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Should Shelters Use Aversive Training Methods

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John Griffin is the director of shelter services at the Women’s Humane Society in Bensalem, PA. They are committed to the humane and compassionate treatment of animals and are distinguished as America’s First Animal Shelter.

Should shelters use aversives in training:

So as a Star Wars fan, for anyone who might be, I kind of echo what Yoda says, “fear is the path to the dark side.” Right? So, not that we are going to create evil monsters but why would we directly introduce something that’s painful or scary to an animal who doesn’t understand or may not understand what we are asking of them.

The University of Pennsylvania had a nice study where it was like if you’re aggressive, your animal will be. Right? so we have the data that say when we use these things there is the potential that we are going to get the exact opposite of what we are looking for. Right? I am looking for well behaved, well-adjusted animal. Well if I am pinning them down every time they do something I don’t like, I am probably scaring them and they don’t understand and they just know I become scary, you know?

We’re more likely to do things we enjoy, so if we teach them in a fun way and we give them things that they like, they are more likely do what we ask, so if we don’t need to scare them, if we don’t need to cause them pain, why do it?


For a full list of disadvantages of using aversive methods, please visit Danger Of Using Fear and Pain Based Dog Training Approaches