I see a lot of trainers claim they "don't correct their dog" but does that mean they don't use any verbal cues or body language, or just collar pressure? A correction is just more information for the dog right? Would a verbal "here" count as a correction for a dog straying too far? Does any positive punishment(the scientific definition by Skinner) count as a correction
I don’t know if there’s a well-defined definition of what constitutes a correction. The way I’ve always heard the term used is with a connotation that the dog finds corrections aversive. Something like popping the dog’s leash, yelling at them, using a harsh tone, leaning over them, etc., would be a correction assuming that the dog finds those things aversive enough to alter their behaviour.
While corrections are considered inherently aversive, cues are not. If you train with R+, your cues will usually be enjoyable to your dog due to classical conditioning (the cue gets paired with rewards many times, so the cue itself becomes a good thing for the dog). If you train with averseness, your cues will usually be aversive themselves for the same reasons. If you use both rewards and aversives, the cue could be conditioned either way, or what emotion it evokes could change with the environment. Conditioning can be tricky.
If a dog has been taught “here” primarily through aversives (like the dog will be shocked if they don’t recall promptly, R- or P+ depending on how the shock is administered and removed), the cue can be a correction, because it would be conditioned to be aversive. If “here” is conditioned to be enjoyable or is emotionally neutral, it’s not a correction, it’s just asking the dog to change their behaviour.
Not all corrections are positive punishment (some are negative punishment, and many are ineffective, and so are not involved in conditioning and can’t be punishment or reward). I don’t think all P+ would be considered a correction. If it’s not intentional, for example, it wouldn’t be a correction by my standards, though it may be to someone else. For example, if my dog goes to chase a squirrel and chokes himself on his collar, AND he becomes less likely to chase squirrels in the future because of it, that’s P+. I wouldn’t count that as a correction because it wasn’t an intentional action, teaching with it wasn’t intentional, and I would have avoided it if possible.
This question also puts us on the slippery slope of questioning what’s acceptable as a correction, and when does the use of aversives cross from “helpful teaching tool” to “overt abuse”. That line will vary depending on who you ask, but it tends to come a lot sooner for trainers who avoid aversives in their training.
When I say I don’t use corrections in my training, I mean actively avoid using any technique that may cause fear or pain to my dogs while they’re learning. I prefer to motivate my dogs to listen using things they like and prevent behaviours I don’t want them doing by teaching them to enjoy incompatible behaviours.
I hope that answers you questions and helps clarify things a bit. Please feel free to submit another question if you’re still confused, or you can message me any time.