Purely Positive? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Purely Positive?

Pup's second class was today--a puppy kindergarten. I was luring my 10 week old pup into a down but he was also throwing out some unasked for behaviors such as biting and pawing. I was verbally correcting this with "Ak, Ak" noises and the word "wrong"--not loudly or angrily.

The trainer came over and said that I was punishing my pup! She said that purely positive methods don't allow for these kinds of corrections and that all undesirable behavior should be ignored. Which is a great goal, I guess but a trifle unrealistic. She began praising Pup and was promptly nipped in the nose-- which she successfully ignored. I however have to live with the Bitemaster 2011 and while I redirect his biting, control his biting and have been avidly reading about bite inhibition (thank you sticky thread) I have already encountered many situations in which he has to stop biting NOW! and a sharp, sudden exclamation has so far served to loosen his grip.


The trainer also copped to having small dogs that were allowed to jump up on people. I'm not sure that this is the right class for us. She also refers to my boy as shy--while I think of him as reserved--as in typical shepherd.

I have two senior shepherd crosses. I was a big box store Dog Trainer about eight years ago. Since then I have been very active in Pit Bull rescue and have fostered six puppies. I have never heard of a verbal correction--especially in a neutral tone-being called a punishment. Is this common now? Should I continue in a class which I think has unrealistic expectations.
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 06:36 PM
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The interesting thing about positive puppy training is VERY difficult for us 'newbies' because we need PATIENCE!

Frankly, who cares if my 10 week old puppy isn't going down exactly right? IT DOESN"T MATTER!

And, frankly, the reason they aren't is cause they just don't get it, or haven't been made to understand it, or would rather do something else........ CAUSE THEY ARE ONLY 10 WEEKS OLD! And that's fine!

For us, for the HUMANS to learn to help our puppies understand (not MAKE them) to have them want to listen (not MAKE them), what to be with us (not MAKE them), want to engage and learn (not MAKE them) is what we go to puppy class for.

Puppy class and dog class should be very little about what the dogs learn. Frankly, it's a whole lot more about TEACHING ME to teach my puppy to want to learn, want to engage, want to listen/learn/be with me. It's all about ME ME ME ME ME.

Cause guess what? When I listen (not the puppy). When I learn (not just the puppy). When I listen (and frankly if the instructor starts say Ak AK Ak Ak and no no no no to ME then I tend to just get all upset and confused and not learning either! ) When I listen and:
  • Improve my timing
  • Use a reward my PUPPY wants
  • Keep it fun and exciting
  • Engage WITH my puppy in the learning
Then I no longer am having to use negatives caue my darn puppy has suddenly become BRILLIANT!

Look at this dog, only taught positive with treats/toys:


This puppy too, only positive and with a clicker, look at the attitude of the puppy, it's engagement. NO LEASH and yet look at the behaviors!


Using corrections is easy for US and short term seems to work.

Positive training is MUCH harder for us and why many people quit to go back to our old habits. Heck, it's much harder to blame our dog and 'make' them behave. Then to blame ourselves cause we need to continue to learn and be better trainers....




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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 06:39 PM
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I agree with positive training. But In my puppy class we took ak ak was commonly used for when they did not do as ask. And I cant believe any trainer allows jumping on people unless ask to. I would switch trainers personally.
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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 06:40 PM
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It's going to depend on who you talk to and what your comfortable with homestly. I use clickers, treats, and toys to train but my dog get an eh eh when they have lost their mind momentarily and I don't see it as punishment either...but thats me
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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 06:40 PM
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I do purely positive training with my girl. It takes sooo much more patience than giving corrections, but makes training a thousand times funner for the both of us!
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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 06:45 PM
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PP advocates often refer to almost anything as "punishment" as I have run into that attitude in some classes also. I too used the dreaded word "No" to my dog in class and the instructor tried to make me feel like I had ruined my puppy's character and attitude completely. (he had just grabbed my pant leg and was trying to make off with his prize). As a matter of fact, it didn't really seem to have any terrible, lasting impact on him although he did release my leg from his little alligator jaws.

More seriously, if you are really uncomfortable with the class maybe you should look around for a more suitable class. OTOH, if the class would seem to be good for your pup i.e. socialization and a chance to practice obedience and manners around other puppies, I would stay in it till the end and then look around.
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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 06:46 PM
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Keeping in mind we are talking about a 10 week puppy..... my puppies get away with WAY more than my adult dogs....

BTW, real positive training doesn't mean we let our dogs get away with murder....positive isn't permissive. It's always interesting cause I know some of the best dog trainers actually prefer teaching NEW people with their first dogs rather than people with lots of the traditional 'old' training methods we all learned growing up with all our other dogs.

Common Dog Training Mistakes - Whole Dog Journal Article

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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 06:53 PM
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I think purely positive training is good for the appropriate age. A super young puppy does not need corrections, especially when they have so much to learn and are still bonding with you.

That being said, I don't see why saying something like "Ah-ah" or whatever is an awful thing if the puppy is doing something "bad" like biting me or chewing on a chair leg. I don't think it's appropriate if he's just not understanding a command you have given. But you need some kind of verbal noise that puts across the message "Stop what you are doing right now". Very handy for inappropriate biting, or a poop-eating attempt, or something like that.

I get what MaggieRoseLee is saying, and while I usually agree with her 100% of the time, but in this case I think using a verbal correction to stop dangerous and unwanted behavior is appropriate even at a very young age. Again though, I wouldn't use it when trying to teach a new command, just because the puppy isn't "getting" it.

I hope that makes sense, LOL!

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Rosa: American Muppet Dog (GSD/Border Collie mix) 5 years old
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 06:57 PM
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I agree with the posters who have said that purely positive is really difficult b/c it takes so much patience! However, the results are truly amazing. I am not a purely positive trainer because I haven't successfully trained myself to do it. I've been training for 23 years and learned the old way. But I am working on it right now because I have noticed that the less aversives I use (including eh-eh) the more excited Rafi is about working and the better our bond is and the quicker he learns. He learns best when it's all fun. In fact, if I use too many verbal aversives he become disinterested in learning and will simply lie down and watch me because he senses me getting frustrated.

For example, today we were at the park. We went to the playground and did agility stuff on the equipment (tunnel, swinging boardwalk, slides, ladders, etc.). Then we walked past a bench. Curious as to what Rafi would do I indicated he should go up onto the bench. He went up onto the seat and then pivoted off the top and jumped off into the snow. I asked him to go up about 5 more times and the second time he walked along the seat and then jumped into the snow. The third time he jumped up onto the back and over the seat and then into the snow. The fourth and fifth times he offered a different variation on the previous routines. Each time I praised the heck out of him and he was happy as could be because everything he was doing was right! Each time he was very happy to offer a different behavior because he kept getting praised. Had I wanted to shape one of those behaviors I might have treated for that one behavior and ignored the others.

Had I wanted a specific behavior (say walking across the bench) and I had said No! or Wrong! when he had offered the other behaviors I can guarantee that what would have happened is that Rafi would have laid down in the snow and stopped offering any behaviors in an attempt to calm me down. Instead I kept the whole thing positive and let him decide what to do and now we have another fun game/training exercise for the park.

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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Good_Karma View Post
..................... in this case I think using a verbal correction to stop dangerous and unwanted behavior is appropriate even at a very young age. Again though, I wouldn't use it when trying to teach a new command, just because the puppy isn't "getting" it.

I hope that makes sense, LOL!
Actually............ I agree 100% with that! Dangerous and unwanted behaviors, and for attention getting during those behaviors...... I would use a verbal correction.

But not in any normal training that I was in the middle of teaching......




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