Nagging and Begging
Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Nagging and begging are possibly the most poisonous influencers in training our dog. Nagging is our perceived level of appropriate assertiveness within the confines of being a positive trainer. Begging is our wishful thinking to get the dog to do what we want them so badly to do without really having an idea how to “get there”.
Nagging and begging drive complacency, keep the dog in a state of confusion, put the dog inadvertently in charge of the outcome, and certainly do not achieve improvements - at least not lasting ones.
Nagging and begging tell the dog we are not confident about our leadership and we don’t exercise follow through. What happens after you nag or beg your dog and there is still no change in behavior? Continued nagging just makes the dog grumpy and puts it into an on-edge type mood. Continued begging teaches them to listen less every time.
Be clear with your message and be willing to have follow through on that message. Use verbal and hand markers to give your dog clear instructions – once - and realize that you have the ultimate say regardless whether your dog does what you ask or not.
If your dog fails, you have a few options:
a) Don’t expose your dog to the scenarios again in which it fails b) Make a clean cut in the behavior chain and withhold food, then retry c) Make a clean cut in the behavior chain and verbally mark your dog being wrong, then retry d) Make a clean cut in the behavior chain and correct your dog, then retry e) A mix of all of the above
Any of these options are better than nagging and begging. A) doesn’t exactly make our dog the best and most well-rounded dog it can be. D) is more of a compulsive option which may or may not be necessary. In this scenario, corrections should only be made when the dog is disobedient (dog knows the skill) or distracted. B) and C) are positive training approaches which work for most situations.
How are you training? Have you ever nagged or begged your dog and what was the result?