Dog Training Menomonee Falls WI

 Do you think some form of punishment is necessary when training your dog?

Dog Training in Menomonee Falls by Brook-Falls Pet Resort provides The following examples which will show you why it just doesn’t work and why it can make matters even worse.   

By definition, punishment is done to an individual to decrease the probability of a specific behavior occurrence. Generally, this punishment involves something sufficiently startling or aversive to thwart the “problem” behavior.

 Suppose a dog has previously benefitted from behavior in the past. In that case, it will take a much more startling or aversive punishment to override its expectation of getting that reward again.

Dog Training Should Never Include Punishment

Unfortunately, punishment techniques that are most commonly used with dogs are not about teaching them something. Almost every person I have ever seen punish a dog was angry, hurt, disappointed, or embarrassed; that’s why the dog got punished, not because the punishment would help the dog learn.

A punished dog will frequently stop attending to you; you become something to be avoided in the future. If you should overreach and scare the dog, you have taught the dog that you are a threat even just once. It should not be a surprise that dogs learn through fear very quickly, and then they will try to avoid the thing that caused the fear response: you. 

Whether or not you end up teaching the dog what you wanted him to learn, he’ll learn that he shouldn’t trust you and that humans are unpredictable.

When Dog Training, Three essential rules must be met for punishment to be effective. 

1. The punishment must occur every time the unwanted behavior occurs.

2. The punishment must be administered within a second or two of the inappropriate behavior. (See blog: Correct Your Dog in the Act – If Not Just Let It Go)

3. The punishment must be aversive enough to stop the dog from repeating the unwanted behavior in the future but not be so aversive as to frighten the dog.

Meeting all three of these criteria can be difficult. That’s why punishment often fails to solve behavior problems and should not be the first training method of choice.

If you’re serious about training your dog, choose a dog trainer in Menomonee Falls from Brook-Falls Pet Resort where training includes only positive reinforcement.

Positive reinforcement training, in which animals are rewarded for appropriate behaviors, is safer and more effective. As seen in the two examples below, punishment teaches an animal what you don’t want it to do and fails to teach it what you expect.

Example #1: A dog getting up on the furniture.

Dog on Furniture

Owner’s Response: Every time the owner sees the dog on the furniture, she yells at it and threatens it with a rolled-up newspaper. When she does this, the dog slinks off the furniture.

Result: The dog can continue to get up on the furniture, although it is less likely to do so in the owner’s presence. Because the dog can still get on the furniture when the owner is away, it is being rewarded, part of the time, for the unwanted behavior; the first rule above is not being met. So the punishment does not solve the problem.

Suppose the owner gets increasingly frustrated with the dog. In that case, she may increase the severity of the punishment, and depending on the dog’s temperament, it may respond by becoming fearful of the owner and avoiding her. Some dogs might even begin growling and snapping when the owner approaches.

Suggestion: Success will more likely be achieved if the owner blocks the dog’s access to the furniture whenever she can’t be around (e.g., confine the dog to a crate or a different room in the house). Alternatively, the owner can make the furniture less appealing by covering it with plastic or using pieces of double-sided tape. There are also commercially available devices for keeping animals off surfaces such as electric/shock mats or plastic mats with rigid points (this is similar to plastic carpet protector material laid upside down) that can also be used.

Regardless, a comfortable bed should also be made available, to the dog, in the vicinity of the “favored” furniture, and the dog should be rewarded each time it is caught resting on the bed.

Example #2: A dog greets people by jumping on them.

Dog jumping

Owners’ response: Whenever the dog jumps on its owners, they knee it in the chest or kick it.

Result: The dog avoids the largest/most dominant person in the household who has kicked/kneed the dog hard enough that it is now afraid of that individual. It, however, continues to jump on everyone else. Many dogs are highly motivated to greet people by getting close to their faces. In most cases, kneeing or kicking such a dog is less powerful than the dog’s desire to greet people by jumping on them. Also, since not all the dog meets will knee it or kick it, the punishment doesn’t meet the first rule. The third rule is also not met because the dog doesn’t always perceive the kneeing as punishment, and the behavior of jumping up is reinforced because the dog is still getting attention.

On a side note: Violence not only breaks our bond with dogs, but it also damages us, humans, too. It affects how we deal with all of our relationships, with particularly worrisome implications for people with children. 

Suggestion: Rather than trying to punish the dog for jumping, the owners should use positive reinforcement to teach the dog to sit and then greet everyone. Sitting is an alternative behavior that can be rewarded with petting or by administering a food treat.

These examples highlight that when the punishment criteria are not met, behavior problems can worsen and the bond between the pet and the owner can be damaged beyond repair. When punishment is misused, it will appear unpredictable and confusing, so many pets become anxious or fearful around the owner that administers the punishment. When punishment is used to train an animal that is already afraid or anxious, its fear and anxiety are likely to worsen and may lead to aggression.

Behavior Modification Programs to Help Train Your Dog

If your dog is exhibiting inappropriate behavior, consult one of our veterinarians. They will help you develop an appropriate behavior modification program that focuses on using positive reinforcement or will refer you to someone with extensive experience in developing such behavior modification programs.  

After consultation with your veterinarian, the likely next step will be to seek a good dog trainer in Menomonee Falls for either group or private lessons to manage your pets’ behavior issues successfully. The staff at Brook-Falls Luxury Pet Resort & Doggy Day Care are specially trained and dedicated to helping owners work to resolve any canine behavior problems and promote good behaviors and citizenship. We offer a variety of practical training classes. 

These classes are designed to help pet owners learn to understand their pets’ behavior and communicate better with their canine friends. The classes are also great for getting your pet started off right, keeping good communication lines, and managing a behavior problem should one arise. 

Enrichment Doggy Daycare 

Enrolling your pet in Brook-Falls Enrichment based Doggy Day Care can also be of great benefit. Unlike traditional doggy day care, our program is designed to reinforce the right behaviors you will be working on with your canine companion in either group or private classes. This is done through group play or individual enrichment activities tailored to a pet’s needs. 

Dealing with behavior issues, just like a physical ailment are best dealt with early and with consistency. 

Please speak with your veterinarian or one of our training staff about any behavior issues you are experiencing so we can put you on the road to success.


About Brook-Falls
Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital and Exotic Care is dedicated to providing quality care to all companion pets and exotic animals. Brook-Falls is a Menomonee Falls, WI-based full-service veterinary hospital with an extensive range of comprehensive medical, dental, diagnostic, and surgical services to meet the varying needs of all patients. Brook-Falls Veterinary also offers informational and educational media and seminars for pet owners by way of blogs, digital TV series (Expert Veterinary Television), e-books, whitepapers, infographics, and more.
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