Is an Easy Walk positive punishment? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Is an Easy Walk positive punishment?

I tried asking this on a couple other forums and they were...less than helpful.

So this came out of a conversation with another trainer who was telling me that they are a 100% positive reinforcement trainer. When I asked them about using an Easy Walk, they said that it's not positive punishment because it doesn't cause any pain. But when I looked back at the definition of positive punishment per operant conditioning, positive punishment would be any stimulus that decreases the future occurrence of the behavior it follows. So it would seem that dog pulls, dog is uncomfortable, dog (ideally) stops or lessens pulling. Positive punishment?

And it's the same thing with what many of my Petsmart coworkers label "interrupters". Things like vocal "eh-eh"'s or hand claps. The dog barks, the person claps, the dog stops.

So I'm curious to know where everyone else draws the lines of their operant conditioning quadrant. Is it dependent upon whether something causes pain? Or just whether the method discourages future behavior? Or do you have some other guideline?

Do you feel that the quadrants change with the individual dog since some dogs seem to not care about things such as the pull of an Easy Walk?

While I feel it is important to at least understand all four quadrants, do you feel there is any certain quadrant that is more effective than the rest, or one that should be used more or used exclusively (a la 100% positive reinforcement trainer)?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 08:34 PM
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You ask a question more involved ..in terms I am not that educated on....but....this caught my attention..." So it would seem that dog pulls, dog is uncomfortable, dog (ideally) stops or lessens pulling. Positive punishment?"

I believe that is an assumption I would not make dependent on the particular dog.


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SuperG View Post
You ask a question more involved ..in terms I am not that educated on....but....this caught my attention..." So it would seem that dog pulls, dog is uncomfortable, dog (ideally) stops or lessens pulling. Positive punishment?"

I believe that is an assumption I would not make dependent on the particular dog.


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Well, that was more of an example than a universal fact. Hypothetically, in a situation with a dog that did respond to an Easy Walk, it responds because it is uncomfortable, therefore the discomfort of the Easy Walk discourages the pulling in the future. So to me that would technically be positive punishment, right?

I just find it interesting that so many trainers are so concerned with relabeling things as force free, painless, or redirection, instead of embracing it for what it technically is according to textbook operant conditioning.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 08:41 PM
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It's more self correcting. It didn't stop my youngest dog from anything, so we just switched to a flat collar.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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It's more self correcting. It didn't stop my youngest dog from anything, so we just switched to a flat collar.
So couldn't we say the same thing of a prong? Also considered self-correcting, yet many place it firmly under positive punishment. So what would be the defining difference between an Easy Walk and a prong collar? If the dog responds to both, and they work in similar ways then wouldn't that mean that both an Easy Walk and a prong collar can be considered positive punishment?
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 08:49 PM
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Trainers can never be just 100% positive reinforcement as this is only 1/4 of operant conditioning.
+ reinforcement: you add something good that makes the behavior increase (treats)
- reinforcement: you take something good away to make the behavior increase (stop playing)
+ punishment: add something negative that makes the behavior go away: choke chain correction to stop pulling.
- punishment: you take something away to make the behavior stop (time out for the pup for biting)

Correct me if I am wrong, this was the best I could do.

Last edited by wolfy dog; 10-28-2014 at 08:55 PM.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Trainers can never be just 100% positive reinforcement s this is only 1/4 of operant conditioning.
+ reinforcement: you add something that makes the behavior increase (treats)
- reinforcement: you take something away to make the behavior increase (stop playing)
+ punishment: add something that makes the behavior go away: choke chain correction to stop pulling.
- punishment: you take something away to make the behavior stop( isolating the pup for biting you)

Correct me if I am wrong, this was the best I could do.
That's all correct, I'm just interested in how people view their methods or techniques in relation to the the quadrants of operant conditioning.

For instance, I feel I use all four quadrants and understand my methods and how they fit in on a very technical basis (such as Easy Walk being P+) whereas the trainer I was talking to felt that P+ was only things that caused pain so a prong was P+ but an Easy Walk was not because it did not cause pain to discourage unwanted behavior, just guided the dog into wanted behavior.

I'm just looking to understand the differences as others see them.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Pax8 View Post
Well, that was more of an example than a universal fact. Hypothetically, in a situation with a dog that did respond to an Easy Walk, it responds because it is uncomfortable, therefore the discomfort of the Easy Walk discourages the pulling in the future. So to me that would technically be positive punishment, right?

I just find it interesting that so many trainers are so concerned with relabeling things as force free, painless, or redirection, instead of embracing it for what it technically is according to textbook operant conditioning.
Okay...your understanding of this and research/knowledge is above my pay grade....

Here's my new question which somewhat relates to my first assertion. If in fact the "Easy Walk " creates "discomfort" for the dog and this dog continues pulling...then can I assume that the dog somewhat either doesn't mind the discomfort versus the benefit ( comfort ) of pulling ? If the "Easy Walk " did curtail the pulling due to the discomfort...then I would guess it was completely positive punishment as you suggest.

Anyway, the labeling and relabeling of correction terms is as you say. IMHO...they use terms which are palatable and PC for the times. It is something I find interesting but do not let it sway me from what it truly is.


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by llombardo View Post
It's more self correcting. It didn't stop my youngest dog from anything, so we just switched to a flat collar.

Ditto....my first wonderful dog ( Irish Setter ) got the same treatment.


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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 09:05 PM
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pos punishment is adding something-
when you add a easy walker and they pull and they do not like it then they stop pulling and eventually they just dont pull- operant conditioning....
This as i read the 4 quadrants appear to make the most sense to me-
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