Reward vs Punishment?

December 5, 2013 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

After several, recent studies about the training and behavior of dogs, the conclusion remains that positive reinforcement is the way to go. These studies are proving positive reinforcement training to be more efficient and successful. In addition, the research shows that dogs sometimes exhibit increasing behavioral problems as a result of training that involves punishment.

One study, The importance of consistency in the training of dogs, finds that canines who were trained with rule structure and reward had a positive link with obedience and good behavior. These dogs also showed less signs of bad behavior and training problems. The opposite could be said for the dogs trained with dominance and punishment.

Another research study conducted at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine finds that owners who use reward based training see more positive behavioral results in their dogs. This type of training includes food and toy rewards; short, one-word commands; and quick, fun training sessions. On the other hand, owners who used direct and indirect confrontation when training saw more aggressive behaviors from their dogs. These methods included things like yelling, grabbing, kicking, or growling at their pet or using a shock collar.

Positive reinforcement training brings out the best in our dogs and helps them to maintain good behavior. You and your pup can build the trust and confidence desired between a pet and their guardian.

Eskeland G, Tillung R, Bakken M. The importance of consistency in the training of dogs. The effect of punishment, rewards, rule structures, and attitude on obedience and problem behaviors in dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. 2007 May; 2 (3): 99. Herron M, Shofer F, Reisner I. Survey of the use and outcome of confrontational and non-confrontational training methods in client-owned dogs showing undesired behaviors. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2009 Jan 24; 117: 47-54.

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