Reward vs. Punishment During Training

Most people would readily agree that training a dog is a very important part of dog ownership. In fact, it is just as important as ensuring that your dog has a comfortable place to live an adequate food to eat. When you train a dog, it teaches them more than obedience. It is an exercise that they do with their owner on a regular basis and it helps to form a bond that will last for a lifetime.

Although most people would agree that training is important, they may disagree on the type of training that needs to be done. The fact of the matter is, there are many different methods and choices available when it comes to dog training, and not all of them are going to offer the same benefits. One of the primary things that need to be considered, however, is if you are going to use a discipline-based training program or a reward-based training program.

First of all, let’s look at training programs that use discipline to teach the dog commands. This is a very negative way to train a dog and likely, it is going to use some form of punishment as a tool to teach the dog to be consistent in their obedience. An example of discipline-based training could include having the dog wear a shock collar and then giving them a shock, anytime they do something wrong. Other types of discipline-based training could include jerking on the leash, scolding or even slapping the dog.

Obviously, you would never want to abuse the animal and as most people would admit, any type of negative reinforcement is not going to result in a well-rounded, happy and satisfied animal. In fact, it is the positive side of training that really makes a difference and it is much more effective than using discipline.

Using rewards during training is something that most people do, but the rewards may vary from one training program to another. One of the common types of rewards is a dog treat, and when you do this properly, it can certainly work well. You may also want to use a dog treat along with another signal, such as a dog clicker or perhaps a verbal acknowledgment that they are a good dog. In time, you can reduce the amount of treats that you are giving and they will still appreciate the positive reinforcement.

One of the problems that many people face is that they want to be all positive and never have anything negative in the training. Although it is important not to reinforce any negative, when your dog does display behaviors that are out of line, there is nothing wrong with giving them a stern “No”. It really is a matter of balance but when you focus more on the positive and leave behind the negative that could be considered cruel; you will have a dog that responds to your wishes on a consistent basis.

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