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Horse Facts and Tips
First Posted: July 9, 2012
Jul 28, 2012

Pitfalls of Punishment

The following is the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior position statement on the pitfalls and possible adverse effects of punishment:

  • "Timing punishment correctly is difficult.
  • Punishment can strengthen the undesirable behavior.
  • The punishment must be strong enough to be effective, but intense punishment can lead to physical harm.
  • Regardless of the strength, punishment can cause some animals to become extremely fearful, and this fear can generalize to other contexts.
  • Punishment can facilitate or even cause aggressive behavior.
  • Punishment can suppress behaviors, including those behaviors that warn of aggression.Punishment can teach the animal to associate the owners, other animals, specific contexts, or Eenvironments with bad experiences.
  • Punishment often does not address the underlying cause of behaviors or teach alternate behaviors."

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