If a dog ever needed to be put down: Clip

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SKoth
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Postby SKoth » Thu May 21, 2009 8:11 pm

Rinalia wrote:
SKoth wrote:We all know the forum's training climate lynches anyone who speaks to any method that involves negative reinforcement. I have been a member of the forum since Jan '04 and have a lot of love and respect for many of the members here... I believe that it is beneficial to the members and community to have these discussions. If the members aren't interested in the discussion so be it. I'm certainly not interested in forcing the issue - god knows there are plenty of forums that are more than open to the discussion. I believe and care enough to try again here though.


That is fair. I'm not here to lynch anyone.

I'm not adverse to negative reinforcement, per se. Some may disagree, but I think the application of head halters, no pull harnesses and prongs are examples of negative reinforcers (caveat being they are used w/o the person adding a leash pop or jerk...i.e. the dog is self-correcting). I use a prong on my older dog. I think, in cases where other methods fail, the appropriate use of a shock collar to modify a dangerous (to the dog or others) behavior expressed by a relatively confident and stable dog is acceptable to the alternative of death. I'd be uncomfortable using a shock collar on a really fearful or nervy dog.

I just am not quite convinced that what I'm seeing in the video is an appropriate method of teaching a dog not to be fearful or aggressive. To be honest, I don't really consider what's happening to be negative reinforcement - not when the dog isn't given a fair chance to avoid the noxious stimuli.


And I wouldn't have acted the same in this situation either. We know there are a lot of people that come here to learn. A lot of people who we don't know cause they are lurkers not posters. The dialogue/critique it also a great way for us to teach people who come here for help what is good and what isn't and more importantly - why.

So when people go out to see trainers themselves they're equipped with a real understanding of what they're seeing. And, in turn, they can make better decisions about their own dogs.

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Postby Rinalia » Thu May 21, 2009 8:33 pm

SKoth wrote:How I would feel about the hypothetical situations you proposed is irrelevent. I'm not a dog, we don't share the same emotions and I'm not displaying violent actions toward human beings that might result in their or my death. Because, lets me honest, if I were trying to kill someone being muzzled or stressed would be the least of my worries ;)


I find this interesting. Most mammals learn in similar ways - we have similar brain structures that affect similar behaviors. Which is why I think the comparisons are absolutely valid, if not the ultimate intent behind them.

You could just as easily tweak it and ask whether a dog learning to sit would learn sit more effectively if he was in a comfortable environment with his favorite person and favorite toy or whether your were beating him over the head with a phone book in an unknown environment, screaming SIT! SIT! It doesn't matter whether the learner is a dog or a person - adding undue stress reduces the chance of learning.

My analogy was my way of trying to convey that undue stress/distress can reduce the ability to learn as I feel is true for the dog in the video - he is not learning because he is distressed.

Your patience is admirable. :)

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Postby Sarah » Thu May 21, 2009 8:50 pm

Rinalia wrote:
To me, the stress that this dog is enduring is not normal. It is not the normal stress a wild animal experiences - it is outside the normal every day pressure of living. Further, the dog is being denied the chance to control his environment in any manner, shape or form - he is muzzled, he is leashed, he is dragged along in an uncomfortable environment by an unknown person, he is shocked. These types of stress/distress DO preclude learning, in my opinion.


:goodpost:

All learning is going to involve some stress, because learning is in itself stressful, and there is usually some form of outside stress which drives the organism to learn. The ability to learn doesn't decrease until the stress of the situation becomes overwhelming.

My Tully is an example of a dog who can be difficult to train because of stress. In Tully's case, it is not external stress so much as stress she places on herself. She is a very intelligent dog, very eager to be right; and very, very soft. She makes everything she learns twice as hard as it needs to be because she worries about it.

I'm trying to get her ready to compete in Utility right now, and it's really difficult to do with a dog like this, because the Utility exercises are challenging enough to be stressful in themselves. She knows the scent articles (for instance), but the slightest increase in stress will cause her to almost shut down in fear of making a mistake. I can't really help her, she needs to learn to work through this stress on her own. So all I can really do is set her up in a situation where she has a good chance of being right, and wait for her to work it out. Right now, she can do the articles at home just fine. She can do them in the facility where I sometimes rent a ring to train, very slowly, and while apparently hoping that the building will collapse and save her from the horror of having to find the right article in public. If I can find a fun match and have someone else set them out.... currently, I can only use a few articles, and we still get the "hope for building collapse" attitude.

Eventually, she'll work through this stress, and be a stronger, more confident dog because of it. She'll have her good attitude back, and we'll be in business. But she's at the maximum stress she can handle, just with me standing back and letting her work through things. Any time I try to increase the pressure to improve the exercise, she reverts to just snatching an article and bringing it back; the retrieve is something she's comfortable she knows, so she goes back to that. Or else she freezes utterly, and waits to be told exactly what to do. Then she's not learning, she's just reacting. For her to learn, I have to hold the stress down to a level she can tolerate.

That's just part of training... holding the stress level down to within the dog's learning threshold. I read a book by a dog trainer/behaviorist/something years ago, who did a board & train. Don't recall what his methods were, but he had one dog that couldn't be handled (an aggression case). Kept the dog in a run, and every time he went by the run, he tossed treats in. He made no effort to do anything with the dog at all, not even look at it, for weeks, just tossed food in it's direction until it accepted him. Then he could work with the dog. With a dog that is easily stressed, sometimes you just need that kind of patience.

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Postby SKoth » Thu May 21, 2009 8:52 pm

Rinalia,
I understood your analogies ;). And I agree that increasing his stress decreases your ability to communicate with him and his overall ability to learn.

In the beginning of the video a woman is handling the dog. He seems relatively easy with her. My very first question was - Why not allow the woman to handle the dog for his training session?

Even if she were a novice, it would seem that talking her through a session would, even at its worst, be more effective than handing a dog with this temperament to someone he is so stressed by.

My next question would be - Why in the world would you have this type of training session outdoors? There are so many additional stimulators (like other dogs, animals, people) outdoors. And, good forbid the public were to see a Pit Bull act with this type of aggression it would only serve to fuel the fire.

Rinalia wrote:Your patience is admirable. :)


Awww, why thank you. I think that there are a lot of people here with a lot to offer and it really means a lot to me that we can, as a community, have open dialogues where people can talk, ask quesitons, share experiences in an objective way. And, btw, thank you for taking part ;)

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Postby SKoth » Thu May 21, 2009 8:53 pm

:goodpost: Sarah

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Postby 1lila1 » Thu May 21, 2009 9:06 pm

SKoth wrote:
It's fantastic when we can accomplish our goals with positive reinforcement only but it makes us better, more well rounded, trainers when we can really analyze and understand all of facets of training and behavior.


What do you mean by a "well rounded" trainer? Wouldn't you, as a trainer, want to be the best trainer you can be? Wouldn't you want to base your training techniques on the latest science of exactly what motivates dogs to learn and how they learn in the first place?

Do you disagree that dogs learn through a combination of classical and operant conditioning? Or that a dogs behavior is essentially motivated by the promise of a reward, in whatever shape or form it might come?

Positive reinforcement is the method of choice by most trainers and behaviorists who base their methods on science. Using positive reinforcement and working within the limits of the dogs threshold to whatever stimulus, you reduce the stress and thus allow the dog to actually LEARN an alternative behavior, associate the negative stimulus (another dog, for example) with something positive, and then you can begin to change the REASON for the dogs behavior in the first place.

Using aversive methods, you may suppress a behavior but it does nothing to address the underlying reason the behavior is occurring in the first place and there is the chance that you may be doing harm to the dog....physically or psychologically!

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Postby FriscoGirl » Thu May 21, 2009 9:57 pm

the word "stress" is being used on this thread a lot and what I see as "stress" is knowing this owner is going to keep a dog like this in her backyard, probably not confined and he will get out one day and severely injure someone

owners shouldnt make excuses for dogs like this, it really puts the public at risk.

Just think about kids walking home from school when this dog gets out

I dont care what the cause, the dog should have already been put down, no excuses or second chances for a dog with intent like that

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Postby Red » Thu May 21, 2009 10:14 pm

SKoth wrote:It's frustrating to me that an environment has been created here where it is completely unacceptable to discuss any type of training other that positive reinforcement in any type of constructive way.

If we're going to talk about the video lets really dissect it. Where did they go wrong and why? What specific techniques would you have used on this type of dog and why?


That type of discussion has been offered before. I don't see people having much of a problem slapping a prong on dogs, being encourage to do so by some or make use of other aversive methods on here. At the end the pro aversion folks have deaf hears and positive reinforcement folks stick with their opinions (thank you). It goes around and around and it will always be that way.

SKoth wrote:
Rinalia wrote: It's a biological and behavioral fact that, when stressed, mammals, fish and birds lose* their ability to a) retain information; b) repeat behaviors in a timely manner and c) learn new behaviors.


Do you have a citation? Mammals in the wild experience a great deal of daily stress as compared to our domesticated pets. Even the simplest of life factors are stressful - finding/killing food, mating, surviving nature, dealing with other predatory animals....

So how can we believe that the presence of stress precludes learning?


There is the reason why these discussion get nowhere. Amazingly, there are still people who do not know that fear, overall, inhibits learning. Unless one consider learned helplessness to be something great for an animal to learn. If people don't grasp or understand a fact backed up with plenty of studies (even when they are provided) then they have no business using whatever is a short cut when "training" animals.

I will provide info for you on the subject, as far as studies and citations (dinner in the oven at the moment!).I can also provide you with a general overview of aggression cases i work with, in which I do not use electric collars. I cannot post videos as I need a written permission to do so and it would not be very professional anyway (owners are in the videos at times). This is not a place in which I discuss these type of things, minus some random example, but I can still report on cases. I am pretty sure, though, that it would not make any difference in your opinion, which have been the same for 4 years. Dogs like the one you saw in the video do come across. I'd really like to be able to use the videos in my possession since questions such as "well, I want to see a positive trainer or behavior consultant putting hands on a dog like that without getting mauled" have been asked often here. We do not, here is the thing. Not from moment one anyway. We do not overwhelm a dog and expose him to stimuli at full intensity, not allowing him to escape a situation in which adrenaline and dopamine are doing a heel of a good job in the prefrontal cortext and copying mecanisms might not be available to the animal. We do not set the dog to fail, making use of flooding and reinforcing behaviors that do not need to be elicited in a behavior modification session. We don't wait for the animal to be overcame by physiological reactions that happens in the body when threshold is pushed. More than happy to discuss what could have been done in my opinion, which does not take a couple paragraph only. To apply it does not take a day either. Much faster to go with an electric collar and call it a day, even though the dog still perceive people the same way.

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Postby SKoth » Thu May 21, 2009 10:19 pm

1lila1 wrote:
SKoth wrote:
It's fantastic when we can accomplish our goals with positive reinforcement only but it makes us better, more well rounded, trainers when we can really analyze and understand all of facets of training and behavior.


What do you mean by a "well rounded" trainer? Wouldn't you, as a trainer, want to be the best trainer you can be?


I consider a well rounded trainer to be one that is has a complete understanding of all facets of behavior and training. And, the whole point of the dialogue to improve our understanding - to learn - which is an essential part of being the best we can be.

Wouldn't you want to base your training techniques on the latest science of exactly what motivates dogs to learn and how they learn in the first place?


Absolutely. You're missing the point. This dialogue isn't about what I want or do. Instead of making this type of statement why not post the scientific studies so that the forum can learn and understand? No pointing fingers - contribute, teach, share....

Do you disagree that dogs learn through a combination of classical and operant conditioning?


Operant conditioning (R - SRF)
• A voluntary response (R) is followed by a reinforcing stimulus (SRF)
• The voluntary response is more likely to be emitted by the organism.
• A reinforcer is any stimulus that increases the frequency of a behavior
• To be a reinforcer stimuli must immediately follow the response and must be perceived as contingent upon the response

Classical conditioning (S - R)
• An involuntary response (UCR) is preceded by a stimuli (UCS), or
• A stimulus (UCS) automatically triggers an involuntary response (UCR)
• A neutral stimulus (NS) associated with UCS automatically triggers a conditioned response.
• The NS becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS).

What have I said that would lead you to believe that I don't believe in operant or classical conditioning? Negative reinforcement and positive punishment are both part of the operant conditioning model.

So, you begin to see my point? Being the best we can be, understanding the most we can understand includes understanding the entire classical conditioning model. Negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment are important to understand to apply operant conditioning.

Or that a dogs behavior is essentially motivated by the promise of a reward, in whatever shape or form it might come?


Absolutely. But lets consider that there are many types of reward. Primary, secondary, positive, negative and self. If we don't understand this paradigm how can we manipulate behavior with the presence of a reward. You'll notice that many members with dog aggressive dogs cannot call their dog off another dog. For many of these dogs biting another dog is the ultimate reward. It is a self rewarding behavior. So, if that's the ultimate reward and we cannot replicate or reproduce that reward then we cannot override that behavior with a positive reinforcer. And this is the point where we consider a reinforcement model and consider the application of a positive punisher or negative reinforcer to balance the dogs motivation.


Positive reinforcement is the method of choice by most trainers and behaviorists who base their methods on science. Using positive reinforcement and working within the limits of the dogs threshold to whatever stimulus, you reduce the stress and thus allow the dog to actually LEARN an alternative behavior, associate the negative stimulus (another dog, for example) with something positive, and then you can begin to change the REASON for the dogs behavior in the first place.


Is that your opinion or a fact? We're being objective here right? My personal experience with trainers and behaviorists has represented more of a Antecedents - Behavior - Consequents (positive or negative). If you are familiar with Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot the Dog you can see a similar reinforcement theory model.

Using aversive methods, you may suppress a behavior but it does nothing to address the underlying reason the behavior is occurring in the first place and there is the chance that you may be doing harm to the dog....physically or psychologically!
[/i]

I guess our understanding of classical and operant conditioning differs. The correct application of positive punishment and negative reinforcement are effective in shaping behavior.

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Postby KadillacGrrl » Thu May 21, 2009 10:20 pm

We also have to keep in mind that video only tells a small part of that dog's story. We really have *no* idea what has transpired up to the point of filming...

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Postby Rinalia » Thu May 21, 2009 10:52 pm

Red wrote:
We do not, here is the thing. Not from moment one anyway. We do not overwhelm a dog and expose him to stimuli at full intensity, not allowing him to escape a situation in which adrenaline and dopamine are doing a heel of a good job in the prefrontal cortext and copying mecanisms might not be available to the animal. We do not set the dog to fail, making use of flooding and reinforcing behaviors that do not need to be elicited in a behavior modification session.


This is what bothers me most about that video. I mean, I work so hard to try and set up my own dogs for success. I WANT them to thrive and be happy and the LEAST stressed out - same goes for me! That is what I envision every dog guardian/owner wanting; triumph and success. To see that stark of a contrast, to not hear one peep from the owner as her dog is manhandled, shocked, yanked, and overwhelmed to the point of utter exhaustion is both saddening and maddening (on both an emotional and intellectual level).

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Postby luvnstuff » Thu May 21, 2009 10:57 pm

I still think the training just per the first video and the lady talking of her dog that got attacked by a dog, and now is HA , that what is shown here, is working at the wrong end of the leash.
Are the humans being looked at , to teach them WHY the dog is this way? Is there some human mishanding that created the behaviour?

And as a pit bull foster home its sad that aggressive biting dogs are being worked on while good non biting ones die.
Personally a dog that reactive I would have a hard time saying post "training" it would be safe in the enviorment from where it came. (unless the humans are being reformatted)

Any aggressive dog, imho , muzzled, over stressed to the point of panting like that will calm down and follow along, its "Beaten" (in its mind), that is why they method looks to work. But its not a healthy fix (imho) much like Red said, and something I see alot in fly by the night trainers..
Slap a "harsh corrective" or "pain inflciting tool " on and "waa la!" I fixed your dog, have a nice day!

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Postby SKoth » Thu May 21, 2009 11:01 pm

Red wrote:
SKoth wrote:It's frustrating to me that an environment has been created here where it is completely unacceptable to discuss any type of training other that positive reinforcement in any type of constructive way.

If we're going to talk about the video lets really dissect it. Where did they go wrong and why? What specific techniques would you have used on this type of dog and why?


That type of discussion has been offered before. I don't see people having much of a problem slapping a prong on dogs, being encourage to do so by some or make use of other aversive methods on here. At the end the pro aversion folks have deaf hears and positive reinforcement folks stick with their opinions (thank you). It goes around and around and it will always be that way.

SKoth wrote:
Rinalia wrote: It's a biological and behavioral fact that, when stressed, mammals, fish and birds lose* their ability to a) retain information; b) repeat behaviors in a timely manner and c) learn new behaviors.


Do you have a citation? Mammals in the wild experience a great deal of daily stress as compared to our domesticated pets. Even the simplest of life factors are stressful - finding/killing food, mating, surviving nature, dealing with other predatory animals....

So how can we believe that the presence of stress precludes learning?


There is the reason why these discussion get nowhere. Amazingly, there are still people who do not know that fear, overall, inhibits learning. Unless one consider learned helplessness to be something great for an animal to learn. If people don't grasp or understand a fact backed up with plenty of studies (even when they are provided) then they have no business using whatever is a short cut when "training" animals.

I will provide info for you on the subject, as far as studies and citations (dinner in the oven at the moment!).I can also provide you with a general overview of aggression cases i work with, in which I do not use electric collars. I cannot post videos as I need a written permission to do so and it would not be very professional anyway (owners are in the videos at times). This is not a place in which I discuss these type of things, minus some random example, but I can still report on cases. I am pretty sure, though, that it would not make any difference in your opinion, which have been the same for 4 years. Dogs like the one you saw in the video do come across. I'd really like to be able to use the videos in my possession since questions such as "well, I want to see a positive trainer or behavior consultant putting hands on a dog like that without getting mauled" have been asked often here. We do not, here is the thing. Not from moment one anyway. We do not overwhelm a dog and expose him to stimuli at full intensity, not allowing him to escape a situation in which adrenaline and dopamine are doing a heel of a good job in the prefrontal cortext and copying mecanisms might not be available to the animal. We do not set the dog to fail, making use of flooding and reinforcing behaviors that do not need to be elicited in a behavior modification session. We don't wait for the animal to be overcame by physiological reactions that happens in the body when threshold is pushed. More than happy to discuss what could have been done in my opinion, which does not take a couple paragraph only. To apply it does not take a day either. Much faster to go with an electric collar and call it a day, even though the dog still perceive people the same way.


Red,
You're overwhelming inability to participate in a discussion about training without being snide is infinitely frustrating.

Is there any reason that the expression of your opinion must always include an attack on anyone who disagrees with you?

I am pretty sure, though, that it would not make any difference in your opinion, which have been the same for 4 years.


What do you know of my opinion? All you know is that I use e-collars on my dogs. That's one small part of what I do. You know nothing of how I teach my dogs, how I reward my dogs, how I condition their behaviors, etc. What you know is that I have defended the use of e-collars in appropriate situations (which I have not done in the video in question). For some reason you've decided to pigeon hole me as "pro-aversion." I'm not pro-positive reinforcement, I'm not pro-aversion. I'm pro-conditioning, shaping, reinforcing, marking... I'm pro-food, balls, e-collars, bites, affection, prongs...

You've said you train with Leri. You've said you've gone to her to learn. We both know she uses e-collars - but does that mean that she doesn't employ a lot of other training methods with great success? Does that mean you think she's uneducated and lazy?

Red, I love what you do for the members of the forum. I think it's great that you are always trying to help people and their dogs. But your tact with those who disagree with you in any way leaves much to be desired.

This entire discussion is not meant as a aversion convention. It's meant to stop pointing fingers and start DISCUSSING. It's meant for people to express their opinion on the training methods and naturally to disagree - not as a pushing match.

Work with me here. Please. Express your opinion, express your experience, help us grow as a community.... But please, pretty please, don't make this about how you feel about me.

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Postby SKoth » Thu May 21, 2009 11:16 pm

Rinalia wrote:
This is what bothers me most about that video. I mean, I work so hard to try and set up my own dogs for success. I WANT them to thrive and be happy and the LEAST stressed out - same goes for me! That is what I envision every dog guardian/owner wanting; triumph and success. To see that stark of a contrast, to not hear one peep from the owner as her dog is manhandled, shocked, yanked, and overwhelmed to the point of utter exhaustion is both saddening and maddening (on both an emotional and intellectual level).


I totally understand how you feel. I've never crated Anwar for more than a couple hours at best but one day I was convinced to put him in his crate while we went to train for many hours. He was so stressed that he had explosive diarrhea all over the crate. I cried all day long... I cried for the guilt of leaving him, I cried thinking of how upset he was, I cried thinking of the disgrace of the worlds cleanest dog having to sit in his own poo, I cried cause I felt like I betrayed his trust... (And now I'm teary again, ugh)

I understand all too well wanting the best for our dogs. I understand all too well wanting them to be happy. I just hoped that we could talk about the video, the methods, the dog...

On another note... I was wondering if the woman was the owner because a female voice asks later in the video what the dogs name is and a man answers. Made me wonder if anyone "owned" the dog or if maybe he's a shelter dog?

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Postby 1lila1 » Fri May 22, 2009 12:39 am

SKoth wrote: I consider a well rounded trainer to be one that is has a complete understanding of all facets of behavior and training. And, the whole point of the dialogue to improve our understanding - to learn - which is an essential part of being the best we can be.


But why does "all facets" of training have to include aversive methods? I'll never understand trainers who insist that positive reinforcement can't work with certain difficult cases. Can you give me an example of a case that you've worked with where properly applied positive reinforcement techniques have failed and aversive methods have been needed instead? I really am curious because in my own layman's experience the opposite has been the case.

SKoth wrote:
Wouldn't you want to base your training techniques on the latest science of exactly what motivates dogs to learn and how they learn in the first place?


Absolutely. You're missing the point. This dialogue isn't about what I want or do. Instead of making this type of statement why not post the scientific studies so that the forum can learn and understand? No pointing fingers - contribute, teach, share....


There have been pages and pages of links to studies showing that aversive methods are unnecessary at best, harmful at worst. The trouble is, those who advocate "well rounded" training dismiss them and then keep asking for more studies. How about those people start posting scientific studies that support aversive training?

I'm not trying to point fingers. I'm trying, as someone who has dealt with a difficult dog who, by the standards of many members here, should've been put down years ago, to understand why the techniques that messed my dog up continue to be practiced when there is a much better alternative available. I'm not an expert dog trainer but I am a trained scientist and I can recognize a sound scientific argument when I see it.

SKoth wrote:
Do you disagree that dogs learn through a combination of classical and operant conditioning?


Operant conditioning (R - SRF)
• A voluntary response (R) is followed by a reinforcing stimulus (SRF)
• The voluntary response is more likely to be emitted by the organism.
• A reinforcer is any stimulus that increases the frequency of a behavior
• To be a reinforcer stimuli must immediately follow the response and must be perceived as contingent upon the response

Classical conditioning (S - R)
• An involuntary response (UCR) is preceded by a stimuli (UCS), or
• A stimulus (UCS) automatically triggers an involuntary response (UCR)
• A neutral stimulus (NS) associated with UCS automatically triggers a conditioned response.
• The NS becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS).

What have I said that would lead you to believe that I don't believe in operant or classical conditioning? Negative reinforcement and positive punishment are both part of the operant conditioning model.


I asked because I wanted to get a baseline as to where you were coming from. If you do indeed believe that this is how dogs learn, why do you think they cannot be taught alternative behaviors that are incompatible with aggression while being desensitized to the stimulus that sets off the behavior? Why would you introduce positive punishment when the dog is already over its threshold? At what time is this justified when there is clearly an alternative?

SKoth wrote:
So, you begin to see my point? Being the best we can be, understanding the most we can understand includes understanding the entire classical conditioning model. Negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment are important to understand to apply operant conditioning.


I'm not sure why you posted the definition of classical and operant conditioning when it seems you are trying to justify the use of positive punishment and negative reinforcement.

I have no problem with negative reinforcement in certain instances. For example, a dog who jumps on you when you come home wants your attention, you'd turn your back and ignore him taking away something he wants. IMO, that's a completely appropriate use of negative reinforcement, as I understand it. I'm sure an expert will chime in if I'm wrong.

My issue with positive punishment, esp. when dealing with aggression, is that it may suppress the behavior, the dog won't chew your shoes in front of you because he'll get hit or yelled at, but leave him alone for a few hours and see what happens. My own dog wouldn't lunge or go for other other dogs with a prong collar on but take it off and it was all you could do to keep her from getting to any dog she'd see.

If you understand and accept the concept of classical and operant conditioning, why would you think that positive reinforcement is ineffective?

SKoth wrote:
Or that a dogs behavior is essentially motivated by the promise of a reward, in whatever shape or form it might come?


Absolutely. But lets consider that there are many types of reward. Primary, secondary, positive, negative and self. If we don't understand this paradigm how can we manipulate behavior with the presence of a reward.


I agree there are many types of reward which is why I phrased my comment like I did.

SKoth wrote:
You'll notice that many members with dog aggressive dogs cannot call their dog off another dog. For many of these dogs biting another dog is the ultimate reward. It is a self rewarding behavior. So, if that's the ultimate reward and we cannot replicate or reproduce that reward then we cannot override that behavior with a positive reinforcer. And this is the point where we consider a reinforcement model and consider the application of a positive punisher or negative reinforcer to balance the dogs motivation.


OK, so in this case, (a dog who is truly motivated by simply wanting to bite the other dog, assuming fear, anxiety, previously reinforced aggression, etc. are not the underlying causes ) why would desensitization and counter conditioning not work? You still run into the issue of addressing the behavior without modifying the reason for the behavior. You've done nothing to change the dogs desire to bite, only to control his behavior. How is that safe or fool proof? It seems to be to be a band aid treatment that is bound to fall off sooner or later.


SKoth wrote:
Positive reinforcement is the method of choice by most trainers and behaviorists who base their methods on science. Using positive reinforcement and working within the limits of the dogs threshold to whatever stimulus, you reduce the stress and thus allow the dog to actually LEARN an alternative behavior, associate the negative stimulus (another dog, for example) with something positive, and then you can begin to change the REASON for the dogs behavior in the first place.


Is that your opinion or a fact? We're being objective here right? My personal experience with trainers and behaviorists has represented more of a Antecedents - Behavior - Consequents (positive or negative). If you are familiar with Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot the Dog you can see a similar reinforcement theory model.


Antecedent-Behavior-Consequences just seems like traditional aversive methods to me. Nothing ground breaking there. The dog is afraid of people, sees a person (antecedent), barks and lunges (behavior), and then gets pinched with a prong collar (consequences). Am I understanding you correctly? Trust me, I've had personal experience with that too, nearly a decades worth and it was not only ineffective but my dog ended up with generalized anxiety issues on top of aggression issues.

I've not read Karen Pryor's book yet but I have it here and plan to get to it sometime.

SKoth wrote:
Using aversive methods, you may suppress a behavior but it does nothing to address the underlying reason the behavior is occurring in the first place and there is the chance that you may be doing harm to the dog....physically or psychologically!
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I guess our understanding of classical and operant conditioning differs. The correct application of positive punishment and negative reinforcement are effective in shaping behavior.


No, I think we both understand the definitions correctly. My point is that it should not only be about shaping behaviors. Unless you deal with the underlying reasons the behavior is occurring in the first place, you will never be treating and "training" the dog, only suppressing the undesired behavior.

Like I said, I'm no expert and I know that reading a book and intellectually understanding a concept is much different that actually putting said concept into action. Boy do I know, because I'm doing both and the latter is much much harder! But my experience and background does enable me to understand and dissect an argument and I still have not heard an argument from those who advocate aversive methods that has convinced me that it is necessary or more effective than what can be accomplished by positive reinforcement training techniques.


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