No matter how annoying your cute little dog can sometimes be, scientists suggest never yelling or punishing the naughty pup. As per a study uploaded at bioRxiv, reinforcements or punishments can cause prolonged effects on the mental state of your dog.
In this study, the researchers noted that the overall well-being of the dogs trained based on aversive methods was not good, while the dogs trained based on reward systems showed better overall welfare. This means that scolding dogs have a similar effect on them as it would do on humans.
The authors of this paper further stressed that dogs that underwent training based on aversive methods displayed stressful behaviour in terms of their body postures. In addition, their cortisol levels were also found to be increased after their training session. Also, their moods were found to be more pessimistic after the training session.
The scientists also carefully observed the behavioural expressions of the dogs under study, including their activities like yawning, yelping, and raising their paws. Their cortisol levels in saliva were also notably increased post-training compared to when they were at home. On the other hand, the dogs that experienced positive reinforcement were more relaxed and had cortisol levels in the normal range.
Thus, this means that reward systems prove significantly more effective among dogs. However, as per the researchers, this could also be because the dogs know how they are being treated and their training methods. The study thus hints that reward training is good for the overall well-being of dogs - especially their mental well-being.