Dog Rewards and Punishment: Which Training Method Is Most Effective?


If an owner wants to modify the behaviour of their dog, there are two different tools they can utilise. They can reward their dog for displaying appropriate behaviour, or they can punish their dog for exhibiting negative behaviour.

While many dog owners use both tools, it is typically more effective to stick with one training method or the other.

Every dog owner wants to use the training method that will work best. However, there’s a lot of debate over which training style delivers the best results. Here’s a look at what experts have to say about each method.

Punishment-Based Training Increases Anxiety

According to studies conducted by veterinarians, training a dog via punishing methods can cause stress and anxiety. This can cause the dog to act out more, and can even cause some regression.

This is particularly true of tools like shock and choke collars.

Punishment Creates More Problems That It Solves

According to experts, most behaviours won’t permanently change unless there’s a motivation for the change. In theory, this should apply to punishment-based training.

Because the dog no longer wants to be punished, they’re motivated to start behaving properly.

Unfortunately, things rarely work out that way in practice. It’s hard for a dog to understand why they’re being punished. Instead of getting the motivation they need to change a behaviour, they’ll simply develop negative associations.

For example, a dog who is punished for urinating on the carpet may become afraid to urinate, and may wind up having an accident even after they’re fully trained.

dog treats

Positive Reinforcement Is Easier to Implement

Punishment can be extremely challenging to implement properly. Because you’ll often be upset when your dog misbehaves, you’ll have to make sure you’re not taking out your own frustrations on your pet.

Furthermore, children and teenagers won’t understand how to properly punish a dog. They could wind up injuring the animal, or could even cause them to lash out in a violent way.

Thankfully, reward-based training is a method that the whole family can use efficiently. Once your family members know what your dog should be given a treat for, they can carry them around in their pocket and give them out when the situation calls for it.

It’s easier for the dog to understand, and it’s easier for people to understand as well.

Punishment-based training causes fear and inhibition, two traits that you don’t want your dog to have. In contrast, reward-based training promotes confidence and happiness.

You and your dog will be able to enjoy each other’s company, and you’ll see lasting behaviour changes in your pet.

Because punishment training has been classically used, rewarding your dog can feel unnatural at first. However, as you adjust, you should be more than happy with the kind of results it can achieve.

When it comes to dog rewards and punishment, it’s clear that rewards are the more effective training tool.

They’ll give a dog and their owner a common language that both parties can understand.




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