When a dog is startled, and barks at something or responds to something in a way the human wants to decrease, because there is no “100%” in behavior, only better percentages, and the humans issue a verbal or physical reprimand which results in fear or pain the dog learns they were “right” in their determination that the event was fearful. In fact they were the vast majority of the time they’re wrong. They’re actually safe.
In fact in this sort of scenario, say door bell rings and dog barks, and people scold or worse, hit, choked or electrocuted everyone got it wrong, the dog didn’t need to be afraid of the door bell, but they were, the people did not need to implement fear or pain in an event like this, but far too many do. They confirmed for the dog the event was indeed scary.
Dogs rely on predictive value in a major way. One of the things they don’t tell you about Pavlov’s dogs, is those dog started to drool when the guys showed up for work in the morning, before they even started the experiments. Why? Because those dogs have learned these people predict “we’re going to get paid food”. That’s predictive value.
There is this really bad meme, a terrible cultural idea, that if the dog is doing something that you’d rather them not do that you scare them, startle them, cause them fear and pain through choke or shock. Nothing could be more harmful to your dog’s overall soundness than living a “punishment lifestyle”. All dogs will learn is people are scary. Remember dogs generalize fear better than anything.
There’s an equally archaic view that if you reassure the dog, or issue food rewards when they’re startled etc...You will be reinforcing that fearful behavior. The reality is when your dog is fearful/startled or simply trying to figure out what’s happening because something is occurring quickly and you reassure, issue training cues, or implement counter conditioning (Yes&Treat) and pair the event with food, what you’re doing is
reducing stress hormones called glucocorticoids, padding stress, and if timed accurately; counter conditioning to map towards less stress and better associations to future events similar in nature. Sounds much better that the yell hit scare dog mindset, no?
Dogs view all events and stimuli as “safe, unsafe or neutral”.
Dogs have the cognition of three year old children by age 2.
The dorsal lateral pre frontal cortex is the area of the brain that does executive functions and “right / wrong” determinations.
Dogs cannot formulate any “moral imperatives”, meaning they’re innocent.
Dogs respond to all things based on “safe, unsafe or neutral determinations.
Dogs take major cues about environmental stimuli from humans.
“Behavior is in the environment”, not in the dog.
Humans are the most crucial variable that informs the dog of what’s occurring, as humans have large brains that can comprehend complexities, dogs do not have the ability to understand human concepts like “respect” or being bombarded with visual and auditory stimuli suddenly. They need help, and they need it every step of the way, not just once.
Humans should be guardians not prison guards, we’re here to help dogs, not scare them and hurt them and call it “training”.
All of what I’ve written here is true, facts that can be verified.
So seeing that dogs are basically three year old kids cognitively speaking, why are humans still blaming and beating them, because it’s abuse, and it’s an ugly truth far too many people are not willing to shine a light on.
If you’re causing dogs fear and pain and calling it “training” you’re abusing dogs;