Fredericksburg, What is positive punishment in dog training?  

Is dog training necessary? If you own a dog, the answer is yes. Dog training will make your life easier and your relationship with your dog stronger. However, it takes consistency and determination to train a dog. Remember, dogs are complex. They don’t think the way we do. Dogs assimilate learnings quite differently from us. They have their own way of responding to people and other animals. The beauty of dog training is you can teach your dog to behave appropriately but it involves techniques.

If you use the wrong technique you will not be able to see changes in your dog’s behavior and you’re just wasting your time. To be sure, we recommend you hire a professional dog trainer. Dog trainers use four quadrants of operant conditioning when training dogs. These four quadrants are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and last but not least negative punishment. All these techniques have been proven and tested to change dogs’ behaviors. Although they are interconnected in some ways, each technique is unique. In this post, we’ll concentrate on positive punishment. Positive punishment is adding a stimulus to stop unwanted behavior.

How Do You Define Positive Punishment?

In operant conditioning, the term “positive” means adding something. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something good despite it being called positive. Punishment is given to reduce the chances of an unwanted behavior happening again. So if you add the two terms together “positive” and “punishment” it’s about adding something to dissuade your dog from behaving in a certain way. And you do it so that your dog will understand that behaving badly again will result in punishment.

What Is An Example of Positive Punishment?

What type of positive punishment are you going to use on your dog? Well, that depends on what you want. You can add a physical correction, force, or pain. It’s entirely up to you. For example, if your dog will start pulling on its leash you can add positive punishment by yanking the leash back on a prong collar. The stimulus in this example is the prong collar correction that you will use directly after your dog pulls the leash. Adding the stimulus will stop your dog from pulling on the leash again. Another example is when your dog starts barking excessively. You can opt to squirt water on your dog as a form of punishment. This will let your dog know that if it barks loudly and excessively again, it will get wet.

What are the Advantages of Positive Punishment?

Positive punishment aims to teach your dog to stop continuing an unwanted behavior by punishing it the moment it does something bad. You let your dog experience something undesirable so that it won’t do it again. In most cases, applying force and pain will result in obedience. The concept of positive punishment is easy and you will usually see results after two to three sessions.

Are There Disadvantages to Positive Punishment?

Positive punishment will teach your dog to stop doing something but it doesn’t present an alternate behavior. This will leave your dog confused because it will not know what else to do aside from the bad behavior. And so, it can become a vicious cycle, a pattern that will become familiar to your dog. Besides, constant use of punishment will emotionally debilitate your dog causing it to become fearful and anxious.


Basically, there are pros and cons in every training technique but one thing you have to remember is that they all work. Otherwise, it would not be practiced in dog training. We recommend you get to know your dog. You can do a trial and error to see which techniques will work on your dog. If you’re not interested in training your dog yourself, you can always ask for professional assistance.