Examples of humane punishment in dog training

I thought I would write this quick entry in response to a comment on a previous post on the use of punishment in dog training. Just to reiterate, punishment is defined as anything which causes the reduction in intensity, duration of frequency in a behaviour and our aim as non aversive trainers is to humanely punish the behaviour and not the animal. So, given that, here are a couple of examples of the use of punishment in dog training-

1. If your dog jumps on you when you enter the house, and you turn your back on the dog and this has the effect of the dog not jumping on you then you have punished the jumping i.e. it has decreased in frequency, duration and/or intensity by removing your attention. You then praise the dog for having all four feet on the floor instead by petting and verbal praise which then reinforces the four paws on the floor.

2. Say your dog barks at house guests, and you put the dog out of the room for a few seconds and then let him back in, and this has the effect of reduction in barking (it may need several attempts before the dog realises what is causing him to be removed from the room) then you have punished the barking but not the dog. If on the other hand, your dog barks at guests and you out him in another room and leave him there until the guest arrives, you have punished the dog and not the behaviour because the dog will have forgotten what he was removed for the next time the guest visits, and you will have merely excluded the dog and not given the dog a chance to learn.

We always want to punish the behaviour, your dog is not a “bad” dog, merely exhibiting “bad” behaviour, so our aim it to reduAce those behaviours and reinforce those which are more acceptable.

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