Curious young pups often find themselves in a sticky situation or two. Older dogs as well are known to get rebellious every now and then – choosing to chew on a shoe, a handbag, or rummage through the garbage in hopes of finding food, maybe something to read? (We’ll never know for sure.)
Over the years, there has been much debate over how to discipline these garbage eaters. Dr. Stanley Coren has provided some tail-wagging advice on the do’s and don’ts of addressing your pooch’s less-than-pawesome behavior, and how to prevent them from becoming a repeat offender.
Dr. Coren is an advocate for reward versus punishment, which means that if a dog is takes part in bad behavior such as chewing a shoe, it is more effective to provide an alternative for them to chew on (toy, bone, etc.) rather than yell or punish the dog.
Dr. Coren’s advice is backed up by a study by E.F. Hilby puplished in the Animal Welfare Journal. The study evaluated the actions of 364 dog owners to measure the effectiveness of various dog training methods. Participants were asked how they train their dog and how obedient their dog is. Methods of training included vocal punishment (66%), physical punishment (12%), praise (60%), food reward (51%) and play (11%).
Owners were then asked how obedient their dogs were in regards to the eight basic commands (sit, stay, heel, etc.). The study found that each owner’s rating positively correlated with the number of tasks for which they used reward training. When asked if their dog exhibited any of the 16 common bad doggie behaviors, those who used punishment reported a higher number than pawrents who used reward training. The reason may be that punishment causes anxiety and feelings of abandonment in dogs – increasing their likelihood to take part in bad behavior.
Overall, positive training methods are the most effective way to keep those puppers in line. Coupled with this, it’s always best to keep shoes and other yummy items out of paws reach. Making sure these things are less accessible makes it that much easier for your dog to be the good doggie they want to be.
H/T Psychology Today
Feature image via Benola