Compulsion vs. "positive only" training

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Postby Leslie H » June 28th, 2006, 7:04 pm

Kate's approach is one I'm familiar with, used by trainers who want a serious, motivated working dog. I don't use that approach, but that's because my dogs are not just working dogs, they are pets and companions. It is an approach I respect, and I know if I want more from my dogs, I need to modify my interactions w/them, to a greater or lesser extent.
I heard about a very successful weight pull trainer. His dogs have a positive attitude, and a great work ethic. I was told that when he first gets a dog, he kennels it for several weeks, and has minimal interactions w/it. Then, he begins training. It is all positive, and as long as the dog is working hard, it is showered with praise and attention. When the dog doesn't put much effort into its work, it is quietly put back in the kennel.
Excellent thread, BTW.
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Postby Siberian » June 29th, 2006, 2:28 pm

wow, this is very enlightning to see people discussing compulsion training, without being frowned upon. I am not a trainer, I had to hire one when I got my dog. She used positive training mehtods, and after an over a thousand dollars in payments and many months, I realized, I still don't have a trained dog. Sure, she would give you high five for a cookie, but I was looking for something more fundomental. Like coming when called, heeling when told, and that "no" means an absolute and undiscussable "no". It was becoming dangerous. So I hired a new trainer. She absolutely uses compulsion methods. We use e-collar too. It worked wonders! She listenes, she is in tune with me. She is becoming more confident (we have shyness issues). She is definately not a broken spirit.

Also:
I think there is not a cookie cutter method to train dogs. Good trainer will recognize that. We started our training the traditional compulsion method (muzzle, prong, leash pops, etc.). Some things Sheba responded to wonderfully, some she would scream bloody murder (she won't be in pain, it is a nervousness thing), so we altered the approach slightly. We do have food and toys involved, but compulsion is still present. She is a pet dog, not a working dog, so I think we can be flexable in the training, as soon as it yelds results.

I am just upset I wasted a year on cookie feeding. :)
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Postby katiek0417 » June 30th, 2006, 12:09 am

babyreba wrote:yeah, that i've read before, and i get it. but that's not what katie wrote. maybe that's what she meant, but the impression i got from her posting was that her dogs don't get to play with one another or get toys or bones, regardless of whether they worked for it or not.

if that's the case i'm wondering whether there is a benefit to doing that--i've always figured that playing and chewing were important things for a dog to do, so i'm curious how not playing or chewing at all impacts the dog's training.

this is the part she wrote that leads me to ask the question:

They no longer play together, they no longer play with toys. I don't even let my puppy have bones anymore. If they are doing something it is for a reason


In the process of buying a house, so not on here much.

My dogs WORK for ME. If I give my girls free-access to bones, toys, play time with each other WHENEVER THEY want it, what makes them motivated to do anything for those things when I ask them to? My puppy comes out of her kennel to work. If she is not working, she is in her kennel, or she is in a down stay next to me. She EARNS everything. Even her food. If she doesn't work, she doesn't get fed. If she doesn't take her food from my hands, she doesn't get fed (I'm trying to get her food motivated...she still gets offered every single meal...but she can make the decision whether she gets to eat it or not)....
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

Katrina
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Nisha CGC, PDC, PSA TC, PSA 1 - Crazy Malinois
Drusilla SLUT- Pet
Nemo - Dual-Purpose Narcotics
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Axo - Psycho Puppy
Rocky - RIP My Baby Boy
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Postby babyreba » June 30th, 2006, 11:45 am

i think leslie already answered the question for me. sounds like it's a method of training that people use to motivate their dogs?

i'm not attacking the way you do things, i wanted to know what impact it has on the dog's training is all.

it sounded like your dogs don't ever play or chew, and i wanted to know what the reasoning was behind that method. and the reason i wanted to know is that i've always been under the impression that it was important for a dog to work off stress through chewing and/or playing and such.

so do they work off stress, etc., through their work and training?

does that take the place of play and the reward of a bone or a toy or play session?

again, i'm asking for real because i don't know how this works and i'd like to know, not because i find what you're doing with your dogs improper. i'm just curious how it works.
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Postby katiek0417 » June 30th, 2006, 1:38 pm

babyreba wrote:i think leslie already answered the question for me. sounds like it's a method of training that people use to motivate their dogs?

i'm not attacking the way you do things, i wanted to know what impact it has on the dog's training is all.

it sounded like your dogs don't ever play or chew, and i wanted to know what the reasoning was behind that method. and the reason i wanted to know is that i've always been under the impression that it was important for a dog to work off stress through chewing and/or playing and such.

so do they work off stress, etc., through their work and training?

does that take the place of play and the reward of a bone or a toy or play session?

again, i'm asking for real because i don't know how this works and i'd like to know, not because i find what you're doing with your dogs improper. i'm just curious how it works.


I prefer my mal to not chew on anything but her food. Chewing on bones, toys, etc can make a dog being trained for bitework chewy on a bite. You often lose points for that in a competition.

Many people use "work" as an outlet for their high energy dogs. Not much different than flyball, agility, etc....when you find something a dog enjoys doing, it become a reward in and of itself. For example, if I ask Sacha if she wants to go to work (meaning tracking) she starts jumping up and down and barking. When Sacha and I do obedience, we use food as treats. If she has had a particularly good training session, I throw a ball for her a few times. Only a few...I always leave her wanting more...why? This frustrates the dog into wanting it more: building drive.

When Nisha is being trained in bitework, she jumps up and down and barks (and lunges for the sleeve). The bite is the reward. Again, though, she only gets a few bites to keep her wanting more.

If my dogs had free access to toys, bones, food, bites, etc, then there would be no need for them to work for these rewards. The whole point of a "reward" would be lost. If a dog gets the ball tossed for him/her all the time, then is loses its intrinsic value as reinforcement. Reinforcement has to be something the dog wants...and why would the dog work for something when it knows it's going to get it, anyway?
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

Katrina
Sacha CGC - Dumb Lab
Nisha CGC, PDC, PSA TC, PSA 1 - Crazy Malinois
Drusilla SLUT- Pet
Nemo - Dual-Purpose Narcotics
Cy TC, PSA 1, PSA 2, 2009 PSA Level 3 National Champion
Axo - Psycho Puppy
Rocky - RIP My Baby Boy
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Postby Pitcrew » July 4th, 2006, 12:19 pm

Very good thread! :clap:

I have been training dogs for over 15 years. I started Kohler method. It worked. Better with some dogs than others. It didn't teach me as much about the dogs, their learning process, and wasn't rewarding or fun for me or the dogs.
I searched for other methods to incorporate to make training more fun and interesting. I learned about "drive" training. It was more fun, it worked. Better with some dogs than others. Produced great results for some things, difficult to control in others. The 2 methods enhanced each other as my skills improved and I understood both more clearly.
A little over 10 years ago I discovered "marker" training (also referred to as clicker training). I find this to be a fun, rewarding training method which works with any dog, in most disciplines, and has taught me more about behavior and the learning process than almost anything.
When you learn how to use several methods well, and fairly, they can enhance each other. I can work in "drive", "mark" correct behavior, as well as "correct" undesirable behavior.
It is a constant learning process and no two dogs I have trained have ever needed the exact same process. They are all individuals, learn differently and need different things. Its important to learn and understand learning theory and understand and have the ability to apply many techniques and know what will work best with a particular dog in a given situation.
But I DO LOVE "marker" training!

Although I understand the premack principal I find it difficult to compare these types of laboratory studies to real life application.
When I started "clicker" training I really thought that the dolphin trainers were really something to aspire to. But it was pointed out to me that these animals were basically confined to a concrete "skinner box".
Hardly comparable to the same type of training in a normal, distractible environment. Its easy to have stimulus control when you have complete control over the entire environment... no new sights sounds or smells. It is a challenge to still have the same control of our dogs with all of the constant changes in their environment... wet grass, chickens, and all... and still have them free to investigate these new things. They can have so much more environmental experiences if they are reliable.

Similar to the limited knowledge of canine behavior obtained by studying dogs or captive wolves, was a kind of a handicapped version of what was learned when studying wolves in their natural environment became more plausible...
...drinking motivated by running, and running motivated by drinking, are kind of stupid learning observations when they are the only options for thirst and exercise in their environment. Who knows what kind of USEFULL learning theory could be studied if that experiment hadn't been so utterly simplistic. I don't know what real knowledge was gained from that, than from Skinner boxes.

None of my dogs are perfect, and each of their training is a constant learning process (more for me than them) and always a work in progress.
"Pedigree indicates what the animal should be;
Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be;
But, Performance indicates what the animal actually is."
- author unknown
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