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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
IMO Not only are escape training and "regular" ecollar training NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE...they are perhaps sequential: teach the command with food, then escape training, and then the regular stuff. I'll defer to the expert(s?) for continued experience with that one. In any case...it's one more tool.

In any event, a dog learns through operant conditioning...so...NO, it's not only one thing. Some stuff will work better for each individual dog.

Regarding what a handler looses...if anything, which I don't think so...my view...now...is that the handler looses NOTHING THAT CAN'T BE RECOVERED EASILY!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I think escape training falls well within OC. It is negative reinforcement.

Discomfort STOPS, when a behavior is performed, thus INCREASING the LIKELYHOOD of the behavior.

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.
I have something to add here...
A dog CUES on a complex amount of stimuli. For the dog to EXCLUDE stimuli the handler wants EXCLUDED, in the performance of a behavior, the handler must give the dog CUE SIGNIFICANCE, REPETITION, TESTING and PROOFING.

Let's say that everytime I command my dog to sit, I simultaneously raise my right hand, palm towards me...and INADVERTENTLY shift my head to look at my motion of the hand...

The dog complies. He sits.

It should not surprise me if the dog sits when I move my head to look at my hand, without giving a command (verbal or hand signal). Dogs pick up on incredible nuance...INCREDIBLE NUANCE.

So, I must test the dog moving my head, and if he sits without the proper command, use a NRM...and repeat. Etc.

SO...use the transmitter as a test.
 
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