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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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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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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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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.

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, it’ll 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.

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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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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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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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.

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.

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?

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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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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I think you are under the impression that these treats are used as bribes. They are given as the result of appropriate behavior that we are rewarding so it will be repeated.

The only time I worry about not having enough treats is when I know there will be more opportunities that I would like to mark and strengthen than treats I carried. For example, Quest is reactive (though through CC it has greatly decreased). I know there is a dog at the end of our street we will have to pass on our way home that barks and lunges at the fence. On our walk, there were many more dogs out and about (nice weather) so I reinforced appropriate reaction and focus on me more than usual. As a result, I have fewer treats to reward with as our walk goes on.
 

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I think it's just really easy to see examples of people using a method poorly and then mistake that for an inherent flaw in the method.

When not done correctly, you get those people/dogs who are completely dependent on treats and it's more like bribery. But that's an individual trainer weakness, not a method weakness. The method of reward-based training, when done correctly, is sound and effective, and many of use here have the pudding to prove it.
 

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You have a lot of misconceptions about treat training.

I agree completely with what Sass said above. Also wanted to add:

Using positive training doesn't mean you always use treats. The reward can literally be anything your dog finds rewarding- tug, petting, ball, chasing, etc. Treats are a very very common reward because most dogs find them valuable and it's also a pretty easy one to utilize (vs like... chasing a squirrel being your reward. Even though it's easily a higher value thing for many dogs, it's hard to use on cue).

The dog doesn't need the treat to perform. The treat is used in the learning process to give the behavior worth to the dog.

Example: I've done some agility with my dogs. My older dog now trials which means she has to perform the whole thing of 17+ obstacles without any reward. And preferably she does so at a fast speed (well little old dog fast in our case but she tries!) She has no toy drive at all so all her agility is trained via treats. And yet I can count on her to do all 17+ things I ask her to, while running at speed, and while paying attention to my body language without a reward in sight.

You build up the behavior. You can't expect the dog to just right away go out and do all 17+ things from the get go. You build the game until the dog loves the game for the game itself.

Pretty well any positive trainign works the same way. Start small and with the dog under threshold and then work your way up. Build a behavior from the ground up, etc. I don't personally use exclusively postive methods but strive to. I want my relationship with my dogs to be a good working relationship with trust and respect as the basis. Limitations do come into play sometimes and I accept that not every situation can be trained as ideally as I'd like. But the basis of that kind of training works and works well.
 

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I do bring treats a lot because I like to be able to reward something great if it comes up. If I don't have treats praise can work but my dogs are in some pretty stressful situations potentially and I want them to be happy, relaxed, and know the situation will be good.

Mia in particular is a pretty reactive dog at her base temperament. You'd never know it watching her walk through a dog show. That's all just socialization and building positive, safe experiences for her. Sometimes using treats.
 

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I am curious just what Bully Girl means by assertive.

She asked why CM was brought up and I prrsume it is because it is in her first post and because she has referenced in other threads that she feels his approach is appropriate sometimes.
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You build up the behavior. You can't expect the dog to just right away go out and do all 17+ things from the get go. You build the game until the dog loves the game for the game itself.

Pretty well any positive trainign works the same way. Start small and with the dog under threshold and then work your way up.
Right, exactly. This is what I was trying to articulate, but much more concisely.

I mean, I am not the world's greatest trainer but if I can put an RN on a husky/American bulldog using positive training, then anyone can do anything with it. :p
 

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IMO, positive reinforcement is the only approach to use with an aggressive or reactive dog if you expect to make any improvement without worsening the dog's fear or getting bitten. Saying "no" and correcting the dog is only going to make his/her association with the scary thing (dog, person, etc) even worse, thereby increasing the aggression... because you have increased the fear. Basically, it goes like this:

dog sees dog --> handler says "NO!" with a leash pop --> dog may stop, but dog is thinking, "when there are dogs, bad things happen. Dogs are HORRIBLE AND I DON'T LIKE THEM!" --> dog increases aggression to keep other dogs away, to keep punishments from happening

^ and then it's an endless cycle. Trust me when I say it doesn't work and it makes things worse. When I started working with my own dog's reactivity, he couldn't see a person five hundred yards away without barking and lunging. Now we can walk down Main Street (busiest street in my town) without him going berserk. I didn't accomplish that by tugging the leash (even lightly); I accomplished that by starting from a distance where he wasn't reacting and playing LAT. Once he was comfortable, we moved up -- and yes, that involved treats. Lots of them. And HOURS of time.

Fine, your method may work for a while. But there's a high possibility that it will backfire and the dog will become more aggressive or reactive, and you're never going to have a truly relaxed dog if it's expecting corrections every time it sees a trigger.
 

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It really should be said here that you can be assertive (establish boundaries with the dog without intimidating / scaring them) but that really has no application in getting your dog to roll over, stop barking his head off or come when called!

In fact, with training/socializing Lexy, the only time my 'assertive' voice has come into play is when she is getting goofy and invading personal space boundaries. Jumping up, putting her paws on me, tugging at things attached to me like clothes, treat-bag etc. It's only then where it works to stiffen up, give a serious (not loud) "Hay!" and refuse to engage her until she backs off and makes a more appropriate "Play with me" signal.

But for something like pulling on the leash… how could a dog consider that a personal affront to you? They're moving away from you. Or they're trying to protect you from a threat but losing it over that other dog across the street. They can't comprehend that in terms of boundaries, because… well, dogs don't walk each other on leashes in the wild!!!
 

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if your dog is in a "red zone state" and you believe that punishing it is the best approach, i'd be pleading with you to MANAGE the dog for safety purposes and then to seek out a qualified professional.

advocating against the use of punishments for training is NOT a sign that you are deluded, or confused about the dog world. it also doesn't mean that you lack consistency or allow your dogs to walk all over you. i own a rottie mix myself and have done A LOT of rehabilitation with him, without the use of punishments (though i will admit that sadly, and ashamedly i have failed him in moments of frustration) and i KNOW how and when to properly apply punishment. i know how to use aversive training tools, and have used them in the past. and since i've used them, i've chosen to educate myself further and now i know better, more effective ways of training, as well as why they work.
I'm not understanding why you keep saying that I punish my dog???????? I would really like for you to explain to me what you mean by that.
 

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I am curious just what Bully Girl means by assertive.

She asked why CM was brought up and I prrsume it is because it is in her first post and because she has referenced in other threads that she feels his approach is appropriate sometimes.
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What I mean by assertive is firm and confident. Yes, I do agree with SOME of CM'S methods, but I mentioned him in this thread to say that just because someone is assertive doesn't mean that they should automatically be linked to CM and treated as if they abuse their dogs.
 
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