Maya Rae McCallum ISCP, MISAP 

Helping dogs and people stay together


The Consequences of Punishment Training

If you hurt, frighten, neglect, shock, startle or otherwise abuse your dog in order to ‘train’ him here are 10 things that might just happen:

  1. Your dog will try to avoid you, the places you visit and whatever else he associates with the pain. (Escape/avoidance)
  2. He may hurt you back. (Operant aggression)
  3. He may hurt another animal in the household or a child. (Stimulated aggression)
  4. He can become fearful of or aggressive towards places and objects he associates with your actions. (Generalised aggression)
  5. He may close down. (Apathy/low spirits)
  6. He can believe that being fearful is the norm. (Learned helplessness/depression)
  7. You could cause him injury or long standing health issues. (Injury/pain)
  8. Regular punishment can become a habit. When the punishment ceases to yield the required correction you will tend to escalate the hurt, (Punisher reinforcement)
  9. If you see another individual ‘training’ a dog using aversives it can influence you to do so yourself. (Imitation)
  10. Aversive training methods control behaviour when the punisher is present but the dog often reverts to type in the absence of the aversive. (Suppressed aggression)

Not all of the above will occur all of the time but they are all possible. Therefore it is impossible to predict which dogs (and owners) will be most affected by the use of aversives in training.

The most common aversives used in dog training include (but are not limited to):

  • prong or choke collars
  • shock collars
  • spray corrections from electric collars
  • alpha rolls and dominance downs
  • shaker cans
  • spray bottles
  • yelling
  • hitting and kicking
  • confrontational staring
  • acting in a threatening manner towards the dog
  • holding the dog's mouth closed
  • hanging a dog from his leash

If you engage a dog trainer and he/she suggests any of these inhumane methods as 

quick-fix techniques to help your dog ‘behave’


and find somebody more worthy to help your dog