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Thread: Positive Re-inforcement, or Overly Positive?

  1. #11
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    Hey guys,

    Choppa Chop - Wow that's a creative idea, nice name too. Gotta try that someday (only when he really messes up though.

    Ok
    I think I may have confused some of you guys. I got a bit lost and I gave an example of the opposite method "Rewarding your dog when he stops the yapping" and I mentioned that in conjunction with positive re-inforcement. When I speak to people I usually refer to them both as positive reinforcement. Really sorry if I confused some of you

    I think a lot of the the things that have come up have been that a lot of people have been using a variety of methods "hot and cold" as some might say. I think this is great and I am going to try it, although I think my heart is set on positve training methods.

    Yes I would love to know what positive punishment is, I've never heard of it before - do you confuse your dog in some way?

    Regards,
    Charlie
    ~Charlie~
    Busta the apricot poodle x spaniel
    http://www.the-organic-mind.com

  2. #12
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    Positive punishment

    dog barks - you yell at it
    dog barks - you hit it
    dog pulls on lead - you correct it on a chain

    Go google 4 quadrants of operant conditioning

  3. #13
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    Hmm interesting discussion...

    I find the various techniques discussed for getting a dog's attention / diverting it from doing something you don't want - most interesting.

    My family was/is a big fan of the roll of newspaper thumper. The idea is to thump the dog if it persists doing something after you've told it "No" or to combine the thump with the "NO". I tried this with my puppy dog and she thought it was some sort of great new game with a very attractive chew toy. I was never quick enough to thump her in the act of doing what she shouldn't. Hence me upgrading to squirty bottle. Longer range - more success in hitting target at right time. So getting the squirty bottle out has a similar effect to Choppachop mentioning the "wooper".

    My family was also a fan of hitting a dog on the nose if it did things it shouldn't, however I have found the reaction to this extremely unhelpful - one head shy fearful insecure puppy dog. I don't get this with the squirty bottle and I haven't seen it with the fence collar (note - used on a friend's dogs not mine).

    I also find the still popular idea of rubbing a dog's nose in its inside accidents - seems to aggravate the problem instead of alleviating it. Though once I learned the "three second rule" ie if you haven't delivered the correction inside of three seconds of the act - it's not going to be effective, I didn't see any point in frightening a dog hours after the accident. And yet the same people who think this is ok, think the electric zap collar is cruel - no matter how it is used.

    (side note - humans are not so different to dogs, and if we make them wait two or more years to be punished for the crime they committed, if we catch them at all - the punishment is not going to be an effective deterrent)

    As for the waiting for the dog to stop doing naughty thing and then praising it - this is effective for some things but not for others, as pointed out in previous posts.

    For the quadrants of reward and punishment - I forget how the negative/positive thing goes but it's something like
    reward - (+ve?) give something the dog likes - eg treat/praise/attention/freedom
    reward - (-ve?) take away something the dog doesn't like - eg loosen the slip collar / go away from the noisy traffic / turn off the collar zap

    correction - take away something dog wants eg toy/attention/freedom
    correction - add something a dog doesn't like eg tighten the slip collar / threat with a wooper roll / turn on the collar zap

    Hopefully you can see there is a place for both reward and for correction, and that not all corrections can be achieved by taking away something the dog wants. Eg if the dog is chasing a cat or running away, it's very hard to get any useful effect by ignoring the dog or removing a favourite toy - the dog isn't going to notice.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChoppaChop View Post

    Its inetersting to note,a friend and I have regular discussions on dog/owner behaviour of today compared to when we were children.
    Alot may have come along way...but gosh alot seemed to have go backward.

    Some problems of today were never even heard of when we were children.
    Dog aggression was exceedingly less.
    The family dog often lived out the back,often unfenced at that.Came everywhere with us , this included all the other kids dogs as well. Often there would 10 kids and 5 dogs.
    And you know what?
    No trouble.

    I find it interesting to delve into where we,the humans,got it wrong.
    Well we did somewhere didn't we ?
    The dogs didn't seem to change behaviour - we did.

    Just food for thought.
    Excellent observations Choppa. I've often wondered about this myself. I was born more than half a century ago back in the days when most pet dogs were males and entire males at that. As you say kids and dogs did most things together from building cubbies in the bush, to sailing makeshift rafts on the dam (ours always sunk, soaking kids and dogs alike) and having all sorts of adventures, real and imagined. Such fights as did occur were usually between snotty nosed little boys showing off for the girls. For the most part the dogs got on really well with the kids and each other.

    No one used electronic devices or even choke chains when training their dogs and yet most dogs were reasonably well behaved. The average dog walked at heel off lead, came when called most of the time, didn't pee in the house and could usually do a few tricks like shaking paws, rolling over etc. People didn't ask much more of them. Our Cocker used to walk us to and from school. He was taught to sit at the crossing and only cross when it was safe to do so. This was something a lot of dogs were taught to do back in the olden days.

    I think dog training like so many other things is much more complicated nowadays. There is an expert or a wanna-be expert on every corner. Like many religious leaders they tend to believe there are only two ways of doing things, "our way or the wrong way". There are so many different "our ways". People get confused. They worry about things like dominance and who is pack leader and should I teach my dog to fart on command before or after he learns to pee only on the lemon tree.

    Dog ownership should be a pleasurable experience for both dog and human. It doesn't need to be complicated. If people spent less time worrying about theory and more time just enjoying their dog we would see happier and more relaxed animals and people.

    Just one eccentric old dog person's opinion and probably worth as much as you paid for it.

  5. #15
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    Doof played up at dog training last night - I even gave him a few corrections for not heeling - but at one point he focused on something far away. I called him. Didn't touch the lead. Instructor is telling me to correct him - I ignored her - called him a couple of more times. Eventually he turned and came to me quite happily and was greeted with a BIG good boy. Instructor said that the reward was too big for a dog that ignored me. Behaviourally speaking, he was aware of his last behaviour and being rewarded for that - correcting and telling him off is not going to make him want to come to me. I explained to the instructor after class that this was a new dog and that we have not bonded strongly yet - sure he is a smooch, but he is as loyal to me as he is to meatloaf - the food, not the guy.

    Relationships can be forced or they can be built - I would prefer to take the time and build the relationships. Every class someone comments on the fact I dont have a choker chain - sure it would force him to heel - but I am not interested in force - sure he got a few corrections on his martingale - but they did more to loosen my arm from getting dragged than teaching him anything.

    time and patience - soon as we stop enjoying it - we stop.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deerhound View Post
    Excellent observations Choppa. I've often wondered about this myself. I was born more than half a century ago back in the days when most pet dogs were males and entire males at that. As you say kids and dogs did most things together from building cubbies in the bush, to sailing makeshift rafts on the dam (ours always sunk, soaking kids and dogs alike) and having all sorts of adventures, real and imagined. Such fights as did occur were usually between snotty nosed little boys showing off for the girls. For the most part the dogs got on really well with the kids and each other.

    No one used electronic devices or even choke chains when training their dogs and yet most dogs were reasonably well behaved. The average dog walked at heel off lead, came when called most of the time, didn't pee in the house and could usually do a few tricks like shaking paws, rolling over etc. People didn't ask much more of them. Our Cocker used to walk us to and from school. He was taught to sit at the crossing and only cross when it was safe to do so. This was something a lot of dogs were taught to do back in the olden days.

    I think dog training like so many other things is much more complicated nowadays. There is an expert or a wanna-be expert on every corner. Like many religious leaders they tend to believe there are only two ways of doing things, "our way or the wrong way". There are so many different "our ways". People get confused. They worry about things like dominance and who is pack leader and should I teach my dog to fart on command before or after he learns to pee only on the lemon tree.

    Dog ownership should be a pleasurable experience for both dog and human. It doesn't need to be complicated. If people spent less time worrying about theory and more time just enjoying their dog we would see happier and more relaxed animals and people.

    Just one eccentric old dog person's opinion and probably worth as much as you paid for it.
    Fantastic post DH!

    Dog ownership should be just that , a pleasurable experience.
    Why is it suddenly we are having to call 'behaviouralists' and 'personal' trainers ? Why are we suddenly having so much of this behaviour to actualy create the employment of these trades?
    Why is it that now to have your dog live outside makes you cruel?
    Why do we suddenly need this special ' just right' dog food that of course costs an insulting amount?

    I often wish for my childhood days , as I guess do alot of us , but it was a simpler time.
    No meant no to children and pets alike.
    Respect was automatic as was common courtesy.
    It was safe enough for us kids to be out until the styreet lights came on and Mum and Dad wouldn't have a clue where we were in the meantime.

    So then it really only leaves open that we somehow,somewhere have created these behaviours in the dogs so that now we are needing the behavioualists and trainers .
    GageDesign Pet Photography
    Site still in construction so will post link when it's finished.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Occy View Post
    Doof played up at dog training last night - I even gave him a few corrections for not heeling - but at one point he focused on something far away. I called him. Didn't touch the lead. Instructor is telling me to correct him - I ignored her - called him a couple of more times. Eventually he turned and came to me quite happily and was greeted with a BIG good boy. Instructor said that the reward was too big for a dog that ignored me. Behaviourally speaking, he was aware of his last behaviour and being rewarded for that - correcting and telling him off is not going to make him want to come to me. I explained to the instructor after class that this was a new dog and that we have not bonded strongly yet - sure he is a smooch, but he is as loyal to me as he is to meatloaf - the food, not the guy.

    Relationships can be forced or they can be built - I would prefer to take the time and build the relationships. Every class someone comments on the fact I dont have a choker chain - sure it would force him to heel - but I am not interested in force - sure he got a few corrections on his martingale - but they did more to loosen my arm from getting dragged than teaching him anything.

    time and patience - soon as we stop enjoying it - we stop.
    See Occy to me thats a case of having to slot in with what everyone 'thinks' is or should be correct.
    How can someone actually judge that without being with the dog in an ownership situation?

    Some advice of course , such as in everything , from life experiences , perhaps more learning or concentrating on a subject then you or I would , thus making it a great idea to seek that advice .

    But to just expect everyone and every dog to just 'fit' ?
    I just dont see how.
    GageDesign Pet Photography
    Site still in construction so will post link when it's finished.

  8. #18
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    Dog schools are like human schools - they cater for the common denominator - it is the individual teachers that can make the difference - or not!

    I can FEEL the tension at this dog club - everyone is friendly - but all the dog owners are tense and agitated and the dogs react to it.

    We met a lovely young gwp that had been trying to get to Rufus all class - I told the owner to just relax his lead - and they said hello and when doof had had enough, he walked around behind me - calmly - not grumbling, etc

    If we had the opportunity to socialise before classes started there would be a far more relaxed atmosphere - so what I am doing is taking doof down early and giving him a free run so that he can sniff and stretch his legs - didnt work last week but with time he will learn the difference between relax and work time

  9. #19
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    I could go a whole new thread on dog schools.

    The one I go to has been around forever - at least we took our dogs there when I was a kid - so a long time. And we used slip collars / choke chains - so a long time for that too... The dog we had before was extremely naughty and ended up being shot by a farmer essentially for not coming when he was called - or nicking off without permission - or being where he shouldn't. Maybe some more dedicated training would have sorted this - but he used to roam the neighbourhood freely and didn't understand he couldn't do the same in farm country.

    Anyway back to the dog school - only flat collars or slip collars are allowed, anything else is strictly by request and you have to have some sort of physical handicap to be allowed to use something that prevents or reduces pulling eg the sensible harness.

    I had Frosty in the sensible harness but attached to a slip collar only - and the instructor insisted I took the harness off - even though the only purpose it served was as a potential handle if she should bolt instead of sit-wait-come (supposed to be off lead, but we did long lead). The dog club fails dogs/owner teams from time to time, and only graduates teams to the next class once a month - so if you can't make that class - you don't graduate. Which some people (and puppies) find extremely frustrating. The rules are pretty rigid but not as rigid as some clubs, but definitely a long way from innovative. Some people quit because of this.

    But the instructors are given different classes each month - so if you didn't connect with the instructor you had this month and you fail, next month - you will have a different instructor. And as best I can tell - it's one of the cheapest dog training clubs in the city - $50 for dog/owner team for a whole year (not including summer hot months) and as many classes as you care to show up for (weather permitting). In fact if you fail the class in the morning - you can show up for the same class in the evening (and usually a different instructor) for a second shot...

    The instructors are quite inventive when it comes to ideas for getting the dogs to do what is required. The chief instructors are just a bit retarded when it comes to the tools (slip collar vs harness).

  10. #20
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    I am for all positive training, BUT... it takes a lot of experience and knowledge of knowing dogs psyche, behaviour and of course body language so it really is hard for an average person to understand that and achieve wanted results without being guided by professional.

    Further on... dogs are not like human kids, meaning human kids can be far more "naughty" and pushy than an average dog. If for nothing else, then because they're more intelligent and do think like humans - dogs don't.

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