The use of even mild punishments in training can make dogs more stressed and more pessimistic compared to dogs who are trained with positive reinforcement-based methods. That’s an important conclusion of a study by Ana Catarina Vieira de Castro of Porto, Portugal and her colleagues. They recently published Does training method matter? Evidence for the negative impact of aversive-based methods on companion dog welfare.
The importance of this study is that it addresses a common question: If dogs can learn from both positive training methods and from those that use punishment, does the choice of method matter? The recent research offers a compelling answer to this question because the effects of training methods extend far beyond the actual skills learned.