Negative Dog Training Techniques: An Assessment



Dog training, along with dogs themselves, has evolved over the decades and there are a numerous set of tactics that you can use on your dog to illicit desirable results. However, a common debate among dog owners and dog trainers in Queensland as well as researchers into canine psychology seems to be the debate between the championing of negative training over its positive counterparts. In this article, we will introduce negative dog training techniques and focus on its advantages and disadvantages.


What is Negative Training?


In a word, negative training is punishment. It is the method that humans have used to train dogs for centuries, although it is not established in its effectiveness. Here is how it works – every time the dog disobeys you, you punish it. “Punishment” is usually physical and immediate and can span over a number of techniques including spiked collars, choke collars, shock collars, or even beating or straining a dog. Punishment or negative reinforcement only works in certain situations and can lead to complications and even harm in others. Here are some examples to illustrate this:


• When Punishment Works


Dogs don’t like it when you put weight on their shoulder blades and this can be used as a punishment. If your dog refuses to assume the “down” position on command, putting some weight on its shoulders with your hands will often do the trick – the dog will soon associate assuming the down position with the weight alleviating from its shoulders and will learn to follow your order.


• When Punishment Harms


Let’s say your dog jumps on to the bed and you beat it or shout at it aggressively as punishment. While the dog will probably immediately jump off the bed in response, studies have shown that this doesn’t imply that such an instance will never occur again, mainly because the dog has not suitably associated the act of jumping on the bed with the chastisement. It is more likely that the dog will fear you, get very anxious in your presence, or even bite you. In some cases, the dog might actually develop a phobia of beds. This is however overly SIMPLISTIC – both negative & Positive re-inforcement are necessary, timing and circumstance dictate which is most applicable.


So, is negative dog training the right way to train your dog? Well, it depends. Negative training gained voluminous popularity in the early 1900s when dogs were trained for the purpose of the first and second world wars in large numbers. Negative reinforcement, when done right, delivers immediate results and are hence an option when time is a factor. It is also the go-to method for certain dogs that are instinctively aggressive and difficult to tame pacifically.


However, negative reinforcement has developed a bad connotation in the 21st century for being violent and barbaric. Most dogs of today’s generation will respond just as easily to other, more peaceful methods of dog professional training in Queensland such as clicker training and positive reinforcement, and causing physical and emotional distress to a canine is now considered unnecessary and superfluous. Keep visiting our blog for a more comprehensive evaluation of these new and effective training techniques.