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Should You Punish Your Dog?

doggyTell your dog in a punitive fashion: “No, naughty dog!” in a threatening way, it’s not education. When we use this positive punishment (we add an element in order to decrease a behavior), it works on the spot: the dog is seized or scared, he will probably stop doing what he does. But he will start again in a short time because he does not know what else to do. And that will lead us to increase the strength of this punishment. We will speak louder, with more threatening gestures and some would even be inclined to intervene physically. This would break the confidence the dog has put in his human. Remember: hands are made to caress and not to hit.

Don’t Make No Negative For Your Dog

By using the word “no” in positive punishment, this word becomes “rotten”, because it announces a very bad consequence. In addition, this “no” makes sure that our dog learns nothing when he hears it, except being afraid of what his human will do. It does not give him any clue as to what the human wants him to do. Imagine that I speak to you in a foreign language, a language that you do not understand. I am asking you that you do not use it. And as you try something that is not right, I give you a “no!” threateningly. What will you do after a few tries? As I punish you verbally, you will no longer be tempted to try anything. You will then fall into learned helplessness model.

Acquired Helplessness in Dogs

Acquired helplessness means that you do not want to try anything at the risk of being punished positively. You will lack initiative and our relationship will become tense because you will now know that the possibility of a trial can lead you not only to failure but to something unpleasant.

I want to suggest that you use the “no” in a framing way, as a guide to the right choice. Let me explain. When the dog does not respond adequately to a request, say “no” in a neutral tone (ie, not verbally threatening or accompanied by a vindictive gesture), may mean that the answer chosen is not the right one and that he is trying something else.

The “no” becomes a no rewarding marker (NRM ). It is a signal aimed at extinguishing behavior (negative punishment).

But you will understand that to be done, this word has never been used before majorly. Because your dog will always remember its meaning and what it announces. If you have never used the aversive “no”, you can use it. Otherwise, change the word. Because if he said happily, he could be interpreted as a positive marker and if said badly, he could scare the dog.

Concretely when training, it is enough to mark the good behavior with a clicker or a word like “yes” and to mark the unwanted behavior by the word “no” or that which you will have chosen. This will give additional information to your dog in the answer he can offer you. Occasionally, we can say nothing when the behavior is inappropriate as is traditionally done with clicker training.

Remember: it is important to avoid associating the commands with a negative emotion. She can be happy or just neutral. This is essential to not put the dog in helplessness acquired. We want the dog to think and choose another behavior. It’s like saying “hot” or “cold” in search of a treasure! And it will not be necessary to use the “no” alone when the dog does a behavior, without reinforcing its opposite, because the latter could analyze the “no” as positive reinforcement because it is given attention.

Other Punishment Methods to Avoid

Scolding your dog is just one thing you don’t want to do. There are a few other things that you should avoid. First, is crate your dog for long periods of time. Just like it says in this article you shouldn’t crate your pooch for longer than a couple hours. They will get stir crazy otherwise.

Some dog breeds are more likely to get stir crazy and are with these you should be really careful not to punish them too often. The following ones are just a few examples.

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