The Power of Consequences in Dog Training

August 31, 2022

Understanding Behavioral Patterns


It’s fascinating how we instinctively understand that all creatures follow behavioural patterns to seek pleasure or avoid pain. JD Roberts says, “When there are no consequences for poor work ethic and no reward for good work ethic, there is no motivation.” What do you think drives behaviours?

The Impact of Negative Consequences


Neurological studies show that negative consequences have a faster impact and stick better than rewards. Andrew Huberman states, “It’s much easier to have a negative experience wired into your nervous system because it’s adaptive, and you’ll forever avoid those stimuli to protect and keep yourself safe.” Why should dogs be any different?

Failure: A Powerful Teacher


One perspective is that positive consequences mean success in reaching a goal, while negative consequences represent failure. Interestingly, failure teaches valuable lessons, making us humble, stronger, experienced, and adding to our self-worth. Dogs, being motivated by consequences, can also benefit from both positive and negative experiences.


Respecting Different Training Approaches


Despite the benefits of using both positive and negative consequences, many dog owners and trainers feel hesitant to use negative consequences, fearing they may be cruel. However, Tony Robbins reminds us that successful people focus on the end result. In dog training, the goal is a confident, happy, and secure pet.

Changing Attitudes for Better Outcomes


Remember, your dog’s behaviour won’t change by chance, only through action and consequences. If you don’t like a specific training method, change it or change your attitude towards it. Comparison is beneficial if it makes you better, not bitter.

Final Thoughts


Zig Ziglar says, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” And as Gandhi points out, “Our greatest ability as humans is not to change the world, but to change ourselves.” Keep in mind that dogs, like humans, act to improve their situations in the moment.

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