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Thread: science vs tradition in dog training - or punishment is old school and out of date.

  1. #1
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    Default science vs tradition in dog training - or punishment is old school and out of date.

    Hi all

    Found a bit of a rant blog post on facebook... but with good links to the scientists reports / articles to back it up at the end.

    It's quite anti a certain American dog trainer who has no understanding of the science or why he does works or fails and gets lots of his followers bitten.

    “Hey, have you heard the one about climate change and dog training?” | The Unexamined Dog

  2. #2

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    i think there are some issues;

    1. if you make money out of this it is beneficial to distinguish yrself in the market place as offering something better than the other guy, if you have nothing genuinely better than all you have left is better marketting or making the other guy look worse than you.

    2. the science of behaviour was complete imo in the 60's, evrything since has been a refinement or re-packaging. which can be good or bad. dogs are not that complicated and in evolutionary scales nothing about them has changed at the fundamental behaviour level for as long as they have been domesticated. selection has only pronounced some things and deleted others.

    3. over humanisation of dogs is generally the cause of most pet problems and despite what a lot of so called dog advocates think humanisation of animals is in itself a form of passive type cruelty.

    on a personal level most people don't actually know what they want, or how to get there, even more are just not animal handlers and never will be as long as they live. most have no clue or business owning anything more than a pet rock but they can sometimes be rote taught systems that will kinda work if they are dedicated, and others cannot be taught anything and will never progress. these are easy to spot, they always end up having the same problems no matter what dog they start with.

    i could go on.

    all just my uneducated opinion.

  3. #3
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    I just got snotted in the ear by my dog who wants to go out. It really interferes with my typing when she does that...

    It's also raining.

    So my problem is we have too many people using the old methods and they are getting regularily beaten in competition by people who use better methods that generate more enthusiasm with their dogs for training / learning new things. But the old school tyrants exclude new people from the club instructors group and then newbie dog trainers don't get the best help or instruction possible.

    When we get new people to agility training - they don't want to do the foundation stuff - they only want to do jumps and scrambles and "the sexy stuff". They want the fancy heel work I have - instantly and try to get it dragging their dog around by the neck - when holding a lump of food will work faster and the dog will be happier. Although that's "luring" and you don't want that to be the whole basis of your training. All the dog learns is to follow the food. But it is more fun than being dragged.

    And a lot of newbies don't want to use food or tug/play but they also forget to use praise and pats. So they kill the joy in their dog, which then kills the joy for training in them - because their dog doesn't improve.

  4. #4
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    "2. the science of behaviour was complete imo in the 60's, evrything since has been a refinement or re-packaging. which can be good or bad"
    I definately believe this to be true.
    Operant conditioning has not changed, but new training methods have led to greater skill in applying the conditioning. Training in drive, will give you a lit up dog, really really keen to do what is taught, AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. and this is winning competitions.

    Im one of those folks, that would love the fully fledged dog, the beautiful silky leash walking instantly lol. But i dont get in life what i want, i get what i need, a 44kg dog dragging me across a field, as we both have lessons to learn together. Not separately, but together.
    How to work as a team. And that is the part that takes time. Every year that goes by with my dogs, the better we work together. The greater they know what is expected and can anticipate what i want/need and eventually will act independently of me.

  5. #5

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    yeah things have definately improved, what i meant the basic science in its most general form not tied to a specific task or species remains unchanged. its like newtons laws remain true in engineering but a whole lot of new applications and ways to use them have improved and will continue to do so.

    i went all enthusiastic to do obedience with my dog, i arrived at the club a bit late so out of politeness i waited in the car with my dog untill an appropriatte time. i sat and counted 47 hard leash corrections on 12 dogs over 15 minutes. i did not take my dog out of the car and high-taled it out of there never to return.

    i mean these people had no timing or reason for the corrections and the only thing the dogs could have learned is that pain comes from above at random moments for no specific casuation and they just flatten out and cringe with every step anticipating the pain WTF?????

    trained my dog with a tennis ball in the back yard for a few months and heeled him in drive on the side-line where i knew some of those people would be and completely stole the show, the public was just blown away seeing a big athlete animated in full drive and complete focus and actually enjoying himself, a few people come over and are like WOW how do you do that can ya teach me....the club vultures did not like it one bit.

  6. #6
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    All our clubs over here train in drive with rewards etc so I have never learned any other way.

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    That's brilliant news Kalacreek, to have all the clubs using the latest evidence based training programs.

    @ muttboy
    I joined the GSD Club Victoria, and discovered how to bore you and your dog to death in 60 minutes.
    We left month 2. We'd done enough 'socializing' and watching corrections on collapsed dogs. And a absence of rewards. and you know how when a owner/trainer has their dog there, and they demonstrate what they want you to do. The dog was perfect. But so damn slow and bored, head down, tail down. uh huh i thought.
    But as id wanted the obligatory obedience cert to get into agility, which is what i wanted to do with Bernie my GSD, i was disappointed.

    Then we found training in drive. And bernie is my first attempt at this new method. I have amazing results. Better than anything ive tried before.
    And i was hooked on the "lit up" really wanting to do the task, enjoyment look on his face.
    Bernie has trained Pohm to do all that he does. With a little encouragement from the human dispensing reward machine.
    She had no desire for chasing anything when i got her.
    Nor did brian.
    2 down, 1 to go.

    Brians doing triangle of temptation feeding regime. He is now looking at me to get his dinner. I hated putting a chain on a dog that has been chained all its life. But he didnt bat an eyelid at my chain. Those were my thoughts and feelings, not the dogs it seemed.

    My son has a pup, that's about 14 weeks old, and she's sharp as a needle and would be fantastic! But he's not a 'everyday' kinda dog owner.

  8. #8
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    I should so do that at my dog club - count how many rewards vs how many corrections...

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