Bark collars that vaporize lemongrass or use electric shocks are some of the most common noxious products that “work” to cause pain or discomfort. Some of the more secretive tools promise to keep dogs from barking by using ultrasonic or high-pitched sounds that people cannot hear. These products also “work” because, although quiet for people, the sound is uncomfortable and even painful for dogs. Electronic or “invisible” fences “work” to keep a dog in their yard because they depend on pain to keep the dog contained. Not only is this not ideal, but they pose additional dangers as many dogs will cross the fence in pursuit of a squirrel, cat, or other dog. At this point, dogs may injure themselves, but will then be afraid to return to their yard as they will again be shocked or physically punished upon returning home.
What the science says
As we learn more about animal behavior, we now know that non-pain-based training methods make our animals happier and help them learn better.
“Scientific research on dog training shows that there are risks in using training methods such as leash jerks (often called ‘fixes’), hose clamps, electronic shock collars, alpha rollers or other aversive methods. These risks include fear, anxiety, aggression, and a worse relationship with the dog. And punishing a dog for doing something you don’t like doesn’t teach them what to do instead, ”Todd advises. It’s also worth noting that beyond the physical and emotional discomfort, punishing your dog is actually a great way to hurt yourself. Using painful tools is like adding gasoline to a fire.
In fact, “59% of bites in the household come from owners who try to discipline their dogs,” said Khara Schuetzner, chairman of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers with reference to a 2007 study looking at the dog’s aggression.
Instead, develop a common language
Schuetzner encourages people to think of your dog as a toddler who speaks a different language. For example, if “the only time the 3 year old catches your eye is doing something ‘mean’ and you punish the child, what do you teach? The child learns each time you approach him that you are going to do something that causes pain and discomfort. If you do this with your pet, your pet will begin to associate with you with pain and discomfort. ”
Instead of punishing our pets, she explained, we want to develop a common language. By using positive reinforcement, you can change your pet’s behavior and help him develop positive associations with people or things he was afraid of. Likewise, you can teach your pet to do something that you want to to do, rather something that you don’t do. For example, reward your cat with treats or toys for scratching a cat tree instead of your couch. If your dog is extremely excited at the sight of other dogs, use treats instead to teach your dog to watch you.
If someone promises you that purchasing their product will fix some awkward behavior, it’s a good sign that you want to do the opposite. As we said, just as human behavior cannot be changed with the flip of a switch, so can pets.
Positive reinforcement isn’t just for ‘easy’ pets
I often hear pet owners, especially those with large, rowdy dogs, defending themselves using painful tools because they say they’ve tried all already. However, the key to success is that positive reinforcement training methods don’t force your pet to become a business, they help your pet understand what you want them to do by guiding them towards the decisions you want them to do. he takes.