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'Justification' for the use of punishment... coming from a dedicated, life-long exclusive GSD owner with an apparently myopic viewpoint. Well, surprise surprise there eh.

Anyway, you'd think that someone who claims to have such extensive experience and qualifications, in addition to teaching all-breed public obedience classes, would realize temperamental traits play a significant role. You'd think.

Seems to me he was just too busy blowing his own horn to realize.
 

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Well, that was definitely an article. The physics stuff was a heck of a reach. I guess that made it more sciency?

I'm not particularly interested in nitpicking the fine distinctions between various training buzzwords, TBH. It's probably true that "100% positive" or "force free" training doesn't really exist, but when it's in a trainer's promotional materials it's basically code for "We're not going to whack, shock, or choke your dog," which I'm fine with. They really don't need to asterisk their description with "*but admittedly dogs do find things like being ignored or having treats withheld aversive, and technically wearing a leash is restrictive, as is, like a fence, so I guess we're not really totally positive and force-free, burble burble, now let me present to you a discourse on the four quadrants of operant conditioning like this is Psych 101" on the sign out front or whatever.
 

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Anyway, you'd think that someone who claims to have such extensive experience and qualifications, in addition to teaching all-breed public obedience classes, would realize temperamental traits play a significant role. You'd think.

Seems to me he was just too busy blowing his own horn to realize.
Yep. I found this line particularly telling: "In conclusion, science does not say that animals learn better when using a force free/purely positive approach." Well, broham, that's not really the point of positive training methods for those of us who aren't trying to maximize how fast rats run mazes. My dogs are my buddies, not my lab reports. Sure, I'm sure dogs learn certain things faster and more firmly if you zap the hell out of them. The point is that methods that rely on pain/discomfort/fear/etc. are not a very nice thing to do and can have problematic side effects. The vast majority of dog training objectives do not require the use of the most efficient method. It's okay to take the scenic route if the scenic route is more pleasant for all involved.
 

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whats this? beat them if its cheaper?
* use aversive events when a cost-benefit analysis suggests that it will be worthwhile to do so.*

what an up his own backside person .. from that short read I know more about his CV than he knows about being a good buddy to his dog.
 

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Lol, I'll take the word of animal behaviourists with actual PHDs in animal behaviour like Patricia McConnell, Karen Pryer, and Jean Donaldson, over a biopsychologist.
 

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"As an animal researcher, I spent over 15 years on my university's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (or IACUC as they are known). This committee decides what research the members of the university can and cannot do with animals. By the way, there is a parallel committee that decides what research can and cannot be done with humans. These committees evaluate the protocols (proposals for procedures and/or research to be performed) individually using a cost-benefit analysis. This analysis looks at the cost to animals involved compared to the potential benefit the research could bring to humankind. As summarized in the table below, in cases where the cost to the animals was low and the potential benefit to humankind was high, we felt it best to approve the protocol. In cases where the cost was high and the benefit was low, we did not approve the protocol. In cases where the costs and benefits were high, tough decisions had to be made. "

He's an animal researcher, of COURSE he's going to want to justify harming animals any way he can.
 

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I do find it telling as well that the ONLY "scientific" article you could find that justifies the use of harsh punishment is one written by a biopsychologist. Surely if this article is so accurate and true, it would be easy to find information written by actual animal behavourists who agreed with him.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I do find it telling as well that the ONLY "scientific" article you could find that justifies the use of harsh punishment is one written by a biopsychologist. Surely if this article is so accurate and true, it would be easy to find information written by actual animal behavourists who agreed with him.
YOU said it was the ONLY article I could find.
I posted it as an interesting article to read, not the only article to read.
 

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YOU said it was the ONLY article I could find.
I posted it as an interesting article to read, not the only article to read.
I made a logical conclusion, that if you could find an article by actual animal behaviourists that made the same claims as this article, you would have used them instead of this one. You are welcome to prove me wrong though.
 

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Well I for one didn't find it all that interesting. Really it was the same old worn-out drivel echoed by many on that side of the great eternal debate. Nothing new. Honestly, it merely made me yawn. And perhaps chuckle a bit, especially at the inference of "look ! punishment saved a dying baby !" way back in time almost as far as the dark days of medical quackery. As if that little tidbit of drama would sway my opinion.

Bottom line .. I remain absolutely unconvinced as does everyone else on the other side, I'm sure.

So. Interesting? no. Entertaining? maybe.
 

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I'm with petpeeve. There's no trainer or behaviorist I know who's done their due diligence that would argue that punishment doesn't work. The debate is largely around the potential consequences of punishment, which this author conveniently ignored entirely. It's also a pretty big stretch to compare shock punishment of an infant, which was likely done with constant monitoring and 100% consistent feedback in a highly controlled environment, to punishment in dog training in real life. Especially when the 1979 book I found referencing this treatment was already talking about alternative methods due to the shocks being "controversial" with "potential risks and side effects" (Seen here).

I've said it before. There are scenarios I'd consider using punishment. They pretty much exclusively involve behaviors that threaten the dog's life - venomous snake avoidance is a good example. And in those cases, I'd be seeking help from someone highly skilled and experienced in this kind of training so that the punishment works as punishment - ie significantly reduces or eliminates the problem behavior immediately AND long into the future. If the 'punishment' must be continually applied to remain effective, it's not working well enough. Other people have lower thresholds for behaviors they would resort to punishment for than I do; that's fine with me. Excepting methods - and I think all the forum regulars can agree with me on this one - that are so extreme they're abusive (coughKoehlercough).

But I would never suggest to any random stranger I know nothing about - such as 90% of the posters on this forum - attempt punishment. I may not use it in my own training, but I do know physical punishment takes exceptional timing, exceptional ability to read the dog and situation, and exceptional control. The consequences of applying punishment poorly are high. Much higher, in almost all situations, than feeding the dog at the wrong time. I just feel it's irresponsible to promote physical punishment as a training solution to the general public as something they can do on their own without guidance.

And yeah. Quibbling over 'force free' or 'purely positive' when they're largely marketing terms is silly. I mean, I could argue that 'balanced' trainers shouldn't call themselves that if they don't use the exact number of corrections as they do rewards 100% of the time, regardless of the dog or situation.
 

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Day sleeper said:
"If the 'punishment' must be continually applied to remain effective, it's not working well enough."

YES. THIS.
If you MUST correct make it meaningful or go SIT DOWN.
Anytime you use correction it MUST be meaningful. It order for that to happen (1.) The dog must KNOW what is being asked clearly and without question. (2.) The correction must be exactly timed. (3.)The correction must be sufficient to be clear. Under correcting is nagging. Over correcting is damaging. KNOW THE DOG.

If you are repeating a correction you are doing it wrong. Stop. Get someone who knows more. Period. NO EXCUSES.

As to life saving correction.. those are usually OVER CORRECTING to create avoidance. The dog must think the "thing" (such as a snake) is correcting him, NOT the handler. Avoidance corrections are life saving but unfair and MUST be coupled with a "safe place" which needs to be the owner/handler. Go to handler. ALWAYS SAFE (and that goes for any training.. but I digress. I rarely use avoidance correction as where I live it is not essential. In rattlesnake country? absolutely and with no apologies..
 

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Anytime you use correction it MUST be meaningful. It order for that to happen (1.) The dog must KNOW what is being asked clearly and without question. (2.) The correction must be exactly timed. (3.)The correction must be sufficient to be clear. Under correcting is nagging. Over correcting is damaging. KNOW THE DOG.

Yes it is quite ambiguous, isn't it. A large margin exists that's open to interpretation, and vastly differing gradations of execution. All of them require expert and even above-expert skill levels in order to assess performance, and in order to be 'humane' and effective.

Clearly, corrections done properly aren't really within the capabilities of the average dog owner. So why do you continually post articles in defense of corrections / articles designed to promote corrections, on a popular internet forum comprised almost exclusively of average dog owners ??? It just seems ... obsessive and misguided, to me.
 

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@petpeeve That's very close to my feelings, as well. Setting aside any moral/ethical arguments about physical punishment, it's really very difficult to apply precise and effective punishment in the real world. A trainer would have to trust their observations and judgement entirely, which is very unlike the vomiting infant example cited in the original article. I can only access the abstract the author links, but that says that they used EMG to determine precursers to vomiting, which would suggest they're using the activation of muscles associated with vomiting as a precise criteria for the shocks. While some trainers (whatever methods they use) can be very skilled at spotting tiny movements and muscle tension preceding behaviors, they're going to have a higher margin of error than a device reading electrical signalling in those same muscles.

Basically, a trainer who is skilled at effective, fair phsyical punishment in dog training is extraordinary, and likely took a lot of time, effort, and guidance to get there. A trainer who is just okay at it might be just fine with the right dog (and a disaster with the wrong one), but still probably had to do a fair bit of learning to get to where they are. Neither describe the average dog owner/handler or poster to this forum, imo.

It's worth saying that, even with humans, these kinds of aversive punishments are ripe for abuse, especially when applied to those who can't speak for themselves (e.g. infants, non-verbal autistic people, etc). I won't link it, but read up on the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center if you want to make yourself ill. If people can get away with calling themselves experts and use these methods to physically, mentally, and emotionally damage human beings, I feel a little bit of caution when applying similar principles to much less well-protected creatures is warranted. I do not believe and am not saying that everyone who uses X physical punishment is maliciously hurting dogs. But accepting that the potential for these techniques to become abuse when the user is inexperienced, uneducated (in the use of the tool/technique), impatient, frustrated, angry, etc. in a way other training methods are not is part of looking at the whole picture when it comes to dog training.
 

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Still beating the dead horse......

Corrections need to be tailored to the dog. Just like correcting a child. My 2 daughters were completely different with corrections. The oldest....nothing worked except nature. "Don't touch the stove, it will burn you." She would touch the stove and get burned. We became familiar with basic first aid. Daughter #2 only needed the "Don't touch the stove."

Each and every dog has a unique personality and learning ability. Meaning you need to find the proper correction for that particular dog.

Myself, I do not believe in striking. The most severe punishment I have ever given to my mini-schnauzer is a 3 finger "bite". This was only applied 1 time to stop a bad behavior. Sometimes, I will need to apply a 2 finger tap to interupt his focus and bring his attention back.

Do what you think is appropriate for the situation and the dog. Please keep in mind to be firm, assertive, gentle and kind. The result will be an animal that trusts you and willing comply.

My humble opinion.
 

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Day sleeper said:
"If the 'punishment' must be continually applied to remain effective, it's not working well enough."

YES. THIS.
If you MUST correct make it meaningful or go SIT DOWN.
Anytime you use correction it MUST be meaningful. It order for that to happen (1.) The dog must KNOW what is being asked clearly and without question. (2.) The correction must be exactly timed. (3.)The correction must be sufficient to be clear. Under correcting is nagging. Over correcting is damaging. KNOW THE DOG.

If you are repeating a correction you are doing it wrong. Stop. Get someone who knows more. Period. NO EXCUSES.

As to life saving correction.. those are usually OVER CORRECTING to create avoidance. The dog must think the "thing" (such as a snake) is correcting him, NOT the handler. Avoidance corrections are life saving but unfair and MUST be coupled with a "safe place" which needs to be the owner/handler. Go to handler. ALWAYS SAFE (and that goes for any training.. but I digress. I rarely use avoidance correction as where I live it is not essential. In rattlesnake country? absolutely and with no apologies..
So you've never had to correct your dogs more than once or use a shock collar more than once then?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So you've never had to correct your dogs more than once or use a shock collar more than once then?
Pretty much true. If I time it wrong or it is insufficient then I may have to repeat it because I timed it wrong or it was insufficient.
I will also add that I rarely have to correct.. as I am working the dog in drive and the dog has a great deal of "want to" AND has been shown "how to" in the training equation.

Basically, a trainer who is skilled at effective, fair phsyical punishment in dog training is extraordinary
I find this statement perplexing. I regularly train with people who can do this if need be and none of us consider it extraordinary.

Corrections need to be tailored to the dog. Just like correcting a child. My 2 daughters were completely different with corrections. The oldest....nothing worked except nature. "Don't touch the stove, it will burn you." She would touch the stove and get burned. We became familiar with basic first aid. Daughter #2 only needed the "Don't touch the stove."

Each and every dog has a unique personality and learning ability. Meaning you need to find the proper correction for that particular dog.

Myself, I do not believe in striking. The most severe punishment I have ever given to my mini-schnauzer is a 3 finger "bite". This was only applied 1 time to stop a bad behavior. Sometimes, I will need to apply a 2 finger tap to interupt his focus and bring his attention back.

Do what you think is appropriate for the situation and the dog. Please keep in mind to be firm, assertive, gentle and kind. The result will be an animal that trusts you and willing comply.

My humble opinion.
Pretty much this. If you have a dog that is nervous, fearful, low drive.. dependent.. verses a dog that is driven, confident and high drive your handling will be different. In fact, the individual situation will require a different response in each dog.

Say the first dog is as described until he sees a squirrel. Prey drive kicks in and he is all about the squirrel and the other behaviors vanish because the prey drive is so high. Bringing that dog, in high prey drive, back to focus will take a very different correction than for simply not sitting when asked to in the kitchen at home. In the kitchen if the dog elects not to obey, a stern look may be all that is required to get things back. Presented with the squirrel will likely require the correction be stepped up. That said, a SKILLED trainer would find a way to USE that prey drive to train the dog and get a lot better response as a result (drive satisfaction can over ride a lot of other influences).

The second dog might need a low level e collar stim in obedience training (for disobedience) OR might even respond to a low stim by INCREASING drive (yes, those dogs exist! I have one) but in protection with a different drive and drive level need a correction 3-4 times greater to get a response.

I will also add that in a high drive exercise MANY OTHER options are used to get obedience MOST of the time. Stepping on the field with an e collar means you have ONE e collar correction so make it valuable. Naughtiness most often means the decoy goes neutral (dogs does not get the bite) and exercise is repeated (or part of it is isolated and worked). There are times in training where you NEVER correct. You have to learn this.

Funny thing.. in one part the dog must do a zig zag around 5 blinds with the decoy in #6. IF the dog makes a mistake in running the blinds you call him to you and repeat it. You do it often with no decoy as an obedience exercise (rewarding the dog between the 5th and 6th blind with a ball). If dog decides after rounding blind four to blow you off and go straight to 6 you call the dog (no reward) and start over. If there is a decoy in 6 and the dog blows off the pattern the decoy drops the sleeve goes neutral and leaves.. NO reward now in 6. You recall the dog and START OVER. It is a LOT of running for the dog and they learn REALLY fast that doing it wrong and cutting corners means NO FUN AT ALL but a LOT more effort. They Get it, and start to slow down. At that point you blow the dog's mind by having decoys in different blinds (but someone ALWAYS in 6). Now the dog is thinking.. "Might get a reward anywhere!" Pure "premack" stuff.. and an awful lot of how I train is exactly that. The correction is another tool. It is neither the only tool nor the most used tool. Many days the dog wears a corrective device and it is never used.
 

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Pretty much true. If I time it wrong or it is insufficient then I may have to repeat it because I timed it wrong or it was insufficient.
I will also add that I rarely have to correct.. as I am working the dog in drive and the dog has a great deal of "want to" AND has been shown "how to" in the training equation.
Cool, so none of your dogs need to wear shock or training collars at all anymore then? That's great.
 
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