onclusions: Inappropriate positive punishment (PP)...
Are problem behaviours in urban pet dogs
related to inappropriate use of positive punishment?
Christine Arhant*, Josef Troxler*, Angela Mittmann+
*Institute of Animal Husbandry and Animal Welfare, Department for Farm Animals and Veterinary Public Health, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria
e-mail rst author: firstname.lastname@example.org
+Chair of Animal Welfare, Ethology, Animal Hygiene and Animal Housing, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Owners use forms of positive punishment (PP) Ü
to train their dog or to deal with unwanted behaviour.
Inappropriate use is suspected to
• be ineffective &
• cause or increase problem behaviour.
ypotheses: Ü Inappropriate PP is associated with lower obedience, a lowered dog-owner-relationship &
increased aggression and fear.
Ü Factors like visit of dog training classes enhance appropriateness of use.
ethods: • Questionnaires sent by post to 5000 Viennese dog owners in January 2007
• Questions about dog behaviour*, owner-dog interactions & dog training (* measured on 7-point-scale (1=never/7=always) to generate scores through PCA)
• Use of PP assessed through questions regarding schedule, intensity and use of a warning signal
• 1345 questionnaires - return rate: 28% - analyzed by Oneway-ANOVA (Tukey-HSD-Post-hoc-Test) & Cross-Tabulations: χ2-Test
esults: 44% of the owners constantly reported to use PP, 17% gave inconsistent answers & 29% do not use it*
(*10% at least one missing answer out of three concerning use of PP)
Ü The less conditions of PP were fullled the...
...lower the dogs` obedience: (F(3, 498)=36.8, P<0.001) ...lower the tolerance of close physical contact with the owner
without showing signs of aggression like growling or snapping:
...higher the frequency of aggressive behaviour:
(F(3, 506)=5.1, P<0.01) ...higher the frequency of fearful behaviour:
(F(3, 509)=6.2, P<0.001)
Ü What leads to enhanced appropriateness of PP?
• visit of dog training classes
• behavioural counselling/single training sessions
• to read books about dog training
• to visit courses/lectures about dog training (χ2=8.1, p<0.05)
• training the dog daily (χ2=30.2, p<0.01)
Examples of inappropriate use: That may lead to...
Schedule • target behaviour pun-
ished only occasionally
...dog is not able to predict
Intensity • too low to stop target
...increasing intensity of
Warning signal • is not established ...dog is not able to control
• ...decreases obedience.
• ...seems to increase problem behaviour,
but effects are small.
• ...worsens dog-owner-relationship: Dogs seem to
loose condence in their owners and may feel
threatened by physical contact.
Ü ...impacts on the dogs welfare
Ü ...may put well-being of owners & public at risk
Alarmingly, few factors enhance appropriateness!
Ü Point out the importance of appropriate use
Ü Encourage the use of alternative methods
Ü As most owners will use PP teach the appropriate use thoroughly