Roger Salmon column

Roger Salmon.
Roger Salmon.

Training your dog with love is the best way to teach and to achieve a better relationship with your dog.

A recent study claims that yanking on the lead and stern tellings off can cause the animal mental trauma and have a detrimental impact on its welfare.

It found that pets who are trained using such “aversion” techniques were 15 times more likely to exhibit symptoms of stress than those trained using “positive” techniques , such as the use of treats and softer voices.

The research serves as a repudiation of the authoritarian style – still used to train many British dogs – popularised in the 1970s by Barbara Woodhouse and now advocated by many modern trainers, such as Cesar Millan, a prominent international expert known as the Dog Whisperer.

However, the study has caused controversy, with some experts claiming that relying solely on “ positive” methods can lead to dogs failing to learn boundaries of acceptable behaviour and can make them “spoilt”.

The research involved monitoring two dog training schools using the two different methods.

Those taking part were from a cross section of breeds and ages, whilst their owners were from a range of social backgrounds.

The two groups were then observed undertaking tasks, such as being ordered to sit and walking on a lead.

The researchers monitored the owners behaviour and recorded the animals body postures.

When told to sit dogs trained using the negative methods showed far more signs of stress: mouth licking (38 per cent compared with 8 per cent among the other group) and lowered body posture (46 per cent compared with 8 per cent)

Other animal behaviourists state that relying solely on positive training could lead to badly behaved pets. Dogs like children need boundaries and having to say no. If a dog is out chasing sheep or trying to kill next doors cat then he has to be stopped and at the moment we are seeing an increase in dogs out of control.

The most important thing to remember is that reward and admonishment must be given immediately after the action, otherwise the dog does not know what it is being reprimanded about.