Reading PMcC's blog, I saw this in the comments and thought it was stated so perfectly:
"Dogs are not capable of being disobedient because they cannot understand a 'duty to obey.' Likewise, dogs don't understand a 'command' as a 'command.'
Since the day I figured that out, I have not given my dog a single command, and he has never disobeyed me. Instead, he is just more or less reliable for a given 'cue,' and needs more training--and that's my problem, not the dog's."
Even more impressive, I think, because this comes from a person training their dog for field work and that person specifies with pride that he uses no e-collars or force fetch.
When, if ever, corrections are needed and when, if ever, they are appropriate or useful is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. I was recently told that I needed to cause my puppy pain and make him afraid in order to housetrain him, that it should only take once, and that he should never have an accident in the house after that. While I found this advice ridiculous and objectionable on so many levels, I actually considered it. Not that I think it's the best way to housetrain. I would always prefer to train without correction. But maybe it is the fastest and most effective, and if so, why would I not use it? After all, I've never tried it, so how can I know? And the giver of the advice swears it has worked perfectly multiple times over.
Thankfully, I have not tried it out, as I haven't needed to. Puppy has been with me for a little over two weeks and I think his housetraining is going well. We've had a couple frustrating days, but since then I've stepped up my vigilance and the frequency of potty breaks and we've had very few accidents. I've also been keeping him in his crate longer and longer and he's learning to hold it better. Dex is great about pottying as soon as I take him out. In the past two days, the only accident we've had was totally my fault. I took him out to pee, which he did, then I called him back inside. He ignored me and started walking the other way, so I went and grabbed him. (He knows his name and recalls well, and I didn't want him to think he could get away with ignoring me.) I brought him back inside and he immediately pooped on the carpet, which I assume was the reason he walked away from me when I called him. He wasn't finished. How unfair would it have been to punish him for ignoring the recall or to punish him for the accident when all along he was just trying to do the right thing and it was me that screwed up? Since then, he has showed me how well he understands housetraining. I brought all the dogs out for one last potty before I left for work this morning. Dex got caught up playing and forgot to pee right away. As I was calling the dogs in, he stopped on his way and peed, clearly understanding that was supposed to be done outside and making sure it got done before he came in. Good puppy!