Anonymous asked:What sort of training do you use with your dogs? Positive reinforcement? Positive punishment?
I use reward-based training and marker training with my dogs. For Vecna that means lots of toys because of his low food drive and for Kas that means lots of treats. I also do a lot of BAT-style training to work on Kas’s reactivity and Vecna’s dog aggression incorporating functional rewards rather than treats/toys. I personally don’t really use corrections outside of verbal, time outs, a dog losing it’s chance to work etc. but I don’t think e-collars or prong collars are cruel or abusive if used correctly.
To be honest, I don’t find it terribly useful to talk about training styles in terms of being positive punishment-based or positive reinforcement-based. Trainers who use corrections typically use them in conjunction with a lot of rewards and motivational methods and even the gentlest of clicker trainers punish their dogs sometimes albeit often accidentally. I think classifying people as “positive reinforcement trainers” and “positive punishment trainers” creates an us vs them attitude and shuts down learning and discussion between both groups. The other issue I take with it is that the terms “positive punishment” and “positive reinforcement” are often used incorrectly. Just because you handed a dog a treat doesn’t mean it was positive reinforcement - that depends entirely on the dog and whether or not the treat made the behavior you were attempting to reward more likely to occur in the future. I know there have been times where I gave Vex a treat and though I thought I was rewarding him but it was actually punishing. In all honesty I’ve probably learned more from the balance trainers here on Tumblr than the clicker trainers here (not to disparage any of you! You’re all wonderful) because of our different perspectives.
I know you asked about my personal training style rather than a diatribe about training methods but it’s something I feel quite passionate about and it frustrates and saddens me that there’s such a disconnect between the two camps of trainers. I wish it was more common to have respectful, thoughtful discussions between the two groups and it’s one of the things I love about my dog buds here :)
Excellent response! I really wish there wasn’t such an “us vs. them” divide too. Personally I think people try too hard to label every trainer and fit them neatly into one category. I don’t think labels can accurately tell the whole story.
For example, I consider myself a “positive-reinforcement based” trainer, as do many others. However, I do use every quadrant of training and aversives such as pinch collars and e-collars. They are just not the majority of my training, the vast majority of my training is marker/clicker training, positive reinforcement, and negative punishment (withholding of reward). I think I can accurately call myself “positive reinforcement based” because of this, but if you asked someone else they might disagree. “Based” is the key word in that description, and does not exclude methods that are not +R.
Also excellent note that what is rewarding depends on the dog, and that’s tough for a lot of people to figure out.