Jump to content
BC Boards

Why canine science is often so irritating


Recommended Posts

If they'd told us how they got dogs to lie so still in that nasty tube they'd be telling us something we didn't know

 

Perhaps not in this article but elsewhere I've read about the training.

 

They use those positive reinforcement techniques you're generally so disdainful of. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, I was just thinking yesterday about how remarkable it is that dogs, who do not speak, and likely do not think of us by name are SO adept at understanding and interpreting our words. :) They actually put effort into doing so.

 

It's not that I didn't know it before, it just really struck me in a new and meaningful way.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, I was just thinking yesterday about how remarkable it is that dogs, who do not speak, and likely do not think of us by name are SO adept at understanding and interpreting our words. :) They actually put effort into doing so.

Dogs have been selected over thousands of years to know the difference between a person threatening to kill them and a person who is likely to offer food. Get it right and you survive; get it wrong and you don't get a second chance. That much is clear. What I find beautiful is that they use the same brain structures as us to parse the sounds. The roots of language run deep indeed.

 

[And a big thumbs up to both the experimenters who have patiently trained the dogs as well as to the dogs themselves who are helping us understand the deep mysteries of the brain.]

Link to post
Share on other sites

^^ I was talking about what he refers to as "cookie training."

Dear Doggers,

 

Although I've heard "positive" trainers called "Cookie pushers" I don't think I've used that term - mostly because I've never seen a dog trained with a cookie. I have used the term "treat trainers" because I've seen that. I'm not exactly sure what the treats were - small kibble-like edibles - and haven't had an urge to inquire. I assume they are similar to what show dog compeititors use to "bait" their dogs to look at them (I've seen squeeky toys used with German Shepherds at a "Der Seiger" show for the same purpose.)

 

While these trainers derive from B.F. Skinner's theories and presumptons and most assert they are both less cruel and more scientific than traditional training methods these trainers are much less hard to define than they were. Many use corrections, some routinely. Many, if not most, use ethological findings and even drive theory atop conventional tabula rasa behaviorism. A few, like Patricia McConnell, have incorporated sheepdogger methods into their methods.

 

It's been suggested I call them "Plus R" trainers but I'm not sure if this is a heresy or represents a common understanding over a range of "behaviorist" "Post-Skinner" trainers.

 

It is common courtesy to call groups of people the name they prefer and would be grateful for your consensus.

 

Donald McCaig

Link to post
Share on other sites

What are our "treats" - you name it.

 

At home when I train, I usually use bits of kibble.

 

At the training building, I use chicken that I break up into teeny tiny pieces.

 

In the past I have used: meatball, cheese, bits of any leftover cooked meat I may have available

 

I never use commercially prepared "treats" for training, mainly because they tend to be expensive and I feel that plain meat is healthier.

 

But I know a lot of people who use Zukes and Charlie Bears and things of that nature. Fresh Pet, which is a moist food that comes in a bag, and is in nice little bits, is very popular right now. I have found that Bandit sometimes gets an upset stomach after eating Fresh Pet, so I don't use it anymore, but it is very popular.

 

Maybe you didn't want to know, but now you do!! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been suggested I call them "Plus R" trainers but I'm not sure if this is a heresy or represents a common understanding over a range of "behaviorist" "Post-Skinner" trainers.

 

It is common courtesy to call groups of people the name they prefer and would be grateful for your consensus.

 

Donald McCaig

 

The trouble is that we don't have a consensus. We all tend to go across the board. Most popular tends to be:

 

+R Training

Positive Training

Force Free Training

Clicker Training (but this is problematic because not all +R trainers use clickers)

 

None of these designations describes what we do perfectly, and different people use different descriptors to emphasize different things.

 

Personally, I use +R Based Training. But I have no problems with any of the designations above.

 

Denise Fenzi, who is probably the most influential trainer in the +R training world right now (among the masses), usually refers to training +R.

 

Just please, whatever you do, don't say "Purely Positive". NONE of us actually use that term to describe ourselves. It is currently a term that is pretty much only used as a term of derision. "Positive" without the "purely" is fine. It is the "purely" part that is a misrepresentation of what we actually do!! :) I'd rather be called a "treat trainer" because I do incorporate treats heavily into my training. I am not "purely" anything. None of us are. :)

 

That said - pick your favorite of the terms above. We all kind of use them all.

 

And no, +R is not heresy. That would be the "purely" one. :D

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

 

Thanks Kristine. "Positive" is - like "Patriotic" - an argument pretending to be a descriptive name and the problem with "treat trainer" is that many traditional trainers use treats at some point. I recall one using an ecollar and treats to teach a young retriever how to "goout" on command.

 

Until corrected, on this sophisticated forum 'l, l use'lll use+R.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know - that's a big problem. The same is true with "Force Free" there are ecollar trainers who also use the term (I guess because they aren't touching the dog physically). That is the main reason I stay away from that term unless I am in a context where it could not possibly be misunderstood.


These designations drive all of us nuts!! I go with +R, as well!! I find it to be the closest, even if not perfect.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually say that I am a "positive reinforcement trainer". By this, I mean that I primarily use positive reinforcement to train dogs. It doesn't mean that I never, ever use negative reinforcement, but to me it means that the negative reinforcement is a very minor part of my training, and when I do use it, it is very careful and thought-out ahead of time.

 

For example, to train my dogs not to leave our property and to respect the boundary (which has no fence in the front), I called them back every time they started to cross that invisible line. If they came they got praise and sometimes a food treat. If they did not, or if I caught them crossing that line, I went and got them and either took them by the collar or carried them back to the house and shut them in - fun over for the day. The former was positive reinforcement, the latter negative. But the negative was without anger or scolding (in fact, I would not say a word), and was simply the removal of the fun. I think this is similar to sheepdog training - do as I say and you get the sheep, don't do as I say and the fun is over.

 

I never use corrections when training Freestyle. That is all fun. I call myself a "clicker trainer" when it comes to Freestyle, because I do use a clicker. But a more generic term would be "+-R", meaning Marker of some sort, then reward.

 

For treats I use anything that the dog likes as long as it is healthy and will cut into very, very small pieces and go into a pouch or pocket without crumbling. At home I often use the dog's breakfast kibble, especially at the beginning of training or with a very young dog or puppy. Away from home I tend to use semi-moist treats that do not require refrigeration because they travel the best in this warm climate, but I take care that they don't get too many of them.

 

Some dogs are not all that food motivated, of course. To me, they are more cumbersome to train because you have to stop long enough to tug a few times or throw something, but the principles remain the same.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I first read this:

Some dogs are not all that food motivated, of course. To me, they are more cumbersome to train because you have to stop long enough to tug a few times or throw something, but the principles remain the same.

 

And my thought was, yes, unless you just praise the dog. I trained Bonnie on social reward. She was a super fast learner as puppy and had a perfect recall by the time she was 6 month old with distractions and all. I still remember the voices prophesying how she was going to get over this phase if I didn't introduce treats. It does not work for all dogs of course, but i think it is a highly undervalued option. And I think border collies are uniquely bred for this (as are some hunting dogs). I just love to tease other doggers by saying "Bonnie does things for me just because she loves me!" :lol:

 

And then I read the article above, and I thought: " :lol: :lol: Yeah! :lol: :lol: "

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

 

Hungarian scientists are doing some very interesting dog training.

 

I thought about it yesterday when I had to take one of our guard dogs (Roxie - mostly Maremma) to the vet for what turned out to be an ear infection. 115 pounds, 11 years old, tremendously strong yet she let the vet swab out her hurting ears protesting but not fighting. The vet commented on how mannerly she was.

 

Well, er: no she's not. She comes when called: mostly. She'll drag me on a leash. She will get in the car/truck and ride quietly and she's never messed in the house. (When it gets very hot we bring her into the cool during the day. She's old for a big dog.) At night she's out guarding the sheep.

 

But we never trained Roxie to do anything. We bonded her with the sheep when she was young and after she was a guard dog we became friendlier (our new young 10 month old guard dog has never been inside and doesn't get a head pat).

 

But we have expectations and routines for all our dogs and perhaps that's how we "train" a guard dog to mannerliness that we haven't "trained".

 

Donald McCaig

 

 

 

But she's

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting thoughts.

 

For the benefit of non-sheep-owning border collie owners, I once wrote a post on my blog about what car chasing is, in my opinion, and what the relationship is between sheep herding and car chasing (since many people advise to sheep herd if a person has problem with car chasing) .

 

What I said (except I elaborated a bit more) is that car chasing is a chasing instinct, while sheep herding is a herding instinct. But what sheep herding does is that if the car chasing is a result of the handler-dog being relationship being on a wrong plane, livestock work will show it, and it help move it to the right plane. Which in turn help dealing with chasing cars.

 

And Roxie and her handlers are obviously on the right plane :) .

Link to post
Share on other sites

I first read this:

 

And my thought was, yes, unless you just praise the dog.

Also true. The first dog I ever trained, when I was 13, I trained exclusively with praise, and he learned extremely fast and had a huge repertoire of trained behaviors and tricks, in addition to being well mannered. He always got a treat at the end of a training session, but sometimes that treat was play, not always food. I train with food now because I find it's faster with my current dogs.

 

Dear Doggers,

 

......But we have expectations and routines for all our dogs and perhaps that's how we "train" a guard dog to mannerliness that we haven't "trained".

 

Donald McCaig

I think that following the routine of the household is a very powerful way to train a new dog. Following the pack and all that. Has always worked well for me with foster dogs. For instance I never have specifically to train the "wait at the door to be released" with a new dog, because all my dogs are waiting without being told.

Link to post
Share on other sites

And I am a fluent clicker trainer, in case you didn't know :D . But I have only one global training method and I always stick to it.

 

Its called WWB.

 

Its benefits are by far best of all training methods.

:wub: :wub:

 

 

The acronym stands for Whatever Works Best.

:D :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

The stress of a new situation/unfamiliar location will often cause a dog to become placid. I mean, I don't discount that expectation plays a part in it, but it's not uncommon for some dogs to become more malleable under stress.

Like when the vet shows you how to stretch a muscle on your dog and the dog is totally cooperative. Then when you try it home, she's like "No, I don't want to do this." I sometimes wonder if at the vet she will do anything just so she can get out of there and go home.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...