Aversive Control as a Basic Framework of Training


Aversive Control – The use of an aversive stimulus or consequence, such as punishment or negative reinforcement, to control behavior.

Punishment – In operant conditioning, the process in which the relationship, or contingency, between a response and some stimulus or circumstance results in the response becoming less probable.

– Important to note that we’re talking about the use P+ in an escape/avoidance paradigm

Negative Reinforcement – the removal, prevention, or postponement of an aversive stimulus as a consequence of a response, which, in turn, increases the probability of that response.

Conditioning – the process by which certain kinds of experience make particular actions more or less likely.

Escape Conditioning – the process by which a subject acquires a response that results in the termination of an aversive stimulus.

Avoidance Conditioning – the establishment of behavior that prevents or postpones aversive stimulation. 

– Prompted by a signal predicting aversive stimulation.

Source for above definitions: https://dictionary.apa.org


  • Reward base systems and compulsive systems are not mutually exclusive
  • Reward based systems are inherently lower risk and a good place to gain experience and skills helpful in compulsive systems 
  • You must follow your own moral compass
    • Your values are not necessarily your dog’s values
  • Professional ethics
    • Protect your rights by not abusing them
  • In defense of compulsion
    • Adversity and character
    • Developing resilience 

Common Tools:



-Mechanical advantage


-Manual techniques

Hunting Dogs and Aversive Control:

“Sterile” vs “Unsterile” environments

Engagement vs independence

-Uncontrolled, expansive environment and uncontrolled reinforcer

-Traditions of training

-Testing and trial programs

-Genetic selection


  • Pressure intro


  • E-Collar Conditioning
  • “OB”
  • Brief “Force Fetch” overview



-Prey reward vs safe haven from pressure


-Transition into retriever skills

  • “Breaking” processes

– Brief methods overview

-Book reviews