Definition of Dog Friendly

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia Inc definition of "dog friendly" (as used in our Mission and Vision Statements and Code of Ethics) is:

"Dog friendly training is training that utilises primarily positive reinforcement, negative punishment and rarely, and as a last resort, includes negative reinforcement and/or positive punishment".

Positive Reinforcement

This is a reward (something pleasurable) that, when given immediately after a response, increases the probability of that same behavioural response occurring again. For example if a dog is rewarded for sitting by being given a tasty piece of food after being given the command "sit", then the dog is more likely to sit again next time that same command is given.

To be most effective the reward has to be:

  1. Immediate
  2. Consistent
  3. Desirable

Negative Punishment

The withdrawal of a pleasant stimulus or event that leads to a decrease in a behaviour is considered a negative punishment. For example, placing a dog into a sin bin, immediately after performing an unacceptable behaviour would be considered a negative punishment if it lead to a decrease in that behaviour. (N.B. from Ethics sub-committee: it is to be noted that in a training situation, the withdrawal of an expected reward is also considered negative punishment).

Negative Reinforcement

This is often confused with punishment. It is something unpleasant or aversive that, when it is removed immediately after a response, increases the probability of that response recurring. For example, loosening the choke chain after a dog stops pulling on it, teaches the dog that it is less painful to walk to heel than to pull on the lead.

Positive Punishment

While reinforcement, either positive or negative, increases the probability of the preceding response occurring again, punishment is intended to have the opposite effect. It decreases the probability of the preceding response occurring again. Positive punishment is the addition of an aversive stimulus or event. For example yelling at a dog or smacking would be considered a punishment only if it leads to a decrease in the behaviour....... (N.B. from Ethics sub-committee: positive punishment and negative reinforcement are also known in traditional training as 'avoidance' training methods)

"Electronic training devices for dogs - the welfare implications. A Paper for Consideration by the AVA Policy Council". April 2003. Dr Kersti Seksel B.V.Sc.(Hons), M.R.C.V.S., M.A. (Hons), F.A.C.V.Sc. (Animal Behaviour) Dipl ACVB, Registered Specialist in Animal Behaviour.


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