When it comes to dog encounters, there are tons of tips. Everything from reward and management to punishment is included. Line jerking, scolding, dodging, distractions or reward, to name a few.
Punishment is still very often recommended for undesirable behavior. But you need to know a lot about that! Because punishment is not the same as punishment and often does not bring the desired success.
What is a punishment anyway?
Punishment is something that inhibits and reduces behavior. There are two types of punishment.
First, the frustrating punishment (negative punishment), in which something pleasant is taken away from your dog. At this moment you are depriving your dog of the opportunity to satisfy his current need. This in turn makes your dog frustrated. You can only use this type of punishment effectively if you can control the environment. This is hardly possible with dog encounters – unfortunately you have no way of checking in everyday life when a dog shows up.
On the other hand, there is the fearful punishment (positive punishment), in which something unpleasant is added to your dog. This can be something that scares your dog or even hurts him. This punishment is very often recommended and practiced in dog encounters.
Linen jerk or line impulse, water spray gun, pinching, physical threats, jar, throwing chain, but also a sharp tone, count as positive punishment.
Here you have to consider that positive punishment takes no account of your dog’s sensitivities.
Therefore, I would now like to show you three reasons why you should not use positive punishment in dog encounters.
You only inhibit your dog’s behavior!
The goal of punishment is to make behavior less, to inhibit it. The basic problem why your dog shows this behavior is not solved, but only capped.
If behavior is inhibited, the feelings that trigger this behavior continue to float beneath the surface. Every time the situation arises when your dog shows the unwanted behavior and you punish him, the feelings continue to boil. Because these feelings are suppressed and even punished with even more negative ones, your dog tightens more and more. At some point this tension is completely discharged, it’s like a ticking time bomb.
You can think of it like a pot of boiling water.
The boiling water in the pot is your dog’s emotions that want to get out.
The lid is the punishment you inflict on your dog.
If the lid is on the pot and the water is boiling underneath, it can easily happen that the lid is pushed up.
Also keep in mind that your dog is not learning new behavior. He doesn’t learn how to deal with the situation instead. He just learns that the situation is uncomfortable for him.
Your dog’s tension increases!
Punishment creates pressure. Especially internal pressure. Your dog will be more tense and this will increase his stress. And that is exactly what you absolutely cannot use if you want to teach your dog to walk past other dogs in a relaxed manner.
The learning process is slowed down in times of stress and tension. Conscious thinking will decrease and your dog will not be able to respond as well to signals from you.
I can give you a good example. Visiting the dentist isn’t the nicest thing for me?
So when I sit on the treatment chair, I’m so tense and nervous inside that my conscious thinking is blocked. A simple math problem then becomes a major hurdle.
So what you need is relaxation and a clear thinking dog?
The number 1 relationship killer!
You want to be a reliable friend and partner for a dog that your dog can rely on, right?
However, if you punish your dog, it will no longer be the case. You are the place where the punishment happens. The linen pressure comes from you, the harsh voice comes from you, the physical pressure comes from you.
Your dog is already stressed anyway and now you bring additional stress into the situation. That will definitely harm your relationship in the long run. Or would you like to spend time with someone who slaps you in the face when you’re excited or scared?
Punishment may work for some dogs. But at what price? Is your dog really well then? Or is he just suppressing his feelings?