What happens when we educate a dog with punishments?


Dogs need training but never negative

The relationship that a dog has with humans is unlike almost any other in the animal kingdom, which is why we see that there is a very special connection between the two, although this can be used positively or negatively. In other words, if the relationship we have with our dog is not adequate, we can cause a lot of damage in his way of understanding the environment and modifying his behavior.

Unlike almost any other animal, dogs that live with humans consider themselves to belong to the same pack. The dog integrates into its behavior that it must protect, collaborate and provide for the humans in the family, and understands that this motivation is reciprocal and that all family members would be willing to protect and care for it equally.

This is a twinning that explains the level of fidelity of the dogs, that it seems that they would give their lives for us and that once we leave it seems that they go out of their way to stay by our side. It is not only a trait of love, but these situations are related to the quid pro quo , they are willing to give what they basically expect from us.

This way of giving and receiving protection or needs is not something that they do not do with their peers, however the curious thing is that they are able to integrate the human being into this dynamic, and make themselves available and expect the same from him.

The problem comes when it is the human being who includes negative reinforcement, punishment and disapproval in this relationship .

Dogs are not prepared to maintain a close relationship, in a pack, and at the same time receive negative reinforcement, which is why trainers and ethologists always emphasize that the only possible way to educate a dog is to do it from positive reinforcement. . But why?

What does a punishment mean for a dog?

When discrepancies arise between the dogs themselves, a fight can be generated, with growls, barks or even attempts to bite. But that is a common language that they know, and it does not refer to a way of educating, but to conflict resolution.

The problem occurs when we are the ones who punish or penalize the dog, in which case the dog does not assimilate it as a dispute, like a growl from another dog, but as a loss of confidence, from us towards him, and as a rebound, from him to us.

Because dogs do not understand the consequences, nor are they attentive or able to discern between property, conditions, rules or order.

When we train a dog based on punishment, the only message we give it is: ‘you can’t trust me’, because for them this is an arbitrary attitude that denotes capriciousness on our part in not treating it well, since it cannot determine What is the cause that produces that effect?

What is achieved when a dog is trained from negative reinforcement is that it systematically blocks itself, and this generates a deep insecurity in it because it begins to doubt all the possible options. In other words, he cannot understand what we want from him or how we want him to behave, and then what emerges is a very disabling block that makes him feel helpless and vulnerable.

This in the medium-long term makes his behavior elusive, since what he will end up developing is the feeling that there are no certainties or securities at our side.

The more punishments, the less trust

The worst thing that we can instill in a dog is that feeling of arbitrariness and distrust, that greatly separates us from the objective that we really pursue of training and education . A dog that feels vulnerable, disoriented and without confidence will never learn anything, quite the opposite. It is for this reason that reinforcements should always be positive, highlighting what they do well to generate a valid precedent in what we want to establish as good behavior, and denying the reward for undesirable or contrary behaviors.

The repeated use of negative reinforcements can also bring out the most aggressive part of the dog, because when his mind collapses, seeing himself vulnerable, he can come to the conclusion that he needs to protect himself and opt for his most primary instinct: attack. A dog that is denying its own instinct under negative indications of constant disapproval and punishment is an animal that can reach the limit of its stability and its reaction can be unpredictable.

Whether your dog barks, destroys things or is very stubborn on the walk and walks only where he wants, keep in mind that all that reinforcement that is not positive will be of no use at all, moreover, it will separate you from the initial objective that you maintain .

If your dog is barking, you must first understand why he is barking, it is a necessary form of communication, and there are probably reasons for doing so. If he smashes things, he probably spends more time alone than he should, he feels lonely or stressed. And if what he does is try to walk jerking on the leash, educate him with positive reinforcement and try to share the walk.


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