Originally Posted by Stinkycat
Positive Reinforcement Training has been misused by alot of trainers who use aversive methods, when positive training is meant to be strictly reinforcing positive behaviours only.
I myself have used both methods of training on my own dog and on clients back in the day and honestly positive reinforcement works every single time. You have to break down the training method by using reinforcing rewards, as treats may not be reinforcing to one dog but to another it's all they want. Even with people reinforcing will get you alot more from them then scolding them. Think about it, if your child gets an 'B' on a test and you tell him or her that a 'B' is horrible and not good enough, smack him and force him to work harder, what are the chances hes going to? Most likely he's gonna break from stress and the grades will get worse because he's so afraid not to get an 'A' on the next test. Yet if you were to give him $10 bucks and praise letting him know if he gets an 'A' next time you'll give him $20. I would and did work my butt off for that $20 bucks because it was reinforcing to me, it motivated me to do better.
90% of my clients use leash corrections, yelling, scolding, smacking methods on their dogs, and really what happens is the dog builds up tolerance to it, the yelling no longer works and the smacking only happens when they're around so he'll be a terror when they're not around. When I come in to their homes I right off the bat show them the power of positive reinforcement (dogs naturally want to please, they're a social species). In 5-10 mins of working with a dog they are glued to me.
Now I'm not saying you let your dog get away with everything, but I find people are sometimes too harsh on their dog. Some dogs, yes, need more of a firm leader, alot don't. I've used punishment techniques on my dog when I first got her and I wish I could go back and never do it, it caused SO many side effect behaviour problems. I have since stopped using any form of physical intimidation/punishment and most of the behavioural problems STOPPED. She listens out of her own will to, I rarely need to put a leash on her, she is glued by mine and my bf's side.
My clients all have a 100% success rate when working with positive reinforcement, but it has to be done properly and consistent otherwise you're just confusing the dog.
P.S. Dominance training is CRAP. It's very rare that you will see a true dominant dog and even then through reinforcement that can change.
A wonderful book anyone should read is The other end of the leash by Patricia Mcconnell. It gives you an insight of why we do what we do around dogs.
I actually like what you wrote. The only thing I will however challenge is the thought that dominance in dogs is rare. For those that work in shelters or rescues, we see more cases of dominance than I guess a trainer will get. BTW - I am NOT randomly labelling a dog as dominant..just so that we are clear on this.
As far as preparing a dominant dog up for adoption, the approach most times is the quick method based on what the dog responds to immediately. Unfortunately at times there is no time to get a dog ready using only positive reinforcement. Infact, in situations like dominence, it could ultimately cost a dog it's life as the shelters start to fill up. 'Keep the good..unload the bad'. I do not believe in bad dogs..just dogs that require more work..and time just does not permit this.
If you have the time, and the resources, and the clientele, then yes...great way to teach through positive training.
Kudos to you.