Cooked chicken also now dangerous?

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Postby TheRedQueen » June 21st, 2011, 11:05 pm

oh. my. god. I love Jean Donaldson!

Cooked Chicken Also Now Dangerous?
Posted on June 15, 2011 by Jean
This is from an article on rehabbing dogs with multiple problems, in which the author advises owners to:

• Develop a positive “cult of personality” with your dog. If she thinks you are an influential rock star, she’ll want to please you. Be confident—even haughty. Stoking her desire to please is the key to good behaviour.
• Distrust the power of treats. Though good for initiating behaviours, they can soon outstrip you as the prime motivating force, and create a pushy cookie monster. Praise, and the cult of personality should become the bulwarks of your authority.

I don’t know the author from Adam so maybe he really believes that being “haughty” with one’s dog will help stop house-soiling, food-bowl guarding, interest in squirrels and cats, and improve sits, downs, recalls and stays. However my guess is he knows this is ridiculous, probably uses some sort of collar and leash system and has some inkling that without these owners would fall pretty short of rock star influence no matter how “confident” they acted. But to say to people, “yeah, you could motivate effectively with food, but I feel more comfortable using pain and fear” doesn’t have the same evangelical charm.

Or how about this one:

Don’t let inferior dog training techniques destroy your relationship with your dog.

Why risk it? You could be putting your dog in emotional or physical harm. We’ve seen both the cookie-bribery trainers and the dog trainers who use the super-harsh methods and we don’t agree with either. Using either approach can undermine your relationship with your dog and/or cause physical harm.

I can connect the dots between super-harsh methods and emotional and physical harm and relationship destruction, but I’m stumped about how cookie-bribery does this. Maybe it’s more tortured logic wherein if the dog finds out how off-the-planet fantastic chicken is, the owner will feel dissed because the dog rarely reacts that way to him. If this is the case, then “the relationship” is weasel-speak for “my narcissism.” It also means, incidentally, that your significant other should get no movies, laughter with friends, football, cake, good books, fun time on fast vehicles or whatever their passions are so that you stand a better chance of ascending to rock star status amid the now more barren fun-o-sphere.

Or this one:

The food-bribery dog training method is short-term at best and the dog is not taught to respect its human.

“Respect,” by the way, is code for “fear.” He continues:

The dog begins biting people as a direct result of owners trying to train their dogs with food, too often resulting in the dog having to be destroyed. Giving an aggressive or dominant dog food to train is dangerous positive reinforcement and can make many dogs even more aggressive and dominant.

Good heavens, biting people as a direct result of using food to train? Dangerous positive reinforcement? All peer-reviewed research on this actually finds the diametric opposite but I’m betting the positive-reinforcement-is-dangerous crowd doesn’t scour academic journals in an attempt to refine their craft.

This vilifying of food is interesting stuff. If I wanted to spike crime rates in humans, I’d probably not start by offering baked goods to juvie hall kids for desired behaviors. And picture a food-o-phobe telling a zoo trainer that elephants and gibbons should be motivated to comply with veterinary procedures by the keeper cultivating a rock star persona. “Uh, let’s see you try it first…”

Putting aside the *actual* motivators these people use – choke collars, prong collars, electric shock, pinning dogs to the ground and other things designed to intimidate animals into compliance – we could build a continuum of reinforcer chastity:

An item’s proposed location on the continuum is based on: 1) the righteousness (going in) of dogs who find that item motivating, and 2) whether using that item actually corrupts the dog’s goodness. Praise is the uber winner on both counts. Dogs who work for praise are the most noble, worthy and admirable, and the least conniving.

And because of clause #2, the more praise is used on a dog, the purer the dog gets. If it’s not effective, we invoke clause #1: base, attitudinal dog (in need of flagellation – ta-da!).

Door-opening, attention, giving the dog a chew toy and the opportunity to sniff on a walk – so-called “life rewards” – are less virtuous than praise but not as erosive of moral fiber as, say, food. (Eating is apparently divorced from the dog’s “life.”)

Tug is middle-ish but with a bullet. Whereas twenty years ago we all parroted how playing tug was the gateway to anarchy, now most trainers extoll its virtues as a convenient, recyclable motivator and energy-burner for drivey dogs, and one that has the fabulous asset of not being food.

Which brings us to food and the mercenary, profligate dogs who work for it. Notice nobody ever talks derisively about dogs “begging for walks” or “becoming dependent on having the leash removed at the dog park” or the atrocity of “praise bribery.”

The crushing irony is, of course, that for all living dogs, food is insanely powerful, insanely convenient (ever try bringing door-opening along on walks?) and carries the spectacular side effect of the dog liking the training a bit more every time it’s dispensed, liking the trainer and the trainer’s hands a bit more, and liking anything else that is a reasonable predictor of it. This Pavlovian conditioning side effect is squandered on food bowls and 5:00 p.m. I wonder if trainers who hate food feel a pang of jealousy when they are forced – by law – to put some of it down on a regular enough basis to stave off their dogs’ starvation. Or perhaps free food is exempt. I’m not clear on this.

I’ve long thought it is food’s very potency that freaks some people out. It makes dogs look like crackheads, which makes the coercion crowd feel dissed or invisible. A client could get perilously close to an excellent outcome with desirable side-effects using food, but (drum roll) “he wouldn’t be doing it for you, he’d be doing it because of the food.”

Plenty of well-meaning owners, who work hard for a living, are made to pay money for this drivel. And non-aversive trainers actually sometimes kowtow to it by getting all apologetic, rushing to assure owners that this execrable thing, this FOOD, can be phased out once behavior is learned (which would be extinction, which would be bad) or replaced by wholesome, upright motivators such as door-opening, attention, walks and so on.

Of course it’s good practice to employ intermittent schedules to increase resilience to extinction, and of course it’s crafty to diversify the motivator base but some light needs to be shed on this tacit consensus that The Less Food the Better. Do we think owners will fall to pieces if we said:

Yeah, food is an AWESOME motivator with transcendent side effects so let’s figure out how to get you in the habit of having high value food available when you need it so we can train up strong behavior in a wide variety of contexts. He’ll never do it because you’re a rock star, and I’m actually pretty incensed that good people like you have been sold the lie that dogs will do it just for you or just for praise. Trainers who would have you believe this are as dependent on their choking and shocking and pinning and scary stuff as we will be on our food, but that’s how it is with living things. No free lunch.

A student of mine pointed out that it’s actually kind of condescending to assume owners can’t handle this truth. They’re competent adults and won’t tumble into existential obliteration if you level with them about the economics of behavior.

It also got me thinking of an Emperor’s New Clothes challenge where trainers who pour scorn on food are invited to see if they can train up a single behavior on a single green dog, using their haughtiness, desire to please stoking and personality cults but without any choking or pinning or shocking or bullying or yanking on leashes. We all know the result they’d get. Because guess what: dogs aren’t doing it for them either.

"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby mnp13 » June 21st, 2011, 11:47 pm

I like the article... however...

The dog begins biting people as a direct result of owners trying to train their dogs with foodtoo often resulting in the dog having to be destroyed. Giving an aggressive or dominant dog food to train is dangerous positive reinforcement and can make many dogs even more aggressive and dominant.

Good heavens, biting people as a direct result of using food to train? Dangerous positive reinforcement? All peer-reviewed research on this actually finds the diametric opposite but I’m betting the positive-reinforcement-is-dangerous crowd doesn’t scour academic journals in an attempt to refine their craft.


when I first got Riggs, I tried to use food and toys for training. I quickly - and inadvertently - taught him to bite my hands to get at whatever was in them. The problem escalated until I completely stopped interacting with him besides letting him out in the yard. If I did anything with him, or had anything in my hands at any time, I got snapped at - and he always drew blood. He's a dominant, pushy, asshole of a dog... that I taught to behave badly.

Now, of course, he was just being a jerk, if he had wanted to injure me he would have. Does that make the treats and toys the problem? NO, however, my errors made the problem worse and the presence of any treats or toys escalated the behaviors. It took me three weeks to teach him to act like that and over six months to get him to stop.

My point is, food and treats can be problems in training.

That said, at this time, I also do not use compulsion in training with him... because it's not worth the headache. We do use treats and treats only now, but it was a loooong road to get back to the point where he wasn't making me bleed all the time.

But I have to laugh at a dog being trained by the owner's haughty behavior. Uh... yeah... sure.

Ruby can out bitch every bitch I have ever met - human or canine. Get haughty with her and she'll yawn and walk away, offer her lung? She'll do back flips (until she realizes that she's working, and then she'll yawn and walk away.)

Link to the article?
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » June 22nd, 2011, 7:32 am

I’m betting the positive-reinforcement-is-dangerous crowd doesn’t scour academic journals in an attempt to refine their craft.


lmao
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Postby TheRedQueen » June 22nd, 2011, 8:37 am

Ooops...yup, here's the link:
http://academyfordogtrainers.com/blog/


And this part made me giggle:
I’ve long thought it is food’s very potency that freaks some people out. It makes dogs look like crackheads, which makes the coercion crowd feel dissed or invisible. A client could get perilously close to an excellent outcome with desirable side-effects using food, but (drum roll) “he wouldn’t be doing it for you, he’d be doing it because of the food.”


But this part made me laugh out loud like an idiot:
I wonder if trainers who hate food feel a pang of jealousy when they are forced – by law – to put some of it down on a regular enough basis to stave off their dogs’ starvation. Or perhaps free food is exempt. I’m not clear on this.
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby amalie79 » June 22nd, 2011, 11:45 am

TheRedQueen wrote:And this part made me giggle:
I’ve long thought it is food’s very potency that freaks some people out. It makes dogs look like crackheads, which makes the coercion crowd feel dissed or invisible. A client could get perilously close to an excellent outcome with desirable side-effects using food, but (drum roll) “he wouldn’t be doing it for you, he’d be doing it because of the food.”



Sometimes I think my problem with guys like Cesar Milan or the weirdo Canadian who struts around in a leather jacket with the dogs tethered to his waist and yells at the owners for having dog treats in the house :rolleyes2: is less the methods and more the narcissism. I loved this very lesson from Culture Clash: It's not personal and you are not that special.
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Where you invest your love, you invest your life." --Marcus Mumford

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Postby Tubular Toby » June 22nd, 2011, 11:55 am

*bookmarks blog*

Thanks Erin. ;) Haha! That was a delightful read.
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Postby DemoDick » June 22nd, 2011, 7:17 pm

Though the "positive" training crowd seems to live in denial of this, inappropriate positive reinforcement can screw up a dog just as bad as inappropriate positive punishment, and asserting otherwise is either a lie or a misunderstanding.

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Postby mnp13 » June 22nd, 2011, 10:20 pm

Like any and all training methods - it ALL depends on the trainer to do things correctly.
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Postby TheRedQueen » June 22nd, 2011, 10:23 pm

Nope, too tired to take the bait (pun intended).

;)
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby DemoDick » June 22nd, 2011, 10:41 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:Nope, too tired to take the bait (pun intended).

;)


No bait, it's just a fact. Rewarding unwanted behaviors, which many people do obliviously, has the same effect as rewarding desired ones; it increases their frequency and intensity. There are many ways to screw up a dog and not all of them involve the misapplication of corrections. I've heard it parroted again and again that you can't harm a dog with positive reinforcement, and it simply isn't true.

And I promise you, I am much more tired than you tonight. :wave2:

Demo Dick
"My first priority will be to reinstate the assault weapons ban PERMANENTLY as soon as I take office...I intend to work with Congress on a national no carry law, 1 gun a month purchase limits, and bans on all semi-automatic guns."-Barack Obama
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Postby DemoDick » June 22nd, 2011, 11:31 pm

Yeah, those two. Not sure why I couldn't right click and copy. But yeah, the one thing the handler can't control is how hard the dog hits the end of the leash should it see something it *really* wants, and in such a case it is safer for the dog to run full speed into a dead stop on a prong than a head halter.

Intentional face-masking a player in the NFL results in a 15 yard penalty and an automatic first down, and these guys aren't exactly delicate little flowers. There's a reason for that.

Demo Dick
"My first priority will be to reinstate the assault weapons ban PERMANENTLY as soon as I take office...I intend to work with Congress on a national no carry law, 1 gun a month purchase limits, and bans on all semi-automatic guns."-Barack Obama
"When in doubt, whip it out."-Nuge
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Postby TheRedQueen » June 23rd, 2011, 8:55 am

The head halter is *not* all positive, just as we discussed in the other thread about training tools. If the dog finds it aversive, then it's not all happy and shiny for him. What works is in the eye of the animal...not the person putting it on the animal.

When I've usd the GL for my dogs, it's under controlled circumstances and on a short leash. I don't think anyone advocates the uses a head halter on a long leash. The GL is very useful for dogs that lunge at people and dogs, because you can control the head.
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby mnp13 » June 23rd, 2011, 9:32 am

TheRedQueen wrote:The head halter is *not* all positive, just as we discussed in the other thread about training tools. If the dog finds it aversive, then it's not all happy and shiny for him. What works is in the eye of the animal...not the person putting it on the animal.


YOU understand that it's not all positive and WE understand that it's not all positive. But I've spoken to MANY MANY "hard core, all positive all the time" people who think that halters are the be all and end all for management/training because they don't "correct" the dog. However, the simply wearing the thing for many dogs is one loooooooong, never ending correction. And the literature for one of them states that the halter “mimics the correction of the mother dog” so they actually state clearly that the halters DO correct, and that they are DESIGNED to correct. The difference is, it’s not a “mean correction from a collar” it’s a subtile correction from a head halter, so people (not you) don’t think that’s the same thing.

TheRedQueen wrote:When I've usd the GL for my dogs, it's under controlled circumstances and on a short leash. I don't think anyone advocates the uses a head halter on a long leash. The GL is very useful for dogs that lunge at people and dogs, because you can control the head.


In relation to a short leash, even a short leash could be a problem (not commenting to you directly, just a general comment.) One of Riggs' attempts to grab Connor was from about three feet away. He went from a down to full speed launch in half a second. My leash was actually short enough to prevent contact, but only by accident, not by design. He would have torqued the heck out of his neck on a halter since I was actually standing on the leash at the time (tying my shoes.)

If my dog is going to suddenly lunge at things, I don't want to be spinning them around by their face - that's a neck problem waiting to happen.
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Postby DemoDick » June 24th, 2011, 1:05 am

TheRedQueen wrote:The head halter is *not* all positive, just as we discussed in the other thread about training tools. If the dog finds it aversive, then it's not all happy and shiny for him. What works is in the eye of the animal...not the person putting it on the animal.

When I've usd the GL for my dogs, it's under controlled circumstances and on a short leash. I don't think anyone advocates the uses a head halter on a long leash. The GL is very useful for dogs that lunge at people and dogs, because you can control the head.


What I bolded is so simple, so basic and so essential in its truthfulness that it's a real crying shame that practically no one understands it.

If our end goal is to actually teach and train our dogs how to do tasks, as opposed to obtain ego validation through the approval of others, then the most important thing to get people to realize is that the dog is the one who determines if something is an "aversive" (positive punishment) or a "reward' (positive reinforcement), or something else entirely. How the handler feels about a piece of equipment or a training technique is meaningless for training purposes.

Demo Dick
"My first priority will be to reinstate the assault weapons ban PERMANENTLY as soon as I take office...I intend to work with Congress on a national no carry law, 1 gun a month purchase limits, and bans on all semi-automatic guns."-Barack Obama
"When in doubt, whip it out."-Nuge
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