Here’s an excerpt into what you can expect from the Thesis, click at the link at the end of this post to read more.
The purpose of this project is to provide information that supports the hypothesis that positive punishment method of training dogs reinforces leash reactivity and should not be used. Using positive reinforcement methods of training to teach dogs how to respond to stimulus to reduce and eliminate reactivity is the best approach to behavior modification. This research project will support evidence of how dog owners create and reinforce leash reactivity as well as the best treatment plan to help overcome leash reactivity, keep people walking their dogs safely, and keep dogs in their homes.
What is leash reactivity and why is it a problem and how do we reinforce it?
Leash reactivity is also describes or known as “Leash Aggression,” “Barrier Frustration,” or “Leash Frustration.” For the purpose of this article, we will refer to this behavior as Leash Reactivity. Leash reactivity occurs between a dog owner/dog walker, and the dog. Leash reactivity is described as anything that is an unwanted behavior while on a walk and on a leash. Barking and pulling on the leash towards other dogs are some of descriptions of leash reactivity behaviors. Other behaviors that fall under the category of leash reactivity are, whining, spinning, frequent marking, biting at the leash, or even a redirected bite to the dog owner. It is stated that leash reactivity can be genetic, hormonal, or territorial, but in most cases leash reactivity is a learned behavior. Leash reactivity behavior can be initially derived
Dog Owners Reinforce Leash Reactivity from the barriers to meet and or play with other dogs as well as the aversive tools and techniques we use to attempt to correct this as an undesirable behavior. Leash reactivity is likely reinforced by dog owners failed attempts at applying a positive punishment technique for initial undesirable behaviors. This process becomes a vicious cycle. The dog is reactive, the dog owner applies positive punishment, and the dog becomes more reactive.
Leash reactivity is a problem. Studies have shown dogs with leash reactivity fail to meet basic welfare needs, which include exercise and socializing with con-specifics (Webster, 1994). Leash reactive dogs will not be walked, exercised, and often not socialized. Reactive dogs are often neglected participation in extracurricular activities. Companion dogs that are leash reactive can become banned to the home, relinquished, or the most critical, they can be euthanized. Positive punishment plays the largest role in reinforcing leash reactivity. When positive punishment fails, the leash reactivity continues to be reinforced. Animals have been shown to respond to painful stimuli with aggression. Painful aversive stimuli used incorrectly and with bad timing can lead the dog to misinterpret the situation and through the process of attempting to distance himself, become leash reactive. The tools used for leash reactivity range from a sharp tug on the leash to a choke, prong or shock collar. All of these tools are aversive tools and positive punishers if effective. Discontinuing the use of positive punishment methods and attempting to put the dog on extinction as well as incorporating positive reinforcement methods of behavior modification
Dog Owners Reinforce Leash Reactivity programs have become the best advised choice of correcting behavior problems and leash reactivity. Positive punishment is advised to be avoided. The punisher would be considered a successful tool to manage the behavior if the dog ceased the undesirable behavior after one or two attempts, but often this type of punisher fails with this behavior.Thesis-How Dog Owners Create Reactive Behaviors