What Is Negative Punishment?
Negative punishment is defined as any form of punishment which involves the infliction or threat of pain. Aversive stimuli are those that cause a reaction other than pleasure (or avoidance) and are used to prevent undesirable behavior from occurring again. Positive reinforcement is when a stimulus causes a response without requiring an action on the part of the handler/owner.
The main purpose of negative punishment is to teach a dog not to do something again. If your dog does it again, then you have successfully taught him not to do it. If he doesn’t want to listen, then you will use positive reinforcement methods such as praise and treats.
How Does Negative Punishment Work?
If your dog barks at the door, you might give him a treat or say “Good boy!” but if he continues to bark, you could punish him with a few spanks. You could also try using a collar or muzzle, but these are less effective because they don’t always stop the barking.
Aversive stimuli can come in many forms:
Physical – A shock collar is one way of inflicting an unpleasant sensation on your dog. Other options include electric shocks, pepper spray and choke chains. Physical punishment can lead to aggression, so it is important to use this method as a last resort.
Verbal and Physical – Yelling at or smacking your dog is still physical punishment. These methods should be avoided because they do not teach the dog and can lead to fear or aggression.
Emotional – If your dog does something that you dislike, getting angry is an emotional response. If you give into this emotion, your dog will only learn how to manipulate you. He will realize that getting you angry gets him treats or makes you leave him alone.
What Are The Benefits Of Negative Punishment?
There are several benefits of using punishment in dog training:
It can work very quickly. You can teach your dog the “sit” command in a matter of hours, and he can reliably perform the command without any repeating necessary. While positive reinforcement may take weeks or months to get reliable results, it is still effective.
Some behaviors, such as eating your shoes or jumping on the counter, are undesirable. It doesn’t matter how much you like your shoes; if you don’t want your dog to eat them, you need a way to stop him from doing so. In addition, some issues, such as excessive barking or chewing, can disturb neighbors and landlords. If you want your dog to stop this behavior, punishment is an effective means of correction.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Negative Punishment?
The major draw of punishment is that it is easy to implement. However, it can also lead to other behavior problems. For example, if you smack a dog when he jumps on the counter, he will associate the punishment with jumping on the counter. This means that when he jumps on the counter, you should smack him. If you’re smacking him every time he jumps on the counter, he will probably stop jumping on the counter in your presence.
However, he will still jump on the counter when you’re not around or sneak behind your back to do it. This is because punishment does not teach a dog why his behavior is wrong (unless you’re also scaring him by screaming at him when he jumps on the counter). It simply teaches him what not to do in your presence.
Punishment is also a negative experience. If you scare or hurt your dog too much, he may become afraid of you. If this happens, he will stop obeying commands in your presence. Again, this is because the dog associates the punishment with you, not with the behavior. He can’t get punished for behavior if he avoids you!
What Is The Best Punishment Strategy?
The best strategy is to avoid using punishment altogether. To do this, you must be able to distinguish between positive and negative reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement occurs when a dog is given a reward after performing a certain behavior. If the dog feels good about this reward, he will continue to engage in that behavior. This strategy is very effective and positive reinforcement works best with dogs that have lots of energy.
Negative reinforcement occurs when a dog’s behavior is reinforced by removing an obstacle or discomfort. For example, a dog escapes from his yard because he is uncomfortable with the thunder. Once outside of his yard, he feels better. When the storm passes and the dog is invited back into the house, he will try to escape from his yard again. If you can remove the discomfort (in this case, keep him inside until the storm passes), you can avoid the behavior problem.
Punishment is the act of giving a dog something unpleasant after he’s performed a certain behavior. Like negative reinforcement, it is less effective than positive reinforcement. It is also more likely to create long-term behavior problems. For this reason, punishment should be avoided if possible.
Remember that both negative and positive reinforcement are short-term solutions. They are effective in changing a dog’s behavior in the moment, but do nothing to teach him what he should be doing instead. In addition, they can create concerns if used excessively. For example, if you give your dog a treat every time he obeys a command, he will become very reliant on the treat. Eventually, you won’t be able to stop giving him treats, or he will no longer obey the command without one.
An alternative to reward is called “capturing.” Capturing occurs when you wait for a behavior to occur and then reward that behavior. Capturing is a more natural way of training, because it doesn’t require the owner to predict what the dog will do and then reinforce the correct action. Instead, the owner waits for the dog to do something right, then rewards him. This teaches the dog how he should behave.
For a discussion of positive reinforcement, punishment, and capturing, see the related links section.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare (EF Hiby, NJ Rooney… – … -POTTERS BAR THEN …, 2004 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org)
- Behaviour of smaller and larger dogs: Effects of training methods, inconsistency of owner behaviour and level of engagement in activities with the dog (C Arhant, H Bubna-Littitz, A Bartels, A Futschik… – Applied Animal …, 2010 – Elsevier)
- Training methods and owner–dog interactions: Links with dog behaviour and learning ability (NJ Rooney, S Cowan – Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2011 – Elsevier)
- Modification of instinctive herding dog behavior using reinforcement and punishment (ED Marschark, R Baenninger – Anthrozoös, 2002 – Taylor & Francis)
- Are problem behaviours in urban pet dogs related to inappropriate use of positive punishment (C Arhant, J Troxler, A Mittmann – … of the 42nd Congress of the …, 2008 – researchgate.net)
- Teaching with rewards and punishments: Reinforcement or communication? (MK Ho, ML Littman, F Cushman… – CogSci, 2015 – cushmanlab.fas.harvard.edu)
- Negative punishment (D Palman – 2006 – mesard.org)
- Training dogs with help of the shock collar: short and long term behavioural effects (MBH Schilder, JAM van der Borg – Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2004 – Elsevier)