When training your dog at any point in their life, it could prove beneficial to have a golden rule mentality. Keep it positive! It makes sense that our doggos have negative associations from negative behavior like yelling or screaming, and research agrees.
A study focused on companion dogs and common training techniques with the goal to evaluate effects of aversive and reward based training methods. The study gathered ninety-two companion dogs that either had high aversive-based training, or low aversive based training. Aversive training is meant to bring out negative feelings from the dog, so the more aversive training used, the harsher the pup is being treated. Doggos were videoed so the frequency of stress-related behavioral and to evaluate the well-being of the dog. Saliva samples were used to measure the dog’s cortisol levels before and after the training.
Study Results From These Dog Trainings
Results from the study showed that dogs from the aversive group had more stress-related behaviors. They were also tense more frequently, panted more, and had higher cortisol levels than the least aversive training group. These dogs were also more pessimistic in cognitive bias tasks. Performance with both training techniques did not differ. But the more aversive training groups were more frequently stressed.
Food For Thought When Training Your Dog
So what does this tell us? Well, it first shows that being mean to your dog doesn’t train them more effectively. And it also shows that the welfare of the dogs are compromised when using this technique in training and outside of training.
So How Do I Start Positive Reinforcement in Training?
Here are a few tips to consider when training your doggo:
-Positive reinforcement is rewarding your dog’s for the desired behavior. Reward examples can be training treats, praise, games, belly rubs – basically anything your pup finds delightful. Most pups love the food route, but make sure this is catered to what drives your particular unique pup.
-Timing is everything! Make sure you are rewarding your pup immediately after they perform the desired behavior. Don’t wait.
-Using positive reinforcement will build your bond stronger with your dog. It will help your communication with each other and understand each other on a deeper level.
-It’s ok to reward your pup as they are getting close to the behavior. This will help reinforce the fact they are headed in the right direction.
-Once your dog has the new behavior down, gradually taper off their treats to where you are only using them intermittedly. But never ween off of telling them how much of a good doggo they are.
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