A new study has shown that yelling and other negative training tools, such as shouting or punishment, can have long-term adverse effects on your dog’s mental state.
The study, uploaded by pre-print server bioRxiv, shows that pet dogs trained using aversive methods had poorer welfare both long and short term compared to dogs trained using positive reinforcement and rewards.
“Specifically, dogs attending schools using aversive-based methods displayed more stress-related behaviours and body postures during training, higher elevations in cortisol levels after training, and were more ‘pessimistic’ in a cognitive bias task.”
While similar research has been conducted before, it was primarily on police and laboratory dogs and focused on only one type of aversive training (shock collar training).
Biologist Ana Catarina Vieira de Castro of the Universidade do Porto in Portugal led an international team of researchers in order to conduct their own study on pet dogs, or those we see as companions.
The dogs who were trained using aversive methods showed higher signs of stress such as lip-licking and yawning. They also had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva. They also appeared to be more “pessimistic”.
“Our study points to the fact that the welfare of companion dogs trained with aversive-based methods appears to be at risk”, the researchers have said.
Read the full paper here.