In dog training, there’s an ongoing debate on whether the use of aversive methods is acceptable or not.
Years back, it was widely believed that for a dog to behave, there has to be a firm and dominant way of training them. This mindset introduced alpha rolls and leash corrections as the only way to train and teach your dog.
Dog owners never questioned these because they work. But for all the wrong reasons. More and more situations have risen to prove the aversive methods don’t fix bad behavior but have mainly suppressed them.
As the study of animal behavior advance, a lot of dog trainers and behaviorists have called for more force-free and positive reinforcement methods of dog training. Popular dog trainers on television and on the Internet are trying to show the whole world that there are better ways to communicate and train their pet dogs.
If you are a new dog owner who is looking for a more improved way of training your dog, read on below to find what are the aversive dog training methods and why you should avoid them.
What are aversives?
Aversives are, in dog behavior terminology, is something unpleasant that used to rid of unwanted behavior. An aversive can be a tool that makes an unpleasant sound, a physical correction, a shock or prong collar that causes pain, or severe scolding.
For a clearer explanation, this is similar to parents spanking their children for misbehaving. This is an aversive physical punishment.
What are the aversive dog training tools?
These are the tools used when owners train their dogs using an aversive method:
- Prong collars
- Shock collars
- Citronella spray collars
- Shock collars
- Invisible fence collars
- Shaker cans (cans filled with pennies or rocks)
There are dog trainers that believe that prong collar correction or shock collars don’t cause pain or discomfort to the dogs. But if they don’t, then they wouldn’t work on decreasing unwanted dog behavior.
With aversive dog training methods, one of the reasons why your dog is behaving the way you want them to is to avoid pain or wanting to stop it. So if you still strongly believe that your aversive ways aren’t hurting your dog, then it’s time to reevaluate your training methods because they do. Your dogs follow your commands because they don’t want to get hurt.
Aversive dog training techniques
Aversive dog training techniques include:
- Physical corrections (hitting and leash popping )
- Alpha rolls (forcing your dog into a submissive position to show your dominance)
- Threatening body language
- Forcing and holding your dog’s mouth to close
Why you should avoid aversive dog training methods?
Aversive dog training methods might work but they aren’t necessary and worse? They can be inhumane. There are better and more effective ways, such as positive reinforcement, to train your dog without inflicting fear and pain on them.
There are not as effective
With large and non-domesticated animals, for example, a tiger or a whale, aversive training methods don’t work. If you try, you’ll get your head bitten off or you’ll be running around chasing a wild animal.
But what’s amazing is how much positive reinforcement works even with non-domesticated animals. Check out the video below.
If positive reinforcement can tame down an exotic animal then surely, your domesticated dog can.
They don’t fix, they suppress
Aversive tools and methods don’t fix your dog’s unwanted behavior, they are merely suppressed.
When your dog is wearings its shock or prong collars, they behave exactly the way you want them to avoid pain and discomfort. But can you guess what’ll happen if you take your dog for a walk outside with its flat and standard collar?
Your dog’s behavior shouldn’t be based on what kind of collar they are wearing. It’s more rewarding to see your dog behaving the way you want them to without aversive collars or discomfort-inducing tools.
No motivation to train
Training should be fun for both the dog and the owner. It’s a wonderful way to bond with your pet and at the same time, training them to behave properly. It’s an activity that kills two birds with one stone.
However, with aversive training methods, you are constantly waiting for your dog to misbehave so you can correct them. It’s less rewarding and definitely no fun. It kills your dog’s motivation to be trained.