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Lately I've been seeing more then one person saying that because a person chooses to use positive reinforcement the dog has little to no consequences for bad behavior. That simply is not the case.

A person who is using positive reinforcement will mainly stick to that quadrant of operant conditioning BUT will when necessary will use negative punishment.

The goal is to set the dog up for success, to manage the environment so that the dog does not have the opportunity to practice bad behavior while rewarding good behavior, but a dog will at times act undesirably. When that happens we remove what might have been rewarding to the dog and caused the inappropriate behavior, or we use CC/DC to change the dog's emotional response.

I can sit on my couch, with a steak in my lap, and my dog laying not 1 foot from me. My dog will not try to get my food because he learned that trying to do so will get him put off the couch. His goal is to stay close to me so that I won't forget to give him a piece, he does not want to be put on the floor so he lays quietly till we go to the kitchen where he gets a couple bites of steak. When I've had to put him on the floor I did not yell at him, I did not swat him, I was not rough with him, I just picked him up and put him on the floor.

It is not necessary to show a dog who's boss, it is necessary to show them that doing what a person wants gets them what they want.

They want to go out the door, show them that waiting till a cue is given gets them out, but that door dashing gets the door closed.

They pull to get where they want to go, show them that pulling gets them no where or gets them led in the opposite direction, but keeping slack in the leash gets them where they want to go.

They jump on people show them that jumping causes the person to go away, but sitting nicely gets them attention.

The list goes on....

Use what works best for your dog to reinforce the behavior, be it treats, play, or real world things like moving forward on a walk.
 

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@Rain, YOU can do alot of things, so can I.

But apply positive reinforcement to the average dog owner? We read postings on here where people are working on positive reinforcement techniques for a year, 2 years, 3 years and they still aren't getting anywhere. Then, it has to be the dogs' fault.

Why is that? Could it be the interpretation?
 

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@Rain " It is not necessary to show a dog who's boss, it is necessary to show them that doing what a person wants gets them what they want."

It might be splitting hairs but your words above essentially could be construed as effectively being the "boss".

I view it as a process of educating a dog to make the proper choice, with "choice" being the key. It is easy enough to teach a dog the benefit of making the proper choice when done properly and eventually the dog will choose the option with the more gratifying consequence/outcome. Generally, this grows into default behavior for the dog where little if any decision making process by the dog is required, they simply just execute what they have been taught because the outcome is predictable, rewarding and consistent.

To substantiate my first sentence, I view it this way: Since I decide what is appropriate behavior for my dog and train in that fashion, I guess I am calling the shots AKA being the "boss".

Your routine regarding the food scraps from your dinner plate is essentially the same as mine. I sit at the dinner table and my dog defaults to her specific mark on the floor beside me, never begging nor making any advancements as she has learned that type of behavior is an automatic disqualification and gets her nothing once I am done. Upon completion of the meal at the table and dishes are being taken from the table, I will take mine and set it on the floor in front of her, she still is calmly holding her down position but now defaults to making eye contact with me as this is how we trained pending most every release command from various positions and disciplines. I may make her stare me down for 5 seconds or a minute, I always try and vary the length so complete predictability isn't created and builds impulse control as well. It might be a simple nod or a calm "okay" as the release and she cleans the plate.

FWIW, I consider this type of trained behavior created via the dog's food drive somewhat of a compromise because even though the dog is exhibiting wonderful manners and control, the dog is working for food mostly rather than for me. I think most all of us can agree when your dog is working for the human's approval and interprets the human approval as the reward and actually desires this human approval, you have the best situation going forward as the dog is working to please its human.
 

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@Rain, YOU can do alot of things, so can I.

But apply positive reinforcement to the average dog owner? We read postings on here where people are working on positive reinforcement techniques for a year, 2 years, 3 years and they still aren't getting anywhere. Then, it has to be the dogs' fault.

Why is that? Could it be the interpretation?
I don't know. I tend to think it's the fact that the owner might be inconsistent. I see a lot of I have had the dog 6 months and I've tried A,B,C,D,E... to try and get rid of the behavior yet the dog still does it. So I wonder if the owner doesn't also let the dog sometimes get away with the behavior. To work the dog has to be able to predict that the bad behavior always has to cause the consequence.

In the example I gave my dog knew, beyond any doubt, that trying to get to my plate would get him put on the floor and I'd make him stay there. Now his leash manners leave a bit to be desired since I'm less then consistent about working on them. The fault is 100% mine that sometimes he pulls and it gets him what he wants and sometimes it gets him walked in a circle, and so he's learning that pulling is unpredictable and he might as well try it to see what happens. The problem is not with the positive reinforcement, it's not with the dog, it's with the owners application.
 

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The problem is not with the positive reinforcement, it's not with the dog, it's with the owners application.
There you go... Incorrect interpretation of what positive reinforcement really is.

Positive is all perception, that's clearly shown on here through different threads.
 

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Not interpretation. Perception. Re-read that.

Yep, like a lot of things, PR definitely takes a certain amount of skill. I can definitely appreciate that when teaching people how to train their dogs. Some people have awesome timing, great initiative and an intuitive knack for knowing what behaviors to reinforce in their dog. For people who overthink, under think, not conscientious enough about consistency, or are too slow to mark and reward... I wind up just training the dog, handing them a clicker and telling them exactly when to click and treat. LOL.
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+r has a pretty clear definition, so agree its not really so much issues with interpretation....
More likely actually lack of knowledge if misunderstanding what +r is.

Otherwise ime, often it's issues with handler skill, consistency, management, noncompliance, etc. Same issues pop up regardless of methodology...
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I think the biggest problem with PR is dishonesty, most of us use non r+ techniques and if we don't recognize them as such we can't take advantage of them.

A collar and leash is at the minimum r- but usually p+, if we recognize that we can use it, if we don't we're ignoring an opportunity.

The other thing about showing the dog who's boss. It's not necessary to show the dog who's boss but social learning is real and a lot the "alpha dog" stuff that gets tossed around is just teaching by example.
 

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I use positive training techniques and am very successful with my own dogs and my client's dogs. :) It depends on who your teacher is. There are really bad trainers of all methods and really good trainers who practice all methods as well. But if all methods are equally effective depending on skill level, I'd rather hone my skills with positive methods because I feel like that is what's bringing in the cool things and that's the direction that dog training is going in the future. And also, it's really, really cool!
 

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@Rain, YOU can do alot of things, so can I.

But apply positive reinforcement to the average dog owner? We read postings on here where people are working on positive reinforcement techniques for a year, 2 years, 3 years and they still aren't getting anywhere. Then, it has to be the dogs' fault.

Why is that? Could it be the interpretation?
That's because not everyone has the patience to actually, properly follow through. They want immediate results or aren't skilled enough to have good timing. Also, given that the average dog owner is impatient, unskilled, and poor at timing, punishment based training would be a very bad idea.

I might also add that a lot of people will say "oh +R is great for normal dogs, but let's see how you could handle an aggressive and powerful breed!" Well, I have an american bulldog mix who used to have very strong food aggression. With P+ I am able to touch in his bowl, pet him, brush him, clip his nails, etc. all with him eating or chewing on stuff. We are also working toward IPO training, all reinforcement based.
 

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Glad to see there's some agreement on the issue anyhow. People tend to blame the dog when all else fails. How about training gone wrong?

The word adverse gets tossed around here quite a bit - but adverse is perspective... To me, blaming the dog and suggesting putting it down is adverse. Crating can be a good thing, but it makes me cringe reading some suggestions on how to do it.

I typically don't train dogs in the sense that others' do. I spend the time letting the dog be a dog, concentrate on the two way trust, two way respect - not training. Once 100% respect, trust and confidence is established, it's magical. I want the dog to learn to use it's brain, once they figure out on their own what is expected of them - things get interesting. Now one can work on training or what not.

I posted about Jagger's food aggression - people didn't like how I approached it. Would I recommend others' do it that way? No, Not unless there's 100% trust in your dog. 5 minutes, food aggression gone, never growled at me over his food dish since - because I made him think about it.
 

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@jagger, why does building trust and respect and training have to be two opposing options. I build trust and respect with my dogs THROUGH training. We train and work on this almost every day. I also train by showing the dog what I want them to do and allowing them to make the right choice. Allows the dog to use their brain (which is a big thing considering I have 2 very smart breeds) but still training towards a goal. A lot of people with high drive dogs do not have the luxury of not focusing on training and allowing their dogs to just be dogs. I can not imagine that @Shandula's house of 2 high drive working breeds would be very settled if she just stopped training and allowed her dogs to do what they wanted at their own free will. Some dogs ENJOY training. I know mine do.

Jagger, you also have to remember that what worked for you and your 1 dog will not work for everyone. I worked with many dogs during my 3 years as a professional trainer and I learned that. A person has to be willing to alter their plan to compensate for their specific dog's needs.
 

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Jagger, you also have to remember that what worked for you and your 1 dog will not work for everyone. I worked with many dogs during my 3 years as a professional trainer and I learned that. A person has to be willing to alter their plan to compensate for their specific dog's needs.
You think I'm talking like this because of 1 dog? Been dealing with dogs the last 40 years - my dogs, friends dogs, strangers dogs. Numerous strays rehomed over the years, some of these dogs coming off the street were truly aggressive. My mother has a gift of turning the most aggressive dogs into putty. I learned from a very young age, had some great people teach me about dogs.

We read it here all the time - "I don't trust my dog". If you don't trust your dog, why should the dog trust you? Why should the dog follow you?
 

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Glad to see there's some agreement on the issue anyhow. People tend to blame the dog when all else fails. How about training gone wrong?
Training can ''go wrong'' across the board. Can happen with any methodology. It's not a fault inherent to reward based methods? :thumbsup:

The word adverse gets tossed around here quite a bit - but adverse is perspective... To me, blaming the dog and suggesting putting it down is adverse. Crating can be a good thing, but it makes me cringe reading some suggestions on how to do it.
Since getting a bit technical in this thread, the correct term when discussing training is ''aversive''.

I typically don't train dogs in the sense that others' do. I spend the time letting the dog be a dog, concentrate on the two way trust, two way respect - not training. Once 100% respect, trust and confidence is established, it's magical. I want the dog to learn to use it's brain, once they figure out on their own what is expected of them - things get interesting. Now one can work on training or what not.
And those of us utilizing reward based methods can't possibly be letting our dogs be dogs, working on relationship, etc?

It does seem that you often imply we aren't or can't possibly be doing so simply because we use reward based training.... and you would be so incredibly wrong.

I posted about Jagger's food aggression - people didn't like how I approached it. Would I recommend others' do it that way? No, Not unless there's 100% trust in your dog. 5 minutes, food aggression gone, never growled at me over his food dish since - because I made him think about it.
Not sure why this is so frequently brought up....
I'm super glad it worked for you. Really!

But....
Gotta keep in mind that if you post what you did in response to a person asking about resource guarding then yeah... looks like you are recommending it. And frankly, also have to consider it from a safety perspective. Not safe to lay down and have face/body so close to the resource being guarded... As a trainer, if I were to recommend/try it with the wrong dog resulting in a bite, I'm looking at a potential lawsuit. And the dog may end up paying the ultimate price depending on the owner, number of bites reported, etc.
 

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And those of us utilizing reward based methods can't possibly be letting our dogs be dogs, working on relationship, etc?

It does seem that you often imply we aren't or can't possibly be doing so simply because we use reward based training.... and you would be so incredibly wrong.
The trainers on the forum usually take what I say personal about them - this has nothing to do with you or other certified trainers on the board. You know how to train properly using positive reinforcement - most that join this forum do not, they are looking for advice. I just find it interesting that many spend years trying to fix issue after issue - chasing their tails as it were.

It has absolutely nothing to do with you or your abilities.
 

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I didn't take that as anything to do with my skill as a trainer!


This:
I typically don't train dogs in the sense that others' do. I spend the time letting the dog be a dog, concentrate on the two way trust, two way respect - not training. Once 100% respect, trust and confidence is established, it's magical. I want the dog to learn to use it's brain, once they figure out on their own what is expected of them - things get interesting. Now one can work on training or what not.
Made it sound as if you are saying that you achieve all these awesome things and reward based training cannot.

My point was that your perception might just be incorrect....

Reward based training is very much about relationship. Our dogs certainly get to ''be dogs'' (in the last 24 hours my sports guys have not only trained but also rolled in the dirt, dug holes, chased chipmonks, played, sniffed, marked multiple locations, barked at deer, slept, chewed stuff, etc). Also many dogs trained via reward based methods are actually quite good at problem solving or ''using their brain.'' A great many of us intentionally work on and play training games that develop that skill. Highly valued actually in working and sport dogs of those utilizing primarily reward based methods.
 

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I will watch this in its entirety soon. The opening message sounded similar to what I posted recently in another thread. My comment was regarding when obedience and training might take a negative turn " if the dog loses engagement and enthusiasm for exhibiting its obedience and/or the sessions of training and it becomes an unfulfilling chore."
 

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A great many of us intentionally work on and play training games that develop that skill.
You're doing it again... This isn't about you Kmes, it's about the people that are signing up looking for advice - the ones that are screwing up the whole positive reinforcement.

Do the math on some of these crated dogs - how many hours a day are they spending in the crate? I've been scolded by people on here over heavy socialization of dogs.
 

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You're doing it again... This isn't about you Kmes, it's about the people that are signing up looking for advice - the ones that are screwing up the whole positive reinforcement.

Way to show how you train, if someone isn't perfect but actually takes the time to come here for advice, just call them screwups.
 
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