Deep down many people assume that they hurt their dogs when they yell at them, after all we might lose our temper, but not our empathy. A study in which more than 90 dogs participated just confirmed this and discovered that yelling at them can have lasting negative effects on their mental state.
We want to raise awareness about these discoveries, so today we’re sharing the results of that study with you.
Researchers from the University of Porto, in Portugal, led by Dr. Ana Catarina Vieira de Castro, conducted their study on companion dogs to determine whether yelling and using aversive training has a negative effect on them.
For this, they selected 92 companion dogs and divided them into 2 groups: those trained using reward-based methods, like games and treats, and those trained using aversive-based methods, like yelling or leash-jerking.
The study measured the signs of nervousness in dogs.
The scientists set out to observe the behavior of the animals in training, in both positive and negative reinforcement method groups. This way they could detect the signs of stress in dogs like yawning, leg lifting, yelping, and lip-licking, as well as their level of tension or relaxation.
In addition, they took saliva samples from the dogs of both groups to identify chemicals related to anxiety and nervousness, like cortisol. Using these samples, they were able to calculate the stress level of the dogs in each group. It’s not surprising that the dogs that were trained using punishment had higher levels of stress than those in the other group, but the consequences of the study went further.