Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Dog Training: Depersonalized Punishment

Punishment and Reinforcement are very powerful tools in dog training. The correct use of them can make your dog respond to any command in dog training. In the article Dog Training: The Command Sit,” I showed one simple use of Punishment and Reinforcement in dog training, but those can be used in any daily activities, if you do it correctly.

First of all, before any misunderstanding: punishing the dog doesn’t mean to beat the hell out of the dog. That’s only stupidity. The key to the correct punishment is to find out what is the best cost-benefit punishment. In most of the dogs, the worst punishment is the lack of your attention, and that’s what you should use in dog training. Dogs are very sociable animals, and your attention and approval are the best gifts you can give him, so, the opposite works. If you ignore the dog, he will feel punished already. One of the ways to do it is turning his back to him and refusing to play or talk to him.

Of course, ignoring the dog will work only when you are near him, but how to punish the dog when he does something you don’t want when you are not home, for example? That’s also dog training, and there is a very efficient method to teach your dog not to do something. Let’s take an example: suppose your dog pulls the towel of the dinner table every time you leave home (in fact, that was a real situation between me and my dog). That’s when you will use a very interesting dog training concept: the depersonalized punishment. That happens when the dog thinks he is being punished by the mere will of God.

In the towel case, I had to train the dog to believe that pulling the towel would bring nasty consequences to him, so, I had to think what would be unpleasant. Dogs have hearing much more accurate than humans, and they hate loud noises as bells or fireworks, so, I had to produce a loud noise when he pulled the towel. I took a can, filled it with coins and left it on the corner of the table. I left home and waited a few seconds outside before hearing the noise of the can hitting the floor. I came back him and the dog was scared in the corner. I did it for more two days in a row, and he never pulled the towel again. The dog was trained not to pull the towel.

There are gadgets that work as depersonalized punishment and train the dog for you, for example, a collar that pulverizes water on the dog when he barks too loud. For stronger dogs, as pit bulls, there are radio controlled electroshock collars that are used by the trainer to inhibit certain behaviors during dog training, but I’m not fond of that one; it’s kind of cruel.

The dog training trick for depersonalized punishment is to use the dog’s bad behavior as a lever to his punishment and training. Gadgets are good, but there are simpler things. When the dog likes to eat your furniture, for example, you can spray some bitter substance on it, and he won’t like to eat the furniture anymore. After some time, he won’t even try it.

Regular punishment as yelling to the dog, or even beating him, can make the dog believe that he can do anything as long as you are not home. Depersonalized punishment, however, won’t associate the punishment to you, but to the environment, what will train the dog to behave when you are home or not.

Labels: Dog Training: Depersonalized Punishment

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