British researchers have found that training dogs exclusively through positive reinforcement (e.g., treats) more effective than the use of punishments — including the electronic collar. For this, the researchers for five days trained 63 dogs: by the end of the training, they learned to perform the command “sit” and “me”, but those dogs that were praised with treats, but collars were not used, respond to commands much faster. Article published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science.
As with any other training in training dogs typically use the two most common strategies: reinforcement or punishment. Reinforcement when the desired behavior is fixed by providing a desired stimulus or the disappearance of an unpleasant stimulus, but when the punishment is mainly used for restricting unwanted behavior — is the opposite: a desirable stimulus is taken, and exposure to unpleasant increases.
It is unclear exactly what the strategy is positive or negative reinforcement or punishment — the working, but they all usually use the same stimulation. The most common positive incentive for training dogs with treats or praise, but the most used negative (at least in professional training) — electronic collars, which are delicately beat a dog with a current (sometimes low-frequency discharges or vibration of the collar can also serve as positive reinforcement).
Of course, the use of electronic collars there is a lot of enemies, but it is still unclear, at the same time, what method of training most effective: it might well be that the faster and the best dog to train with the help of shocks. To test this experimentally decided scientists led by Jonathan Cooper (Jonathan Cooper) from Lincoln University and his colleagues.
In their experiment involved 63 dogs, whose owners complained about the disobedience of Pets and unwillingness to follow commands and there were no drills and training before the study. Dogs were divided into three equal groups and each appointed a five-day training sessions (total 2.5 hours each day). Dogs from the first group trained using e-collars and standard behavioral techniques (treats and stretching the leash). The second group was trained only with the help of behavioral techniques, both positive and negative stimulation, but without the use of an electronic collar. Finally, dogs from the third group trained using exclusively positive reinforcement: treated and praised them when they coped with the task.
Upon completion of training dogs from the third group were the most obedient: they are faster than other dogs respond to commands (for example, started to run to the trainer via 1.1 seconds after the command “to foot” — compared to 1.35 V and 1.2 seconds the other two groups). In addition, dogs from the third group had less teams to respond after the first call has responded to 82 percent of the dogs from the third group (the other two dogs were 71 and 72 percent).
Scientists have concluded that the advantages of e-collars in training dogs, compared to more traditional and soft methods like treats, no. They said that the results of their work mean that e-collars are not needed at all: for example, they can be effective in training dogs unwanted behavior — when to give the animal to understand that the violation of the rules will be punished.
Tactile stimulation for dogs necessarily includes the shocks last year, for example, the scientists presented a special dog suit who teaches dogs the necessary commands with the help of vibrations.