Pavlov discovered that the best time to CORRECT a dog is when it is performing a task CORRECTLY.
The theory of Natural Dog Training (wherein emotion runs to ground through physiological states that then produce behaviors in conformance with the prey drive) can also be expressed in terms of Pavlov. Note that the prey drive elicits the most intensely positive physiological state a dog can experience.
Pavlov’s process of conditioning whereby a tone is paired with the taste of food until the physiological state of salivation becomes associated with the sound of the tone alone is depicted in the diagram below.
Now, if during the process of training we were to follow the above schema but rather than a tone we were to substitute a correction (jerk on lead) for a tone and the state of salivation with an obedience behavior, for example, the physiological state of wanting to lie down (wherein the dog wants to lie down because food/toy has been used to elicit the down/prey pounce position) then by pairing the jerk on the lead with the behavior resulting from the desire to lay down, the dog thereby associates the correction with the emotional state of wanting to lay down. Therefore, later in a real world situation if the dog finds itself distracted to the point that it doesn’t want to lie down, the conditioned stimulus (correction/jerk on lead) is applied and the dog wants to lie down and is not in a state of conflict because the physical/visceral/emotional states affiliated with prey drive, the physical memories of which are triggered by the jerk on the lead, are the most intensely positive that a dog can experience.
In contrast, in current methodology, a dog is corrected for making “mistakes” which are really states of conflict. Therefore the correction is being associated with a state of conflict and this violates Pavlov’s theory of correction because the dog is associating a correction with NOT WANTING TO LIE DOWN rather than wanting to lie down. Some might say the dog could be made to want to lie down in order to avoid a correction, but the dog is still associating the correction with a state of conflict because otherwise it would not be distracted. In other words, the distraction is a distraction because it elicits a stronger physiological/visceral response than the cue that had been associated with the obedience behavior from which the dog has been distracted. The correction is being associated with this stronger emotional/physiological state and the incorrect performance that the distraction elicits, even if ultimately the dog’s capacity to resist is overwhelmed by the handler and it is forced to lie down. Pavlov discovered that the worst time to correct a dog is when it is performing incorrectly.