Are there any inappropriate behaviors where punishment is acceptable while training a dog or should only positive reinforcement be used?

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Answered by Yolanda Freeman CPDT-KA, CTDI, Dog TrainerPRO+ in Fort Lauderdale, FL
This is a very good question and a common misunderstanding in positive reinforcement based training. Rewards and reinforcements are meant to strengthen good behavior. Punishment or corrections are used to decrease undesirable behavior. When you do something that discourages or eliminates a dog's bad behavior, that is a punishment. It does not have to be painful or aggressive to stop bad behavior. Punishment is not about letting your dog know you're mad at it for being a dog. It's about teaching your dog what behaviors are acceptable or unacceptable to you. There are appropriate levels and it's important to use punishment correctly. Punishment needs to be immediate so the dog makes an association between it's behavior and the bad consequence. Corrections also have to be the right intensity. If you are too harsh, you might cause the dog to act in self defense if it becomes fearful of you. If you are reacting emotionally to your dog's bad behavior you are probably not teaching your dog what the correct behavior is. Your dog trusts and relies on you. You do not want to be the cause of it's fear and pain. It is impossible to avoid all punishment but if you do it right, your dog can learn what you want it to learn instead of just what it can and can't get away with. | 06.03.16 @ 19:01
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 08.17.17 @ 13:48
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