Hi Hyacinth, Your post confuses the heck out of me. Don't get me wrong, I 'understand' everything you have written....... I'm just confused as to why you would be teaching the 4 quadrants of Operant Conditioning to the handler of a dog being trained with a choke chain which means that it is being trained with Classical (or Pavlovian) Conditioning.
Originally Posted by Hyacinth
I spent a few months back in the good old days early on in my military career learning about the 4 quadrants (+P, -P, +R -R) and I even attended a seminar on Operant Conditioning with one of Australia's 'greats' at that time. (Honey Gross-Richardson was her name I think). I even had a chat with her after the seminar to clarify a few points. While we were chatting she leaned forward and peeked at my notes and asked me about a comment I had highlighted in my notes about her presentation. The comment I had written was a question to myself that read "Why is the audience impressed that a woman can teach a dog to heel on a loose lead in as 'little' as 4-5 days using Operant Conditioning when it can be done in 5-50 minutes using Classical Conditioning?" I told her that my question was self explanatory. She looked at me, looked at my haircut (a dead giveaway) and said "Oh, you're an Air Force dog trainer aren't you?" which I confirmed, and then she said, "And you use aversives in your training?" again I confirmed that Air Force training uses both praise and aversives, typical of Classical Conditioning. She then went on to say "Then there's the answer to your question, people are impressed by being able to teach a dog to heel on a loose lead in 4-5 days because it does not involve the use of aversives." Her comment stunned me, not in a good way, and she briskly walked away to talk to some other audience members. I wish she had not walked away because I wanted to take her logic and display it back to her, to show her the apparent flaw.
The parallel I came up with is one I still use on my clients today and it's all about people mowing their lawn. I equate Classical Conditioning dog training (the use of both praise and aversives) to mowing your lawn with a standard petrol lawnmower; it's quick and efficient, but it does use fossil fuel, makes a lot of noise and generates an amount of air pollution, but for the average home owner it is the most efficient way to do the task. I equate Operant Conditioning dog trainers (positive-only trainers) to someone mowing their lawn with either a manual push mower or a pair of scissors or shears; It takes a heck of a lot longer, requires a lot more physical effort and is far less efficient...... BUT it avoids that nasty air and noise pollution and uses no fossil fuel.
So people who mow their lawns with a manual push mower or even with a pair of scissors or shears are not doing it wrong.... they have just made a choice that to them the extra effort is worth it because they are that fanatical about minimising noise and air pollution and saving fossil fuel. That's their choice and they have every right to make it because of the ideology they have chosen to adopt in relation to air/noise pollution and fossil fuels. The problem I have is when those same people try to stop others from mowing their lawns with petrol mowers or even saying that people who mow their lawns with petrol lawn mowers are wrong, that it's an invalid method and that it doesn't work.
Confused? I hope not. Most people are well aware of Greenhouse Gas Emmissions and the need to minimise pollution in this world..... but the majority of those same people drive a car to work. We make conscious decisions based on our 'chosen' or core ideologies. It's a relatively free world where we can make those choices. Dog training is no different. Some dog training methods are more efficient than other methods, at a cost. If a dog owner is unable to, or chooses not to expose their dog to the negative consequences of its actions then that is their free choice. If you want to train using only rewards and you do not want to ever give your dog an aversive (punishments or corrections in layman speak) then more power to you But please don't think that people who use a balanced mix of praise and aversives in their dog training are doing something wrong. It's just that their chosen ideology is one that is comfortable with a dog receiving an aversive.
An aversive is not cruel, it is not injurious, it does not harm the dog, it is not abuse. An aversive is merely the application of a measured amount of physical force delivered to the dog at a level that reaches that dog's particular Threshold Of Discomfort (TOD). <Sigh> Anyway I'd better get down off my soapbox and go do some yard work..... I have to mow the lawn.... (I'm not being clever here) I really I have to mow the lawn for real, and then I have to pressure clean the concrete driveway.
Apologies If you think I went way off track on this one but being new to the forum I thought it worthwhile expanding on my ideology so that others will know what my comments are based upon...... now, where's my noisy, polluting petrol lawn mower?
Grant 'The Paw Man'
RAAF Police Dog Handler, 33 yrs service & Civilian Canine Behavior Specialist