|Barked: Thu Mar 1, '12 11:06am PST |
|I am a cross over trainer who was taught to be very strong handed and firm. This didn’t work for me or my dogs, so now we use what kikopup on youtube calls progressive reinforcement training. I think it is very possible to train any behavior without resorting to positive punishment. I think if someone “has” to resort to using positive punishment or other “negatives” (I’m using negative in a different way here, hopefully I’m not being confusing lol) to teach a behavior, then they haven’t thought hard enough about how to best communicate with their dog. IMO not resorting to corrections makes you think outside of the box and consider what is best for the dog you are training. That being said, old habits die hard, so I still slip up and use verbal corrections sometimes, but that is purely my fault for continuing training when I am obviously too frustrated.
For example… training a herding dog. For the life of me I can’t figure out how to not use verbal corrections. Even using and releasing pressure can be too much for some dogs. My other border collie Spirit is very soft, and refused to work for a very well known open handler at a clinic because he has such a strong presence. He is not a mean or overbearing person by any means, Spirit is just extremely sensitive to pressure (of all kinds, she even freaks out if she has to walk to close to an object or walk past someone through a tight space such as a door), and really, most training methods that are “negatively” based. She is a rescue so I’m not sure what happened in her past, but using any kind of traditional methods, such as a choke (don’t even think about a prong with her….) and even too harsh of verbal corrections and she will completely shut down, stop, sit or lay down, refuse to move, giving off clearly stressed signals, and she will sometimes even shake.
However. When you’re training for work that involves other animals (the stock) you *must* take into consideration their well-being. I’ve seen dogs that clearly should not have even been put on stock in the first place, that end up taking a big chunk out of the flank of one of the poor sheep. IMO these dogs shouldn’t have been allowed that much access to sheep or allowed to escalate to that type of behavior, and should have been taken off much, much earlier. I know that there are people who train their competitive herding dogs using positive based methods only, but personally for the life of me I can’t figure out how one would go about doing it!