Postive / Negative Punishment / Reinforcement Explained

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Postby amazincc » July 25th, 2008, 7:01 pm

Hmmm... I have a clicker... and I tried this w/Beast. :rolleyes2:
We didn't even get to the treat part, because he turned into a complete maniac and tore through the house "looking" for the sound. As soon as he hears it he loses his mind. :crazy2: lol
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Postby katiek0417 » July 25th, 2008, 7:04 pm

Have you tried to muffle it in your pocket?
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby amazincc » July 25th, 2008, 7:17 pm

Yes. He almost mauled me to get into my pockets... something about the sound totally sets him off... and not in a good way. :|
He's "special" that way... but you already know that... :giggle:
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Postby ellie@ny » July 25th, 2008, 7:23 pm

katiek0417 wrote:
amazincc wrote:How do you guys teach the dogs to equate the clicker w/"a job well done"?


Pavlov's Classical conditioning. (Although, I've heard it referred to as "loading the clicker.")

So, you continuously pair the click with the food. (and, for what order, you click, then give food; click then food; click then food...do it continuously). I do it about 30 times twice a day.

Then, I use the click in replacement of a "good job." The purpose of the click is to mark the behavior when it occurs, and it lets the dog know a reward (like food) is coming even if it's not coming that second. A benefit of clickers is that they never sound different...


We had a seminar back in spring,and the trainer introduced the clicker for some of the dogs.
You can also give toy reward as well to the dogs.
I personally haven't used it yet,but maybe will try it out soon... :)
I was impressed on his dog OB as well.
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Postby katiek0417 » July 25th, 2008, 11:06 pm

Ellie, it's funny that you mention using the toy as a reward. I had considered using that with Nemo...but I've seen his drive. My point of using a clicker is to keep him a bit on the calmer side...a tug won't do that...
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby furever_pit » July 25th, 2008, 11:40 pm

BritneyP wrote:I also think I already whole-heartedly agreed with you about this statement. :wink:

Oh Christine, don't take this the wrong way, but I actually think furever_pit could probably learn alot from this entire thread. It may have gone off on somewhat of a tangent, but it's all valuable information, atleast I think so. :)


I am getting a lot from this thread. It's kind of funny that clicking has been mentioned. I'm currently reading "Clicker Training for Obedience" and am seriously considering going back to our foundation level OB and trying this method with Dylan.

It's weird. I kinda feel like I'm in the middle of a long, drawn out epiphany but I don't have all the information I need to reach the other side. If that makes sense. I know I want to back off of the prong some and I want to reward Dylan more. I will admit that I am nervous about making mistakes, but also know that Dylan is a much better dog than I am a trainer so I don't think I'll "ruin" him.

Honestly, I'm not sure where to go from here as far as Dylan's training goes. While I love our Utility OB meets (not Ed's class), I don't know that we are ready for that and I don't think it's fair for others to have to wait on us. But, I hate thinking that we're about to start all over. I'm thinking maybe I just need to work with Dylan one-on-one and figure out exactly what kind of trainer I'm looking for to help us.

Don't get me wrong, Dylan is an excellent PET. If that was all I wanted, then I would stop here. But...I want to try more with this dog. He inspires me. Yet, that's not quite powerful enough to overcome my obsession with lots and lots and lots of research before action.

I need a mentor. :|
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Postby BullyLady » July 26th, 2008, 1:32 am

katiek0417 wrote:
amazincc wrote:How do you guys teach the dogs to equate the clicker w/"a job well done"?


Pavlov's Classical conditioning. (Although, I've heard it referred to as "loading the clicker.")


We called it "loading the clicker" at the club where I learned clicker training. And that's exactly how we did it, 10 min of click and treat, click and treat, click and treat, a day for three or four days. The dogs pick up veeeeery quickly! To the point where Sophie would come running across the whole house after hearing the clicker go.

And Christine, we have since switched to using a verbal cue. We say "yes" in a clipped manner in a high happy voice. We loaded it the same way as a clicker. Say "yes" repeatedly and immediately after hand the treat. We did it so that we have both hands free in case we need to guide the dog, but our clicker training trainer recommended this for dogs who are irritated by or scared of the clicker. Maybe give that a try if you are interested in it? It's a really excellent way to teach new behaviors, and shaping exercises are alot of fun too!
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Postby DemoDick » July 26th, 2008, 3:05 am

When you say you GO TO something it means you are leaving one thing, and going to a different thing. Then, she said INSTEAD OF. The word "instead" is an adverb meaning "to substitute or replace." So, essentially, the meaning of that phrase is "going from primarily motivational and replacing/substituting it with compulsion." That is the meaning of that surface structure (if you look at the meaning of the words). Maybe she worded it wrong, and meant it to imply: why did he INCLUDE compulsion, rather than substitute it for something.


Correct, however consider the context and personal history in which you have discussed these terms. I have seen you refer to "frying" a dog on the e-collar when describing what many refer to as "escape training", or -R. Not something I would advocate or defend in most cases, including teaching a retrieve. You will either create a half-hearted retrieve or simply RUIN a dog. When you advocate using a primarily negative (and stressful) method of teaching behaviors expect to encounter some resistance. Very, very few people are able to integrate rewards and punishments into a cohesive plan of attack to create and proof behaviors. Many fewer can start with compulsion to do the same. And to put it bluntly I don't know anyone here who could watch someone train a dog to the point of screaming in pain and simply "walk away".

If one has to resort to using compulsion to teach behaviors one loses the ability to reliably to self-label as a motivational trainer.

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Postby Hundilein » July 26th, 2008, 8:10 am

katiek0417 wrote:
amazincc wrote:How do you guys teach the dogs to equate the clicker w/"a job well done"?


Pavlov's Classical conditioning. (Although, I've heard it referred to as "loading the clicker.")


As someone who uses clickers a lot in training, I just want to mention that there is also a school of thought that says you can just start using the clicker and let the dog figure out the connection on his own (without loading the clicker). I do this often when I work with the dogs at my rescue. I only see the dogs once a week, and most of the foster parents don't do clicker stuff, so I don't have a lot of time to work on loading the clicker. Instead I just start clicking and treating for what I want. Most dogs figure it out pretty quickly. The evidence I see for this is that the dog quickly stops mugging my hand for the treats, and starts perking up at the click sound. Of course, I'm usually just working on, "don't jump up on me", rather than more complex behaviors where I want more precision. (I use the clicker for those kinds of things too, but most of the rescue dogs aren't really at that point yet.)

katiek0417 wrote:Ellie, it's funny that you mention using the toy as a reward.


I know this isn't technically a +/- Punishment/Reinforcement question, but this would be an example of the Premack Principle, right? A behavior that is highly likely to happen becomes the reward for a less likely behavior (or what the dog wants becomes a reward for what you want?) Not the actual toy as the reward, but playing with the toy? I've used this with my dog for loose leash walking by rewarding nice walking with the opportunity to sniff (something she loves to do), and it's worked wonders. I can still remember the first time I told her, "okay, go sniff" and she just hung around and looked at me, like, "thanks, but no thanks, I'd really rather just walk with you mom". Just trying to brush up on my training terms.

I'm finding this thread very interesting (and am annoyed that I haven't had time yet to sit down and read through it properly, and thoughtfully). I know there's lots of good stuff here, and I'm sure I'll have more questions when I get more time to look through it all again.
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Postby katiek0417 » July 26th, 2008, 8:34 pm

DemoDick wrote:
When you say you GO TO something it means you are leaving one thing, and going to a different thing. Then, she said INSTEAD OF. The word "instead" is an adverb meaning "to substitute or replace." So, essentially, the meaning of that phrase is "going from primarily motivational and replacing/substituting it with compulsion." That is the meaning of that surface structure (if you look at the meaning of the words). Maybe she worded it wrong, and meant it to imply: why did he INCLUDE compulsion, rather than substitute it for something.


Correct, however consider the context and personal history in which you have discussed these terms. I have seen you refer to "frying" a dog on the e-collar when describing what many refer to as "escape training", or -R. Not something I would advocate or defend in most cases, including teaching a retrieve. You will either create a half-hearted retrieve or simply RUIN a dog. When you advocate using a primarily negative (and stressful) method of teaching behaviors expect to encounter some resistance. Very, very few people are able to integrate rewards and punishments into a cohesive plan of attack to create and proof behaviors. Many fewer can start with compulsion to do the same. And to put it bluntly I don't know anyone here who could watch someone train a dog to the point of screaming in pain and simply "walk away".

If one has to resort to using compulsion to teach behaviors one loses the ability to reliably to self-label as a motivational trainer.

Demo Dick


Demo, more than half (in fact, a vast majority) of field trial competitors with titles have been trained using -R for the forced retrieve. These are dogs that make a career out of retrieving. And this is not some silly 20 foot retrieve you do on the trial field, these are 150-200 yard retrieves. However, these dogs weren't ruined nor are they doing a half-hearted retrieve. I don't know if you've ever seen a field trial, but if not, I'd highly recommend going to see one (the people are very cool, too). These dogs are quite amazing, and some of the happiest dogs while they're working that I've ever seen! So, your statement that you will do one of two things (create a half-hearted retrieve or ruin a dog) simply isn't true.

Some dogs need more compulsion that others to learn the forced retrieve. If you use force that is beyond the threshold of the dog, then yes, you might ruin a dog. But again, I have to point to these field-trained dogs, who are usually trained with quite "harsh" (by our standards) methods, yet do these beautiful retrieves way beyond the capabilities of our dogs and look very happy to do them.
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby amazincc » July 26th, 2008, 9:03 pm

BullyLady wrote:[
And Christine, we have since switched to using a verbal cue. We say "yes" in a clipped manner in a high happy voice. We loaded it the same way as a clicker. Say "yes" repeatedly and immediately after hand the treat. We did it so that we have both hands free in case we need to guide the dog, but our clicker training trainer recommended this for dogs who are irritated by or scared of the clicker. Maybe give that a try if you are interested in it? It's a really excellent way to teach new behaviors, and shaping exercises are alot of fun too!


That's what I've been doing and it works for us. :)
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Postby katiek0417 » July 26th, 2008, 9:26 pm

amazincc wrote:
BullyLady wrote:[
And Christine, we have since switched to using a verbal cue. We say "yes" in a clipped manner in a high happy voice. We loaded it the same way as a clicker. Say "yes" repeatedly and immediately after hand the treat. We did it so that we have both hands free in case we need to guide the dog, but our clicker training trainer recommended this for dogs who are irritated by or scared of the clicker. Maybe give that a try if you are interested in it? It's a really excellent way to teach new behaviors, and shaping exercises are alot of fun too!


That's what I've been doing and it works for us. :)


I thought about doing that with my new dog...using the voice marker...however, I'm only concerned that it will over-excite the crazy idiot even more.

Hundilein wrote:I know this isn't technically a +/- Punishment/Reinforcement question, but this would be an example of the Premack Principle, right? A behavior that is highly likely to happen becomes the reward for a less likely behavior (or what the dog wants becomes a reward for what you want?) Not the actual toy as the reward, but playing with the toy? I've used this with my dog for loose leash walking by rewarding nice walking with the opportunity to sniff (something she loves to do), and it's worked wonders. I can still remember the first time I told her, "okay, go sniff" and she just hung around and looked at me, like, "thanks, but no thanks, I'd really rather just walk with you mom". Just trying to brush up on my training terms.


You're basically right, the "technical" behaviorist definition states that more probable behaviors will reinforce less probable behaviors. Furthermore, any high-frequency activity can be used as a reinforcer for any lower-frequency activity (taken from one of my "Learning" textbooks). The example that I always use: Let's say you want your child to eat his/her vegetables, if you say "you can have ice cream if you eat all your vegetables" you are applying the Premack Principle.
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby Hundilein » July 26th, 2008, 9:39 pm

katiek0417 wrote:I thought about doing that with my new dog...using the voice marker...however, I'm only concerned that it will over-excite the crazy idiot even more.


The verbal marker can work well, and I've taught my dogs both the verbal "yes" and the clicker, but I find that the clicker often seems to work better, especially for my GSD mix. I don't know exactly why, and I definitely advocate using whatever works for the individual dog, but I suspect in my case that it's because the clicker sounds the same every time. I'm a very temperamental person, so it's hard for me to keep my words sounding the same all the time, even when I'm really concentrating on it (and I don't train when I'm upset). Also, I find it much easier not to talk to my dogs when I'm using the clicker than when I use "yes", and I think that helps them as well. I tend to chatter to my dogs much more than I should, but when I'm doing clicker work, I can just shut up completely and let the clicker do the "talking".

You're basically right, the "technical" behaviorist definition states that more probable behaviors will reinforce less probable behaviors. Furthermore, any high-frequency activity can be used as a reinforcer for any lower-frequency activity (taken from one of my "Learning" textbooks). The example that I always use: Let's say you want your child to eat his/her vegetables, if you say "you can have ice cream if you eat all your vegetables" you are applying the Premack Principle.


Thank you! "Probable", that's the word I was looking for. Glad to hear I was on the right track. This stuff fascinates me, and I'm trying hard to use the correct terminology, at least when I'm talking to other people who understand, or want to understand, the terms. (As opposed to my students in basic manners classes, who don't really need to know the exact terms, just what the heck to do to get their dogs to behave.)
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Postby DemoDick » July 30th, 2008, 12:09 pm

Demo, more than half (in fact, a vast majority) of field trial competitors with titles have been trained using -R for the forced retrieve. These are dogs that make a career out of retrieving. And this is not some silly 20 foot retrieve you do on the trial field, these are 150-200 yard retrieves. However, these dogs weren't ruined nor are they doing a half-hearted retrieve. I don't know if you've ever seen a field trial, but if not, I'd highly recommend going to see one (the people are very cool, too). These dogs are quite amazing, and some of the happiest dogs while they're working that I've ever seen! So, your statement that you will do one of two things (create a half-hearted retrieve or ruin a dog) simply isn't true.


For the majority of people teaching a retrieve it remains true. Stress in teaching translates to stress in performance. It may not show up for years, but it will show up. Also remember that breeders of field labs will cull dogs who can't handle the "stress of training". In other words, they breed very resilient dogs who can handle -R up front while teaching new tasks. Most dogs are simply not like this and will buckle. In addition most trainers, with the exception of a few skilled forced-retrieve specialists, don't have the know-how to make it work on a dog that can handle it.

It sounds like you're making an argument that because field retrievers appear happy then the training is justified. That's an "ends justifies the means" argument. Some dogs appear quite happy while living in squalor and neglect. It doesn't justify anything.

I wouldn't advise anyone to start with -R to teach a new behavior unless every possible alternative has been tried and the person has access to someone who knows what they're doing. Otherwise there is a risk of serisously damaging the working ability of the dog.

Demo Dick
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Postby katiek0417 » July 30th, 2008, 12:22 pm

Demo we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I've seen many dogs have a forced retrieve put on them (look at the KNPV dogs who have to pick up a button, bullet, etc). I'm not going to continue arguing with you b/c what makes each of us unique is that we each have our own opinions. I respect your opinion. I think you are well-educated, and I think you know your dog stuff. Therefore, I do respect your opinion. That does not equate to my agreement with it. I hope you would do the same for me.
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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