Punishment and Aversion Therapy

Punishment is the idea that if you cause someone physical and/or psychological pain they will change their behavior.

Bottom line… It has been studied to death, it is CRAP … It does not work with any consistency or in the long run and your dog pays a serious price.  …
There are far more effective methods.  Aversion Therapy is really just using a painful stimulus which is a kind of punishment.

Things like, withholding a treat, ignoring the behavior or taking away a toy, are all examples of negative reinforcement. They are sometimes referred to as punishment but, very different concept.

Seems simple right, but that is what I love about psychology. If you allow your dog to avoid a situation you are removing a stimulus that causes your dog stress. Since you removed or subtracted something that is a negative reinforcement this is old school to me because the important part is that to an anxious and/or aggressive dog it is a great reward or positive reinforcement (gaining relief from stress or anger).  So the truth is that you have to make being in the anxiety/anger provoking situation more of a positive reinforcement then avoidance.  Believe me, aversion therapy is no more of a path to accomplishing this then is punishment.  You can see why Motley and I had to move beyond these old school dog training ideas that were “borrowed” from old, old psychological studies. Right up there with the old saying :

“Spare the stick, spoil the child.”

Here is a cool little article I found if about Dog Training and Punishment.


Before you decide on a training method read up on it..

Till next time.


Motley and Jeau