London: Pet owners, take note! Shouting at your dog or yanking its lead can cause the animal stress, according to a new study.
The study found that some dog training methods cause stress to the animals. It suggests that owners should employ positive training techniques that involve plenty of treats and cuddles.
Researchers compared the two schools of dog training, one using positive reinforcement, such as rewarding good behaviour with snacks, petting and praise and rewards, and the other using negative or aversive reinforcement, such as punishing bad behaviour by pulling on the lead.
The researchers found that dogs became more stressed, evident from their ‘low’ posture, the licking of mouths, yawning, shivering and whining, when trained with negative techniques.
But dogs trained with positive reinforcement were likely to have a better relationship with their owners, ‘The Times’ reported.
The study said that the way a dog gazes at its owner is an important index of their relationship, and positive training methods produced more frequent and longer gazes, while punishment-based training was up to 15 times more likely to produce stress symptoms.
The study was published in the The Journal of Veterinary Behaviour.