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Animals Resources Behavior Help Sheets Why Positive Reinforcement is More Effective Than Punishment

Why Positive Reinforcement is More Effective Than Punishment

It Positively Works!

Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your companion. We all know that, but the definition of positive reinforcement is a little more vague.

  • Positive reinforcement is the presentation of something pleasant and rewarding IMMEDIATELY following a desired behavior.

Why should we use positive reinforcement in a training class? Because it:

  • Strengthens and enhances the human animal relationship
  • Is used less and less as a behavior is learned to be most effective
  • Never leads to avoidance or avoidance related aggression
  • Never causes damage to your relationship if you make a mistake with your timing.
  • Produces enthusiastic, happy people who love to train animals
  • Keeps dogs coming back for more and more training – they love it!

Punishment is Much Less Effective

Punishment is what we think of when we want to correct a problem behavior, or we’re not sure of how to handle something we find troubling to us. But it’s definition also remains fuzzy.

  • Punishment is the presentation of something unpleasant and unwanted IMMEDIATELY followed an undesired behavior

Why do we avoid using punishment in a training class? Because it:

  • Is confusing when learning is very new – how would you like to be punished for something you don’t know well?
  • Is only effective when done IMMEDIATELY at the time of or following an undesired behavior.
  • When administered weakly can cause a dog to need higher and higher levels of punishment
  • When administered harshly can seriously damage the human – pet relationship