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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Time to stir the pot a bit again.
I didn't want to hijack another post so I'm starting this one.
I see comments about purely positive training is successful with only soft or weak nerved dogs.
How were these conclusions arrived at?
Have you made an honest effort to use these methods or are you not using them because, in your head, you seriously believe you have to use a heavy hand with a serious dog.
Respect is all about leadership, not physical power.
I've been doing purely positive for about 4 yrs now and I've got to say it was really hard for an old fart like me to make the change but I truly do believe in it.
I've done quite a bit of retraining with my seriously nasty, hard, crazy %$#^&*( JRT to realize that it does work.
My own GSD is, admittedly, handler soft and very much in tune with me as his pack leader but he is rock solid in the nerve dept.
I've seen hard a$$ SchH III dogs do complete turn arounds when the compulsion was stopped.
I've explained my position on this before but I'd love to hear reasons WHY you don't believe it works. Not just that it doesn't.
If the dog is clear headed about what you want from it, it WILL work!
 

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Bob, I have found with Bella, that I thought I could start out with compulsion, but it just got her more aggressive, biting, getting that look in her eyes like she was getting confrontational to me. So I have begun some positive training and am getting fast responses from her. They are sometimes too fast as I said in another thread, so I think a mix of both could be the ticket with her. Just what I am thinking now. Does not mean I'm right.
 

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Bob, when you say purely positive, do you mean *no* corrections at all? Otherwise, in what context are corrections used? I don't use compulsion when teaching my dog but I have to correct him sometimes, for snapping at the ball too fast for example, or going after it when I don't want him to. I also had to use compulsion after teaching him the commands because he was doing them too slow--and believe me, I tried positive every which way and he was still slower than when I used a bit of compulsion.

I don't believe in using compulsion or corrections all the time because if you overdo it he becomes one stubborn SOB who will just sit his ass and whine about me being unfair (maybe translate to biting if he hated me, which thank God he doesn't), but it's still necessary when he gets out of the line.
 

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Quote:I've seen hard a$$ SchH III dogs do complete turn arounds when the compulsion was stopped.

Sure, but was the reason they were hard because they were hard? Or because of the escalation of the compulsion due to the impatience of the owner? I see a lot of people correcting a dog because "he aught to know this"

One of the biggest reasons you see a turn-around is due to understanding.



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Over the years, trainers, particularly those that train police service dogs have garnered a reputation of "yank and crankers" (a description I borrowed from a similar discussion). Personally, I think a number of folk would be surprised at the amount of purely positive training, police trainers actually use. I've always felt that using purely positive methods accomplished a great deal. There are however, certain tasks, that the use of force establishes a limit. A line that will not be crossed. To that end, the use of physical corrections, regardless of the label (punishment, coersion etc) made positive reinforcement even more powerful.
In essence, I don't believe there is a "single" technique that is most effective in dogs. Rather training is an amalgam of techniques. The good trainer, in my opinion, is aware of the behavior, with an eye on an objective and is best able to use the correct "technique" at the appropriate time.

DFrost
 

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I don't believe in using compulsion or corrections all the time because if you overdo it he becomes one stubborn SOB who will just sit his ass and whine about me being unfair (maybe translate to biting if he hated me, which thank God he doesn't), but it's still necessary when he gets out of the line.
Agreed, Lyn. Or you have a dog who looks joyless about working or, like one of the dogs who trialed for her Sch 3 at our trial a couple weeks ago, look like they are walking on egg shells because they think they are about to get zapped any second by an e-collar whether they are wearing one or not. The biggest thing I have to always keep in mind is not to correct for mistakes as that is not fair, but only correct for intentional disobedience.

I had used compulsion before on training the recall with a long line and a prong collar. One of my dogs is soft enough and only moderately food motivated that even if I tried giving him the food reward for coming, he'd be so shut down from a moderate prong collar correction if he didn't come to me right away that he wouldn't take the food. He'd come creeping up to me slowly tail down and ears down instead of a nice fast recall. I had to take the prong collar out of the equation for him in that case and implement the clicker so he knew he wasn't being corrected for coming to me. His short distance recall (about 10-20 yards) is much better and the longer distance recall is getting better because of it.
 

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My dog is hard enough to be trained with compulsion, I believe, but I'd love to meet the trainer who can make him do something through sheer force alone, because he must be good. :wink: He becomes more aggressive with compulsion, less inclined to listen to you, and will sometimes just sit and block you out. I actually use this for protection, if I force him to do something, he's going to want to do the opposite, so if he bit badly we force him to out and he will bite harder next time. However if I want him to comply, I don't use force...I look him in the eye and talk to him in a soft voice and you can see him sort of roll his eyes and drop the item slowly, like a kid going, "Okkkkayy...fine..." I take all this liberty because I raised him as a pup and we have good communication going on, but really I think he'll nail someone he doesn't have a good relationship with that overcorrects him.

I believe corrections/compulsion is necessary, but not to the extent that they're the only way to teach a dog something.
 

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I see comments about purely positive training is successful with only soft or weak nerved dogs.
I've actually always felt that it was the opposite. For example, my SAR labrador is a soft dog and is handler sensitive. I trained him for obedience using the traditional compulsion training method (prong collar correction for disobedience and praise for the correct response). I feel it worked really well because he is a softer dog and didn't need more than a few corrections to gain complete compliance with the command. This isn't my favorite way to train a dog, but I was working with some tight time constraints and picked what I believed to be the fastest method for him. On the other hand, my young Malinois is a fighter. If you correct him too hard, he gets pissed and turns the obedience session into a biting/wrestling match. So I use mostly positive reinforcement, coupled with a few light corrections on the prong to remind him where he needs to be. It works quite well.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Lynn, yes! All the training is done with no corrections. I found it hard to do initially because of my years of compulsion training but I do believe in it. That doesn't mean I wont use compulsion if it's need, but I haven't as of yet except for basic manners at home.
Need compulsion, to me, means correcting for refusing something that is totally understood. If the dog has been trained correctly with motivation it should have no desire to refuse. Why would it? It has the choice of doing something correctly and recieving a reward (food/toy/bite) why would it choose to refuse and get a physical correction? This goes back to Jeff's comment about understand.
Some good points brought up here.
Quote Jeff: "Turn-around due to understanding" Understanding is the key to any training.
Quote David: "A Line that will not be crossed".
Completely understandable for many reasons in the case of a PSD.
#1 Most PSD are older and often even have some training when they are purchased by the Depts. I do believe that any dog will revert to it's foundation training under stress.
#2 Much of motivational training is all about letting the dog make mistakes/choices and finding no reward in the process. Definately not something you can allow with a young, partially trained PSD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
:lol: :lol: Thanks Tim!
Unfortunately, in my "hood" dissing (not as subtle as in the tape :D ) creates a very negative reaction in my dog. :wink:
 

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Bob, I do think the kind of dog you have can also have an effect on that. I have a dog that I never need to tell no, as she is always motivated, but my GSD I started out with purely positive and letting him figure out if he did something wrong because there was no reward, and we had a lot of confusion going on. He learns slower than most dogs I've had and as long as I keep it fair he seems to appreciate a bit of push now and again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The kind of dog can definately have an effect but it's just finding out what rings the individual dog's Pavlovian bell, so to speak.
I'm definately not saying this is the only way to train. I've been in dogs for to many years for that but in the four or so years I've done the motivational, I honestly more of it could/should be used in training.
A good combination of both? Probably what dog training will evolve into in the long run, but until I can't move forward, I'm gonna keep doing this new fangled, soft only, sissy dog training.
Nothing makes me scratch my head more then the AKC folks that go from the agility ring, wher the dog is total motivational and having fun, then to the obedience ring where the same dog and handler look like they just got a good a$$ whuppin. Why haven't they figured out that letting the dog have fun works for both rings? :roll:
 

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Really good thread Bob. When teaching Coda obedience, I used all motivational (obedience without conflict). If I had a dime for each derogatory comment I received about this method, from seasoned SchH competitors at my club, I would have had enough to pay my entry fee for my dogs BH trial. I actually started arriving at the training field early, so that I could do obedience without having to hear the comments, as I knew I would only be able to bite my tongue for so long. I was told that my dog would leave me on the training/trial field - she has yet to leave me - although I have seen their dogs leave them on the field and high tail it back to the safety of their crates the first chance they got.

It disgusts me to see a dog cringe when given a command or if the handler makes a quick gesture or movement. The only "truth" that I have actually heard in response to not teaching motivational obedience from one of these old school SchH competitors is that "it takes longer" and "it's alotta work". I agree, it did take me longer in the beginning stages, but she already knows a SchH 3 obedience routine, and performs it very well and consistently, while they are still teaching dogs six months older then her the BH routine.

When new members show up at the club - the first thing I tell them when these seasoned competitors bombard them with advice is - watch the handler and the dogs first. The truth is in the handlers and dogs performance, whether on the training field or in a trial.

Not all methods are right for every dog, sometimes a combination of methods works best. I like to think that I'm open minded enough to at least try something different - especially if I can see the positive results that another team has had with the method.

Sorry for the rant.......just had to vent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Lacey, fortunately our whole club is motivational only. We wont allow members to work their dogs at other clubs without discussing it first.
Two totally different styles can create confusion for a new dog trying to do both, and possibly a safty hazzard for the decoy.
It doesn't matter which method you use. If you're in control of the dog it wont leave the field.
If my first SchH I score isn't as great as I want it, does that mean the method ore no good or I didn't do as good a job as I'd like to? :D
Regardless of my score, I'll go on the field with a dog that totally loves being there with me.
Same with the AKC ring. The 3-4 of us that have competed there have gotten nothing but compliments about how "up" our dogs are through the whole routine.
Two of our dog teams that had never shown in a obedience trial before, took first place in their class.
 

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Bob, the CKC here is getting to where you are hoping for in the obedience part. Years ago I went to watch an obedience class in Toronto and the teachers where more or less teaching the focus the way the sport/schutzhund are trained. Eyes up to handler's eyes and more forward movement, very happy looking. They were teaching with food and eye contact and lots of food reward for each accomplishment.
 

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Ah Bob, I see what you mean. Yes, I agree it could be used more, and it does seem like a lot of trainers would rather try it the "hard" way first before seeing if they could negotiate with the dog. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Many in AKC have been doing a lot of food training for years but lots of them still think you have to beat the $#!+ out of the dog for making mistakes.
When I started in the 60s, that's about ALL we did was correct the snot outa the dogs. When I taught classes in the 80s we were doing lots of praise for the correct performance and correting if they were wrong. It DOES work if done correctly. I just want to take this as far as I can.
 

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If my first SchH I score isn't as great as I want it, does that mean the method ore no good or I didn't do as good a job as I'd like to? :D Regardless of my score, I'll go on the field with a dog that totally loves being there with me.
I agree completely with you in regards to wanting to go onto the field with a dog that totally loves being there with you. As for the scoring part, I'm a firm believer in "if the student failed to learn; the teacher failed to teach". I think I am the biggest critic of my performance as well as my dogs. Prior to the critique by the Judge, after she completed the obedience portion of the BH, I knew what we had to work on. When the first thing the Judge said while giving the critique was "here we have a very upbeat and happy dog that wants to do for the handler" - that to me was the best compliment he could have given us. The excellent and very good ratings were just gravy afterwards.

Same with the AKC ring. The 3-4 of us that have competed there have gotten nothing but compliments about how "up" our dogs are through the whole routine. Two of our dog teams that had never shown in a obedience trial before, took first place in their class.
Great accomplishment - anyone ask them what methods they used?

If I see a team perform really well, I always ask what method they used either for the whole routine or specific areas of the routine. I am hoping that I'll be able to use motivational in all phases - I already do in tracking, but we are not that far along in (SchH 1) protection work - time will tell. The biggest problem I have is that there are only two of us now that use the motivational method at my club (I think I converted one :twisted: ), so I have no one to draw from or to watch and learn.......might have to visit the in-laws in MO soon :)
 
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