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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well...I've been wanting to post this for a while, because the results are in.

I tried it...

The case is of an intervention dog here, that did not respect his handler much when the dog (an adult) first arrived about 8 months ago. No significant bond had been developed, but the dog was required to begin training with the rest.

The dog did not like to be lifted, would forge in anticipation of bites, would move forward while on a down...in anticipation of bites...etc, etc. When the handler corrected the dog, the dog would "protest" a bit too much.

Well...pretty much as Lou Castle describes...and after I disagreed with him publicly about the merits of this...I tried escape training.

For those particular instances, the dog "discovered" that it could not disobey without feeling discomfort...AND THAT THE DISCOMFORT WAS BECAUSE HE WAS DISOBEYING...NOT FROM THE HANDLER. The handler gently guided him to the position where the dog could "escape" the discomfort, and so the dog looked to the handler for guidance.

Using continuous, low stimulation. The results were good; the handler worked on his bond without early conflict. The dog learned quickly.

Pretty darn interesting. Timing is more important with this method than in the handler driven corrections method. Kudos to the proponents of this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No...Lou. Thank YOU.

By the way, an unnamed poster asked a few questions regarding my experience with "escape training". I answered the following:

"I've used an ecollar for about 12 years, associating the nick or the stimulation, with my "NRM". Dogs don't figure out that the thing in your hand causes the stimulation, unless you're pretty obvious about it, but they know the correction is coming from you. I had always used the ecollar as an extended leash...where, as with the leash, the dog clearly knows the corrections come from you. Also, I always vary what I put on the dog a bunch when training: two or more collars, or a collar, the prongs and a harness, or all of the above, or a single string, collar, just the prongs, whatever...as a "vaccine" against "collar wisdom". I don't know if the dog WOULD have become collar wise or not, but that's just what I have always done.

This method of positive punishment relies on repetition, bond and respect, so that the dog obeys you. If the collar or leash are not present, and the dog disobeys...then you have to really "rain on your dog's parade". But otherwise, as the dog matures, it simply learns to accept direction. This works VERY WELL if you have a GOOD dog to begin with, and you keep the your dog's "checking account" properly: "withdrawals" (aversives) less than the deposits (reward).

With escape training, there is no NRM association with the ecollar...and you use "low" levels. The idea is to "funnel" the dog into the correct position. If he's wide, stim; ahead, stim; behind, stim. And stim UNTIL he's in position. I found that the (low) level of electricity will likely have to increase a bit (haha) as the novelty wears off on your dog. The idea is to cause discomfort. This works - I think - even if the dog is NOT SO GOOD, because in theory, from the handler come only DEPOSITS.

Prong pops and e-stims, associated with a NRM, are positive punishment, whereas escape training is negative reinforcement. This is interesting."

Please feel free to add and correct.
 

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QUOTE: Prong pops and e-stims, associated with a NRM, are positive punishment, whereas escape training is negative reinforcement. This is interesting. END

I got a little lost here.

You do or do not call the intervention you described in your O.P. "escape training"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Connie...intervention is our word for dogs that are almost exclusively used for find and bite.

Bob...thanks for the congrats about trying out something new...but please note I tried it out with SOMEONE ELSE'S dog. :lol:

I have something more to add to what I did...and found out...

If you use escape training...and at some point you associate the stim with a NRM, you cannot use "escape training" any more. It will become positive punishment.
 

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Andres said!
Bob...thanks for the congrats about trying out something new...but please note I tried it out with SOMEONE ELSE'S dog.

Excellent point! :lol:
 

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Andres Martin said:
The idea is to "funnel" the dog into the correct position. If he's wide, stim; ahead, stim; behind, stim. And stim UNTIL he's in position.
Yep, exactly.

Andres Martin said:
I found that the (low) level of electricity will likely have to increase a bit (haha) as the novelty wears off on your dog.
Sometimes this happens. But about as often, the dog becomes sensitized to the stim and you can lower the level. "Toughness" of the dog doesn't seem to be a factor in which way you go with the stim level.

Andres Martin said:
The idea is to cause discomfort. This works - I think - even if the dog is NOT SO GOOD, because in theory, from the handler come only DEPOSITS.
It also helps build the bond between the dog and the handler because the handler becomes, at least in the first part of the training, a "safe spot." This is perfectly acceptable for pets, but not so good for dogs that have to work away from their handlers such as SAR, police dogs or competition dogs. With these dogs, as soon as the safe spot becomes established in the dog's mind, another behavior is taught that "breaks" this belief.

Andres Martin said:
This is interesting."
I find it fascinating! I love it when the light bulb comes on for the dogs and other trainers as well.
 

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I think I get the point of this escape training (it is a bit harder to understand while having to translate it), we use it for guarding a object for example (being back on the object is the safe spot, see the vid of robbie in the vid gallery).

But I was wondering, does it work with every dog?
If have continious (low)stim, the e-collar automatically stop after 12 sec. What will you do with a dog who fights the stim correction? You can´t get them through the fighting in 12 sec.
Or does this only works for a dog who understand the corrections of the e-collar?
 

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Another way of looking at 'escape training' is the way many people teach a dog to "sit". We place pressure on the rump, pull steadily up on th leash, guiding the dog into the proper position. The instant the dog is in the correct position, the pressure goes away and the behavior is reinforced. The dog assumed the proper position to "escape" the pressure. The use of electronics as described in this thread is merely a technological extension of that training. I admit, as an old dog trainer I was skeptical when I first read about this, many moons ago. Once I corrolated the method with my ancient way of thinking of escape training, it really made sense.

DFrost
 

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Selena van Leeuwen said:
I think I get the point of this escape training (it is a bit harder to understand while having to translate it)
Let's see if I can simplify it. Escape training is where the dog learns to escape the discomfort of the stim by complying with the command. He learns that his behavior makes the stim stop.

Selena van Leeuwen said:
But I was wondering, does it work with every dog?
The old saying is that "nothing works for every dog." But I'm going to have to disagree. Every dog, in fact every animal, wants to escape that which it finds unpleasant. "Pleasure seeking, pain (or discomfort) avoiding" is another old saying. Dogs are capable of learning by themselves how to do that if they're shown a few times.

Perhaps there is a dog that escape training doesn't work on, but I've yet to find him.

Selena van Leeuwen said:
If have continious (low)stim, the e-collar automatically stop after 12 sec. What will you do with a dog who fights the stim correction? You can´t get them through the fighting in 12 sec.
You don't give the dog to opportunity to fight through it. During the teaching phase the dog is always on leash and you guide him into the desired behavior. Occasionally, through confusion a dog won't comply and you can't get to him to guide him in less than 12 seconds. This can happen when you start distance work. It takes you longer than the 12 seconds to cover the distance to guide him into the proper behavior. When this happens you use a technique that I call "the bounce." This is done by lifting your finger off the button after 7-10 seconds (before the timer shuts off the stim) and then, as quickly as you can, get back on the button. This interrupts the timer and it starts over again. Practice a bit so that you're only off the button for the briefest of moments. The dog won't even notice the cessation of the stim. When you get good at this it will be in the neighborhood (I estimate) of 1/10th of a second.
 

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David Frost said:
Another way of looking at 'escape training' is the way many people teach a dog to "sit". We place pressure on the rump, pull steadily up on th leash, guiding the dog into the proper position. The instant the dog is in the correct position, the pressure goes away and the behavior is reinforced. The dog assumed the proper position to "escape" the pressure.
David states this very clearly. The advantage of the Ecollar in this form of work is that the "pressure" can be maintained until the dog complies. With a leash and correction collar the pressure is on and off very quickly once you're past the teaching phase and move from guidance to corrections. Of course another correction can be given and/or you can keep on giving many light corrections. But many dogs don't take well to this and protest it in various ways. That interferes with the training. With the Ecollar the stim level can be kept at a very low level and applied continuously, without any breaks. I think this makes for very clear communication as to when the dog has done the right thing, that is, he's complied with the command. It's very clear to the dog when the stim has shut off.
 

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How successful are novice folks with escape training? Do you all see it that enhances, detracts, or does "nothing" towards the handler/dog bond?
 

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Woody Taylor said:
How successful are novice folks with escape training? Do you all see it that enhances, detracts, or does "nothing" towards the handler/dog bond?
What a great question! It takes a new K-9 handler about six months to a year (and some never get it) to learn the technique of delivering a proper correction. They usually get the "pop" part, but have difficulty with the "release" part. Many of them never develop the skill of first putting slack into a tight leash so they never learn to properly deliver a correction. It takes hand speed, some strength (not a lot) timing, coordination and balance.

With an Ecollar there's no need for hand speed, strength or balance. Of course you still need coordination and timing. And so I think it's easier for a person to use an Ecollar than it is to teach them to use a leash and correction collar.

I've got over a hundred emails from near-novices to dog training who have bought themselves an Ecollar, read my articles and used them to train their dogs to their complete satisfaction. Usually these are people who had failed with other methods.

As to the "bond." Because the first command that is usually taught with the Ecollar and escape training is the recall, the dog quickly learns that the handler has some near-mystical power. (BTW it's this statement that earned me the dubious name of "voodoo" as applied by Steve Leigh). The handler's mere presence makes the discomfort that the dog is feeling, stop. All the dog has to do is to move closer to the handler and he's made comfortable again. The handler becomes the source of comfort. For the rest of the teaching he's showing the dog how to achieve comfort. I think that makes for a great bond. With conventional methods force is used to achieve dominance. That works for many, if not most dogs, but can lead to serious problems with some dogs! It sometimes introduces conflict and that can easily lead to confusion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
For novices? It's probably easier than popping a dog with a leash, specially if your collar is on a low setting.

Bond with your dog? My thoughts are that the collar in escape training DOES NOTHING to the bond. If it's a weak, sensitive dog...it probably helps because the dog does not (should not) associate the stim with the handler, AND THUS DOES NOT SHOW AVOIDANCE BEHAVIORS. By "helps" I mean...does not deteriorate the bond. The same would apply to a handler agressive dog. The dominant dog will not come up the leash. Plus, a smart dog will look to the handler for guidance, but that's it. It's not obedience. Although, I'll readily admit that it works: if you want an action performed, it will be.

In my experience, our handler got through the issues with the dog without skipping a beat. He worked on the bond; gave it time to develop, and now the dog already associates the stim with the handler, and has become subservient to the handler's wishes. Escape training prevented injuries to the handler and to the dog, allowed the dog to be "conditioned", learning by himself, to the point where he can't but perform the action correctly.

Escape training is great for helping a dog to learn how to perform the command correctly. THE DOG LEARNS; YOU DON'T TEACH.

Having said that, I am a firm believer that escape training is "the dog working for himself", not working for the handler. The same as when a dog works for food, a tug, a bite...negative and positive reinforcement, respectively. Reinforcement = the dog working for his own objectives.

Escape training has clear applications where it shines, shines, shines. And then, sooner or later, the dog must start to work FOR the handler (IN MY OPINION).

How do you bond with your dog? Feed him, groom him, handle him (I can't emphasize this enough), socialize him, take him places, PLAY with him, and CORRECT (PUNISH) EVERYTHING YOU DON'T LIKE...consistently, firmly and fairly.

It's what leaders do. Dogs thrive under proper leadership.
 

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I still have problems thinking through how the dog doesn't figure out that think in your hand/that movement of your arm/that flick of your finger isn't associated with whatever is happening to it, whether it's a hard or mild stim. My impression has always been that if you're doing escape training you need to be very cognizant of not showing your hand to the dog.

Do you all mix up the methods you use to reach for it, etc.? How do you hide it...or do you?

Good to see you back, Lou. :wink: We could've had Andres make up this story a few weeks ago.... :lol:
 

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Andres Martin said:
How do you bond with your dog? Feed him, groom him, handle him (I can't emphasize this enough), socialize him, take him places, PLAY with him, and CORRECT (PUNISH) EVERYTHING YOU DON'T LIKE...consistently, firmly and fairly.

It's what leaders do. Dogs thrive under proper leadership.
And yes, I hear you...this has always been my reservation about using escape training for pet/sport dogs...that corrections need to be viewed as coming from the owner, so they recognize you as being in control of them regardless. That notion has always "clicked" for me and why I think I have a bit of resistance towards escape training (not ecollars, I just don't have a lot of faith in my correction timing yet). I get that it's effective and it's quick and it's probably easier on the dog, I just always wonder what a handler loses in the process of having this "mystical" thing that's also out there influencing the dog.

Thanks for the "mystical" explanation, Lou...I had always wondered about that.
 
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