What exactly is punishment in the context of dog training?
Punishment, in behavioral terms, is something that has the effect of decreasing behavior. To put it another way, we define it as follows: If something you do makes your dog less inclined to do what he previously lived in the future, you have done something wrong. Then anything you did was a form of punishment for your canine companion.
Your Labrador’s behavior will be less likely to repeat itself in the future if you intervene when he is engaged in a specific activity, like as climbing on the sofa.
Was what you did a kind of punishment?
“How about if I call my dog away from the sofa and offer him a slice of cheese?” “It wasn’t a punishment, was it?” you ask rhetorically. Giving your dog some cheese after he jumped up on the couch wasn’t a punishment, and doing so won’t prevent him from jumping back down anytime soon. As a matter of fact, he may begin to climb up on to the sofa more frequently in the hopes that you would call him off and reward him with some cheese later.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with calling your dog and offering him some cheese; in fact, for the time being, it is probably the best course of action. It is necessary, however, to have a strategy for preventing your dog from climbing on your sofa in the future, which may involve either training or management, or a mix of the two. That will be covered in greater detail in future essay. For the time being, let us return to punishment and look at some cases.
Dog punishments that have been employed in the past
Punishment may be defined as anything that reduces conduct. Dogs engage in a range of behaviors that we find undesirable. And there is a plethora of various methods that humans have come up with to punish dogs in order to reduce their undesirable tendencies. In our sofa scenario, the dog’s owner may chastise him fiercely, “Grrr you BAD dog,” or even slap him on the back of the head. Alternatively, she may spritz him with water or shake a rattle bottle at him to get his attention.
What constitutes punishment is determined by the dog
It doesn’t matter if I believe something is cruel or whether you think something is cruel. You and I have no say in the punishment that YOUR dog will be subjected to. That is something only he can determine.
Because in order for anything to be a punisher, the dog must perceive it to be unpleasant in some way. In other words, it needs to be something he is sufficiently afraid of or hates in order for him to exert effort to avoid it. In a way, this is a wonderful thing since it puts an end to all of the debates over what constitutes a penalty for the sake of the innocent.
We don’t judge punishment according to its severity
As a result, the degree of force used in dog training does not matter when it comes to punishment. Additionally, it is not about the amount of harm done – both hurting and harsh treatment are deemed acts of cruelty. Punishment does not have to be severe in order to be effective. Although, of course, it is possible. Is punishment, on the other hand, beneficial to dog trainers?
Can you tell me if we really need to discipline our dogs, even if it is only minor punishment, in order to have a well-behaved dog?
At one point in time, the answer from myself, as well as from the majority of dog trainers throughout the world, would have been a loud yes. Nonetheless, there has been a significant shift in dog training concepts and practices in recent years, and many trainers would respond emphatically in the negative these days. Let’s have a look at the reasons presented by both sides.
The advantages of training via punishment
There are certain advantages to utilizing punishment in dog training for some dog trainers, according to research. It’s tempting for me to say that there aren’t any, but the truth is that there are. And we must take these into consideration while selecting how to teach our pets.
Dog training methods that are conventional and frequently extremely harsh were taught to the majority of professional dog trainers, particularly those over the age of forty. As a result, this is their comfort zone. They are comfortable with their current knowledge, and mastering a completely new skill is a significant accomplishment for them. The advantage of punishment for them is that they are familiar with how it works and can receive results from it without having to spend time learning something completely new.
There are some areas of dog training proofing that can be accomplished more rapidly using traditional approaches than they can with modern methods. Testing is the process by which we train dogs to respond to our voice or whistle in a number of different situations.
In order for dogs to obey us in some of the more uncommon situations, we must first build up a force-free environment in which they may learn to cooperate. This is especially important when working with a dog that has had no previous experience with force-free training.
In spite of this, many dog owners continue to be drawn to punishment training because to its celebrity appeal, even though this is not a benefit of this approach. It is feasible to generate training effects that appear to be profound in the near term by instilling fear and intimidation in participants. This is due to the fact that scared dogs prefer to ‘shut down’ and do absolutely nothing.
This would make for excellent television. During the course of thirty minutes or an hour, you might appear to be seeing a dog whose owner’s problem has been ‘solved.’ The consequences of this type of training are not visible to the audience. What is the reason for the decline in the use of punishment in dog training if it is not always harsh and if it has certain benefits?
And why is it that so many websites, including this one, are now promoting reward-based techniques of training? It is necessary to consider the drawbacks of training through punishment in order to fully grasp this concept.