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Pandemic Puppy Owners Resort to Punishment, Study Shows

One of the silver linings of the Coronavirus pandemic was that many homeless dogs in shelters found their forever homes. As lockdowns and self-isolation rules became the order of the day, many people opted to adopt a pandemic puppy to help them cope with the mentally and emotionally draining restrictions. 

However, not all who welcomed a dog into their lives would care for the animals with utmost love. Nearly three years after the pandemic, innocent pandemic dogs are paying the price for their owners’ shortcomings.

The Daily Mail UK now reports that most people who adopted puppies during the pandemic currently use punishment to discipline them rather than positive reinforcement training. The lack of access to training opportunities during the pandemic due to stay-at-home orders largely contributed to this unfortunate outcome.

Owners are punishing dogs adopted during the pandemic

According to a new study by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), most pandemic puppy owners currently use punishment to correct unwanted dog behavior. 

For the study, the researchers used an online survey. They gathered about 1,007 valid responses from owners who still have their pandemic dogs. 

Shockingly, four out of every five respondents admitted to using punishment. Only 18% of the respondents shared they do not resort to aversive training to correct undesirable dog behavior.

Why aversive dog training should be avoided 

According to the RVC, aversive dog training has led to a rise in the number of canines who exhibit aggressive tendencies, among other negative behaviors. 

Using harsh tactics such as yelling, hitting, or pushing a dog away only causes the canine to become fearful, confused, stressed, and, in most cases, aggressive. Dogs learn best and change for the better when they trust and feel safe with their “teacher.”

For this reason, aversive training isn’t effective as it does more harm than good compared to positive reinforcement training. Furthermore, punishment breaks the bond between a dog and their owner.  

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