Training a new puppy can be frustrating. With the potential for an accident in your home and destruction of your belongings, pet parents often resort to screaming. What was once considered harmless mild punishment-style training is now proving to have lasting effects on our dear companions. It’s time to think twice before shouting.
With the variety of training schools and resources available to us, it is important to understand the most common forms of training offered at dog training academies. When you’re researching methods, you’ll often see two common styles of training
Positive reinforcement / Reward training: This type of training is often referred to as reward-based, optional, and clicker-type training. This method is accomplished by establishing a marker for correctness and timing, and then reinforcing the behavior by handling or playtime. For example, consider the process of using a press to teach your dog to sit. By using your clicker every time you want your attention, they’ll soon realize that once the clicker is out, it’s time to listen if they want to enjoy the food! When they sit on the order, you reward them with a click, then the reward. By using positive reinforcement, you will get a well-trained puppy that is eager to please. Of course, this process is more involved with each new order, but the basic premise is one order then the reward.
Negative reinforcement / Discipline training: This type of training is based on asserting dominance over your dog through fear of punishment. This could be yelling, pulling on a leash, hitting, tugging at the collar, or any other form of “correction” during training that attempts to teach them basic obedience. While this technique may have first appeared in the dog training world, it has now been shown to have lasting effects on a dog’s mental health.
Most of the research on dog behavior and punishment training has been done on police and military dogs, so it’s time to see how our furry companions feel about style. our training. To find out how companion dogs actually respond to punishment, scientists at the University of Porto in Portugal (research led by Ana Catarina Vieira de Castro) recruited 42 dogs from reward-based training programs that used food or play as a reward and 50 dogs from a negative reinforcement-style training program that included screaming and tugging.
To accurately measure their stress levels, each dog was tested with saliva for the stress hormone cortisol before and after training, as well as recording their training sessions.
The short-term results of “fear-based” training caused the dogs to have higher levels of cortisol in their saliva during training, as well as at home in the hours following their training sessions. they. They also gave examples of stress such as lip licking and yawning. Dogs that received positive reinforcement training did not experience any spikes in stress-related cortisol levels or body language.
It’s clear that your choice of training method can have an immediate impact on your dog’s stress levels, but what about the long-term impact?
To find out if their training style worked long-term, the team studied 79 dogs’ responses to food rewards. First, they trained each dog to associate one side of the room with a delicious hot dog. If the bowl is on that side of the room, it will contain a sausage. Each bowl on the other side of the room will always be empty.
They then placed an empty bowl in different positions between the two extremes and measured how quickly each dog would approach the new bowl.
The researchers separated the two types of dogs by listing them as either pessimistic or optimistic. Optimistic dogs receive reward training while pessimistic dogs receive mild punishment during their training. The researchers interpret these two variants as being half completely glass and half empty glass.
An “optimistic” dog will eagerly approach the bowl in the hope of finding a tasty hot dog, while a “pessimistic” dog will approach the bowl more slowly and seem more annoyed than ever. little.
Pessimistic dogs also happen to be associated with separation anxiety and many behavioral problems. The more severe the punishment-based training they received, the more drastic the results.
This study demonstrates that our dog training style can have a lasting impact on our furry friends. While there’s no mention of the effectiveness of the training style, nor which option is “better,” it’s clear the long-term impact on a dog is pretty sad.
Some studies have even shown that reward training can help our dogs better understand their training process instead of just being scared by an action. Whichever method you choose to follow, it’s clear that reward training is now much better for your dog’s happiness and mental health.
Reward-style training is also found to be more effective in encouraging obedience in all situations. During fear-based training, dogs often associate a person or pet parent with a fear of being punishable. By using this training method, your dog may disobey commands in situations that don’t concern you.
By using reward-style training, every person with a command has the potential to receive a reward!
As pet parents, we must provide a life filled with love and comfort for our furry friends. By focusing on reward-style training, we can help our dogs understand the basics of obedience training without the fear and stress that can come with punishment methods.
While our dogs may have annoying questions of their own, they can be addressed kindly and fearlessly. Next time you want to yell at your fluffy BFF, remember that their happiness and comfort are in your hands.