Positive only? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Positive only?

Hey guys! I've had a hard time recently researching different training methods without being bombarded by the positive only/force free crowd. To me, a balanced approach that includes both positive reinforcement and corrections makes a lot of sense, logically. However every online post that details this method of training comes with an insane amount of comments from those who call it abusive and cruel. Honestly, it's kind of hard to sift through the information without feeling awful for even looking at it in the first place, due to the way that positive only proponents react to it

SO, what do you guys think? Are training methods other than positive only as stressful and awful as some people make it sound?

Disclaimer: I am truly not looking to start a fight or an argument. I know that this is a subject a lot of people are pretty passionate about, and I have my own personal opinions about the situation as well. I'm just looking for any opinions or evidence that pertains to both sides of the issue, from those with much more experience than I have!

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 06:26 PM
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A balanced training method should never be "awful or stressful".The dog is rewarded for obedience and corrected for refusing to obey a KNOWN command.How else to make things clear to the dog?My two cents
PS:Never read internet comments/avoid headaches,lol!
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 06:28 PM
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No they are not or at least should not be stressful or abusive but many people start with corrections and much quicker than truly necessary. I use and ecollar and prong although i havent used the prong in a while since electric is so much more convenient. Anyway lets say you want to teach a heel command the best way to do it is to use positive methods to build that behavior up until it looks amazing until the behavior is exactly where you want it there is no need for corrections. Once you are there and the dog can do it perfectly with no distractions you can begin to introduce corrections and distractions as well as a higher value reward to reinforce the comand on the dog and that way they know exactly what you want when they are corrected.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogma13 View Post
A balanced training method should never be "awful or stressful".The dog is rewarded for obedience and corrected for refusing to obey a KNOWN command.How else to make things clear to the dog?My two cents
PS:Never read internet comments/avoid headaches,lol!
So true- they only ever frustrate me, really! I agree with you though. It just seems like every time that is mentioned, there are a hoard of people that cite articles saying that positive only is science-based and the only humane method of training (no matter what the correction is). It would be nice to find an article or study supporting balanced training.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 06:48 PM
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There actually is science based studies on when positive only training will fail at a certain point,if you wanted to research it here's one link:https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...IP-hAXOTaqRApQ

You can also Google "the four quadrants of learning theory".There's more science for ya
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dogma13 View Post
There actually is science based studies on when positive only training will fail at a certain point,if you wanted to research it here's one link:https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...IP-hAXOTaqRApQ

You can also Google "the four quadrants of learning theory".There's more science for ya
Yay science!! Thank you!
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 07:15 PM
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Here's an excellent article on balanced training. In the early stages of training, correction is merely withholding the reward until the dog figures out what you want. Nothing cruel about that!

Leerburg | The Theory of Corrections in Dog Training
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 07:29 PM
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All dogs are different. You need to know the dog in front of you. I've used many different things, but never anything that was extreme. Most of it was positive. Midnite required me to think out if the box. I learned a lot with Midnite.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 08:20 PM
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Positive Only pretty much works ... as long as you don't have a dog with serious issues. As long as you ...never have a dog that ... starts pack fights, jumps and lunges at ... perhaps this person but not that one (people issues) or is ... seriously dog killing aggressive. The PO works out fine!

But if one does have a dog like that ... an honest "PO" trainer will tell you "I can't help you." The dishonest ones will drain your wallet and when they fail, ... tell you your dog is broken and he is best "PTS." Sorry it did not work out maybe choose a better dog next time. OK ... I added the last part ... but that's the net effect.

Balanced Trainers reward good behaviour and punish bad behaviours! PO trainers ... only reward the good and ignore the bad or you know ... redirect. Or as I want to say a take can take a treat and still bite the crap out of someone!

When I finally came across, my first dog with serious issues (people) with my first "GSD." I did not even bother with the "PO" crap. I had a zero bite policy and I had to get it right, out the gate. I managed to solve my dogs problems by simply showing him what I wanted. I did use a muzzle for a bit ... but I also managed his space and kept people out of "space."

He got that and once I better understood what he looked like when he was good, I dropped the muzzle. Rocky will never be a "Therapy Dog" but he is safe in public and with company in the home. And with "Rocky" I fixed his "people issues" and he never received a single correction for untowards behaviour towards people. And I did it by aggressively protecting his space! He simply was not given the opportunity to go over the top. But although I did that ... I did not understand how (I'm not a Pro) hmm although I am kinda wordy.

So back on pointe "Leerburgh" and "Who pet's my puppy or pet first" I'd always allowed strangers to pet my Boxer and my Bandog but with "Rocky" what if ... I said "NO???" And the second thing I already knew ... was how to walk a dog on a loose leash, and I use a SLL. But the walk, I never thought about it ... it's just something I do. But for my dog and his people issues ... that's all I needed.

Back on pointe ... I finally had a trainer explain to me ... what I do??? Larry Krohn ... I think David Trainer ... introduced him?? But I missed that thread but another member mentioned him again?? A "balanced trainer" as is "Jeff Gellman" this guy who I knew of first.

Solid K9 Training aggressive dog rehab, dog anxiety - Rehabilitation and Family Dog Training if you have "issues" he has tons of info but he talks a lot about solving issues and he's a great help for others but he doesn't really address me.

And then I saw "Larry Krohn" mentioned again??? So I went to his web site. :
Dog Training Bowling Green, KY, Nashville , TN, - PakMasters

And I saw ... "Positive only Balanced Trainer???" Well what "exactly ... does that mean???"
Being curious I found his Youtube page and he explained to me ... what I did ... "Walk Your Dog." He talks about the "E-Collar" but hang in there ... he also explains what he does first ... "Walk Your Dog."


Welcome aboard.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 08:04 AM
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Not only is Positive Only actually impossible, it is unnatural. When I see my dogs correct each other if play gets a little out of line, it is quick and clear and then over. It's not the handler loosing their temper and beating the dog to "teach them to know better". People will also find that no treat will trump chasing the cat or meeting the other dog. It is not cruel to firmly say, "this far and no further".Otherwise you can spend an entire year trying to find the "trigger distance" while you and your poor dog won't be going on long walks and adventures.

Also, withholding treats and rewards is technically a negative. Perhaps the better name would be "Reward Based Training".
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