Discuss: Clicker/Marker Training vs Invoking drives - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-13-2014, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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Discuss: Clicker/Marker Training vs Invoking drives

"When Clicker Training came along I jumped on it, thinking that it was going to improve my work even more. I joined half a dozen lists, read a dozen books and attended some classes put on by the early leaders in that field. I quickly learned the limitations of that sort of work and how dependent much of it was on the quality of the handler. One of the biggest strengths of the system that I use now is that it matters little, if at all, how good is the handler. He's removed to a great extent from the basic work. The System involves selecting the right dog, invoking the drives you want/need and then getting out of the way."

Lou Castle

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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-13-2014, 11:03 AM
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When is the quality of the handler nor critical? And marking training is a method of teaching behaviors. Invoking drives is managing the state of mind and underlying motivation of the dog. Not only are they not mutually exclusive but quite complementary. All training is invoking drives anyway
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-13-2014, 11:15 AM
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Nevermind. Hunter said it better.

Last edited by Steve Strom; 12-13-2014 at 11:21 AM.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-13-2014, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hunterisgreat View Post
When is the quality of the handler nor critical? And marking training is a method of teaching behaviors. Invoking drives is managing the state of mind and underlying motivation of the dog. Not only are they not mutually exclusive but quite complementary. All training is invoking drives anyway
I agree with what you are saying. I have been led to believe through listening to videos by Michael Ellis, Ed Frawley and Forrest Micke that Marker training forms an integral part of modern training systems. In fact they base most of their Reward Based System on this.

The idea I got is that Toy drives and work is more advanced work, and you need to work through food drives first.

In either case although I have had dogs all my life, I am only now getting more interested in formal and scientific training methods.
So I dont have much of my own opinion.

Instead I created this post because I found that statement very interesting, and want to learn more. I feel this statement should be discussed.

I hope LouCastle ( a very accomplished canine police trainer and user on this forum) can shed more light. I made this and another thread with expressed permission from LouCastle to discuss these statements, that he made in another forum.

Last edited by Lykoz; 12-13-2014 at 11:20 AM.
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-13-2014, 11:50 AM
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I really appreciate the topic. Personally, I am hoping to learn from posters (including Lou!) more about drives in relation to training.

Moriah

Last edited by Moriah; 12-13-2014 at 11:52 AM.
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-14-2014, 11:13 AM
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It's ALWAYS about the handler and what we are willing to learn and then pass onto our dogs. Many systems work, most to the best are very similar




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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-14-2014, 02:25 PM
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When is the quality of the handler nor critical?
Here I'm using the term "handler" as it's used in LE (law enforcement) to mean 'one who handles the dog.' That person is separate from the "trainer," the person charged with most of the training with the dog, but does not work him on the street. While handlers do some training, it's mostly maintenance and then, mostly OB or repeating movements that have been taught by the trainer. There's little problem solving, and virtually no original work. With some handlers, there may be some overlap into the duties of trainer, but they generally lack the skill or the knowledge that a trainer of these dogs must have. In this system the quality of the handler is "not critical." In fact, for example in the detection work, the handler can purposefully try to pull the dog away from a find or get him to false alert. But the alerts are so obvious that, as the saying goes, "a blind man can see them."

In the system that I use, devised by Donn Yarnall** and named after him, the DYDTS (Donn Yarnall Drive Training System), the dog's drives are used with little input from the handler. Many, if not most, systems use a handler supplied reward supplied using the theories of OC (Operant Conditioning). Such a system is inherently flawed for my purposes, and I use it very little for training either LE or SAR (Search And Rescue) dogs. I’m not talking about teaching a dog to do what I call "tricks" (no diminishment intended) which many people use for OB, or for various forms of competition. There, substituting behaviors for drives can achieve great success.

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And marking training is a method of teaching behaviors.
Yes it is. I find that there is little use, beyond teaching OB (and even there I use it little) when training these dogs for these vocations.

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Invoking drives is managing the state of mind and underlying motivation of the dog. Not only are they not mutually exclusive but quite complementary. All training is invoking drives anyway
MOST training uses drives, but only at a superficial level. And they are allowed to be satisfied only occasionally.

**For those not familiar with Donn Yarnall – He founded and headed the LAPD K−9 Narcotics Detection Unit that still works at the LA Airport. He went on to found the LAPD K−9 Patrol unit and was its head trainer for the next 20, or so, years, until his retirement. He started to develop this system while still on the LAPD, and perfected it over the next couple of years. He had no secrets for sale. He shared what he knew with anyone who asked and was interested.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-14-2014, 02:26 PM
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I agree with what you are saying. I have been led to believe through listening to videos by Michael Ellis, Ed Frawley and Forrest Micke that Marker training forms an integral part of modern training systems. In fact they base most of their Reward Based System on this.
None of these trainers are deeply involved in either LE or SAR K−9's. I don't know of Forrest Micke's work, so I can't comment. Ellis is VERY good at what he does. I have no regard for the last trainer whose name I'll omit. He's a salesman who makes videos. He's not a trainer of note. And his video on Ecollar training is one of the worst that's available. The last time I looked, his website contains some of the worst old school, heavy handed, ABUSIVE training that's out there. He 'brags' of having stopped a dog from fence fighting (where no one is at risk of injury) by smashing him on the head WITH A SHOVEL three times.

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The idea I got is that Toy drives and work is more advanced work, and you need to work through food drives first.
The thrust of the statement that started this thread is that a system that relies on the handler to supply reinforcement in the form of various rewards is flawed. It depends to a great degree on how good that handler is generally, and how good he is at the very moment of training. If he's got the flu, his training will be poor on those days. If his timing is off there will be massive problems. Timing is actually more important with a clicker than with other tools.

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In either case although I have had dogs all my life, I am only now getting more interested in formal and scientific training methods.
So I dont have much of my own opinion.
If you're planning on doing work that uses the dog's drives to the maximum effect, I suggest that you take a look at DONN'S WEBSITE.. Don't be put off by the title, it's intended for LE trainers and handler who want to know how to use the dog's drives directly. There are two sections. One is restricted to LEO only and you need a password. It contains some confidential information that civilians don't need. But anyone can get access to the rest of the site just by clicking on the link. Even if you don't intend to do this sort of work, it's the best source of information on drives that I've ever seen. IF YOU DO GO TO THIS SITE, I suggest that you read it like a book, from front to back. I don't suggest skipping around, looking for 'pearls of wisdom' to pick out because if you don't get the fundamentals, you won't understand what comes after.

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I hope LouCastle ( a very accomplished canine police trainer and user on this forum) can shed more light.
Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate them.
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-14-2014, 02:26 PM
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It's ALWAYS about the handler and what we are willing to learn and then pass onto our dogs. Many systems work, most to the best are very similar
I agree that "many systems work." It's up to the handler/owner of the dog to pick the one that works best for him, his dog and the avocation/vocation that he chooses. The DYDTS system is significantly different from systems that are based on OC. There are absolutely no rewards in it. And so, how well the handler can do what I call "the whoop and holler" (using a high degree of exuberance to help reinforce the dog's behavior that you want repeated) isn't necessary. I remember being told, at the start of my dog training career that that "how happy" I was, "how much I could put that happiness into my voice and body language" determined, to a great degree, how well my dog learned. Typically LEOs, who are used to managing their emotions and expressions of same, have a difficult time with this. The DYDTS does not require this sort of input from the handler.

I was also trained that the system I was trained in (OC based) relied to a very great extent to timing and how good I was at delivering reinforcement and punishment at precisely the correct moment in time greatly affected the work. The DYDTS does not require this to nearly the same extent.

It relies on selecting the correct dog for the vocation/avocation desired. That means picking the dog based on his level and balance of drives, not on how 'pretty he may be. It also means selecting fairly mature dogs, 18 months is about the general minimum, otherwise you can't measure their drives reliably.

I've been in several heated discussion with folks who were too invested in the training systems that they'd been using, from both from a practical and a theoretical viewpoint, to want to learn a new system. I hope to avoid that here. If you don't think that this training system is appropriate for you, your dog, or what you're training for, that's fine with me. I'm not selling anything and so I'm happy to have you go on your way.

In the venues where it's been put to the test, on several LE agencies, it far surpassed what came before, both on the protection side and the detection side.
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-14-2014, 02:41 PM
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Interesting topic.

I think I fall in the middle.

In SAR work, the use of and completion of a natural instinct/drive, is the most powerful reward system. If you are working a dog with which that drive and nerve strength is strong enough to be able to cap and use it correctly.

For dogs that maybe have less ability or desire to use natural drive, then basic OP conditioning is a great way to establish and reward behaviors that the trainer wants to see.

Example: my USAR Labrador shops. By this I mean, she gets on the rubble, finds the victims, then picks which one she wants to alert on. NOT OKAY. But her drive is insane for the hunt and reward. So the most effective "correction" for her, we let her search, when she found a victim and went to leave, she was given a verbal correction and leashed. Then another dog was brought out and allowed to search and find and be rewarded. Then my girl was removed entirely from the pile. She was not allowed to complete her natural instincts. The next time she was brought out. No shopping.

I think using a dogs natural drive is a very strong way to enforce behaviors. But again, only when the dog is able and driven to use those drives in an appropriate fashion.

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