of the lesson was amazingly perfect.  It was a young male yellow lab who had spotted Luke from across the park and headed our way.  The owner was yelling and yelling for the dog to come back; the dog had no intention of going back.  I could see that the dog was only excited and not aggressive so I watched; there was actually little else to do.  It charged full speed, straight at Luke and was suddenly and instantly stopped and propelled up and backwards onto his back.  He his a soccer net that was right in his path; and being that he was so excited to get to Luke he had not seen it.  This was about as good as it gets.  He too stood up; shook it off, had a quick look around, looked at Luke and high tailed it back to his owner.  From the impact of that life lesson I believe it was probably the last time he charged off from his owner.

I have witnessed many, many "self error markers," over the years of training and they have always been a very welcome assistance to our normal training.  It's called life and sometimes life deals you lessons that you need to pay attention to.