Positive Dog Training and the Perils of Punishment

At lunch today, I was discussing your pet dog I was training. A friend said, “Don’t you imagine a number of good whacks using a newspaper need to nearly cure that?” As a behaviorist who has spent his career focused on developing and teaching positive dog training techniques it hurts me to consentrate the frequency of which confrontational methods are employed by laypersons. And even more troubling is always that several of these everyone is learning these techniques from professionals.

Punishment addresses the signs and symptoms of the behavior, not the reason. And not only could it be more unlikely to resolve the challenge, many times, it can make it worse. I teach my clients that positive, reward-based training will elicit better behavior, is fun for both the people and the dogs, and it won’t possess the detrimental unwanted side effects that are included with “dominance” training.

Teach, Don’t Punish

At the start my 20+ year career, I was told to perform things like “jerk him hard, then praise him more to get over the end results of the jerk” and “better she hesitate of you than whatever else jane is fearful of.” That advice seemed cruel and I had not been going to complete those ideas to the dogs. Why would we wish our dogs to hesitate of us? What I embrace to be more potent is always to teach your dog what we want them to accomplish after which reward them with rewards and affection.

Why Punishment Doesn’t Work

Many people tell me they punish their dog so you can get around the couch. If you reprimand your dog once you think it is on the couch, all you teach your dog is to become sneaky. It only takes one time for the sofa for your pet to master for the rest of its life how the couch is wonderful except when you are around. They aren’t believing that they’re leaving evidence.

No matter how often you reprimand the dog, although you may view it get about the couch, your pet still knows the sofa is fantastic if you aren’t there. All it has learned is to get off when you return. A better solution is always to teach it to attend prior to getting around the couch and reward it for happening its own bed.

Stopping Your Dog from Stealing

I have some of dogs exposed to me by owners complaining bitterly regarding dog stealing things. In almost all cases these dogs are part of clients who come up with a concerted effort to become faster than your dog and prevent it from getting stuff to start with. So is there a connection?

By wanting to beat your dog towards the stuff, taking it away, and telling it “no” the owner is really reinforcing a bad behavior whilst they think they’re reprimanding. In the dogs mind, this can be a challenge also it knows it will get attention. For some dogs it could even cause fear issues. Wouldn’t you forget if someone else was running after you and screaming?

If we reward your pet for finding something, and teach it to express, we might be capable of getting it back undamaged. Teach your puppy to offer you them in substitution for something better, like a treat or dog toy. Then you can play with the toy to make “proper play” more enjoyable than “mischievous play.” I’ve saved many controllers and a lot of clothes this way.

Remember, if we tell dogs what not to do they’ve not a way to get out of trouble this opens the door to potentially negative unwanted side effects. It is much more effective to use positive methods of training and teach what we’d like your pet to do (like stopping them prior to them getting for the couch) so we give both dogs and owners a fix.

Of course when you have a problem that seems like it’s getting worse, I always suggest contacting an expert trainer or behaviorist in your town. More information on how to find positive trainer is available in my website. This article originally appeared in Pet News and Views Blog Post April 4, 2010.

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