Positive only dog trainer thoughts? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Positive only dog trainer thoughts?

So I've done a lot of research over the past few weeks on dog training. I've trained plenty of dogs, but never had as much interest in it as I've had lately. What I've seemed to find is the "positive only" trainers on youtube at least, have 0 videos of them training dogs that are aggressive. People aggressive, dog aggressive , fear aggressive, etc. It seems they typically correct normal behavior problems. Pulling on leash, coming when called, basic obedience, etc, but never dealing with an actual "problem" dog. It is however very common to go on the page of someone who uses prong collars or ecollars, and they have numerous videos of dogs that try to bite their face off on day 1, and by week 2 they are the most calm obedient dogs. Has anyone else noticed this? It almost seems like a shadow game they are playing. People who don't use positive only training are evil, yet they provide no factual evidence using positive only training on a dog that has more than just minor behavior problems. Kind of reminds me of most politicians in a way.
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post #2 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 01:01 AM
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post #3 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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I will bring into question specifically zack george. Just watched a stop leash pulling video. He really never does a "before training", so you just have to assume the dog pulls. Then he spends 20 minutes in the video having the dog stop 100 times during the walk giving a half pound worth of treats. After the 20 mins it's a cut to an advertiser pitch for dog food delivery and that's the end. No end results, nothing. Just watching 20 minutes worth of him giving treats to a dog constantly on a walk. Sigh. I'm not the most experienced dog trainer in the world but I really like tyler muto. He does a video showing the dog before any training, running around being crazy trying to bite everything. Then a video of the training it self. Then a video on the end result achieved. The positive only folks don't do this, as far as I have seen. I do like kikkopup (sp?), but I haven't seen her tackle an aggressive dog either. I'm all for positive only training, and if that works great, but they try and make you feel bad if it somehow doesn't work. I can personally relate to this trying to teach my weenie dog "down". Tried for days and days with treats only and it just didn't work. Read on here a comment about using leash pressure instead and low and behold he learns down in 1 session.

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post #4 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 01:40 AM
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1. Positive reinforcement aggression training is dull as dirt. There's a dog. You get a treat. Let's go away. It's training that doesn't look like training, because the whole point is to keep the dog below threshold where he doesn't react and reinforce not reacting. Perfect positive reinforcement aggression training should look like you aren't training an aggressive dog.
2. Lots of those prong/ecollar videos are staged. It's really easy to video a dog barking and pulling on leash and frame it in a way that makes it look like the dog is dog aggressive, then have them under obedience with another dog under obedience in the same room. But that's marketing, not dog training.
3. Being off leash with fifty dogs isn't "fixed" barrier aggression - it's one thing to talk **** on the internet, it's another to talk **** in a biker bar where fifty beefy dudes will kick your ass
3. Shut down ain't the same as "fixed" aggression.
4. Yes there are
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post #5 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 01:41 AM
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'Positive only' does not exist. What you mean by that is Operant Conditioning, which includes 4 aspects: neg.reinforcement, pos.reinforcement, neg. punishment and pos. punishment. What you mean by 'Positive Only' is training without the use of the so called cruel tools, which is completely subjective (I call a Halti cruel while some other trainer may call them positive). I would love to see these trainers work with a WL adolescent male GSD.
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post #6 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 01:52 AM
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Yes tools are subjective, but it's not you who gets to decide: it's the dog. Does the dog find it unpleasant? Is he working to avoid feeling discomfort?
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post #7 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 11:22 AM
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I don't like "positive only" just because in my experience with those trainers, no other methods are acceptable. They have a hammer, so everything is a nail. I prefer to try positive reinforcement first, but if my dog needs a correction (positive punishment), she gets one! Negative punishment tends not to work (she doesn't care). I appreciate a trainer who has lots of tricks up his or her sleeve, so if one method doesn't work, we can get creative and try another.
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post #8 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 11:33 AM
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Those are the four quadrants of operant conditioning but there certainly are trainers who are unwilling to employ positive punishment or some forms of negative reinforcement (e collar for instance). I know some reward only trainers who still use tools like spray bark collars, which qualifies as positive punishment, but certainly isn't as aversive as a shock bark collar.

I agree with everything Wheelhaus said, think it is spot on. There are times when a dog is fundamentally sound but has become unruly due to lax handling, these dogs can have "miraculous" and quick turnarounds with some smart corrections and/or learning a prong. A reward only trainer will never put their foot down with a dog like this because the philosophy is to ignore unwanted behavior. So that is one instance where a balanced trainer will get quick, real results.

To be fair, I can think of some dogs with real food or social motivation who will "turn on" for the first time in their lives upon working with a reward trainer after having been subjected to misused force.

I don't know THAT much about Tyler Muto but what I have seen, he appears to be a pretty talented balanced trainer. He uses lots of rewards and corrections but what I have seen seems to be fair corrections that the dog understands, the dogs appear to mostly be relaxed working with him, except for maybe a really aggressive pitbull who he scared the crap out of with a pet convincer but I don't think you are going to stop a pitbull from eating another dog with a clicker. So that one gets a pass from me.
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post #9 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 11:36 AM
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I believe, that positive only is a lie!

I tried to do it, didn't work.
I had a problem with Kaja, she wanted to play with dogs like crazy, so when we were passing the other dog, she was playfully lunging to it, but it looked aggressive to others. I was so ashamed and I tried positive training. After dealing with instructor of sports and police dogs, he told me that especially GSD needs to have also some punishment - NO fighting the dog or anything, just the right amount of correction with collar and leash pull, right tone of voice when training, satisfying the pray drive.

After that, Kaja's problem almost vanished. She still wants to go to the other dog but only if it is a big temptation (puppy barking on her and wants to play etc.), but were getting there.

It is like with a child in a way... no mater how good and friendly you want to be with your child, sometimes you just need to put 'your foot down' and set some rules...
I can't imagine dealing with positive training when having an aggressive dog.
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post #10 of 118 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 12:38 PM
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I use an Ecollar every day with my shepherd. I rarely have to use it or at most vibrate only and that works well. Keeps us free from pesky leashes and collars that would otherwise harm her optical nerves with repeated pressure.
The point of an ecollar is not to take your anger out on the dog for misbehaving/yell at it. It's there to grab the dog's attention back to you for further instruction (if even needed, more often than not the dog is aware of their misbehavior and simply saying their name will correct them) and to catch a dog doing a negative behavior and quickly zap them, do not scold the dog after wards or say anything as they likely wont know what on earth you're making noise about. I feel my dog walking out into a street because they don't know any better and getting hit by a car/lunging at people or other small animals/etc is far more harmful than a quick zap/sound/vibration to regain their attention so they stay next to me and don't get hurt and learn that the environment can be a calm one. Also gives time to respond to potential threats/aggressive individuals and the dog can't be grabbed by the leash or otherwise. Of course everyone's dog is different. Though it seems to me positive reinforcement means 'bribe' and this will never work in a high energy situation when loving on the dog/treats will no longer be effective. I see way more aggressive animals on harnesses and nylon collars where the only barrier is some moron breaking their back trying to restrain them. This should never happen.
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