Researchers find dogs become traumatized when shouted at
Yelling at dogs can cause them to become traumatized, a recent study has discovered.
According to researchers, the trauma dogs encounter when shouted at can’t be fixed with treats either.
The heartbreaking discovery revealed that screaming at dogs scares them for the long term.
Science Alert reports that patience has been found to be a far superior method for training them.
42 dogs were recruited from schools that used reward-based training, and 50 dogs from aversion training schools, by researchers led by biologist Ana Catarina Vieira de Castro of the Universidade do Porto in Portugal.
During the study period, pups taught with yelling and leash-jerking were found to be more stressed, with higher levels of cortisol found in their saliva.
“Our results show that companion dogs trained using aversive-based methods experienced poorer welfare as compared to companion dogs trained using reward-based methods, at both the short- and the long-term level,” the researchers write in the paper published by biology news service bioRxiv.
“Specifically, dogs attending schools using aversive-based methods displayed more stress-related behaviors and body postures during training, higher elevations in cortisol levels after training, and were more ‘pessimistic’ in a cognitive bias task,” researchers found.
Re-visiting the pups one month later, researchers found that the aversion trained dogs still had a much more negative attitude.
According to the New York Post, the results of the study show that yelling at dogs literally “ruins their lives.”
Pups that experienced calm, gentle teachers, however, performed better at tasks that researchers assigned to them.
Each dog was filmed during the first 15 minutes of three training sessions.
Such tasks include locating a bowl with sausage in it — in a roomful of empty but sausage-smeared bowls.
More harshly trained canines were slower to locate the treat bowl.
Authors interpreted this difference as showing that their experiences had made them more depressed, less hopeful hounds.
The biologists also analyzed dogs during training to look for “stress behaviors” such as lip-licking, paw-raising, yawning and yelping.
Meanwhile, pups who were taught in a more gentle manner tended to display fewer stress behaviors.
“Critically, our study points to the fact that the welfare of companion dogs trained with aversive-based methods appears to be at risk,” the researchers conclude.