Effects Of 2 Training Methods On Stress-Related Behaviors Of The Dog (Canis Familiaris) And On The Dog-Owner Relationship

Scientific Journal Articles

Instrumental learning plays an important role in dog-human interactions. The recent demand for pet dog training has resulted in the development of various training methods. The present exploratory study aims to compare the effects of 2 training methods on both the behavioral welfare of the dog and the dog-owner relationship: the first method is based on positive reinforcement (appearance of an appetitive stimulus), whereas the second method is based on negative reinforcement (disappearance of an aversive stimulus). The study compared behaviors linked to signs of stress and attentive behaviors toward the owner in 2 dog training schools, which used different methods. Walking on-leash activity and obeying the “sit” command were studied. The results show that dogs from the school using a negative reinforcementebased method demonstrated lowered body postures and signals of stress, whereas dogs from the school using a positive reinforcementebased method showed increased attentiveness toward their owner. However, neither method affected avoidance behaviors. This exploratory study reveals the differential effects of the 2 training methods on dogs’ behaviors; it suggests that training methods based on positive reinforcement are less stressful and potentially better for their welfare.

Deldalle, S. and Gaunet, F. (2014). Effects of 2 training methods on stress-related behaviors of the dog (Canis familiaris) and on the dog-owner relationship. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 9, 58-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.11.004

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Topic(s): Behavior, Dog to People - Skill Building, Pet Families, Social Interactions