Direct and Remote Punishment

Punishment is applied in a direct or remote manner, depending on the relative distance of the trainer from the punitive event. During direct punishment, in which the trainer applies punishment to a dog, the trainer becomes part of a punitive stimulus complex. The most common form of direct interactive punishment is corporal (i.e., punishment that is inflicted upon a dog's body). The use of severe corporal punishment is rarely necessary and should be eschewed, except in cases of self-defense against an otherwise uncontrollable aggressor. The routine use of slapping, hitting, punching, or kicking has no place in professional dog training and should be shunned both on technical as well as humane grounds. Corporal punishment is provocative and may elicit additional aggressive behavior and agonistic tensions, thereby compounding the situation. Such physical punishment may cause the hands or feet to be associated with fear and pain, thus resulting in an increased risk for defensive or preemptive biting whenever dogs are surprised by hands or feet moving quickly toward them. Although the individual delivering such punishment may intimidate a dog sufficiently to suppress immediate retaliation by the dog, other less imposing figures, like children or strangers, may become the victims of redirected aggression. Another significant side effect of interactive corporal punishment is that it may cause dogs to fear and avoid their owners. Although certain forms of interactive punishment may be necessary to establish control and dominance over some dogs, as a general rule direct interactive punishment should be used sparingly and only after other methods have been considered and exhausted. Proce-durally, physical punishment should be delivered, when necessary, through the modality of a leash and collar, with hands being reserved for the delivery of prompts and affection or other rewards for compliant behavior.

When punitive intervention is necessary, it is preferable to incorporate a remote strategy. Remote punishment separates the owner's presence from the punitive event. Another preferable aspect of remote punishment is that the event can be arranged so that the unwanted behavior triggers the aversive event. A common form of remote punishment is a startle-producing booby trap. Many behavioral complaints (e.g., destructiveness and digging) can be corrected with a little ingenuity through booby-trap arrangements.

Dog Training 101

Dog Training 101

If you own a dog, you will have to do more than just feed him and give him toys to play with. Just about every dog, no matter what breed, will have some bad habits and behaviors that you will need to break.

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  • vincenza
    What is remote punishment?
    6 years ago

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