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Old 01-21-2013, 11:55 PM   #111 (permalink)
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I wrote an article a couple years ago titled "The all positive movement not only effected the children of today it also is having an alarming impact on dog owners and trainers."
A play on words to support your position does not change the reality of what it truly is.
No, but using the term "all positive" is incorrect and in my experience is often used by people who either don't understand the methods or are trying to disparage them.
I am not sure how I was trying to change what my position truly is, can you tell me what you mean by that?
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:35 AM   #112 (permalink)
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Katdog it's really important to remember that even good trainers and handlers can have issues with their dogs. Our first agility trainer was great, and her dogs counter surf.
The key IMHO, isn't to train your dog so he meets the expectations of other people, it's to build a relationship with her that works for YOU. (and her) Use a training method you're most comfortable with or combine methods. It doesn't have to be an either or choice, just be consistent.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:44 AM   #113 (permalink)
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The key IMHO, isn't to train your dog so he meets the expectations of other people, it's to build a relationship with her that works for YOU. (and her) Use a training method you're most comfortable with or combine methods. It doesn't have to be an either or choice, just be consistent.
I just finished reading all 12 pages of this thread and I learned so much. Thank you all for sharing.

But this, just now, from Whiteshepherds really hit home for me. I'm so excited with my new dog and wanting to not only teach her but to enrich her life so she can live the best life possible that I was in danger of jumping all over the place, trying to do too much, too soon. This was a nice reminder to back up and just continue the basic obedience and having fun together with throwing in a few new things at a slower pace. Plus a reminder that every day living with her is filled with lessons for us both.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:50 AM   #114 (permalink)
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No, but using the term "all positive" is incorrect and in my experience is often used by people who either don't understand the methods or are trying to disparage them.
I am not sure how I was trying to change what my position truly is, can you tell me what you mean by that?
The term "all positive" was coined by the positive trainers. Not balanced trainers. It is used as a marketing ploy for trainers that truly know what they are doing, and trainers that don't as they both ultimately want to just appeal to the masses using the coined phrase. A good number that are on the positive boat went way overboard with it. If you listen to the radio debate I posted earlier in this thread, you might have a better understanding of what I mean by that statement.
The "Gentle leader" product uses the same play on words to appeal to the masses. I have always described myself as a balanced trainer. I use all methods available that are effective and matched properly with the right dog to maximize performance. No smoke and mirrors, no play on words. It is what it is.


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Old 01-22-2013, 11:46 AM   #115 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SFGSSD View Post
The term "all positive" was coined by the positive trainers. Not balanced trainers. It is used as a marketing ploy for trainers that truly know what they are doing, and trainers that don't as they both ultimately want to just appeal to the masses using the coined phrase. A good number that are on the positive boat went way overboard with it. If you listen to the radio debate I posted earlier in this thread, you might have a better understanding of what I mean by that statement.
The "Gentle leader" product uses the same play on words to appeal to the masses. I have always described myself as a balanced trainer. I use all methods available that are effective and matched properly with the right dog to maximize performance. No smoke and mirrors, no play on words. It is what it is.


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I don't think most of us will disagree with you here. As discussed earlier, even those of us who use clicker training on the board don't think "all positive" is an accurate description of what we do. And I agree there are trainers who misuse it--just like there are trainers who misuse every other method on the planet!

The reason I don't describe myself as a "balanced trainer" is that IME that often describes someone who relies heavily on classical conditioning rather than operant conditioning, while "positive trainer" refers to the latter. Not that this is accurate either, but that's the association many people I speak to seem to have and hence my choice of terms to describe myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteshepherds
Katdog it's really important to remember that even good trainers and handlers can have issues with their dogs. Our first agility trainer was great, and her dogs counter surf.
The key IMHO, isn't to train your dog so he meets the expectations of other people, it's to build a relationship with her that works for YOU. (and her) Use a training method you're most comfortable with or combine methods. It doesn't have to be an either or choice, just be consistent.
Well said! It's important to remember that training is a lifelong process, too. There's always something you can do better, or your dog will pick up a new bad habit, or need a tune-up. I see people say, "Well, we went to a training class when he was younger!" or "Well, she never had this problem until we moved house and now she does it all the time!" like that should mean that the dog shouldn't have any problems now, but that's just not how it works. Plus, if you're doing it right, training should be fun for you and for your dog, regardless of the methods you use.

(I mean, of course remedial training to fix a behavioral problem isn't always fun, and sport or work training can have its frustrating moments, but overall it should be enjoyable!)
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:12 PM   #116 (permalink)
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Thanks all for the excellent input. I guess I feel most comfortable with a balanced approach. At the moment though I am an unbalanced balanced approach handler??!!

I am following up with many of the books, videos, articles and websites mentioned. Very interesting stuff. I think I may also attend the seminar that is presenting the topic "when does positive training become permissiveness". I think it will be interesting.

Had 2 great days with Stella. The cheese in a can stuff is working out very well for the dog reactivity training I have decided to try. I still intend to use a prong, if necessary. But will implement the cheese first!
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:58 PM   #117 (permalink)
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The reason I don't describe myself as a "balanced trainer" is that IME that often describes someone who relies heavily on classical conditioning rather than operant conditioning, while "positive trainer" refers to the latter. Not that this is accurate either, but that's the association many people I speak to seem to have and hence my choice of terms to describe myself.

Well said! It's important to remember that training is a lifelong process, too. There's always something you can do better, or your dog will pick up a new bad habit, or need a tune-up. I see people say, "Well, we went to a training class when he was younger!" or "Well, she never had this problem until we moved house and now she does it all the time!" like that should mean that the dog shouldn't have any problems now, but that's just not how it works. Plus, if you're doing it right, training should be fun for you and for your dog, regardless of the methods you use.

(I mean, of course remedial training to fix a behavioral problem isn't always fun, and sport or work training can have its frustrating moments, but overall it should be enjoyable!)
That balanced trainer thing is huge. It is kind of a code word. I look for it now.

Denise Fenzi is another fun one to read. Definitely have fun - think of yourself as a teacher.
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:26 PM   #118 (permalink)
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I usually line up more on the positive side, probably because of the people that are so avidly against it, but the trainer I use is very balanced. She uses the treats to train new behaviors, phases them out, will suggest prong collars to people, and suggests other tools as well. She does proofing and expects good behavior and gets it.

One day we were in a line of people waiting their turn to do a meet and greet with her, and her dog was across the room, behind a small fence. It stood up. I was about halfway down the line, and she really didn't have a good vantage point to give the dog a command, so she told me to down her dog. I turned and gave the command and not only did her dog hit the ground, so did everyone else's dog in line. Kind of embarrassing as some of the dogs were kind of shaky on that command.

I don't think she calls herself a positive trainer or a balanced trainer or a compulsion trainer. She is a dog trainer and a good one, I would say balanced.

Balanced sounds kind of like mentally fit.

Now, I have had the opportunity to work with someone who called herself a positive trainer. She was unbalanced to be sure (mentally that is). My first experience with her was a dog that was becoming mature and suddenly felt he should bark at everything around him. At the time, I did not know better. I took him to a day class with about 30 dogs and the trainer fitted a prong on him and showed me how to deliver a correction, and he was getting better by the end of the class. She told me to continue working with him and get him into some classes. So I found Little Miss Positive. Her first thing was to say he was afraid for his life and take that nasty prong collar on him and put this Halti on him. Keep him totally away from other dogs.

It wasn't the right thing to do with him. I took him there for about six sessions and we kind of saw a duck once but no other dogs. Anyhow he got put on the back burner while I worked with another puppy with her in classes. The classes would start with 5 or 6 people, and by week three, there would be me and her. The woman would make such disparaging remarks about the dogs that most of the people just stopped coming. She was afraid of Jenna who was 10 weeks old and said she would be a fear biter. Totally batty. Jenna is neither fearful or bitey, but whatever.

One day when Jenna was in heat I brought Babs, and as her other class members had already quit. It was just me and her, so she decided to train her Great Dane puppy who was about 9 months old, Babs was 8 months old.

Her: Sit your dog!
Me: Babs Sit.
Babsy sat.

Her: Sit Hugo! Sit! SIT! SIT!
Finally Hugo's butt grazed the grass.

Her: Down your dog!
Me: Babsy Down.
Babsy assumed the proper down position.

Her: Hugo DOWN! DOWN!! C'mon DOWN! LAY DOWN!!!
She then body slammed the pup to get him in the down position.

This woman who was little bigger than the Great Dane puppy was litterally laying on top of him, while Babs and I calmly looked on. To be fair, her breed of choice was shelties. Still, positive training??? If I was true to myself, I would have been on the ground too, rolling around, laughing my butt off.

She told me when I left that her dog doesn't have the work ethic of mine. Really?

I am kind of in the air about the balanced term. Most things in life are better if you use a balanced approach. I can see that term getting a fan-club. I guess I really don't care what people call themselves. Does what they are doing make sense? Can they explain it effectively? Does it get good results? Do they adjust methods for the dogs and the handlers they are working with?
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:23 PM   #119 (permalink)
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Are those the only classes available near you? I do use a lot of food, but I wouldn't be rewarding every single repetition if my dog didn't need it anymore, no matter what everyone else in the class was doing. If my puppy/dog is more advanced than the other dogs in the class (which is often the case), I make it more challenging, and I've never had a trainer try to make me stop doing what I'm doing. If they did, I'd look for another class - I can't see wasting the time if we're not getting anything out of being there. If it were just minor differences in training styles that wouldn't necessarily bother me because class is just one hour a week, and most of the training will be done outside of class, however I want to do it.

If we're working on a sit or down stay exercise, for example, and everyone else is going to the end of their leash while their dog is in a stay, I've dropped the leash and am walking around the room, returning frequently to reinforce the stay with a treat. Maybe I've been fortunate, but the trainers always seemed to appreciate that my dog was more advanced, and they'd sometimes ask to use him/her as the demo dog for an exercise, or they'd just point us out to the other people in the class ("everyone, watch Debbie with Halo" ). As they'd go around the room observing and assisting people, I'd usually get a "great job with Halo" called from across the room, while they focused on those who were stuck and needed help with an exercise, since clearly I had things under control.

I can understand not wanting you to throw a ball in class as a reward, that could be distracting to the other dogs. And generally the goal of using toys as rewards is for the dog to remain engaged WITH you, hence the preference for tugging over retrieving, where the dog has to leave you to go get the ball and then come back.
Not the only classes, I'm sure. And I'm long done with the first two. They served their purpose, which was mainly for puppy socialization and later to work on Kohl's dog reactivity. I tend to do most of my training at home after doing some research as I find that more useful than the classes. My point in bringing them up, is to point out that it isn't unusual to find classes taught by apparently qualified people where the only training technique is to use food and they don't teach how to use it effectively. So, not a surprise to get people feeling like they are vending machines.

My problem now is with the group from 3), because I'm interested in trying out agility and there are only two groups in driving distance with a class schedule I can make that can also prove that they know something because their handler-dog teams actually compete and win. The rest of the groups basically play at it but never compete.

Now, it may be that they are not equipped to help me with Kohl, because he is NOT the usual toy-crazy, food-crazy candidate. In fact, their process weeds out the dogs that are not toy or food driven - they have tests you have to pass at the end of each class to get to the next, and one of them is how focused the dog is on a toy. I think they have enough interested parties that they do not have to deal dogs that require different training techniques and so they don't.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:27 PM   #120 (permalink)
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Selzer, your post made for entertaining reading whilst eating my oatmeal.
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