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My reasons for "positive" training


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And I sincerely doubt you will find any behaviorist who suggests otherwise. Thats a total strawman argument.

 

Edited my quote. I hadn't meant to leave the other sentence. Just to say that I think the art of science is where I am most comfortable and that I think it is an important aspect.

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I think that "positive" trainers and the APDT are doing themselves a disservice by spewing their scientific mumbo jumbo and bragging about their "scientific" approaches to dog training.

 

Maybe you feel that way, but I don't think you can speak for the majority of the dog owning populace. Certainly I know more than a handful of people who really enjoy the concepts of learning theory and how to apply it to their household dogs. Maybe for you it's a bunch of (insert diminutive and dismissive descriptives of your choice here) but for a lot of people it's fascinating, eye opening and interesting, both in theory and in application.

 

As someone who has done quite a bit of stockdog work (though to no level, lacking as I have a dog who has talent) I will agree that Kristine can't wrap her mind around how a correction-free environment cannot be conceived of (no offense Kristine). It can't be done, as far as I can see, but nor can I see how it really does the dog any harm.

 

Conversely, the stockdog folks can probably never conceive of how difficult and challenging a sport like agility is, and/or why advancements in motivational training techniques are exciting for those of us who do.

 

For example - stockdog people get quite up in arms when laymen call it "sheep chasing" or even the relatively benign "herding." It's very annoying for them when someone diminishes a complex and multi-faceted activity by turning it into a joke. Yet the same stockdog people wouldn't hesitate to describe agility as "going over those ramps and through those hoops" and think nothing of how they are diminishing what is also a complex and multi-facted activity. Two worlds, never the twain shall mix, etc.

 

And yet they aren't that different - I know lots of very positive trainers who wouldn't dream of "throwing cheese at the dog to get a lie down" when working stock, just as I know lots of agility trainers who use body pressure as well as removal of reward (no 2o2o on the contact, no continuation of the game for you) to convey messages to the dog to get the results they want. There is lots of cross over, it's just applied differently. But it can be as difficult for a sport person to understand a nice well timed whap with a stock stick as it is for stockdog person to understand why anyone would teach a dog to drive through the poles for a tug toy. For the record, I carry both those things (stock stick and tug toy) in my car ;-)

 

People, no matter if they are apples, oranges or guavas, like results. Both methods get results, but not always with the same success or in the same context. I can no more imagine clicker training my dog in a round pen than I can putting a long line on my dog in agility class to stop him from doing something.

 

Where I do see R+ excelling is with respect to truly problematic dogs. Other things help those dogs too, like pharmaceuticals and other kinds of intervention that correction just won't plain touch. And as someone (I apologize, I forget who) pointed out, stockdog people are likely to 'get rid of' a dog who isn't working with them more than another kind of trainer is, that other kind of trainer being more likely to work through the dog's issues using positive techniques. I've also seen it suggested on this board countless times that it's ridiculous for someone to keep a dog that is doing X if X is such a big problem for the owner - just get another dog that doesn't do X. That kind of rift is difficult to bridge because it's simply a very different perspective on the philosophy of keeping dogs and what makes a good relationship between dog and handler. And maybe some of the R+ people sound fanatical sometimes because to fix X they climbed into the land of hooeyblah and gobblygook or whatever it is positive training and learning theory gets called on here and it changed their dog's life, and also their own.

 

What you surround yourself with is often what you know to work. How many times has a stockdog person here pointed out that the most ill behaved dogs they see are ones trained with clickers? Maybe that's true, but they also probably don't spend a lot of time with groups of very positive trainers with really amazingly responsive and well mannered dogs. I also hear from sport and ACK type people quite frequently that stockdogs are all ill tempered dogs who need someone to ride herd on them all the time or they are out of control, obsessive maniacs who'd kill something as soon as look at it if it weren't for their handlers laying into them all the time. They obviously don't spend any time with beautiful, well mannered, lovely tempered stockdogs who love to work and love their handlers.

 

R+ / learning theory people who want to discuss scientific applications to dog training are no more or less irritating than the Cesar Milan wannabes who want to talk about dominance, calm-submissive states and other "alpha" theory. In my daily life, I run into a hell of a lot more of the latter kind than the former, that's for sure. Just yesterday at the dog beach, two 'roid monkeys came strutting along (shirtless, of course, because no clothes fit their grossly distorted upper torsos) with their dog. TWooie took offense to their dog, but I called him off before he did anything but posture (I consider this a big success for dog-aggro TWooie, incidentally). As I was rewarding him for his correct choice, the 'roid monkeys' dog decided to come punish TWoo for posturing. Guess who couldn't call their dog back? And since that put TWoo right over threshold, trapped as I was on a beach with nowhere to go and a TWooie freaking out in my arms and a dog 5 times his size snapping at him and trying to pounce on him, the 'roid monkey towered over me and said "Obviously you're not the alpha here, and you're not in charge of that dog." I *really* wanted to tell him that steroids had not emasculated _me_ and I wasn't obsessed with dominating other living things as a compensatory knee-jerk response to having a penis the size of a cocktail gerkin, but I managed to restrain myself.

 

Actually, I have to admit, that is WAY more irritating than anybody spouting off about positive reinforcement and applied learning theory can be any old time!!

 

RDM

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I still do not understand how it is possible to work a dog with no corrections...

 

 

If you are running an agility course and the next obstacle is a jump, but the dog starts towards an off course tunnel, do you not attempt to call the dog off the tunnel?

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99% of agility is showing the dog where you want it to go. If your dog goes into an off course tunnel, your body language more than likely sent him there. There is the always entertaining 1% where a dog does something entirely of his own accord on the course because he wants to, but I would say in most cases, you somehow told the dog that's where it was going.

 

In my case, hell yeah, I'd call the dog off the tunnel if I could (usually I can't though). Some people would try the sequence again with no corrective marker and see if they can't figure out how they misdirected the dog, and then would reward the dog for doing the sequence correctly the second time. And that probably makes them better handlers than me. Me, I have a very pouty temper and hate when things go wrong ;-)

 

RDM

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(my bold) Why must it be assumed that it is either/or, and that these two "mindsets" are at cross purposes, just because someone uses corrections as part of their toolbox, and feels their training and relationship is better for it?

 

Note: In this post, I use "you", Ooky and "I" since we are a firsthand example. But I am speaking more generally here. "You" can be read - "those who incorporate correction into training" and "I" can be read - "those who choose not to incorporate correction into training".

 

Just as you consider corrections as something that improves your relationship with your dog, I consider corrections in training as something that do not foster the kind of relationship that I want with my dogs. And so, as I said a bit earlier, I don't consider it a big deal at all that I don't incorporate them into my training. It's not even something that I think much about in day to day life. I don't miss corrections any more than a Kohler trainer would miss a clicker. I'm busy using reinforcement and learning how to train better and better using the tools that I love to use and find incredibly effective.

 

However, I don't hold that point of view to put myself at odds with trainers who use corrections. It is simply a difference. A difference in the way that I approach training, how dogs learn, and how I choose to foster better relationship between myself and my dogs. It's not about the trainers who use corrections at all.

 

I work side by side with a lot of people who use corrections to varying degrees. I don't always like what I see them do to their dogs, but if I am going to coexist with them peacefully in the dog training world, I have to accept that we view and approach certain things differently. At the same time, the fact that they do those things does not, in any way, make me want to. Even if they are getting the results that they want. Those results are often not what I would want. Another difference.

 

Now, if those same people were constantly saying things to me like, "well you would use corrections if . . . xyz" or "you will ultimately fail at training your dogs if you don't incorporate corrections" or "you really use corrections but you don't know it" or "your training is all scientific mumbo jumbo", or "this person over here with an OTCH uses corrections, so you'd better", etc. those would not be folks that I'd be working side by side with!

 

I believe that that cross purposes comes more from the objections to other people's training choices. Nothing I say is going to change your point of view on corrections. Nothing that you say is going to change mine.

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I think to many people get stuck on 1 method. Happy for example I would never do anything harsh with her in regular situations..the harshest correction she gets is a tap on the side with an "ah ah". UNLESS she is on stock, her entire demeaner changes on stock, and she is not even close to "soft"..in fact on stock she is EXTREMLY hard, and the odd time she needs corrected, if its not harsh, you dont even exist. Misty works best with clicker training, when clicker training fails, confusing her is the best alternitive..example, training her not to pull by simply dropping the leash..all other methodes both postive, negitive and combo's failed entirly..confusing her works like a charm, but my puller of 7 years no longer pulls at all. Electra is best with dominance methods, she is not broken at all...her most strictwalks(8lbs pack, perfect heel, no potty, sit square without asking etc..) are her absolute fav's, she gets super focased about them, and preforms everything with a big grin like "look mom! I did it!!" I started this methode after she started getting very aggressive, attacking my other dogs, and once flipping around snarling at me. Rusty I treat VERY harshly, I use an e-collar, compulsion, I kick him a little in the rear, I stomp my feet at him, I roll him etc.. why? there is a REASON he has been through so many homes, did I try kinder more positive methodes? duh. the result? he got 1000 X WORSE then he already had been. finally fed up one day I got aggressive with him..INSTANT change, getting aggressive with him that day, and getting the e-collar for him were the 2 best things I ever did, and guess what? he is not scared or broken..he still has his attitude and suddenly he LOVES to work. Ladybug is just weird lol I have no explaination for her!

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If you are running an agility course and the next obstacle is a jump, but the dog starts towards an off course tunnel, do you not attempt to call the dog off the tunnel?

 

Suppose you send your dog outside to pee. He does his business and you leave him out there for a few minutes to sniff. The dog is doing nothing wrong. Now it's time for him to come in, so you go out and call "Dog - inside!" The dog comes in when called, not because you told him he was doing something "wrong", but because you gave him a new directive.

 

When you called "Dog - inside!", did you give a correction? I would say "no". By calling the dog, one is not saying "you're wrong", but "now do this".

 

Calling the dog off the tunnel on an Agility course is much like calling the dog in. It's a directive. "Go this way." I'm not going to convey to the the dog that he is "wrong" for going to the tunnel. (This is, after all, a game and my body language probably sent him toward the tunnel). For some reason he is going the wrong way, but it's my job as handler to give him the information he needs to be correct, not to stand around telling him he's "wrong".

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These discussions are always interesting to me, as someone who does train without corrections. To me that just isn't the big deal that it seems like for a lot of folks.

 

Kristine, whenever a thread discusses, even peripherally, the use of corrections, your posts will nearly always include the phrase, "As someone who trains without corrections . . .." I doubt anyone could read your postings for long without concluding that this is part of your very definition of yourself. You have ruled out even the consideration of correction as a means of communicating in training, and because it's a categorical rejection -- never to consider correction in any training situation -- it has to be based in theory, whether the theory be "Corrections of any kind are inherently dangerous to the human-dog relationship" or "Corrections are inhumane" or "Corrections are antithetical to the kind of person I deem myself to be" or "Corrections are never as effective as rewards" or whatever. I don't know whether you in fact do use corrections -- either without being aware of it, or by terming what I would consider +P as a "directive" so as to make it "not a correction" -- but I don't think anyone could read your posts and not conclude that you think eschewing corrections is a very big deal indeed.

 

Ooky, I loved your description of Odin and the receiving blanket. That is just how the training dialogue "feels" to me when it's going well. Under the impoverished terminology of behavioral theory, I think your "uh uh" would have to qualify as +P. It is something you do that makes it less likely that that behavior (e.g., bringing the comforter when you ask for the blanket) will be repeated, and you do it with the intention of making that behavior less likely to be repeated. It tells the dog he is wrong, which a border collie doesn't like to be, so in that sense I suppose it would be intrinsically aversive. People in whose minds "punishment" = "cruel" may try to categorize it as -R, but I think that's an inaccurate characterization, and just shows how malleable those categories can be. It's a correction, +P in behavioral terminology, and it demonstrates very well how effective correction can be in the training dialogue.

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. . . but I don't think anyone could read your posts and not conclude that you think eschewing corrections is a very big deal indeed.

 

It's good to have a chance to clarify, then! It is not a big deal as far as my training choices go. It is not something that is in the forefront of my mind when training, nor when considering how I am going to go about training. Use of correction is not something that I feel that I lack in training, nor is it something that I work very hard to do without. In that sense, non-use of corrections is, in fact, no big deal.

 

Going back to the original topic of the thread, "My reasons for "positive" training" has nothing to do with choosing not to use correction. It is about what reinforcement based training can do. Not in theory, but in actual real-life practical use.

 

The topic of correction, obviously, becomes important in discussions about the differences in the ways that we choose to train. It is a key difference. But non-use of corrections is in no way that heart and soul of training through reinforcement. Nowhere near it.

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Going back to the original topic of the thread, "My reasons for "positive" training" has nothing to do with choosing not to use correction. It is about what reinforcement based training can do. Not in theory, but in actual real-life practical use.

 

It's very hard for me to get my mind around that. My reasons for using each training method I use is what that training method can do, based usually on what I have seen it do in real life. I understand that part. But I don't see how my choice to use a (positive) reinforcement based technique would lead me to reject the possibility of ever using a positive punishment based technique in another situation -- ever -- any more than I can see how my choice to use a positive punishment based technique in one situation would lead me to choose never ever to use a positive reinforcement based technique. It seems to me that your total rejection of positive punishment has to be based on some theory or blanket conclusion about positive punishment, not simply on the good things you've seen accomplished by positive reinforcement.

 

But if all you're saying is that a correction-based approach never crosses your mind in your everyday training life, I have no doubt that's true. Why would it, if you've categorically ruled it out of your training?

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It seems to me that your total rejection of positive punishment has to be based on some theory or blanket conclusion about positive punishment, not simply on the good things you've seen accomplished by positive reinforcement.

 

Eileen, have you ever seen fall-out from improperly used punishment or improperly used positive reinforcement? If you have, which would you say created the most negative fall-out?

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It's very hard for me to get my mind around that. My reasons for using each training method I use is what that training method can do, based usually on what I have seen it do in real life. I understand that part. But I don't see how my choice to use a (positive) reinforcement based technique would lead me to reject the possibility of ever using a positive punishment based technique in another situation -- ever -- any more than I can see how my choice to use a positive punishment based technique in one situation would lead me to choose never ever to use a positive reinforcement based technique. It seems to me that your total rejection of positive punishment has to be based on some theory or blanket conclusion about positive punishment, not simply on the good things you've seen accomplished by positive reinforcement.

 

True. You are right - there is a bigger picture. While the strongest reason why I choose reinforcement based training is because of what I've seen it do (in my own dogs and those of others), there is an element of the effect of corrections on the dogs of others that I have actually seen on a weekly basis for many years.

 

I see corrections confuse dogs. I see corrections shut dogs down. I see it have no effect whatsoever because the dog has apparently learned to tune it out. I see corrections not even register with the dog. Nothing about that makes use of corrections in training the least attractive to me. I am simply not seeing deepening of relationship between dog and handler happening because of corrections before my very eyes.

 

For instance, I see many people train start lines, by setting the dog up, waiting until the dog breaks, going "AH!", walking the dog back and pushing it's rump into a sit. And they do this, and they do it, and they do it . . . for years. I'm not exaggerating on that. Some people do this for years and the dog never seems to get the idea.

 

I used a clicker and treats to train Maddie's start line. That was enjoyable for both of us, and her start line stays are far more reliable than the ones I see on the "AH" trained dogs. That has been my real-life experience. Granted, there are other factors to take into account, but what about watching that method fail for years would make it something I would want to try with any dog?

 

That's just one example. And I'm not saying that trainers who use corrections are never successful. And I'm not saying that all of these dogs are utterly destroyed. I am simply saying that I see nothing in any success obtained through correction that has ever made me think that is a better way. In fact, my response is usually the opposite.

 

Again, my choice to train through reinforcement is not because I see so many dogs trained through correction who are not getting the point. It is because of what I've seen reinforcement do and the potential that is always there to accomplish more. But nothing about seeing correction in training used around me makes it the least attractive. And I guess that's a very small part of it.

 

But if all you're saying is that a correction-based approach never crosses your mind in your everyday training life, I have no doubt that's true. Why would it, if you've categorically ruled it out of your training?

 

I'd be willing to wager that everyone has categorically ruled something out of their training. Do you object to those who don't use clickers and would never even consider a clicker no matter what? Do you consider the fact that they have ruled it out as a decision based in theory?

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Eileen, have you ever seen fall-out from improperly used punishment or improperly used positive reinforcement? If you have, which would you say created the most negative fall-out?

 

I know this was directed at Eileen. But I have personally seen/experienced both. Improperly used positive punishment (among other things) resulted in one of my previous dogs seriously biting myself. Improperly used positive reinforcement resulted in one of my dogs being confused as to what I wanted as far as obedience work and tricks. She shuts down often, but it also a very soft dog off of stock so corrections shut her down completely.

 

The first situation led to this dog being rehomed to start new with some one else more experienced (luckily, or he would have been put down). The second situation led to a confused dog that I currently can't compete in performance sports with, but still is a lovely pet, and will most likely be able to compete in the future once my timing is better developed. My other dog has no problems with my timing not being exactly perfect.

 

For me personally, positive punishment absolutely created the most negative fall-out, and that dog is the reason I switched to positive training.

 

Autumn

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Now I will freely admit (and many will nod their heads in agreement) that I am not always the sharpest knife in the drawer.

I get easily confused in these discussions with +R, -P, e=mc2, etc. and their exact meanings, but I always read these threads with interest because I do like to get new ideas on working with my dogs to get them to do what I would like them to do and at the same time want them to want to do what I want them to do.

 

My confusion lies in the "no corrections" approach and it is just hard for me to conceive of how this is done.

 

In Kristine's example... (I am not picking on Kristine or questioning her methods)

"For instance, I see many people train start lines, by setting the dog up, waiting until the dog breaks, going "AH!", walking the dog back and pushing it's rump into a sit. And they do this, and they do it, and they do it . . . for years. I'm not exaggerating on that. Some people do this for years and the dog never seems to get the idea.

 

I used a clicker and treats to train Maddie's start line. That was enjoyable for both of us, and her start line stays are far more reliable than the ones I see on the "AH" trained dogs. That has been my real-life experience. Granted, there are other factors to take into account, but what about watching that method fail for years would make it something I would want to try with any dog?"

 

I don't believe in setting up a dog for failure as an exercise for getting the wanted behavior, but if Maddie wanders off the start line, what is the next step?

In my tendency to see things in black and white world, any action taken by Kristine to get Maddie back on the start line would be a correction unless she were to wait until Maddie wanders back over to the start line on her own (whenever that may be) and then marks the desired behavior.

Would not using a clicker or treat to induce the desired result be a "correction" from the undesired one?

 

I ask this again not to be facetious, nit-picky or intentionally obtuse, but in an attempt to understand the concept because I just cannot get my mind around never correcting an undesired result.

 

As to the rest of the discussion, having 9 dogs and all of them rescues or fosters, I have not been able to find a "one size fits all" method as I don't have "one size fits all" dogs. Nisa is hyper, Tasha is a potato, and Bernie is, well Bernie and their training and learning techniques are as varied as their personalities.

Not saying one universal does not exist or work, just that I have not found it yet.

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In my tendency to see things in black and white world, any action taken by Kristine to get Maddie back on the start line would be a correction unless she were to wait until Maddie wanders back over to the start line on her own (whenever that may be) and then marks the desired behavior.

Would not using a clicker or treat to induce the desired result be a "correction" from the undesired one?

 

LOL--you must be a pear, too.

 

I'm sitting here trying to figure out the difference between a "directive" and a "correction" in my off-course tunnel question above.

 

If a dog is running towards an off course tunnel, but you "direct" the dog to take the jump instead, have you not corrected the original path of the dog?

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Ookie, I loved your description of Odin and the receiving blanket. That is just how the training dialogue "feels" to me when it's going well. Under the impoverished terminology of behavioral theory, I think your "uh uh" would have to qualify as +P. It is something you do that makes it less likely that that behavior (e.g., bringing the comforter when you ask for the blanket) will be repeated, and you do it with the intention of making that behavior less likely to be repeated. It tells the dog he is wrong, which a border collie doesn't like to be, so in that sense I suppose it would be intrinsically aversive. People in whose minds "punishment" = "cruel" may try to categorize it as -R, but I think that's an inaccurate characterization, and just shows how malleable those categories can be. It's a correction, +P in behavioral terminology, and it demonstrates very well how effective correction can be in the training dialogue.

 

I think through using a marker based training system you can consistently get this type of results with a variety of dogs. When you implement a system that clearly tells the dog "this what I want" and "this is what I don't want that" and rewards the dog in a way that is tangible to them they become much more into the learning process - they become an active participant because they're trying to figure out what you want so they get the reward that is valuable to them. Border Collies come with the wanting to please/biddability ingrained so it comes more natural to them and the need for other rewards is not necessarily there like it would be for another type of dog.

 

And I personally don't believe that a marker based system needs to be without corrections - I use both. But I do think with a dog that is sufficiently motivated in training you are able to cut down the number corrections needed when training.

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LOL--you must be a pear, too.

 

I'm sitting here trying to figure out the difference between a "directive" and a "correction" in my off-course tunnel question above.

 

If a dog is running towards an off course tunnel, but you "direct" the dog to take the jump instead, have you not corrected the original path of the dog?

 

Don't know about pear, but am usually considered fruity :rolleyes:

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In Kristine's example... (I am not picking on Kristine or questioning her methods)

"For instance, I see many people train start lines, by setting the dog up, waiting until the dog breaks, going "AH!", walking the dog back and pushing it's rump into a sit. And they do this, and they do it, and they do it . . . for years. I'm not exaggerating on that. Some people do this for years and the dog never seems to get the idea.

 

I used a clicker and treats to train Maddie's start line. That was enjoyable for both of us, and her start line stays are far more reliable than the ones I see on the "AH" trained dogs. That has been my real-life experience. Granted, there are other factors to take into account, but what about watching that method fail for years would make it something I would want to try with any dog?"

 

I don't believe in setting up a dog for failure as an exercise for getting the wanted behavior, but if Maddie wanders off the start line, what is the next step?

 

If it's in competition, we just go on. Typically in class, we just go on, too. She knows the behavior and start lines are not an "issue" for her. An occasional broken one is generally a fluke that I ignore completely.

 

On our next run, I might use a high rate of reinforcement for the sit, and then go back to her in the stay and reward before releasing.

 

If I really need to reset the start line before we do our actual run (in class, not competition where we would NQ), I will get her engaged with me, perhaps cue a trick and reward her for that, rev her up a bit, and then put her back in the stay at the start line. That will get her head back into the game.

 

In my tendency to see things in black and white world, any action taken by Kristine to get Maddie back on the start line would be a correction unless she were to wait until Maddie wanders back over to the start line on her own (whenever that may be) and then marks the desired behavior.

 

Why? Let's say I put a handful of meatballs on her nose, led her back to the start line, popped one in her mouth, cued a sit, and popped another meatball in her mouth. Would you really consider that to be a correction? How so? Like you, I'm not asking to be facetious, nit-picky, or intentionally obtuse! If you really consider that to be a correction, I'm curious as to why.

 

Or (more realistic with a trained dog like Maddie), suppose I call her name (a recall is always an opportunity for reinforcement), reward her when she comes when called, cue another sit (a sit is one of the greatest opportunities for reinforcement ever!), reward it, and then release her immediately and take off. Would you really consider that to be a correction? How so?

 

Would not using a clicker or treat to induce the desired result be a "correction" from the undesired one?

 

It will strengthen the behavior that she already knows and get her head back in the game. That's not "a correction". It's reinforcement.

 

I ask this again not to be facetious, nit-picky or intentionally obtuse, but in an attempt to understand the concept because I just cannot get my mind around never correcting an undesired result.

 

That was kind of what I was saying above. Training through reinforcement is not about "not correcting" at all!! We aren't training by "never correcting". We don't train by what we don't do. We teach the dog what is desired through reinforcement.

 

I hope that makes sense!!

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My apologies if this is off-topic.

 

Ooky - whatever it is you're doing with Odin - he (and your training of him) clearly KICKS A$$!!!!

 

Wonderful story!

 

Our last Border collie was very aged (17 years old) by the time my older son was born. We made the mistake of scolding her when she got too close to his swing and she woke him up *just* as he was getting to sleep. Thereafter she wanted to have nothing to do with him. I'm envious that Odin will get a chance to thorougly enjoy being "oldest sibling". I'm equally certain that your daughter will relish growing up with her "canine sibling".

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I'm sitting here trying to figure out the difference between a "directive" and a "correction" in my off-course tunnel question above.

 

If a dog is running towards an off course tunnel, but you "direct" the dog to take the jump instead, have you not corrected the original path of the dog?

 

Not in the sense that "correction" is used in dog training.

 

Yes, the path of the dog is now "correct", but "a correction" was not used to make that happen. "Jump" is not a correction. No more than I will be using a correction to call my dogs into the kitchen for supper in a little while because I call them into the "correct" room of the house. :rolleyes::D :D

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I see corrections confuse dogs. I see corrections shut dogs down. I see it have no effect whatsoever because the dog has apparently learned to tune it out. I see corrections not even register with the dog. Nothing about that makes use of corrections in training the least attractive to me. I am simply not seeing deepening of relationship between dog and handler happening because of corrections before my very eyes.

 

I have to say that I've seen all this result from positive reinforcement training too, except perhaps the shutting down, and I'd even say that I've seen that, in the sense that the dog was no longer willing to engage in the joint endeavor. Of course, you would say those negative effects resulted from poorly conceived and executed positive reinforcement training, and I would say the same about the negative results you've seen from correction training. Doesn't get us very far, but at least that recognition keeps me from rejecting either form of training categorically.

 

But nothing about seeing correction in training used around me makes it the least attractive.

 

You've NEVER seen good training result from corrections, say for example in the manner Ooky described? If that's the case, I guess we do just live in different worlds.

 

I'd be willing to wager that everyone has categorically ruled something out of their training.

 

Sure, I've ruled out torture, for example, because I love my dogs and don't want to hurt them. Do you really put corrections in that category? I don't think I've categorically ruled out anything that doesn't cause actual pain or suffering. Not for all dogs, that is. I'd rule out a lot of things for a particular dog because of the knowledge I've acquired of that particular dog. I think much of the challenge of training is to try like hell to understand the individual dog and base your training methods on that understanding.

 

Do you object to those who don't use clickers and would never even consider a clicker no matter what? Do you consider the fact that they have ruled it out as a decision based in theory?

 

I don't object to those who wouldn't use a clicker, although I'd certainly find someone who would never consider using positive reinforcement just as strange as someone who would never consider using correction. When you get down to the level of training equipment (clickers, prong collars), it's more like a matter of personal taste. If they've ruled out use of positive reinforcement per se, then yes, I think it would almost certainly be a decision based in theory.

 

Eileen, have you ever seen fall-out from improperly used punishment or improperly used positive reinforcement? If you have, which would you say created the most negative fall-out?

 

I've seen both. From what I've seen, the bad effects of improperly used punishment tend to be acute, and the bad effects of improperly used positive reinforcement tend to be chronic. Both can be overcome, with a change in technique or personnel. But it seems to me that typically the bad effects of improperly used punishment make it obvious that a change in method is needed, whereas the bad effects of improperly used positive reinforcement are not recognized as such.

 

I will say this though: If someone has convinced you that correction is inherently immoral or scientifically backward or undesirable for whatever reason, you are much better off not using it, because you will present a muddled, confused, half-hearted message to your dog when you try to correct him, and clarity of thought and feeling are much more essential to good training than the use of a particular method. But it's for that very reason that I'm uncomfortable with threads where nearly all those posting are trying to convince a newbie asking for help that correction is inherently immoral or scientifically backward or undesirable.

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Not in the sense that "correction" is used in dog training.

 

Yes, the path of the dog is now "correct", but "a correction" was not used to make that happen. "Jump" is not a correction. No more than I will be using a correction to call my dogs into the kitchen for supper in a little while because I call them into the "correct" room of the house. :rolleyes::D :D

 

Well, Christina, in my world and I think the world of others on this thread, if the dog is traveling in the direction of the tunnel and you change the dog's path (by saying the dog's name, clapping your hands, whatever it takes to *interupt* the behavior of traveling towards the off course tunnel) and then you point the dog in the direction of the jump, you have corrected the dog AND given the dog additional information: "I don't want you to go to the tunnel, please go to the jump instead." [Dog goes to jump--you say, "yes", throw toy, etc]--this is part of the normal training dialog. Which is a very different thing than standing in the middle of the ring and screaming NO NO NO without giving the dog additional information or throwing a chain at the dog because its going in the wrong direction, which in my world are also corrections, but damaging ones.

 

If it makes you feel better to call this type of thing a "directive", I say go for it. Or you can just stand there and allow the dog to take the off course tunnel and stay in novice forever, which comes back to MrCaig's contention that no "purely positive" trainers have put OTCHs on dogs.

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Blackdawgs,

I think a huge part of the disconnect in discussions such as this is that at least some people who use reward-based training equate correction with punishment (as opposed to what numerous people have noted here and in other threads in the past, where correction is basically saying "don't do that" or "not that"--that is, simply information for the animal to process). As with many areas of interest, if you have a particular bias toward or against something, that bias is based in your own beliefs and will be retained even in the face of factual evidence contrary those beliefs. In discussions such as this one and others like it, people who are convinced that correction = punishment will continue to discuss from that foundational belief, no matter how often any other poster states that correction does not equal punishment. If your only experience with correction-based training is someone jerking a choke chain, it's understandable that you would equate correction with punishment. It's harder to understand how people can cling to that belief in the face of a number of people saying "that's a type correction, yes, and apparently applied badly, but that's not the ONLY type of correction out there, and I am talking about those other, non-punitive types." Do you remember the link someone posted in another thread regarding people's political views and whether or not those views changed as a result of being presented with factual evidence contrary to those beliefs? This is the exact same phenomenon, and it's why these discussions remain circular, never seeming to progress beyond about where this one is now.

 

Maybe if the folks who use correction-based training as described in this thread and others (and not as interpreted by folks who don't use corrections) instead called their methods directive-based (after all, saying "don't do that" is as much a directive as saying "do this"), these discussions wouldn't even happen. I realize that there are trainers who never say "don't" to their dogs, so no doubt the arguments would devolve into the "dos" vs. the "don'ts," but maybe we'd at least get away from the implied belief that correction = punishment, which might then at least draw us away from the moral and ethical implications (per Eileen's comments) of such discussions, wherein the so-called purely positive folks hold themselves up as somehow morally superior to everyone else.

 

J.

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Boy, is this thread confusing.

Fruit salad?

 

I think I am a thimbleberry.

 

So does this mean when I growl at Ambitiuos Gunny to stay back off the sheep while we walk them back from Doan's land I am punishing her?

If this is true, then my old Pop methods of teaching me as a child not to slam the back door when I was a kid was off base.

He would yell in Italian! :rolleyes: And it worked for me. He only yelled once. It was his tone. I knew that slamming the back door made Pop upset. I didn't fear for my life and it didn't really even bother me except I knew Pop was disturbed, and why. And I loved Old Pop and didn't want him to be upset. He would look so pathetic. His head in his hands dramatically weeping.

 

I thought I was warning Gunny if she pushes the sheep hard they go under my horse and he gets upset having sheep there?

And I can't afford having my sheep upset, or my horse upset as I don't want to walk home, and I don't want skinny sheep.

 

And Gunny has learned not to get so close as to make the sheep nervous.

 

I did not realize there was a gulf or a river?

 

Now I have this young dog, Taw. A gentle, thoughtful soul.

 

I say nothing to her right now as she helps me with the sheep. She learns in another way.

 

But she is not Gunny.

 

 

 

When I trained my sled dogs if I had used food treats I would have had a knot of fighting dogs, I think.

All trying to get the food.

 

The sled dogs liked to fight.

 

They learned not to fight. By learning to love to pull.

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I think a huge part of the disconnect in discussions such as this is that at least some people who use reward-based training equate correction with punishment (as opposed to what numerous people have noted here and in other threads in the past, where correction is basically saying "don't do that" or "not that"--that is, simply information for the animal to process)...Maybe if the folks who use correction-based training as described in this thread and others (and not as interpreted by folks who don't use corrections) instead called their methods directive-based (after all, saying "don't do that" is as much a directive as saying "do this"), these discussions wouldn't even happen. I realize that there are trainers who never say "don't" to their dogs, so no doubt the arguments would devolve into the "dos" vs. the "don'ts," but maybe we'd at least get away from the implied belief that correction = punishment, which might then at least draw us away from the moral and ethical implications (per Eileen's comments) of such discussions, wherein the so-called purely positive folks hold themselves up as somehow morally superior to everyone else.

 

J.

Thank you, again, Julie.

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