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Discussion Starter #1
When a dog has had "enough" of a behavior from another dog (even one they are friends with), that dog will use Positive Punishment to extinguish the behavior.

Usually the interaction is brief, the point is made with sufficient pressure and the two dogs move on. The offender rarely repeats that behavior.

An especially poignant example would be a mother dog and her puppies.

If dogs do this effectively with each other, why is a correction delivered to a dog by a trainer/handler to extinguish a behavior considered to be such a taboo?
 

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Ethics. Also, I'm smart enough to be able to figure out a way to train my dog without causing discomfort, fear, or pain.
 

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The offender rarely repeats that behavior.
I'm not so sure that's true. Plenty of instances where dogs have to be physically separated for life because of on-going disputes. Positive punishment isn't the be-all end-all of modifying unwanted behaviour, even amongst dogs.
 

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I use positive punishment!

It's just that the positive punishment I use is either:

A-) Extremely severe, because the potential for death if the behavior continues is high and I WANT to create lasting fear/aversion. This is extremely, extremely rare. By which I mean there is one case where I choose this, and that is snake aversion 'training'. I have had copperheads IN MY HOUSE in the past. My dogs being terrified of snakes is desirable to me.

B-) Me going 'eh' or 'hey' at the dog in a mild tone and the dog stopping what they're doing and being less likely to repeat that behavior. This one's fairly rare, too, just because... well, there are better methods to achieve my goals - though only fairly, because it's also a habit. Clearly it's not very effective - but it DOES reduce behavior so it's obviously some level of unpleasant to them.

C-) Involuntary (very, very, very rare). Ie: I scream in shock and horror, the dog is shocked and horrified and the behavior that made me shriek like a banshee is not repeated. Because I shocked, horrified, and scared the dog.

Mostly, I don't train my dogs NOT to do things, and that's what punishment is for - to reduce behaviors. I train my dogs TO do things. Since I am training to increase behavior, that means rewards.

Ie: I don't give a crap about 'don't pull on the leash' I teach 'walk HERE'. Since I want the dog to walk in a specific location, rewarding them for being there increases them walking there and I don't need to bother with reducing hitting the end of the leash because increasing them walking where I want them to be does it for me.

TL: DR: Positive punishment decreases behavior. Reward increases and strengthens it. For 99.9% of things I do and want from my dogs (in life and in sports) I have no need or desire to DECREASE behavior. Increasing the behavior I want (using rewards) takes care of it for me.
 

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Whereas your 'use of P+' thread was at least interesting and intellectual to some degree, this is just downright silly for someone who seems/claims to know a lot.

-Naturalistic fallacy. Just because it occurs in nature, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.
-There are other ways of getting good results.
-We aren't dogs, wolves, canines.
-We do NOT have the perfect balance of speed, intensity and pressure that dogs have in correcting each other.
-Sometimes dogs correcting each other will lead to a fight.
-Not all dogs have sufficient bite inhibition or stable temperament, so dogs do sometimes fight and do damage; not an elegant model to replicate.
-Dogs MORE OFTEN use subtle signs of communication so that they don't have to resort to growling, snapping, lunging, and correcting the other dog.
-Dogs correct each other when they are annoyed (puppy pestering adult), or over a resource. Most humans WANT to correct dogs because they aren't doing what we say (ex. not sitting, out of position in heel, not coming when called, etc.). So this is all for justifying the use of punishment for a very selfish, control freakish excuse.

(As I have stated in other posts, I do technically use P+ usually accidentally or because my setup was bad (ex. whoops my dog hit the end of the leash and it was aversive). This isn't about that. But if you want a list of reasons...)
 

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Dogs can't read Skinner and apply theories which also take the remaining quadrants into consideration.

Their human counterparts, on the other hand, can. And by all means should.
 

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Well, I'd venture to say you're comparing apples to oranges (or perhaps footballs...) How in the world is there some sort of similarity between a spontaneous altercation between two dogs & a well thought out & formulated training plan?

We're not dogs. Dogs don't outline & follow systematic training plans. Does 'Positive Punishment' sometimes occur in the course of day to day living with dogs? If we're being totally honest - most likely, yes. Does this mean that we should systematically include it in our standard training protocol? Yeah, probably NOT.

For instance - I discourage my dogs from pushing past me in doorways & on stairs, for safety reasons. One day my Beckett was trying to rush & shove past me on the path down to our yard area from the house (which is steep & precarious at best) I put my leg out to block him & he ran into my foot, screamed!, then fell back & did not try to push past me again. (he wasn't hurt, only startled)

Did it "work"? Well....... yeah. Would I add into my regular training protocol to "kick dog in head" in order to help instill the self control necessary to not shove past me in a doorway or down stairs? Definitely NOT. When we put together a training plan, the conscious inclusion of any form of positive punishment just means that we, as the human in charge, are too lazy to put in the thought necessary to come up with a better solution.

Dogs 'correct' each other because they lack the ability to formulate such a plan. I hope to never be so limited in my training.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The reason I ask is this:

My background in training animals is from horses. While we (most of us) have moved far forward from the cruel methods dished out to that species over the years because they were a means to an end and a work animal, the entire removal of the P+ quadrant (or as much as possible) has a good chance of getting you killed. Truly. This from someone who has ridden more miles on horse back than are on my 2011 car and who has rescued an retrained a good number of horses to be reliable safe mounts.

Respect for personal space is real important with an animal that can weight in at 1500 pounds and kill you with a single foot strike. You get that space a number of ways but you must always be prepared to get and keep respect any way possible. As often is said in horse circles "if you think the flick of a whip is bad or the smack of a crop, just watch one horse punish another horse and you will realize that the horse respecting puny you is only because you have become large and non puny in the eyes of the horse." This can require a well placed and well timed application of positive punishment (anything from keeping the horse's feet moving to a well place whack!).

Now do not get me wrong. I recognize dogs are different if for not other reason that they are meat eaters that in another time might take a horse down for food and horses are animals that meat eaters eat. I get that.

I like what Canyx has said, mostly about reading dogs and and dogs reading each other and their timing and pressure being better than ours. Totally. But let's take this a bit further. If your dog has a behavior (not one you have taught or an obedience command) that the dog finds self rewarding but is unacceptable in its relationship with humans, if a single, clear well delivered correction stops that behavior (the correction is greater than the self reward) why not use it?

If it is a dangerous behavior (to humans or to the dog), and R+ might work but might take 6 months to get done.. but a single, meaningful correction will get it done right then and there what is the advantage to the R+ in that scenario? If the behavior is dangerous, during the 6 months of fussing with it, someone could get hurt. I am not talking about aggression or biting. It might be something as simple as a dog finding jumping up on people is the greatest self reward ever. You live with elderly people in the house. The dog jumping on them could cause a bad fall so the behavior is dangerous. If you can extinguish the behavior right then and there with a correction, why wouldn't you?

The other one noted here was aversion to snakes. That is dangerous to the dog, and a dog with very high prey drive will find drive satisfaction in going for a snake.. and you have a lot of poisonous ones around. Seems corrections would be the answer there as well.

Again, FWIW, I do not use a lot of P+. I do use it where and when needed and I make no apologies or excuses. I am not telling anyone else to use corrections. This is just an academic discussion.

Just got thinking about horses and that statement and then thinking about dogs and how they punish each other and was considering a link there.
 

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What you're talking about is fear, not respect. I certainly don't respect anyone that gets their way with me through the use of threats, pain or intimidation tactics, and I'm pretty certain dogs, horses & other animals don't either. We might go along with them if the fear is strong enough, but it's certainly not because of respect.
As far as choosing to use P+ in what is perceived as a dangerous situation? Everyone must draw their own lines in the sand & decide what situation might qualify. But I find that as long as you leave the option of using punishments to get your way on the table, it becomes an easy fall back when other methods aren't instantaneous. You say you use punishments only "when & where needed", but have you ever really tried to NOT use them? Take the time to to figure out a different, non-punitive way to obtain the same results? If not, then you don't really know if they're needed. It's just a matter of what you're used to doing & justifying it in your own mind.
 

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Sure, there may be the odd, extenuating circumstance where P+ appears more practical and possibly more efficient. Especially if a compressed timeline and danger are part of the picture.

Snakes? meh, ok. Jumping risk to elderly who are frail? meh, ok for that too I suppose. The problem I see is when people realize how "well" it worked for those situations, they will then begin to apply it in areas where it really isn't necessary.

But for behaviours such as recall where the dog simply blows you off? That's a basic proofing issue that could easily be remedied by better training within the R+ quadrant. Yet people such as yourself will happily and proudly jump to ecollars where there really is no need whatsoever. It's merely a case of either laziness, or lack of training ability, or both.


You know, these 'defensive' discussions get pretty old and pretty stale, pretty fast. If you're satisfied with punishing your dog, well, fine. I guess. But if you feel such a strong need to convince others of its so-called virtues, that's an entirely different story that leaves me scratching my head in a state of why. You might want to ask yourself how many less experienced people have read your posts and taken your advice and standpoint to heart. And quite possibly damaged their dog as a result, the numbers of which none of us will ever know. Lack of apologies and excuses for oneself is completely self-serving, and there's a whole world of far less savvy people and their dogs out there that should be considered. Do you really think that by bringing these pro-P+ discussions forward here that you're actually improving some lives ? Food for thought.
 

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...Can I just quietly point out that my use of punishment to create aversion to snakes and, in the history of time using a prong on a large, strong, pulling dog during an icy winter when I lived 3 flights of stairs above ground level, has not in fact actually made me more inclined to use it?

I know slippery slope is real, and I see that in the rationalization going on re: recall (no, recall is not a life or death issue. Long lines and fences exist, you can manage and properly train and proof, you don't need that recall RIGHT THE EFF NOW - I did need your dog not to mess with snakes RIGHT NOW and also without any input from the humans, and I did need to be able to get my dog to the car RIGHT NOW without breaking my face or my neck), but that line only becomes blurry if you're looking for the justification. People do! People will!

It's not really a given.
 

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As far as respect goes:

Quite aside from me believing attributing respect to dogs is anthropomorphizing (and seriously, I both do and it's not the point of my comment here), I have one general rule that I apply to everyone and everything in my life when it comes to respect.

If you want to get respect, you give it and you earn it.

Nothing about causing a creature that is smaller than me, dependent upon me, and has less cognitive reasoning ability than me pain or fear - ON PURPOSE - is showing respect. Nor is it being worthy of respect.

That doesn't mean in some pretty extreme circumstances I won't do it (as stated) but in general I tend to want to treat living things with a basic level of respect and not hurting them is about as basic as it gets.
 

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The biggest problem I have with P+ is the number of people who claim to use it, but their actions aren't actually having a demonstrable affect on the likelihood of the behaviour in the future, and not just at that specific point in time when it is being applied (which is what defines punishment - a consequence that decreases the likehood of the behaviour happening in the future; stopping a behaviour currently in progress has nothing to do with it). Humans are really good at applying unpleasant consequences that don't actually affect the behaviour and are not very good at recognizing when their collar pops or stern "No!" don't actually do what they think it should be doing. And in that situation, they are creating a negative experience for the dog for quite literally no good reason.

(There are reasons for that human behaviour, of course, but IMO they are not good ones, and they certainly don't do anything to set humans apart from other animals, like some people seem to think they do.)
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
What you're talking about is fear, not respect. I certainly don't respect anyone that gets their way with me through the use of threats, pain or intimidation tactics, and I'm pretty certain dogs, horses & other animals don't either. We might go along with them if the fear is strong enough, but it's certainly not because of respect.
As a child, my parents put fear into me when I talked back or tried to run in the road etc. they called it respect. It was fear that eventually grew into respect. Sometimes there is an element of fear IN respect. You respect your boss and there is always the niggling fear you could be fired. We are not talking about belly showing crying falling on the floor in terror fear.. but I will not deny a small bit of fear to initiate respect is something that is often used. Not saying it is right or wrong but that the two are often partners.

As far as choosing to use P+ in what is perceived as a dangerous situation? Everyone must draw their own lines in the sand & decide what situation might qualify. But I find that as long as you leave the option of using punishments to get your way on the table, it becomes an easy fall back when other methods aren't instantaneous. You say you use punishments only "when & where needed", but have you ever really tried to NOT use them? Take the time to to figure out a different, non-punitive way to obtain the same results? If not, then you don't really know if they're needed. It's just a matter of what you're used to doing & justifying it in your own mind.
I underlined the two parts of this. I totally agree with the first part and I see it all the time in new handlers with their first dog that they want to compete with. Drives me crazy to see them fall to P+ when the dog does not know what is being asked when teaching the dog to do something. I think I should get a recording of this, "Stop doing that to him/her. The dog doesn't KNOW and you are not helping the dog to learn. Here.. try THIS..."and I go for some R+ thing. Sadly, I see parents do it to kids and yes, horse trainers do it to horses. TOTALLY agree most people just use it as the "go to" because they think it is always faster and in the end I give dogs a lot of credit for their forgiveness and getting trained in spite of the handler.

The second part, have I tried not using corrections. I have one dog that you just do not use them or you haven't much dog. I have another dog that did not get a correction until she was almost 3.. and then a negative marker was introduced and corrections were but this was in training (which I am not promoting.. it is what I do not what anyone else has to do), not trying to extinguish a self rewarding behavior such as jumping or chasing etc.

I have another dog that I used R+ on exclusively a long time ago. I did not understand it well (we all have a learning curve) and I totally ruined that dog. Sometimes badly used R+ can result in something other than a fat dog. Sometimes (in that dog's case) it can result in a dog that does not care and never will.

Sure, there may be the odd, extenuating circumstance where P+ appears more practical and possibly more efficient. Especially if a compressed timeline and danger are part of the picture.

Snakes? meh, ok. Jumping risk to elderly who are frail? meh, ok for that too I suppose. The problem I see is when people realize how "well" it worked for those situations, they will then begin to apply it in areas where it really isn't necessary.

But for behaviours such as recall where the dog simply blows you off? That's a basic proofing issue that could easily be remedied by better training within the R+ quadrant. Yet people such as yourself will happily and proudly jump to ecollars where there really is no need whatsoever. It's merely a case of either laziness, or lack of training ability, or both.

You know, these 'defensive' discussions get pretty old and pretty stale, pretty fast. If you're satisfied with punishing your dog, well, fine. I guess. But if you feel such a strong need to convince others of its so-called virtues, that's an entirely different story that leaves me scratching my head in a state of why. You might want to ask yourself how many less experienced people have read your posts and taken your advice and standpoint to heart. And quite possibly damaged their dog as a result, the numbers of which none of us will ever know. Lack of apologies and excuses for oneself is completely self-serving, and there's a whole world of far less savvy people and their dogs out there that should be considered. Do you really think that by bringing these pro-P+ discussions forward here that you're actually improving some lives ? Food for thought.
First part underlined. I do NOT use an e-collar like you think. I actually recommend the book "Really Relaible Recall" all the time. You ASSUME I am lazy and you have called me this more than once. It is offensive and demeaning and I respectfully request you stop this name calling. I do use an E collar. NOT IN THE MANNER YOU ASSUME in spit of what I have described.

The second underlined portion you are missing my intent. I am simply discussing something that the world has come to view as taboo. I am not supporting its use or telling anyone to use P+. It is an academic discussion. It is anyone's choice to read it, partake in it or leave it if they find it "old and stale."

...Can I just quietly point out that my use of punishment to create aversion to snakes and, in the history of time using a prong on a large, strong, pulling dog during an icy winter when I lived 3 flights of stairs above ground level, has not in fact actually made me more inclined to use it?

I know slippery slope is real, and I see that in the rationalization going on re: recall (no, recall is not a life or death issue. Long lines and fences exist, you can manage and properly train and proof, you don't need that recall RIGHT THE EFF NOW - I did need your dog not to mess with snakes RIGHT NOW and also without any input from the humans, and I did need to be able to get my dog to the car RIGHT NOW without breaking my face or my neck), but that line only becomes blurry if you're looking for the justification. People do! People will!

It's not really a given.
I agree. I am not promoting that anyone use P+. It is just a discussion. As to recall, I really really REALLY do not like introducing an aversive (often an e collar) during recall training. A lot of people do this because it certainly does help and get fast results BUT it also means your dog will need an e collar on all the time because trust me on this.. that dog KNOWS when that collar is on and he KNOWS who has the remote (I believe remotes make noises we cannot hear but they can!).

I agree there are better ways. I also want to use my e collar in a different manner (to actually increase the dog's intensity while in drive). If you use it FIRST and a punishment for blowing off a recall, you almost always have destroyed ever being able to use it to "bring the dog up in drive."

For me (although I do use P+ and I do use an e collar as part of my tool set) I can tell you the almost all my training is getting what I want and rewarding it and then building duration. The flaw (it is mine and not the dog's) is sometimes expecting too much a little too soon. The dog lets me know because it falls apart. :rolleyes: Then we simply back up.

That dog that did not get any corrections until almost 3? During her Bh she was convinced I had a ball on me "somewhere." We did all that heeling and the recall and then it was time for her long down. ALL the way to the long down she was in heel position at my side but jumping up and pounding me with her nose demanding I deliver the ball I did not have for all her hard work. To this day she will do that in training (she stole the ball from me ONE TIME and never forgot it because I never reward her for demanding the ball). Most people would probably punish her for that behavior (it costs points) but I prefer a happy and engaged dog and sacrifice those few points.

As far as respect goes:

Quite aside from me believing attributing respect to dogs is anthropomorphizing (and seriously, I both do and it's not the point of my comment here), I have one general rule that I apply to everyone and everything in my life when it comes to respect.

If you want to get respect, you give it and you earn it.

Nothing about causing a creature that is smaller than me, dependent upon me, and has less cognitive reasoning ability than me pain or fear - ON PURPOSE - is showing respect. Nor is it being worthy of respect.

That doesn't mean in some pretty extreme circumstances I won't do it (as stated) but in general I tend to want to treat living things with a basic level of respect and not hurting them is about as basic as it gets.
Of course. You better respect that horse or someday that horse WILL kill you or hurt you badly. Totally agree you must respect that animal you are working with. They also must respect you. You better respect that strong willed, confident German Shepherd who believes he owns the world or he will demand it at some point (I have seen a dog unfairly corrected come right back at the handler.. it is called 'climbing the leash') and I have seen the same dog given so few guidelines and structure become downright dangerous. Respect is absolutely a two way street. Dog training. Horse training. Work. YES>

The biggest problem I have with P+ is the number of people who claim to use it, but their actions aren't actually having a demonstrable affect on the likelihood of the behaviour in the future, and not just at that specific point in time when it is being applied (which is what defines punishment - a consequence that decreases the likehood of the behaviour happening in the future; stopping a behaviour currently in progress has nothing to do with it). Humans are really good at applying unpleasant consequences that don't actually affect the behaviour and are not very good at recognizing when their collar pops or stern "No!" don't actually do what they think it should be doing. And in that situation, they are creating a negative experience for the dog for quite literally no good reason.

(There are reasons for that human behaviour, of course, but IMO they are not good ones, and they certainly don't do anything to set humans apart from other animals, like some people seem to think they do.)
I underlined what I am responding to.
I totally agree with this statement. :rockon: Totally. If you apply a punishment over and over for the same behavior and nothing changes then you have just made yourself into the definition of crazy (repeating a behavior over and over getting the same results but expecting different results).

I am not going to talk too much about human behavior. Dogs are complicated enough.
 

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I am a firm believer in respect between the dog and human being a two way street and it has to be there.....but my way of thinking of respect has more to do with being the kind of person that is worthy of/ earns the dogs respect. It has to be earned not forced. I also think what gets a dogs respect can vary from dog to dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This is true too! It is never ever simple.
That person who unfairly corrects a dog and the dog 'climbs the leash' is not respecting the dog.

Any dog that works for you and give you all they can give should be respected as well no matter if the "all" is star material or not. Their 'all' might be a simple thing such as walking past another dog while on leash and staying focused on you. Another dog's 'all' might show up as a really fast and accurate agility run in spite of handler mistakes.
 

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The reason I ask is this:

My background in training animals is from horses. While we (most of us) have moved far forward from the cruel methods dished out to that species over the years because they were a means to an end and a work animal, the entire removal of the P+ quadrant (or as much as possible) has a good chance of getting you killed. Truly. This from someone who has ridden more miles on horse back than are on my 2011 car and who has rescued an retrained a good number of horses to be reliable safe mounts.

Respect for personal space is real important with an animal that can weight in at 1500 pounds and kill you with a single foot strike. You get that space a number of ways but you must always be prepared to get and keep respect any way possible. As often is said in horse circles "if you think the flick of a whip is bad or the smack of a crop, just watch one horse punish another horse and you will realize that the horse respecting puny you is only because you have become large and non puny in the eyes of the horse." This can require a well placed and well timed application of positive punishment (anything from keeping the horse's feet moving to a well place whack!).

Now do not get me wrong. I recognize dogs are different if for not other reason that they are meat eaters that in another time might take a horse down for food and horses are animals that meat eaters eat. I get that.

I like what Canyx has said, mostly about reading dogs and and dogs reading each other and their timing and pressure being better than ours. Totally. But let's take this a bit further. If your dog has a behavior (not one you have taught or an obedience command) that the dog finds self rewarding but is unacceptable in its relationship with humans, if a single, clear well delivered correction stops that behavior (the correction is greater than the self reward) why not use it?

If it is a dangerous behavior (to humans or to the dog), and R+ might work but might take 6 months to get done.. but a single, meaningful correction will get it done right then and there what is the advantage to the R+ in that scenario? If the behavior is dangerous, during the 6 months of fussing with it, someone could get hurt. I am not talking about aggression or biting. It might be something as simple as a dog finding jumping up on people is the greatest self reward ever. You live with elderly people in the house. The dog jumping on them could cause a bad fall so the behavior is dangerous. If you can extinguish the behavior right then and there with a correction, why wouldn't you?

The other one noted here was aversion to snakes. That is dangerous to the dog, and a dog with very high prey drive will find drive satisfaction in going for a snake.. and you have a lot of poisonous ones around. Seems corrections would be the answer there as well.

Again, FWIW, I do not use a lot of P+. I do use it where and when needed and I make no apologies or excuses. I am not telling anyone else to use corrections. This is just an academic discussion.

Just got thinking about horses and that statement and then thinking about dogs and how they punish each other and was considering a link there.
I don't have any delusions of being an elite horsewoman, but for what it's worth, I grew up at a riding stable (family business), was heavily involved in horse sports, and have trained quite a few equines over the years, including rehabilitation work. Yes, there are situations one gets into with horses where you just have to do whatever you can to get out of it in one piece. But my experience is that the vast majority of those situations are the result of poor handling decisions on the part of the human, usually just dumb or cavalier stuff, or getting too comfortable and forgetting basic safety rules.

As far as training goes, I don't go in for the schmaltz that accompanies the natural horsemanship movement, but I think it's inarguable that big name trainers like the Dorrance brothers, the Parellis, John Lyons, etc. have helped cause a shift away from deliberately aversive or painful methods in mainstream horse training, and I'm glad for it. Gentle methods have always been a part of certain dressage school traditions as well...my old dressage coach applied a whole system of incremental low-stress shaping, and she turned out some of the most willing, honest highly trained horses I've seen. I'd say "gentle methods" or "humane methods," rather than something like R+ or positive training, when it comes to horses, because we're predators and horses are prey. Sometimes just having a human present is aversive for an equine. This trend is largely about overcoming that barrier, I think.

As far as having to big oneself up or be hurtful to control horses goes...I mean, horses are scared of plastic bags. Their natural predators and dangers are all smaller than they are.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Oh I agree Parus. Totally. We have come a LOOOONG way.

Bad handling and basic safety.. getting 'too comfortable' are all handler error. The point I was making is only this. When dealing with something 1200 pounds that can kill you in an instant, you need to be certain that animal respects your space. If you constantly give in, back down, do not require that animal to give you personal space, you will get hurt etc. That means you cannot be 'puny' in the horse's eyes.

Training horses has come a long way from a snubbing post, blind fold, tying a hind leg up and slapping a saddle on.. climbing aboard, dropping the hobble and post and pulling off the blind fold and riding the horse down!

Training dogs has likewise come a long way from the 'you MUST do this or I will choke your lights out' methods.

The only issue I have is the refusal to acknowledge or discuss an entire quadrant of training and hiding it under a rock and forgetting it exists. Quite honestly, if it is never talked about and hidden away the day will come when someone will use it (inadvertently perhaps) and have a great success. The result might be an inappropriate explosion of this quadrants use at that time because everyone forgot..... no one talked about it.. just talked about it!

An Example (well outside of dog training and far far more serious than any training quadrant discussion!!!)
In real life, back in the late 60's and 70's there was a pretty large drug culture. Heroin was the last resort drug in those days. Pretty quickly people learned how deadly it could be and the number of heroin users decreased. No one talked about heroin (which never vanished). It was almost taboo. Now here we are in 2018 and there is a exploding heroin epidemic that makes the 70's look like a cake walk.

How quickly we forgot... Would it be so if we had kept the discussion going instead of hushing it and putting it away????
 

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I don't have any delusions of being an elite horsewoman, but for what it's worth, I grew up at a riding stable (family business), was heavily involved in horse sports, and have trained quite a few equines over the years, including rehabilitation work. Yes, there are situations one gets into with horses where you just have to do whatever you can to get out of it in one piece. But my experience is that the vast majority of those situations are the result of poor handling decisions on the part of the human, usually just dumb or cavalier stuff, or getting too comfortable and forgetting basic safety rules.

As far as training goes, I don't go in for the schmaltz that accompanies the natural horsemanship movement, but I think it's inarguable that big name trainers like the Dorrance brothers, the Parellis, John Lyons, etc. have helped cause a shift away from deliberately aversive or painful methods in mainstream horse training, and I'm glad for it. Gentle methods have always been a part of certain dressage school traditions as well...my old dressage coach applied a whole system of incremental low-stress shaping, and she turned out some of the most willing, honest highly trained horses I've seen. I'd say "gentle methods" or "humane methods," rather than something like R+ or positive training, when it comes to horses, because we're predators and horses are prey. Sometimes just having a human present is aversive for an equine. This trend is largely about overcoming that barrier, I think.

As far as having to big oneself up or be hurtful to control horses goes...I mean, horses are scared of plastic bags. Their natural predators and dangers are all smaller than they are.
There is also a difference, IMO, between training and management. Training = teaching a creature to do something. Management = preventing a situation (in the case of environmental factors), or dealing with what's happening in the moment. Teaching my dog a default leave it by rewarding her with even better stuff for ignoring a thing = training. The situation is carefully set up and controlled. Prying my dog's mouth open and pulling out a whole cooked chicken quarter that someone threw on the ground = management. Is it enjoyable for him? No. Is it P+? Maybe; probably to me reaching for his face, if anything. But it is also necessary for his safety.

Same with vet care. I can teach my dog a chin rest so that she has something to focus on while being examined or treated at the vet, and therefore doesn't have to be physically restrained, which a lot of dogs find scary. But in an emergency, where her life may be in danger, where she may be in too much pain to focus on anything else, you can bet I won't have any problems with my vet having someone hold her down so he can properly examine her without getting bit. This is also kind of a pet peeve I have with the "force free" movement. We should try to minimize stress and discomfort and the need for force wherever we can. But the reality is that sometimes some amount of force may be necessary.
 

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This is also kind of a pet peeve I have with the "force free" movement. We should try to minimize stress and discomfort and the need for force wherever we can. But the reality is that sometimes some amount of force may be necessary.

I very much share this peeve. I have seen people denying their pets medical care rather than use force.

And... No? I've held my CHILDREN down for medical care.
 
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