“Sometimes when I recall, I still cannot believe what I’ve done on Abby (pseudonyms)…” said Julia (pseudonyms), with her eyes glistened with tears.
It has been 3 years from now, I can still remember the day I interviewed Julia. Julia is a certified dog trainer in my area, and I was a master’s student. We were talking about why she became a dog trainer and her experience on dog training.
About 15 years ago, she had a dog, named Abby, and she had no dog training experience. At the beginning, she found that Abby was little nervous when seeing other dogs and people. Gradually, Abby became aggressive to others. Julia tried to research online, and sought for help from trainers. There was one trainer telling her to use prong collar on Abby. Every time Abby started being aggressive to people, Julia pulled the leash, and the collar would prong Abby’s neck.
It seemed to be useful at the beginning. However, Julia found that Abby’s aggression became worse and worse. She even started trying to attack other people. Not until then did Julia realize she was totally wrong.
She found another trainer and got to know “Positive Reinforcement” training method. After years of consistently working with Abby, Abby ended up being friendly to other people. They even participated in some training contests together and won the first place. However, she couldn’t stop crying every time she thinks of what she had done on Abby.
Now Julia is a famous dog trainer and has helped create hundreds of happy dog-owning families; and Abby has already passed for several years. The conversation was so impressive that I will never forget.
Why did punishment-based training make Abby’s aggression more severe and worse? The reason behind is simple. Abby felt stressed when seeing other people, so she tried to react. However, every time she reacted, the prong collar would hurt her. So she started associating the pain with meeting people, and the situation became worse and worse.
I believe lots of owners have tried to yell at or even spank their dogs to stop their dogs’ unwanted behaviors. However, those behaviors just never disappear. A lot of time, dogs may get used to it and learn to ignore you. In the worst case, punishment will result in severe aggression issues.
That’s why I recommend Positive Reinforcement training. It’s all about rewarding your dog for behaviors you like, so that they want to do those behaviors more. When your dog does a behavior you like and you feed them a treat, they like the reward and will want to do the behavior again. So they can earn more rewards.
There are lots of benefits of doing Positive Reinforcement training:
Proper training plays a critical role in a dog’s development and is important for several reasons. Most importantly, a well trained dog lives a happier and healthier life. When training is done correctly, it provides mental stimulation which increases happiness and the ability for your dog to safely interact with their environment.
Start training your dog with Positive Reinforcement method, and you will see the result!
"We are reinforcing good behaviors with a positive method and it works for a much better bond."
-Becky Rene, Sniffy Trainer