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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
This will be my final comment on this subject because we aren't getting anywhere....what I'm saying is I know that treat training works, I use treat training with my shi tzu, I also use treat training during command training with my bulldog however she is not very "food driven" in certain situations. I don't think that treat training works with ALL dogs in ALL situations. Being assertive does NOT mean that I hit or alpha roll my dog, which I have NEVER done! It means that I can give firm commands and can be confident that my dog will respond without treats, that's all. I do know people who use treats as bribes and have to have them on hand at ALL times to "control" their dogs, so I may have been a tad unfamiliar with some of you alls treat training methods.
 

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Thank you. Of course, that's still a little vague--ie what are your actions that define you being "firm?" Mostly, I'm curious as to why, when we had been recommending PR resources in the thread this was split from, you posted the first post then. Being firm and confident is not mutually exclusive of PR. PR does not mean we don't have rules, lack confidence, are wishy-washy, are permissive, etc. So when you bring up assertiveness, it's apples to oranges. Unless by your "firm" you mean you follow up with positive punishment...the "or else." Then it's just easier to be on the same page if you use that terminology.

I think you have some gross misconceptions of positive reinforcement training. Using rewards is not using bribes. Not all rewards are food. Certain breeds don't take heavier hands. You don't give one reward per one action for a dog's whole life. etc.

Fwiw, the majority of dogs I work with at the shelter are bully breeds and I use PR and NP with them exclusively and successfully. I don't need to be any more "assertive" with them than any other breed. PR works beautifully to help them overcome their reactivity and lack of impulse control....

I would encourage you to read these:
15 Must Read Dog Training Articles — The Crossover Trainer's BlogThe Crossover Trainer's Blog
dogs+ethics (new one to me but really on point)
Treat Training Trinity – Why positive reinforcement did not work for my dog. | awesomedogs
A Surprising Look at Balanced Training - Smart Dog University
Peaceable Paws
 

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It means that I can give firm commands and can be confident that my dog will respond without treats, that's all.
Well, then, by that criteria I'm assertive, and I'd wager that everyone else commenting in this thread is, too. Because using this definition, using treats and being assertive are in no way mutually exclusive.
 

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Well, then, by that criteria I'm assertive, and I'd wager that everyone else commenting in this thread is, too. Because using this definition, using treats and being assertive are in no way mutually exclusive.
This.

Though honestly I've never really considered myself to be "assertive"...My dog is trained to know what a cue means, and what is expected of them when they hear or see the cue. I don't need to be "firm" with them. I simply ask them to do something in a normal tone of voice. Sometimes I don't speak at all, I give them a signal instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Thank you. Of course, that's still a little vague--ie what are your actions that define you being "firm?" Mostly, I'm curious as to why, when we had been recommending PR resources in the thread this was split from, you posted the first post then. Being firm and confident is not mutually exclusive of PR. PR does not mean we don't have rules, lack confidence, are wishy-washy, are permissive, etc. So when you bring up assertiveness, it's apples to oranges. Unless by your "firm" you mean you follow up with positive punishment...the "or else." Then it's just easier to be on the same page if you use that terminology.

I think you have some gross misconceptions of positive reinforcement training. Using rewards is not using bribes. Not all rewards are food. Certain breeds don't take heavier hands. You don't give one reward per one action for a dog's whole life. etc.

Fwiw, the majority of dogs I work with at the shelter are bully breeds and I use PR and NP with them exclusively and successfully. I don't need to be any more "assertive" with them than any other breed. PR works beautifully to help them overcome their reactivity and lack of impulse control....

I would encourage you to read these:
15 Must Read Dog Training Articles — The Crossover Trainer's BlogThe Crossover Trainer's Blog
dogs+ethics (new one to me but really on point)
Treat Training Trinity – Why positive reinforcement did not work for my dog. | awesomedogs
A Surprising Look at Balanced Training - Smart Dog University
Peaceable Paws
Wow...I think it's extreme to imply that by telling my dog "no" that I am punishing and inflicting fear and intimidation! I tell my dogs "no" and they simply stop doing whatever I'm asking them to not do and then we carry on with playing or cuddling or whatever it is we were doing...they don't cower or act depressed of fearful in ANY way, not even my shi tzu, lol. However everyone is entitled to their opinion...thanks for the links, I may look over them in my spare time :)
 

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I'm sorry but how on earth did my post imply that? I can certainly explain how a no would be intimidating, but I didn't even get near that subject in what you quoted of me.
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I tell my dogs no. They also don't cower in fear. But in terms of learning that is called a punishment. Not because my dogs run away and hide but because being 'told off' reduces the chance that they will do that behaviour again. You are attaching too much meaning to these labels because you haven't read up on operant conditioning.
I am of the belief that if the training you choose to use works for you and your dog then go for it :) I am not a pure PR handler. Your dog doesn't seem like a danger to anyone and I assume she is a happy dog so it really doesn't matter what techniques different people would use IMO :)
 

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Your dog doesn't seem like a danger to anyone and I assume she is a happy dog so it really doesn't matter what techniques different people would use IMO :)
I do not have any objection to whether the OP uses the same technique I use.

My objection is to an entire method of training being mischaracterized by someone with a misunderstanding or incomplete understanding of what it even is. Lurkers read these threads, and I want it to be clear just what PR training is and isn't - eg, it's not bribery when done properly and there's no reason to think a properly PR trained dog is going to blow you off if you don't have a treat right then and there.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
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.
My apologies...This is more so the comment that I was referring to. I asked what you were referring to as "punishment" and this is the answer that I got. My dog does NOT consider the word no to be intimidating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
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.

from B. F. SKINNER by Dr. C. George Boeree

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



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.
This is a comment that suggests telling my dog "no" is punishment.
 

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This is a comment that suggests telling my dog "no" is punishment.
Well, it can certainly be a punishment. It just depends on how it's trained and used, and how the dog interprets it as a result. Dogs don't speak english, they don't learn a meaning for "no" unless it's taught to them. And it can either be taught as an aversive punishment, or as a positive interrupter.

If it's a positive interrupter, then it's used to distract the dog from an unwanted behavior so the dog can then be redirected. If you say "no", the dog should return to you or give you it's attention for further direction.

If it's an aversive punishment, it's used to deter the dog from performing that behavior again. If you say "no", the dog should stop the behavior because the "no" either is unpleasant to them, or means something unpleasant will soon be occurring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
you keep using the words "some people" sure, some people bribe their dogs, some people shout at them, some people are violent to them etc... that doesn't make it the norm for the training method/philosophy... if i'm out in the woods, walking my dogs (which i do quite often) there is a good chance i won't have treats on hand since i often grab my boys and just go. in other situations where we are out and about, i will likely have treats on hand, but not always... my boys are both in need of training for certain situations. i definitely use treats then. i also use other things as rewards for them all the time... i try to use what they value most in that situation, as a reward for doing what i want them to do... sometimes that is food, sometimes a toy, sometimes it is being allowed to mark on a walk, sometimes it is being allowed to sniff etc... i don't HAVE to always use treats, but most of the time they are a really effective way to convey information to my dogs.

these would be considered punishments:

and this can be (or it can just be annoying):

but that depends on the dog...
This is another comment which suggests that saying "no" to my dogs is punishment....I totally disagree.
 

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I so don't want to get too involved in this discussion but do keep in mind that most people here are using "punishment" = stimuli that decreases the frequency of a behavior. It is the scientific definition used by ethologists, animal behaviorists, trainers, etc.

I understand that you do not see a verbal "No" as "punishment". BUT if a "No" stops a behavior it is by definition punishment. Sorry but it is.

If you haven't already looked over the Operant Conditioning thread that the others have linked you to, you may want to if nothing else than to get a better handle on terms/definitions. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
Well, it can certainly be a punishment. It just depends on how it's trained and used, and how the dog interprets it as a result. Dogs don't speak english, they don't learn a meaning for "no" unless it's taught to them. And it can either be taught as an aversive punishment, or as a positive interrupter.

If it's a positive interrupter, then it's used to distract the dog from an unwanted behavior so the dog can then be redirected. If you say "no", the dog should return to you or give you it's attention for further direction.

If it's an aversive punishment, it's used to deter the dog from performing that behavior again. If you say "no", the dog should stop the behavior because the "no" either is unpleasant to them, or means something unpleasant will soon be occurring.
Well I definitely don't scold or yell "no" at my dogs, lol. I calmly and firmly say no, they stop and look at me for further instructions when necessary, or they just stop the unwanted behavior and we carry on playing...for example when I play with my bulldog she can get a bit mouthy, I say no...and she stops, I say good girl, and then we continue play.
 

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You can either reinforce a behavior (doing something that increases the frequency of said behavior) or you can punish a behavior (reduce the frequency of said behavior). So if saying 'no' mean

Punishment is not the same thing as abuse. It COULD be abuse but it could also just be taking an action that reduces an unwanted behavior.

I was actually musing lately about a pretty common positive method that causes my dog to totally shut down. What is 'harsh' or 'severely' punishing' really depends on the dog in front of you. A verbal correction (like a stern no) is not going to phase a lot of dogs but it can shut down some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
It is punishment in terms of operant conditioning. As that comment also suggested, you should really educate yourself on the four quadrants of operant conditioning before arguing and accusing people of saying you abuse your dogs.
Not on this particular thread, but on another forum I have been called an abuser and a few other names, none of which I am.
 

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You can either reinforce a behavior (doing something that increases the frequency of said behavior) or you can punish a behavior (reduce the frequency of said behavior). So if saying 'no' mean
Whoops cut myself off mid-sentence.

I meant:

If saying 'no' reduces a behavior you're seeing then technically it is a punishment. It doesn't mean it's a severe punishment or damaging to your dog but it is punishing that particular behavior.

Like I said, a lot depends on the dog. I could say no and yell at Mia all day long and she won't care. Like at all. She'll stop a minute then wag her tail and be right back at it. But that same stern 'no' would absolutely melt my sister's dog Rose down to nothing. It would take a lot to overcome that with her.
 
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