Review of Research Article on Dog Training Methods


This study surveyed a variety of dog walkers in a couple different areas and asked them questions about their dog’s obedience levels. Here is the research article for you to look over if you are interested:

Here is their conclusion based on their research of the methods dog owners used to train their dogs:

“We suggest that positive training methods may be more useful to the pet-owning community”

Their overall findings suggest that there were significant results that supported that positive training (reinforcement based) created more reliable behaviors than those trained using punishment based methods. Keep in mind, the audience interviewed and studied were normal families or individuals and their dogs, not professionals.

The obedience reliability was rated better with dogs trained with positive (reward based) training rather than punishment based training. I believe their identification of punishment and reward based training based on the answers given by the individuals taking the survey was correct.

I appreciate that they acknowledge that punishment based training does and has worked for many years. I don’t believe that’s ever an argument because of its popularity among all kinds of dog owners. This study simply supports that for the normal modern family dog, reward based training (because of it’s lack of side effects caused by anxiety) is the best option for non-professionals who may not have the best timing and consistency.

As I do with all studies I read and analyze, here are some questions I have that were not answered in this study:

  • Do owners who utilize positive (reward based) training rate their dog’s obedience more generously?
  • Were the people who trained their dogs with punishment based training more strict/harsh in their grading of their dog’s obedience?

Additional comments or statements are welcome! Join the discussion below!