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Thread: Victoria Stillwell on positive reinforcement training

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruizey View Post
    After a couple of years or rewarding and treating him when he sits calmly near the horses, it never fixed it like that smack did. Hopefully I never have to do it again. But he knew he wasn't allowed and it taught him the best lesson.
    This is the problem. Most people think that positive is just a matter of shovelling food at a dog for doing something. To be truly successful with positive you have to have spent the time to build value in various rewards. You need to understand the building of value and the transferrance of value. For your dog the jumping up at the horse had more value than what you were offering.

    You need to always set the dog up for success. For 2 years you have been setting your dog up to fail and he has been happily self reinforcing by jumping at the horse.

    A dog trained by someone who really understands this sytem will have no higher value that working for its handler. This is achieved by the building and transferrance of value combined with understanding the capturing and reinforcement of behaviours and teaching the dog to work operantly.

    So for most of us is a mix of techniques including the occasional postive punishment as you did is probably always going to work better. However one must always be aware of not using positive punishment out of frustration as you did and we probably all have done at some stage. If something is not working dont let it go for 2 years. Revaluate what you are doing and why it is not working.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 10-22-2012 at 09:45 AM.

  2. #32
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    I think there is a place for some more negative punishment in older dogs that know better! But puppies being trained should never be smacked, yanked, yelled at etc
    Just a jargon thing - that always confuses me

    Smacking, yanking, yelling - is all "positive punishment" ie you're doing something, adding (positive) something to the environment to reduce a behaviour (punishment).

    Negative punishment is when you subtract (negative) something from the environment in order to reduce a behaviour eg not giving a dog a treat when it does something you don't want, after it's been getting a tonne of treats for doing something you do want.

    When it comes to "operant conditioning" jargon - positive means add something to the environment - not necessarily something the dog likes. Negative - means take it away.

    Punishment - is something that reduces a behaviour eg avoiding using a new computer - because it Blue Screens of death every time you do.

    Reinforcement - is something that increases a behaviour.

    ClickerSolutions Training Articles -- A Beginner's Guide to Operant Conditioning

    So I find it easier to talk about rewards - something your dog likes and will work for - and reward based training - ie giving a reward when the dog does what you want to increase that (positive reinforcement), and withholding the reward (not treating crap) when the dog doesn't do what you want (including doing it slowly or inaccurately once they know the drill) - to reduce that (negative punishment). Ie you've taken something away to discourage a behaviour.

    If it's not working - you've got to consider your timing, and other distractions in the environment - and are your rewards - things your dog really likes (in that environment).

    Distractions are things that interfere with your dog's ability to pay attention - they may be good things (to the dog) like the treat lady who gives out lots of treats to all dogs, or bad things (scary noises or dogs or people).

    So a "purely positive" trainer - if we're being correct - would give a dog something it likes - when it does what they want, and give it something it hates when it doesn't do what they want (eg smack it - assuming it doesn't like being smacked).

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    Just a jargon thing - that always confuses me

    So a "purely positive" trainer - if we're being correct - would give a dog something it likes - when it does what they want, and give it something it hates when it doesn't do what they want (eg smack it - assuming it doesn't like being smacked).
    I hadnt thought of it quite like that LOL!

    I agree though all that positive and negative jargon puts my head into a spin too. I really dont think of it in those terms at all.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalacreek View Post
    This is the problem. Most people think that positive is just a matter of shovelling food at a dog for doing something. To be truly successful with positive you have to have spent the time to build value in various rewards. You need to understand the building of value and the transferrance of value.
    I think this is very true. When I was totally focused on training Banjo, I noticed that eventually getting a food reward became much more to her than just getting a yummy bit of food. I eventually spent less time at training and became less consistent and now the treats hold less value to her.

    It is impressive if you see dogs of top positive reinforcement trainers like kikopup and their dogs are almost like string puppets the way they control them. I very occasionally meet one like that on my walks and it's a big gap between the way my dog looks at me and their dogs look at them for guidance.

    And I allowed my dog to self-reward with the jumping up at people... I also recently discovered that my reaction to her doing it actually encourages her. That's the other side of conditioning. You can reward behaviour without knowing. My 7yo daughter thinks it's hilarious that my dog is more prone to jumping up at people when I'm near than when she is with the dog.

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    It kinda annoys me to see "purely positive training methods". and indicates someone has sat in one class about operant conditioning, and thinks they are the mutts nuts on dog training. I am a behavioural therapist, and the depth of knowledge around what is spouted like a bible by some, is shallow and distressing to see others in pup classes lapping up half baked crap.

    One of the most gentle methods i use to capture horses, is purely negative, very effective, very gentle.
    eg. A horse that wont be caught, runs off across the field when you get near. Negative training:
    I walk toward the horse, and stop just below threshold, before it bolts, (aversive) if the horse holds still for a while, i turn and walk off. Negative reinforcement. Eventually, the horse allows you closer and closer without bolting.
    Once close enough to offer positives like a rub/scratch/carrots, i then swap into positive.

    this is negative reinforcement, using an aversive. Yet i believe very gentle with the horse/dog/cat whatever you use this method on.

    I like Victoria, she's entertaining. All thigh high boots, dominatrix style. Like every dog trainer i ever met NOT!

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    All that dominatrix stuff is for TV. Like Jamie Oliver and all the jeans he wore out on that spiral staircase rail.

    It gets people watching - but it's not part of who they really are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bernie View Post
    One of the most gentle methods i use to capture horses, is purely negative, very effective, very gentle.
    eg. A horse that wont be caught, runs off across the field when you get near. Negative training:
    I walk toward the horse, and stop just below threshold, before it bolts, (aversive) if the horse holds still for a while, i turn and walk off. Negative reinforcement. Eventually, the horse allows you closer and closer without bolting.
    Once close enough to offer positives like a rub/scratch/carrots, i then swap into positive.

    this is negative reinforcement, using an aversive. Yet i believe very gentle with the horse/dog/cat whatever you use this method on.
    Again I can never quite get to grips with what is negative and what is positive so personally I rarely use these terms.

    I know what you are saying but to me walking up to a horse and then turning just before you hit its pressure bubble is a step down the path of rewarding the horse for not running off.

    My working dogs use this method on sheep. They reward the sheep for not running by staying out of their pressure zone and the sheep eventually learn to cooperate calmly. A good dog understands the use of pressure as both punishment and reward and the sheep learn how to respond to obtain the reward of pressure release. I just call it punishment or reward, dont care if it is positive or negative punishment or reinforcement cos my brain doesnt compute or care which is which, really one grows tired of sorting out that darned quadrant.

    So reward doesnt just have to be a treat, it can be anything an animal values. To me what you are describing with the horse is also like a desensitisation and counter condioning process where the horse eventually comes to associate being caught with good things happening and its emotional reaction has been rewired so to speak (gaining the animals trust in the old terms I guess).

    I dont see any use of negatives here although I guess that removing the pressure is negative reinforcement or no I think it is negative punishment LOL?- removing something that the horse dislikes?

    To me it is simply rewarding the horse for not running off.

    Positive training to me is about understanding the concept of value and reinforcement and how to use them. Teaching an animal to work operantly is to me just a useful way to get the animal to figure out a way on its own to be reinforced by what it values. I find that an animal learning this way can often retain and understand more quickly and deeply than if it just taught by pattern or rote learned.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 10-25-2012 at 03:02 AM.

  8. #38
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    Yeah it is confusing.
    And yes, i can see that this could be viewed positive.
    On a different tack, i personally notice, behaviours taught by patterns or rote, are not stable without the handler around, and dog reverts to whatever it choses.
    ie. will chase cats when you are not there.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    All that dominatrix stuff is for TV. Like Jamie Oliver and all the jeans he wore out on that spiral staircase rail.

    It gets people watching - but it's not part of who they really are.
    I know, as i am a furminatrix, who understands she's puttin it on!

  10. #40
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    There are some very blurry lines between reward (what a dog will work to get) and aversive (what a dog will work to avoid).

    Ie a dog will work to get a treat, and work to avoid not-getting a treat. Ie not getting a treat - after getting a tonne of them - will let a dog know what behaviour gets a reward and what doesn't.

    So is letting a dog know when what they're doing is not going to get them a treat - ie a non reward marker (like saying "colder" in the game of hot and cold) an aversive - a punishment. Is it enough of a punishment to have "fall out" ie dog starts doing things you really don't want because it hasn't figured out what you do want. Ie I frequently get a lot of frustrated barking when evil hound "gets it wrong" and doesn't get the treat. And I have to be careful not to reward that.

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