Negative Punishment, What is it and How Does it Work

My last blog was about Positive Punishment. ( ) We are now going to talk about Negative Punishment, what it is and how it works.

In the world of psychology, the definition of Negative Punishment is removing a desirable stimulus or opportunity in order to make an unwanted behavior decrease.

pitty pulling on leashA good example of negative punishment is the ‘be a tree’ scenario where you stop moving forward as soon as the dog puts pressure on the leash. Negative… you took away forward motion; punishment… the behavior decreases. In human terms,  a monetary fine is a negative punishment. They are taking your money in order to make your associated behavior decrease. As with any training method, you must be totally consistent and your punishment well timed. You must also make it as easy as possible for your dog to give you the right answer, thereby avoiding the punishment. To this end, start working in a very low distraction environment and give ample reward for correct answers. As your dog becomes more reliable, up the distraction level.

Negative punishments are not meant to be fun or enjoyable, this means you may get reactions of displeasure from your dog. Those reactions might include heightened energy, frustration, etc. This is by no means a reason not to use this technique, in fact, negative punishment paired with positive reinforcement is a very powerful team of training techniques. As with any training technique, it is always a good idea to research it and understand it before you begin using it to train  your dog.






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