Is positive reinforcement better than punishment for dogs? What to Know

Are there risks with using positive punishment? Unfortunately scientific research on dog training methods shows there are potential risks in using positive punishment, which is an aversive method. In his review of the scientific literature on dog training, Ziv (2017) says,

Sometimes people say they use a shock collar because they believe it is more effective. In fact in an experimental study that used professional dog trainers, there was no difference in the effectiveness of using a shock collar versus using rewards to teach recall in the presence of livestock (sheep) (Cooper et al 2014). But there were some welfare concerns with the shock collar use. The authors say,

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What is positive punishment in dog training?You’ll have noticed I said positive punishment instead of just punishment. In everyday language, we often say punishment when what we technically mean is positive punishment. We can also have negative punishment, but that will be the topic of another post. Punishment means something that reduces the likelihood of a behaviour happening again e. the behaviour goes down in frequency. And positive means that something is added. So positive punishment means adding something after the dog did a behaviour that makes the frequency of that behaviour go down. For example, if the dog jumps up and you knee them in the chest, and next time you see them the dog does not jump up, you have positively punished the dog jumping. You added something (the unpleasant sensation of a knee in the chest) and reduced the frequency of the behaviour. Please note, I am not advocating this as a way to train a dog, and we’ll get to the reasons why in a moment. And it may also not work (e.g. if the dog perceives it as a game and keeps jumping, in which case it was not punishing).

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What Is Positive Punishment in Dog Training? Everything you need to know about the use of positive punishment in dog training.

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Should I use Positive or Negative Dog Training? Positive Punishment?