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Below is something I read on another forum, a friend sent me the link, curious and would like opinions, I just did a copy and paste, there were pictures/video etc I did not bother with them.

The post is very important to me, and it is likely to upset some people. Those involved will not admit their guilt, will deny every aspect of what I am about to say, and place the blame elsewhere.

There is a silent killer in the dog training world. It is not a virus, not a piece of equipment, not a bacteria.

It is an idea.

It is the idea that all dogs, in all situations, should be trained with nothing other than rewards. “Reward what you like and ignore what you don’t” is the mantra that is preached, and all will be well in the world. In the dog training community, we call this philosophy “Pure Positive”.

Let me be clear, what I am referring to is not the idea that reward only techniques are good, and work in some cases. What I am referring to is the dogmatic belief that this is the ONLY way to train a dog, or deal with behavior problems. The pure positive philosophy is that any type of consequence other than simply removing the reward, is cruel, inhumane, and barbaric.

I want to avoid going into a dissertation on learning theory here, but let me also be clear: If you think rationally, and apply simple logic, it becomes clear that this approach to training dogs will have significant limitations. ‘Contrary to their claims, a pure positive training approach is not as effective and takes considerably longer to reach any level of reliability even close to what a balanced approach can produce. In some instances, reliability cannot be realized using a positive only approach and some dogs will not be trainable at all until appropriate corrections are included.’ (Quoted from Roger Hild.)

“Well,” you might be asking at this point. “What does this have to do with death and killing.”

Quite a bit in fact. You see, rewards are used primarily to create new behavior and offer little to no assistance in communicating to a dog that a certain behavior is unacceptable. However, millions of dogs are killed in this country every year because of behaviors that are deemed “unacceptable.” The pure positive fanatics have made such a roar that the majority of shelters and rescues have adopted a pure positive philosophy within their organizations. Why? Well probably a few reasons. For one, it sounds great on paper to say that you only reward dogs, and never punish. Secondly, they have drank the kool-aid. The pure positive proponents have created such a buzz, and are so good at promoting their philosophy that they have many people believing that anything can be accomplished with reward based techniques, and that corrections are always bad and will ruin your dog forever.

Yep, shelter staff, daycare owners, breeders, veterinarians, and many others (most of whom have only trained a handful, if any dogs in their life. And likely have never worked a dog, hands on, through a serious aggression problem.) have been duped into believing this non-sense.

Many well meaning dog owners have also been sucked in, believing that, armed with cookies, hugs, and rays of sunshine they can transform their aggressive, unruly pooch into a well mannered pet.

It’s an easy argument to sell. After all, rewarding dogs is fun, and correcting is not. So when people are told by a professional that they never have to correct their dog again, they are all ears.

Unfortunately, most dogs with serious behavior issues will not be helped with this approach.

And then come the excuses, “This dog needs medication,” “He was traumatized too much as a puppy and will never recover,” or the classic “It’s not the dog, it’s the owner.” the list goes on and on.

When the pure positive approach fails, the only other option is euthanasia. After all, it would be unheard of to just give a dog a simple correction, to help it understand that there are certain behaviors in life that have consequences. Simple, immediate, consequences.

Luna the Aussie has a history of biting eight people and dogs, Georgia has attacked several dogs, now they are rough housing together without a problem.

Use a leash and prong collar to create momentary discomfort. . . .Oh no, anything but that. Death is certainly a better option.

Don’t believe me?

I am a member of many online dog forums, one of which used to be over-run by the pure positive cult. (For more on the ‘cult’ of pure positive see here). One woman had a young dog who she was having some trouble with. Even though she was using the positive only techniques that supposedly can fix any problem, she was continuing to struggle with her dog. Several people on the forum advised her that she should try a prong collar to correct her dogs behavior. “No way,” she said, “I’d sooner put him to sleep that do that.”

Well folks, guess what wound up happening to that unruly pup? That’s right, euthanasia. (Murder if you ask me.)

Needless to say, she was subsequently kicked off the forum, and other members stopped listening to the pure positive nonsense.

More recently, I was brought a foster dog by a rescue volunteer. The dog had been showing some fear aggression and no one had been successful in making any progress in the months that he had been with the rescue. The volunteer had been a client of mine with her own dogs, and seen success with similar issues, she had also been to the pure positive trainers that the rescue recommends, and seen no success. The rescue coordinator had already made it very clear that this dog was “running out of time.” (That means either he will be euthanized, or dumped on another rescue.) Several of the rescue’s volunteers had pleaded with the coordinator to let them bring the dog to me, because it is well known that I have very high success rate working with aggression cases. “Out of the question,” they were told. Simply because I apply a Balanced Training Philosophy. In other words I apply both reward and consequence to help create understanding. Yep, the rescue would rather give up on the dog, than send it to a trainer who doesn’t conform to their religion. Then, in subsequent emails, they blamed the volunteers. The very people who reached out to help this guy, took the blame for his failure.

Over 50% of these dogs have histories of aggression to people and dogs. By enforcing rules and leadership, every one can be together peacefully. (At our Pack Socialization Class)

Unfortunately, this dog’s fate is likely doomed now.

The other unfortunate thing is that these “trainers” who claim to be so positive with dogs, are often not so positive with people. The same trainer who yesterday recommended euthanasia to a dog, today will publicly bash me and call me cruel and inhumane for rehabilitating the same dog, all because I gave a small correction. I save the dogs life, but I’m the cruel one! Myself and thousands of other Balanced trainers have had to deal with name calling, accusations, slander and defamation by the pure positive clan. I even had another local trainer say to a client of mine “I recommend euthanasia for him, but whatever you do, don’t go to K9 Connection.”

As Josh Moran The Barefoot Dog Trainer has said, “The Pure Positive mantra should be ‘Death Before Discomfort!’”

The Black dog in the back had been told by other trainers that he should be euthanized due to dog aggression. After ONE correction, he is able to exist happily.

Of course if you talk to any Pure Positive trainer, they will never admit this. Why would they? It would put an end to their reign of terror.

Even in the situations were a positive only approach can work, it often takes a very long time. and time is something that many shelter dogs just don’t have. If they don’t show quick improvement, then off to the chopping block they go.

This is the reality for hundreds of thousands of dogs in this country.

Let me say that a bit more clearly: Purely Positive dog training is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of dogs every year.

I am tired of this issue being pushed under the rug. I am tired of clients coming to me in tears after being told by positive dog trainers that their beloved pet could never be helped. And I am sickenedd to think about the numbers of innocent dog owners who actually took their advice.

The Pure Positive Trainers say they never punish, I guess corporal punishment doesn’t count.

Gracie the Pit Bull would have died in the shelter if a volunteer hadn’t pulled her out and brought her to me.

Again, I must restate. I have nothing against positive dog training (I myself use positive dog training every day, it is a necessary component of a balanced approach), or those who choose the positive approach for themselves. It is the Purely Positivementality that I am speaking against. Those who force this philosophy on everyone around them, believe that it is the only way, and bash other techniques.

We need to wake up and realize that there is a balance. Using corrections does not mean you must cause pain, fear, and intimidation. Positive only training has a place in the dog training world, but it is not the only place. We need to return to open-mindedness in dog training. After all, lives are at stake.


I have always used/liked balanced training. But this poster a Tyler Muto is kinda out there.
 

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I have always used/liked balanced training. But this poster a Tyler Muto is kinda out there.
Can you give me an example of what is considered Balanced Dog Training.

I am sure that sounds really naive but I think I know what you mean, but just want to be sure.
 

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This person has no real grasp for what positive reinforcement training is, and it bleeds in his wording. This is one of the more stupidest argument out there I've read. Clumping to the extreme, or blaming a single group for dog deaths is tedious and needless work. That said, if Bob Bailey can train mine-sniffing dogs (high demand behavior) without needing punishment, certainly "balanced" is not a goal or the way things ought to be.

Plus, there is a difference between positive reinforcement (used for acquiring voluntarily behavior) and classical conditioning (used for behavior the dog does not choose). To try and justify "balanced" in place for one or the other is just stupid, and I don't believe for a second "purely positive" trainers do as the author is suggesting. NOT. AT. ALL.
 

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Hmm. I'm not an expert but it doesn't seem like the numbers backup his assertion that positive training is killing millions of animals a year. Aren't euthanasia rates actually decreasing? So in 1970, when aversive training was much more common than now, MORE dogs were euthanized annually, right? Maybe I'm incorrect here, but it's difficult to take someone seriously when they use so much hyperbole, even though I agree with a balanced approach to training.

ETA: I should qualify my statement: I agree with a balanced approach by a trained expert. I personally use positive reinforcement because I'm not a trained expert and I feel like the potential damage from incorrectly applying positive reinforcement is lower than the potential damage for incorrectly applying aversive punishment.
 

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The biggest issue I have when people talk about "Purely Positive" is that I am pretty sure it doesn't exist.

In real life, the line between purely positive and balanced is just a matter of degree. I don't believe that there's a single dog out there who hasn't experienced correction. The goal of minimizing the need for correction should be something we all aim for. "Positive" and "Balanced" are positions on the same spectrum.
 

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Can you give me an example of what is considered Balanced Dog Training.

I am sure that sounds really naive but I think I know what you mean, but just want to be sure.
"Balanced Training" uses both positive reinforcement AND correction. Most often, dogs are taught new behaviors with positive reinforcement and correction is added in the proofing phase. Not always true, but more often than not.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Clumping to the extreme, or blaming a single group for dog deaths is tedious and needless work.
I said I thought he was kinda way out there.
 

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Tyler is sort of a nutcase. I know a trainer local to him that he positively stalked. He's a sad little jerk with anger management issues. That said, I don't know any successful trainers who claim to train only with purely positive (whatever that is) methods. I don't know any successful trainers who claim to "never punish." As far as I can tell, these are red herring arguments frequently presented by those who call themselves "balanced" trainers. And they make these arguments so they have something to argue against. I suspect for every dog who is failed by trainers who use primarily positive reinforcement and LIMA, there are at least an equal number who are failed by compulsion trainers and helped by those who use more scientific methods.
 

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Seemed kinda hysterical to me. Not in a funny way. In a "the sky is falling" way. Hard to believe some of the anecdotes, too. I have a hard time believing that someone who seems ethically against prong collars would kill their dog rather than deal with a behavior problem. I could be wrong, but it smacked of insincerity to me.
 

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This is so over the top I just can't take it seriously.

The author gives no sources to back up the fact that they believe positive training is responsible for dogs ending up in shelters or euthanized. Every example given where correction based training worked doesn't explain what if any positive training was used prior. Just because one positive trainer failed to change the dog doesn't mean it is hopeless, all trainers are not made equal. Just because positive training takes more time doesn't mean it doesn't work and in many cases, with the right trainer, it can be much faster and longer lasting than primarily correction based training.

I think corrections have their place but IMO there is more room for error when using them. It's important to be timely while also using only the needed amount of force which may be as little as glance, removal of reward or a corrective word. For me it's important to consider what side effects any correction may have on a dog and what other interpretations may be read by the dog if my timing is not correct and my intentions are not clearly communicated (ex. the old correcting for pottying inside resulting in the dog being afraid to potty in front of their owner). Done correctly I think corrections can convey important information to a dog but I often see people using corrections incorrectly and with excessive force. Maybe part of the problem is that the people I do see using excessive corrections still buy into dominance theory.
 

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Extremism in defense of something or against its opposite should be viewed with equal skepticism. Saying that massive numbers of dogs are killed due to poorly administered positive-only training is no different than saying massive numbers of dogs are killed due to poorly administered aversive methods. I'll admit for a blink that I was pretty rabidly positive-only at one point in our pup's life, but it had more to do with the fact that I was so uncertain of myself as a trainer that I feared the negative consequences of making a mistake using an aversive more than I did the effects of using a failed positive method, especially since she is a fearful dog by nature. I thought any corrections would ruin her.

I've since learned to take my cues from the dog and to observe before picking a path. I still use overwhelmingly more positive methods, but am not afraid of a well-timed and earned correction any more. That comes from knowing my dog--I know what she can handle and what she can't and I work within that framework. Still being too much of an amateur to deal with anyone else's dog, I'm not about to suppose I know what's best for others, aside from obvious abuse.

As in all things, balance, which the above poster seems to have forgotten, even while throwing around the phrase "balanced approach" over and over.
 

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He's a bit extreme, but makes some interesting points, maybe not in a balanced argument.

1. There are clearly emergency situations where you don't use a positive approach, you do what's needed to remove the danger, whether running into a street or dealing with a dog that bites. However, appropriate training to avoid most of those situations can easily be accomplished with positive methods.

2. I believe there is a tremendous difference between the clean slate of a puppy and dealing with the baggage of an adult dog. Dealing with puppy problems is relatively easy :) ... and usually there is time to fix issues in a positive way. The average pet owner (and I consider myself average) cannot easily handle and rehabilitate an aggressive dog, regardless of the method.The most they can hope for is avoiding reactivity, without help form a professional. I'm overly dramatic, because lots of folks have been helped by this forum with dogs that had clear reactivity issues...

3. I consider that some positive approaches use negative methods. My favorite is Bite Inhibition. If you're over the top like this guy describes, then Yelping at the dog or withdrawing attention from a social animal is cruel and sadistic. (I really had a friend who wouldn't use this method with his Golden... for just those reasons....) My puppy used to nip me hard, but when I turned around or left the area, he started to pay attention, better than when I hit him with a 2x4 :) The response was amazing... but in a black and white world, I consider it more on the punishment side... because it stopped the nipping. In fact, it is gentle and mild, as well as less traumatic than giving some puppies pills to take... but we're in black and white world.

4. I worked with a trainer for a short period who was trained by William Koehler in the 1960s... When asked what he would do with a dog that had bitten the owner multiple times, drawing blood, he said he would euthanize the dog, because rehabilitation would be so difficult... so even people who don't believe in positive methods have their limits...

5. Except for the professionals, folks like Bob Bailey, Susan Garrett, Sue Ailsby ... and some people in these forums... I think most of us pet owners go for a more balanced approach, erring on the side of gentler methods. But when I give my dog a pill, I open his mouth rather than wrap the pill with cheese. And when I wash him, I take him outside in the 100 degree heat... and we both get a bath (I try to do this on Saturday :) ) ... I don't know if anyone fits his category of purely positive... but I can believe people would apply an approach incorrectly.

6. On the other hand, I've heard the argument that XYZ method is faster. I don't care... I want the method that works best. If one method takes an extra week, but results in a happy and independent dog, who can make decisions for himself... then I'm willing to take the extra time. Not everyone wants an independent dog, lots of folks are happy to have dogs that wait to be told what to do.

I agree, he's out there. But sometimes it's fun to argue .... and get a little muddy :)

@wvasko BTW, quick hijack: You changed your avatar ???

How about:
http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/6300000/The-Flintstones-Dino-and-Hopper-the-flintstones-6386166-450-587.jpg
 

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Though I don't agree fully with what was written, I do believe in corrections when dealing with major issues such as human and dog aggression. I have had many dogs brought in for training that the owners just ignore the undesirable behavior, and it escalates to a very dangerous dog.

With that said, most of the training that I do is positively enforced. For instance, the only correction I will give during detection training is the word no, and a redirect by collar if necessary. However when an aggressive dog attacks me, another dog, or another animal, it is not going to be ignored. If distraction doesn't work, and most times does not with super high drive dogs that fixate on one object, I will give corrections. So balance is key, but most training can be done with rewards.
 

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Though I don't agree fully with what was written, I do believe in corrections when dealing with major issues such as human and dog aggression. I have had many dogs brought in for training that the owners just ignore the undesirable behavior, and it escalates to a very dangerous dog.
This is often the result of also ignoring reward opportunities (appropriate behavior)...this would be an "imbalance" in training. There are training courses that do balance...allow the dogs to aggress (in a controlled manner of course, with muzzles, and a lot of prior cue training), and rewarding more appropriate behavior. It takes a very good professional to do this kind of training, but it certainly can work if you're, dare I say, balanced.
 

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He's a bit extreme, but makes some interesting points, maybe not in a balanced argument.

15. Except for the professionals, folks like Bob Bailey, Susan Garrett, Sue Ailsby ...
I've not been to a seminar with Susan Garrett, don't recall it being addressed by Bob Bailey (the talk I went to with him was more on the history of R+ training than an actual working seminar). But I've been to a couple of seminars with Sue Ailsby (and got to be her driver - so private time to pick her brain) and I DO know that she uses some P- (specifically by increasing distance if the dog is pulling towards a goal) and at least in one lovely example where she taught a llama not to kick by leaving his presence what could be considered R-, and a predacessor to BAT. The difference is that the approach is thought out and based on scientific principles, rather than just trying to repress behavior with collar corrections. and the aversive is more likely to be psychological than physical.
 

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Though I don't agree fully with what was written, I do believe in corrections when dealing with major issues such as human and dog aggression. I have had many dogs brought in for training that the owners just ignore the undesirable behavior, and it escalates to a very dangerous dog.
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You know, I don't know of any successful professional who suggests that owners just ignore HA or DA. What I DO know is some knowledgable people who suggest not escalating the situation and then working on changing the dog's perception through classical conditioning, desensitization, teaching incompatible behaviors and protocols like BAT and Look at That. I do think that many people misunderstand and think that all they need to do is ignore unwanted behavior and it will go away. It seldom happens that way, because usually the behavior is being reinforced in some manner. (you get an adrenaline dump when you act out, the human quits approaching you when you snap at them, etc.)
 

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You know, I don't know of any successful professional who suggests that owners just ignore HA or DA. What I DO know is some knowledgable people who suggest not escalating the situation and then working on changing the dog's perception through classical conditioning, desensitization, teaching incompatible behaviors and protocols like BAT and Look at That. I do think that many people misunderstand and think that all they need to do is ignore unwanted behavior and it will go away. It seldom happens that way, because usually the behavior is being reinforced in some manner. (you get an adrenaline dump when you act out, the human quits approaching you when you snap at them, etc.)
None of the dogs brought here were worked with by professionals. I agree I think they completely missed critical appropriate training. As young dogs, avoiding some situations, and rewarding for correct behavior probably could have been all that was necessary. However, one of my pups from the current litter is already escalating into dog aggression, which started as an obsession with prey. He is coming back a few times a week to work on this, but this little guy fixates on another dog. He was raised with several adults.

Now it can he avoided by not allowing him to interact with running dogs. It can be properly managed at this point, as doo as he begins to fixate on the moving dog, to redirect and reward, and keep him under threshold. The redirecting is becoming extremely difficult. His job is going to be working around many running dogs, and he must remain focused. Even with corrections from the older dogs, he is increasingly becoming more difficult.
His handler wanted to give some pretty harsh corrections. He is 12 weeks old, and doesn't understand a correction. Hopefully working with them both will help teach dog and handler the best way, but he is a challenging little turd lol. The good thing is this pup thrives on praise, and tugs. He won't let go of his tug, yet, so this is our option. Gradually we will increase the activity level of the distracting dog.

If a dog lime this was brought in at three years old, it would be a totally different case. He has already nipped the handler a few times during frustration. I'm just happy he is close enough for me to continue working with him.
 
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