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This is a discussion on training methods discussion within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Originally Posted by ZoesMom Punishment is whatever the dog doesn't like and takes as aversive/intimidating. In example my dog finds raised voices to be very ...

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Old 04-01-2014, 02:06 AM
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Punishment is whatever the dog doesn't like and takes as aversive/intimidating. In example my dog finds raised voices to be very punishing. Even if the voice is not directed at her.
i forgot to say this!!!! and this is funny because i've conditioned clover (took a long time) to raised voices... lmao... i'm loud and i don't want that to upset him all the time! anyway, he doesn't find yelling particularly scary.

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Old 04-01-2014, 04:20 AM
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Is this GSD aggressive? Treats do work great for some dogs, but I don't think I could put all of my trust into a treat when working with an aggressive dog.
FTR the GSD is not the least bit aggressive. He is very confident and friendly around people, extremely calm and affable around dogs of all sizes... Because, well... He has had very positive experiences with them from the get-go! If he encounters something that he is unsure about, he heels a little closer and lends half an ear to me as we pass. He does not fixate; he is very mentally 'checked-in' and engaged with me.

As Foresthund said, a dog that struggles with that needs to be steered away from situations where he sinks in over his head and forgets your presence. A dog in this state is in the 'The hell with you, I'm looking out for me, me, me mode' any attempts you make to gain his attention are ultimately a distraction from what he feels that he has to do: treat the situation as though he is facing all alone, because his 'backup' is not to be trusted. This is an attitude that can be worked out of the dog by something like BAT, not vying with ever-decreasing effectiveness for their attention through leash-jerks and 'Hey... Hey! Hey dog..."
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:27 AM
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I guess you could then say that dogs love to please us because it makes the relationship work in their favor lol...pretty much the same thing IMO. And i do use treats exclusively during early training with a new dog, I think treats are wonderful for learning and building a trust relationship. But there should come a point where your dog will obey you without a treat. And if so why do people walk around with bags of treats tied to their waists? My dog and I have a wonderful bond and relationship, and I don't HAVE to carry around a bag of goodies.
From an evolutionary standpoint... This is pretty much what all animals (yes, humans included) do!

The point where a dog does not need the treat comes because he has been conditioned... Very much like Pavlov's Dogs. In laymans terms... You basically brainwash the animal.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:49 AM
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I'm curious as to what you mean by "punish"?
Punishment is any consequence that reduces the probability of a behavior recurring. So, if saying "no" actually prevents your dog from getting into the trash or counter-surfing, it's punishment. If saying "no" doesn't change the dog's behavior, it's just a waste of breath and likely annoying for you and the dog.

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An aversive stimulus is the opposite of a reinforcing stimulus, something we might find unpleasant or painful.
A behavior followed by an aversive stimulus results in a decreased probability of the behavior occurring in the future.
This both defines an aversive stimulus and describes the form of conditioning known as punishment. If you shock a rat for doing x, itíll do a lot less of x. If you spank Johnny for throwing his toys he will throw his toys less and less (maybe).
from B. F. SKINNER by Dr. C. George Boeree

Here's a summary of Dunbar's perspective on punishment.

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And it does seem that treats are some peoples life lines...
I don't need to carry treats with me, but I do for several reasons:
- I like to find opportunities to reinforce desirable behavior

- Some cues are still being proofed. Katie can sit or down just about anywhere, but we're still working on front and with me (sloppy heel). So, I use our walks to proof newer behaviors

- Katie can be reactive, so I use treats for both classical conditioning (barking dogs mean good things!) and operant conditioning (if I pay attention to "mom" instead of the barking dogs, good things happen).

- Katie has incredible food drive and food is easy to carry and use on walks. She loves to chase things, but it's impractical to play fetch in the street.

- She needs to eat, she might as well learn something while she's getting a meal.

Based on your comments, it sounds as though you don't have a complete grasp on operant conditioning and learning theory (they're huge topics!) and have some common misunderstandings of how they work in practice. This collection of posts has good information: Common Misconceptions. The training and behavior stickies are another excellent source of information.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:54 AM
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I agree with @cookieface. I'd read up a bit more, especially in the training stickies and the articles shared by other users here. I think your view of positive reinforcement is a little left field.
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:06 AM
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I think that because of CM lots of people confuse assertive training with fear and abuse...they couldn't be more wrong. Unfortunately some people think that if you're not always talking clickers and treats, than you're and abuser, which is also wrong. I use which ever method gets the reaction that I'm looking for with a dog...With my shi tzu treats work great, as with a lot of small dogs, she is slightly timid so there is no need for me to assert myself over her, however with my bulldog I use a more assertive approach because with a dog of her size and strength I have NO room for error. I have to be 100% certain that I am in control of her in public places, and when she is really excited and worked up, she could care less about a treat.
I also agree with comments saying to read up on quadrants of learning.
When you say 'assertive' it actually has no meaning in terms of learning. I think I have an 'assertive tone' when I ask for a sit then I treat the sit. It doesn't mean I have been overly aggressive in my tone.

I also agree that you use whatever method works for the particular dog in that particular circumstance. PR, NR, PP and NP all work. If they didn't work they wouldn't be included in the quadrants of learning.
HOWEVER! generally (scientifically) PR is the most effective and quickest quadrant offering longevity in its results. This isn't because it is airy fairy and "all clickers and treats", it's because neurotransmitters in the animals brain stimulate desired responses faster when they earn rewards.

If my dog is getting too excited and worked up to the point where I don't have control (which DOES happen, don't get me wrong) then I haven't done my job right. It is the situation that needs to be kept under control, not the dogs reactions...
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:29 AM
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I think what's more important than focus on treats for training is focusing on what motivates your dog. For Hunter treats work great sometimes, but when we are hiking he could not give a rat's butt about them. All he wants to do is run around and sniff- so that is his reward.
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:47 AM
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My sense in reading the various training journals and the reactivity thread is that positive reinforcement training involves a lot more than just relying on a treat bag and a clicker. Maybe sometimes the impression given is that a treat here and a click there is enough, and that's maybe why BullyGirl80 is questioning the approach. From what I can tell, positive reinforcement training and operant conditioning involve a much deeper understanding of how dogs think and behave and that the treats and clickers are just some of the tools in the toolbox.
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:49 AM
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I have to be 100% certain that I am in control of her in public places, and when she is really excited and worked up, she could care less about a treat.
This is a common misconception about reward-based training, though. (Sometimes I see this disparaged by people less tactful than you as "I'd like to see you call a dog off a deer by waving a cookie in its face!!!") The thing is, that moment when you are in public and she is really excited and worked up is NOT a training moment. Training takes place before that - starting in low distraction environments and gradually building up to teach your dog how to stay focused on you in distracting environments. If your dog isn't so overwhelmed they won't take a treat, they aren't ready for the situation yet.

I think that's why this particular misunderstanding happens - it's a slow process to teach, increase distractions, and proof a behavior. In the meantime, you have to manage. And many people prefer things that work faster with less build-up.

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I am comfortable and confident in knowing that If my dog becomes fixated on something, that the sound of my voice is enough to snap her out of it, instead of hoping that I have one last treat in my fanny pack.
Again, this is a misunderstanding. Just because my dog was trained and proofed with treats, it doesn't mean I must have a treat with me in order for him to comply. The first time I took Squash to an off-leash area, I was easily able to call him off wildlife - but he was a year and a half old. I didn't expect him to do that, and didn't put him in a situation where he might need to, until he'd already HAD the training. Waving a cookie under your dog's nose in that moment of fixation is NOT rewards-based training, it's bribery and distraction.

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Originally Posted by BullyGirl80 View Post
But there should come a point where your dog will obey you without a treat.
Mine... do? I'm not sure why you have this idea that dogs who were trained with treats will only respond if you are waving a treat in their face every time you ask them to do something?

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And if so why do people walk around with bags of treats tied to their waists? My dog and I have a wonderful bond and relationship, and I don't HAVE to carry around a bag of goodies.
I don't HAVE to, either, and usually I don't. But sometimes I do, because there are numerous opportunities to train and proof new and old behaviors every time I am interacting with my dog.
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:58 AM
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This is sort of a simplified explanation of the way I look at it. It's hard to explain exactly what I mean, but here goes:

Treats are what they are. What I mean by that is whatever helps produce those "feel good" hormones during your interactions with your dog. It could be a click/food reward, or pat on the head or a quick game with a tug toy, etc. I have learned by experience that whatever it takes is a "treat" because it makes the dog feel good. Physically. And if the behavior feels good, it becomes habitual.

Once a dog has reached the "red zone" as someone mentioned, it's too late to try anything - they are driven by "bad hormones" and they really can't control their reactions. The idea, imo, is to catch that beforehand, redirect, and avoid the notorious "red zone". Avoiding and re-directing, by any means possible, is a "treat". To me, that means not adding to the stress with anything that is considered negative by the dog, including grabbing, yanking, yelling, throwing things at them, etc. Letting them get to the point of no return is actually a punishment of sorts.
Even using treats after a behavior is ingrained or a trick is solid, in my mind, boosts the dog's confidence that they are still doing it right, and it feels good.

If you got flowers from someone every week, you'd still say thank-you to them each time right? Good things need to be rewarded, even dogs need the sense that you appreciate them.
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