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Yelling At Your Dogs Breaks Their Heart And Affects Their Mental Health

Yelling At Your Dogs Breaks Their Heart And Affects Their Mental Health

The study showed that dogs on whom aversive methods of training had been used "displayed more stress-related behaviors, spent more time in tense behavioral state, and were more ‘pessimistic’ in the cognitive bias task"

While you might want your dog to be disciplined, shouting and scolding them may actually have an adverse effect on them in the long term, a study has found. For this study, 92 dogs were tested - one group of 42 dogs were from training schools that used reward-based training like food treats or play, and another 50 dogs were from schools that use aversive training methods such as yelling, physically manipulating the dog, or leash-jerking. Then, the dogs were assessed in terms of their long-term and short-term behaviors. "For the short-term welfare assessment, dogs were video recorded for three training sessions and six saliva samples were collected, three at home (baseline levels) and three after the training sessions (post-training levels)," the study published in the peer-reviewed journal BioRxiv stated.

 



 

 

It added, "Video recordings were then used to examine the frequency of stress-related behaviors (e.g., lip lick, yawn) and the overall behavioral state of the dog (e.g., tense, relaxed), and saliva samples were analyzed for cortisol concentration. For the long-term welfare assessment, dogs performed a cognitive bias task." The study showed that dogs on whom aversive methods of training had been used "displayed more stress-related behaviors, spent more time in tense and low behavioral states and more time panting during the training sessions, showed higher elevations in cortisol levels after training and were more ‘pessimistic’ in the cognitive bias task" than dogs from the group that had used reward-based training. For the longer-term assessment, the dogs were assessed after a month, according to Science Alert.

 



 

 

This involved training 79 of them to associate a bowl on one side of a room with a sausage snack. When the bowl was on one side, it held a delicious treat; if it was placed on the other side, the bowl never contained the treat. Both the bowls were rubbed with sausages to ensure the smell didn't give the game away. The bowls were then placed in ambiguous locations in the room. The researchers wanted to see how fast the dogs would search the treat. Higher speed was interpreted as a dog being optimistic about finding treats in the bowl while slower speed meant the dog did not expect anything in the bowl. Those who had been put through aversive training approached the bowl slower than those dogs who underwent reward-based training. This suggests that reward-based training may actually be more effective than the other method.

 



 

 

Researchers, however, are also aware of the fact that the dogs already understand treat-based training methods. It could also be that the group that learned more quickly was the one with the reward-based training. For this reason, more research also needs to be done.

However, the study concluded that aversive methods of training "compromise the welfare of companion dogs in both the short- and the long-term." Other more aversive methods of training dogs could be the use of shock collar and other tools that do bodily harm. But these are mostly on dogs who undergo training in police academies and other similar settings. Ana Catarina Vieira de Castro of the Universidade do Porto in Portugal, led the study along with an the international team.

 



 

 

"Critically. our study points to the fact that the welfare of companion dogs trained with aversive-based methods appears to be at risk," the researchers said. Similar studies on the impact of harsher methods of training dogs have been done before.

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