Sometimes it’s all too easy to shout at your dog when you catch them doing something bad or naughty. But now, a study says that yelling at your furry friend can traumatize them in the long-term.
In the study, researchers recruited 42 dogs from obedience schools that used reward-based training. They also used 50 dogs from aversion training schools to study the effects each training method had.
According to the research paper, each dog was filmed for the first 15 minutes of 3 training sessions and saliva samples were tested to measure the stress levels each dog experienced.
3 saliva samples were also taken from each dog when they were relaxing in order to establish baseline levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. 3 other saliva samples were also taken from each dog after training.
The researchers, led by biologist Ana Catarina Vieira de Castro of the Universidade do Porto in Portugal, also analyzed the dogs’ behavior during training, looking for stress indicators such as yawning, lip-licking, paw-raising and yelping.
Dogs who had experienced shouting and lead-pulling during their training were found to be more stressed, with higher levels of cortisol found in their saliva and with elevated stress behaviors, especially lip-licking and yawning.
In comparison, dogs who had calm, gentle teachers displayed fewer stress behaviors and had more normal cortisol levels, according to Science Alert.
The researchers explained their findings saying, “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.
“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.”
“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 added.
Dogs are known to be unconditionally loyal and loving to their owners, it’s only fair we do the same, even when they mess up.