《How to train your pet? —— Pets x Behavioral Psychology》

The addition of a new family member is definitely very exciting! However, a pet is like a kid, and it takes immense time and effort to train. What should I do to train them effectively? Is reward and punishment more effective?


We can refer to operant conditioning in psychology! The basic principle is to link pet behaviors with rewards/punishments and encourage or discourage them from acting in a certain way. We can divide “operational constraints” into the following four categories.


Positive reinforcement: Encourage behavior by giving rewards

Positive punishment: Discourage behavior by giving punishments

Negative reinforcement: Encourage behavior by removing punishment

Negative punishment: Discourage behavior by removing rewards


Here are some examples.




Suppose you want to train your pet to give a high five. Whenever the dog succeeds, you can give it a snack. It will associate the “pleasure from eating the snack” with the “high five”, which will make it learn the behaviour effectively.




Suppose you want to train your pet to stick with you on street. Whenever it wants to run away, you can slightly pull the leash to make it feel uncomfortable, until it decides to follow you. Your pet will thus link the “reduction of discomfort from the leash” with “following you on street”, over time it will learn not to run away and stick to you!


(! Remember not to pull the leash too hard!)




Suppose you want to train your pet to pee in the correct place. Every time it pees in the incorrect place, you can give a negative reaction (dissatisfaction, anger, etc.), so that he will associate “your negative reaction” with “peeing in the incorrect place”, hence reducing it’s behavior.




Suppose you want to train your pet to pee in the correct place. Whenever it pees in the incorrect place, you can immediately remove some of its snacks, so that it will associate “the reduction in unpleasantness of less snacks” and “peeing in the incorrect place”. Hence reducing its behaviour.


It’s worth noting that some studies have pointed out that after being punished with negative reinforcement and positive punishment, Pets will become hostile to their owners and will only become more difficult to deal with in the future. Therefore, under normal circumstances, the use of these two methods is not encouraged. #Positive_Reinforcement and #Negative_Punishment is sufficient.


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