Breeding Your Westie

Shake Can

Deb Duncan
COME, SIT, STAY...Canine Etiquette
Behavior & Training Consultations

This is a wonderful NON physical & very effective CORRECTION tool. Take a cola can, put 10 pennies, bolts, screws, nails, the can. I really like metal on metal rather than stones or rocks. Put duct tape over the opening to prevent items from flying out.

When your dog engages in a behavior you wish to stop, SHAKE the can ONCE. This is once UP/DOWN. You do not shake, shake, shake the can. If you do, the dog will quickly desensitize to the startle/stop effect of the sudden, unpleasant sound.

When you use the shake can on an undesirable behavior, your dog will startle/stop the behavior & look around for the offending NOISE. Use this break in the behavior to give them the desired command & then praise. NO BARK, GOOD NO BARK.... NO CHEW, GOOD NO CHEW....NO DIG, GOOD NO DIG...etc.

Do not be surprised when your dog, almost immediately, "resumes" the behavior. Be prepared & repeat the shake can process. As with any behavior modification process, it will take numerous repetitions to successfully "modify" a particular behavior. This is NO DIFFERENT than it is with people. Therefore, you must be patient & above all....CONSISTENT!!! Every time you allow a dog to ENGAGE in a behavior you are trying to modify or stop...UNCORRECTED, you are allowing a "reinforcement" of that behavior. This will only ADD time, confusion, & frustration to the modification process. This is unpleasant for you & exceedingly UNFAIR to your dog. DON'T MAKE THINGS HARDER ON YOU OR YOUR DOG!!!!!

You can possibly speed up your behavior modification process by using an additional step. As soon as your dog ceases the offending behavior & they have gotten their NO____, GOOD NO____.....immediately, try to DIVERT their attention to another fun, pleasant stimulus. This could be getting them to play with a toy...with you. There is no better reward than getting to play with Mom or Dad.

Do not consider each "infraction" as backsliding. Instead, consider it one more OPPORTUNITY to correct/modify the behavior. Each of these OPPORTUNITIES, gets you closer, faster to ultimate SUCCESS!!! For pups & new older dogs, I make up several shake cans & strategically place them throughout my home & on the patio. In this way, I have access to the shake can correction WHEREVER/WHENEVER it occurs. I want to take advantage of EVERY opportunity to advance the behavior modification process.

The shake can is especially effective because the dogs do not associate the "correction" with you. Therefore, they do not have to "think" WHY? WHAT? Rather, they more quickly associate the correction with the actual BEHAVIOR. This means, they will more quickly understand that it is the BEHAVIOR that is causing the correction. The allows the behavior to become "self-correcting", which is the most effective correction.


Any information contained on this site relating to training and behavior of Westies is for informational purposes only. The WHWTCA recommends that Westies undergo obedience training. For assistance in locating an obedience training club in your area, please consult the American Kennel Club's website at

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