Aversive Stimulation and Confrontational Training Methods: Know more. Do better.


Aversive stimulation and confrontational training are defined as any stimulation used in response to a behavior that instigates avoidance or escape behaviors from the subject. There are many arguments made to minimize the impacts of using these techniques in the name of training and behavior modification. Research would suggest that these arguments remain thin. Although there is debate around the use of aversive stimulation and confrontational methods in the training and behavior community, science has spoken - again. The following information has been collected to reinforce the already proven physiological and emotional impacts of using these techniques on companion dogs.


Professionals with a proven competency and continued education for training and behavior modification, including behavior issues like aggression, are aware of the statistically proven fallout resulting from these methods. Average owners, typically unaware of the risks, often fall prey to many carefully worded marketing messages from trainers using aversives, force, and intimidation. They walk their dogs into schools, hand over their leashes, and watch as their pets are subjected to e-collars, prong collars, choke chains, and “bonkers” — rolled up towels at the ready to strike the dog, usually from behind. What owners see is that the problem behavior decreases or ceases altogether. What they don’t understand is the set of maladaptive behaviors that will replace it. They are not aware of the significance of stereotypical behaviors and distress signals, or the long-term risks of each. Owners also have a difficult time identifying fear in their own dogs which may explain their ability to continue participating in these types of training scenarios.