MarMar wrote:This person is right in that "purely positive" is not really a "thing". It is impossible to train, or in fact deal with a dog (or any other animal) and use ONLY positive reinforcement. This is one of those things that people who don't truly understand what R+ training is about. Trainers who describe themselves as Positive Reinforcement trainers often make use of negative punishment.
In addition, there are plenty of people who do not need or use verbal corrections on their dogs. If a verbal correction works to stop a behavior, it is aversive to the dog, and the same behavioural change can be implemented free of aversives. Furthermore, positive trainers' dogs do not "walk all over them". Just because a trainer does not use aversives, does not mean that the dogs do not have rules, are not well trained, and are not expected to comply.
Dogs CAN be trained to walk nicely with a prong and not suffer major behavioural fallout. But with so many other options available that are not unpleasant to do the dog, WHY would you do it? That's the main issue here.
Good post! I think the main issue here is positive reinforcement vs positive punishment. PR tends to get used a lot, I do it too, but negative punishment can be humanely used as well. I just don't like PP as I find it's unnecessary and has the potential to cause much more harm than good. And if there are more humane ways to train a dog then why not use them?
Even a tool like a head harness, generally humane, can be aversive if used wrong or on the wrong dog. Both my dogs were introduced to them slowly and with lots of positive reinforcement. My older dog just can't stand them and although she will wear one she is much more stressed and reaches her threshold sooner with one on. A flat collar works best for her. She is much calmer when she can freely choose to look away from an approaching dog to me than "directed" to do so with a head collar not matter how gently. She just doesn't like it on her face. My younger dog is fine with them although I only use them when we're in crowded situations or when I feel a little more control might be needed. Other than that a flat collar is fine for him as well.
I do use a vocal correction to communicate with my dogs. Obviously chasing the cats will get a more harsh "eh eh" than simply breaking a heel without permission. Folding your arms and turning your back to a jumping mouthing dog is a punishment in and of itself. Even if you don't consider actual behavior modification but simple training. Is a perfect heel really worth choking, pinching, or shocking your dog over? I just don't see positive punishment or painful (even "uncomfortable") physical corrections are needed or more effective if you work the dog under their individual threshold like you're supposed to and focus on teaching rather than punishing.