Compulsion - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Compulsion

We had a discussion on another list about pressure from the handler in SchH. We were specifically discussing obedience and certain dogs from the past who were less willing and required that kind of training to do the work. Some of the posters felt that the less corrections the better. They immediately blamed the type of training for the way the dog we were talking about , worked. They had never seen the dog or trained anything with that dog close in the bloodline but were pretty adamant that the training was causing the dog's "stubbornness". It is interesting to me that people seem to be a tad discouraged by the dogs who require a different motivation to work. When the word "compulsion" is used, people seem to immediately recoil and quickly come up with alternatives to offer. I suppose it is because so many have seen people who have zero skill yanking a dog around by his neck or maybe someone who is also angry at the same time.
For me, compulsion is a case like what I talked about in another thread. When done correctly it is like the difference between watching an unskilled rider try to control a horse and a skilled dressage rider doing it. The dressage rider may have a much stronger animal but makes it all look effortless. Compulsion should not be so obvious, that is all people are able to focus on when they watch. I also feel that there is no reason whatsoever, that a dog trained using compulsion should not look, and be, just as happy and quick as one trained with treats and toys. Many look much better, especially in the heeling. This type of training requires more feel for the dog, more self discipline and more skill.

So, I have three questions.

What is your fear of / discomfort with compulsion, or what is it that makes you prefer motivation methods over compulsion?

Second question.

Do you believe that motivation is a better test of your dog's working drives ?

Third

Is it wrong to teach a dog what a command means using compulsion? If so, why?


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Last edited by Vandal; 08-18-2010 at 11:46 AM.
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post #2 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 11:56 AM
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What is your fear of / discomfort with compulsion, or what is it that makes you prefer motivation methods over compulsion?
For me, compulsion is about frustration with the dog, and so I myself cannot use it often, as quite frankly, I could ruin my dog. I'm too emotionally invested. I do not like it when other people use compulsion on my dog either, because I'm too emotionally invested.

The first time somebody ear pinched my dog to teach the retrieve, I wanted to punch them in the face. My dog didn't understand what was being asked of him, and I thought it was (and is) a very unfair method. I ended up having to clicker him through the retrieve. I got a much better retrieve using the clicker. Before I tried that, my dog would run away when I brought out the dumbbell.

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Do you believe that motivation is a better test of your dog's working drives ?
I believe it's a better test of showing his natural willingness to work with me.

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Is it wrong to teach a dog what a command means using compulsion? If so, why?
I think it is. How can you force a dog to do something it doesn't understand? Compulsion overall seems to radiate "do it, or else", and I don't like that. Titles aren't worth it.

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post #3 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 12:07 PM
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(1) this may sound crass (so I apologize in advance lol) - but my only fear is it will make my dog look bad ... flat and dispirited.

(2) No. Actually I believe it's the opposite. A dog that can handle pressure, fight through it and keep his head straight ... that to me is what a strong working dog should do. IMO that tells a lot about a dog.

(3) No. Again this goes back to how a dog handles pressure. Yes, initially there will be confusion and depending on how much pressure/force is used, even panic but the dog that can handle it and fight through it will learn very quickly what you are trying to "teach" him. Obviously I don't think you should do this with everything you teach but in selected instances I don't see anything wrong with it.

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post #4 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 12:08 PM
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What is your fear of / discomfort with compulsion, or what is it that makes you prefer motivation methods over compulsion?

I don't have a fear or discomfort with compulsion as long as it's fair & done properly. By properly what I am referring to is what is the reason for the compulsion, how does the dog react and recovery from the correction/compulsion, is there a balance between the compulsion and praise/support given to the dog, and to me most importantly hopefully there is no emotion, especially anger, behind that compulsion. I've seen handlers go directly to compulsion because they don't want to take the time to "train/teach" the dog new exercises. They want the quick, easy way to get their goals accomplished. I don't agree with this at all, and these are the times when I usually have to walk away before I open my mouth about the unfairness of the training.


Do you believe that motivation is a better test of your dog's working drives ?

No, not when evaluating a working dog's ability. Even us humans have to learn, handle and accept stress at our work place, no? Like I mentioned above, there's a balance that MUST be achieved. If there are no rewards (i.e. a pay check), would we as employees continue to work in a stressful situation?

Is it wrong to teach a dog what a command means using compulsion? If so, why?

In my training, I personally won't go to compulsion until I know the dog understands the command and refuses to comply. Also, throughout the foundation work I am getting the young dog conditioned to handle collar pops and the prong. I just don't put a prong on a dog and start yanking the heck out of him.

Instead of calling this "corrections", it's more like I would consider "guidance".


Let me ask something? Is motivational pops of the collar considered "compulsion" like one might use to work on focus?

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post #5 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 12:09 PM
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This is in the Schutzhund section - is it intended to be a discussion about training within the specific context of Schutzhund, or training in general?

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post #6 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, it is specifically for SchH people to answer.


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post #7 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 12:16 PM
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Not trying to change any questions but really trying to understand something. How is the dog supposed to react to compulsion type training? What are you looking for as far as stress, recovery, so on?

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post #8 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 12:17 PM
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What is your fear of / discomfort with compulsion, or what is it that makes you prefer motivation methods over compulsion?
I started training with a Koehler style trainer, and never had emotional issues with it. Kind of a carrot and stick method. It made sense to me.
I noticed it is harder for a beginner trainer, as timing is hard to get correct, so the dog does not get things as well, and I have seen a lot of beginners give too many corrections due to this. But clarity from the handler is an issue with any style of training.
I joined a schutzhund club a few years later that used a lot of force. Stomach turning methods of training. After that, I find myself not wanting to even put a pinch on my dogs.
So now my issue is to balance the two at a spot that I can live with. Unlike some of the people I have personally seen compete, I LIKE my dogs.
If you have to fry your dog down a track, creating "safe zones" at the articles, what is that doing for the breed?

Do you believe that motivation is a better test of your dog's working drives ?
It tests some drives. If motivation is warm praise from the handler, that would be super, right?


Is it wrong to teach a dog what a command means using compulsion? If so, why?
My gut response (today) is yes, it is wrong. The dog should be shown how to do something, and allowed to learn to learn. There will be plenty of stress through proofing and doing those behaviors later, once they are taught.
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post #9 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so far, I am getting the impression that the word compulsion is the problem. It puts "pictures" in people's heads. So, maybe we should replace the word with corrections so people can think clearly. lol.
BTW, you guys are not answering the third question. You are telling me what you do but not answering the WHY part of it.


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post #10 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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I'm going to ask Lynn why it is necessary to condition a dog to handle a correction. Isn't it up to the handler to understand what level of correction the dog can handle?


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