When it comes to dog training, heated debates often erupt as there are many different opinions on the subject. Some rely on positive reinforcement and reward, others on dominance and punishment.
clearly recommends the «Positive Reinforcement» training method for dog training. It is an animal-friendly approach that excludes any form of punishment.
Reward-based training involves using something positive like praise, treats, and games to reinforce behaviors we want the dog to do. The dog learns that the behavior it is showing is worthwhile, which means it will do it more often. Undesirable behavior is simply ignored by the trainer. This approach supports a healthy and trusting human-animal bond.
A common problem when walking the dog is pulling on the leash. The aim of the training in this case is for the dog to walk relaxed and without pulling on the leash, since a tight leash causes an uncomfortable feeling in the dog and is unpleasant for the dog owner. It is not at all advisable to tug on the leash to stop the dog’s behavior. The short, strong jerk is uncomfortable for the animal and will not lead to success in the long term.
With positive reinforcement training, the times the dog doesn’t pull on the leash are rewarded. Whenever the four-legged friend stops, looks at his human, possibly comes back, he is praised and rewarded. The reward can be in the form of praise, positive attention, pats, or treats. In this way, the dog learns that paying more attention to his human is rewarding. As a result, his positive behavior is reinforced more and more.
The positive reinforcement approach can, in some cases, require more time and effort for the individual. However, it has a lasting good effect on the behavior of the dog and on the human-animal relationship.
If you inflict pain on the dog during training, it will show more stress symptoms and as a result will be less able to learn. Punishment is extremely counterproductive in training. It can cause the dog to develop fear of certain objects, people or situations. Studies show that the dog associates punishment with the person punishing and is very stressful for the animal. This has a negative effect on the relationship between dog and owner. In order to be able to build a close and good bond, it is all the more important to avoid pain and dominance when training a dog.
Training elements that cause direct «pain» to the dog must be avoided at all costs. An example would be a collar that triggers a stimulus (e.g. a puff of air or a noise) that the animal finds unpleasant when it behaves undesirably. The boundaries between what is painful for the dog and what is just uncomfortable are fluid and are perceived differently by each dog. This type of aversive training aid can cause stress in the dog and be counterproductive to training.