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Why positive only training?

23156 Views 313 Replies 36 Participants Last post by  Laurelin
I'd like to ask a question about positive training methods that I realize will be a little controversial, just to be clear I am not a dog trainer, just an average owner interested in learning.

My question is this: why use only the positive in absence of the negative?

I understand that a positive association makes the behaviour more likely to occur again but shouldnt the inverse also be true, a negative association makes the behaviour less likely to occur again? Essentially, consequence cuts both ways... we teach our children using this idea, why not dogs? Its true that the human psyche is different from a dogs but dog-dog communication is almost exclusively negative (you will not see a dog give another dog a treat, but you might see one snap at another). Also why is dominance theory so denigrated, dogs aren't wolves but they do have pack hierarchy. Shouldnt we be trying to communicate with dogs in a "language" that is most natural to them?
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Dogs (and people) experience punishment every day. That is, they make direct contact with aversive stimuli every day.

There is nothing bizzare or particularly cruel about these things. Of course, aversive stimuli are certainly the most common ingredient in cruelty, but aversvie stimuli are entirely common and natural.

When a dog (or person) is laying in one position for too long... starts to feel uncomfortable like that and rolls to a new position for relief and renewed comfort, he has just confronted aversive stimuli and reacted to it. Not a particularly cruel scenario to my eyes.

When you are "being a tree" and a dog expends effort pulling on that leash (as well as the probable discomfort from the collar pressure on the neck), and then ceases ....voila... your dog has probably just encountered aversive stimuli and responded to it.

Walk outside in the glaring sun and then go back inside to find those sunglasses. Again, you have been punished: for going outside unprotected from the glare.

I do agree that these situations can be considered "cruel" (or extra, extra aversive) if the dog (or person) did not know how to escape the aversive stimuli... and I think it is here that the use of aversive stimuli requires some ethical and behavioral consideration.

Regardless of our desire to use 80% or 100% positive reinforcement, the world is utterly dripping with aversive stimuli that are unavoidable, daily events, and they come at our hands and at the hands of the natural environment.

What I like most about a positive reinforcement philosophy is that it might help make the dog a bit more responsive to mild corrections (mild aversives) without having to resort to heavy handed measures. Dogs that have been raised with lots of aversive techniques can get desensitized ... or so my theory goes... and require even more intense versions of aversives to get the same result. (assuming you must you punishment) Things can get ugly fast.

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Because I am the human with a larger brain, I can plan my lessons to be LIMA (least invasive, minimally aversive) and desensitize my dogs to things I do which could be considered aversive (like trimming toenails, necessary handling.) I don't know what the word "correction" means, so I can't say if my dogs are responsive to mild weasel words or not. I do try not to present my dogs with things worth avoiding to any degree, because avoidance is not my goal. I really like Emily Larlham's (the lady with all the cool Kikopup videos) definition:
I will admit that I am sometimes guilty of making eh-eh sounds at my dogs.
"Correction" usually refers to a punishment procedures.... often a pop on the leash or a zing from an e-collar... or a harsh "no!".

I do use the "eh eh" sound and it is merely a "no reward mark" (or more technically correct: an S-delta).

If "eh eh" has become the new "punishment!", then I am exiting the building with the positive-only crowd.

There are basic behavioral principles by which we all live by. Sometimes we get startled, sometimes we crunch our shin against a coffee table, and sometimes we get scolded.

I do recognize that a person (or dog) can have a relationship and when a human and dog get together, it is best that the human take responsibility for making the relationship as healthy as possible.

In a healthy relationship, a "correction" or "punishment" can be imposed and it is all taken in stride. For example, there are people who can correct me and their are no hard feelings at all... I appreciate the information and attempt to behave better.

There are others who may try to do the same thing, and the punishment creates problems and fails to improve my behavior.... and my produce unwanted side effects.
Murray Sidman (a radical behaviorist such as myself) wrote a book called "Coercion and it's Fallout" in the 60's)

Mis-timed reinforcement can create problems and mis-timed punishment can create problems. In addition, the intensity of the punishment can be inappropriate, too... producing problematic behavioral fallout.

There are times in which there are competing reinforcers (the running bunny) for which we have no alternative. Emily's example of the couch sitting dog, to my eyes, would fail miserably for any dog that loves the couch. Any solution that requires the focused attention and continual presence of the owner is not a solution at all.
And that wasn't just a "pure reinforcement" problem. If she had offered a solution that involves the same technique, but included punishment of couch sitting, THAT solution would require the constant presence as well. In the end, she recommends containing the dog ... I suppose in a crate.... in the absence of an owner.

To me, a better solution would be to contrive convincing scenarios in which the dog learns to never jump on the couch with me or without me. Once that training is done, the dog could live freely in the house and not in a crate! In my opinion, this is the most ethical training because it produces maximum and long term physical freedom. Yay for the dog!

People provide free health care, super healthy diets, play time, and protection from the elements... and on important and safety related occasions, the proper use of aversive stimuli seems fair (and perfectly, mundanely natural) to me.

In my opinion, I am being exceedingly, over-the-top, soft handed with my pup. However, I can identify a number of occasions in which my interactions with her include aversives.

A no-reward mark is aversive. It is a punisher (if it has been conditioned properly). Walking away from an attention-wanting dog is bad news from the dog's perspective and bad news is a punisher. These sorts of consequences are devastatingly aversive to certain types of dogs.

All of my other dogs have been quite naturally biddable and very Rin-Tin-Tin like. They were never trained by myself or anyone else. Granted, I behave and acted in ways that helped maintain and encourage the cool, livable behaviors, but I did not formally train them. My greyhound walked with me, off leash, to my University of Florida classes in the late 1980's. She would wait outside the building door. No leash. Untrained. Then, I would exit the building and she would be there waiting...and walk back to my apartment with me... through massive crowds of student pedestrians and bicyclists... across a busy main street (University Ave)... all the while, she'd walk so close when in crowds her front shoulder bone would begin to bruise the outside of my knee.

No training.

When I called her (Lucy!), nothing could prevent her from getting back to me.

If I were not aware of behavioral science and if my only experiences were with that adult dog, I could see how I could get caught up in the animal-rights, PETA type purely positive philosophy (dogma?). I didn't like the idea of that lovely dog getting the slightest flea bite... she was an angel that, to me, deserved only the comforts... fluffiest bedding and best food.

Not all dogs are like Lucy, though. On occasion, situations need to be carefully contrived that will directly reduce or eliminate serious problem behaviors.

A working **** Hound would not have given me such an easy time... and would test the last nerve of even the greatest of purely positive trainers. Try as they might, they will never be able to produce an apartment-friendly Cockapoo out of that Hound.

It's a reinforcement problem. A dog driven to smell every scent and chase every insect and mammal to the exclusion of your best edible or toy will be dicey, at best, even with excellent positive reinforcement training. Again, with no training, I could walk my Lucy through a field of squealing bunnies, children, or other dogs and she would be 100% reliable. You wouldn't get that from a positive only trained **** Hound. Ever.

It's a reinforcement issue... a dog with the DNA to seek and find prey or any other happy consequence that isn't in tune with our desires gives us a reinforcement problem.

So, I remain unconvinced about the purely positive only philosophy.

oh behave
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Pawzk9 writes: Then why not just call it a punisher? The reason is because "correction" sound nicer. I believe that if you (general you) are going to punish, you should have the courage to admit it at least to yourself.

I'm attempting to speak in the terms of the current lingo of the dog trainers I have met. When they refer to a "correction", I know what they mean. I sometimes use the word in casual conversation, but it doesn't come up much.

I would declare that a punishment has been used by myself, you, or Karen Pryor more than any of us would like. I have no problem whatsoever admitting it and calling it what it is. Someone in this thread asked about the meaning of "correction" and I gave a definition as used commonly by many dog trainers.

And yet, later in the same post you write:

So which is it? It is or it isn't. I will certainly admit that walking away from a dog is a negative punisher. But it also isn't generally a no reward marker. I guess I don't condition mine correctly, because I use eh eh very rarely simply to interrupt a bad idea (not just a wrong choice).

I'm not sure what you are asking, here. A no reward marker is a positive punisher if it has been conditioned as such.

I'm familiar with it. I'm not sure I'd consider you in the same league as Murray Sidman anymore than I'd claim that Karen Pryor or Bob Bailey is "like myself"

Gosh, you seem to be seeking an argumentative or defensive tone to this discussion. I'm not.

I have had dinner with Murray Sidman at a conference for behavior analysts. He has a PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis and I have a Masters in it. He is well published and I am not at all. I did not say I am in the same league, but we are both in the same profession. I'm thinking that Bob Bailey is a behavior analyst out of FSU if I'm not mistaken. Again, same profession... and never said that I was in the same league.

Incidently, I too feel rather foolish for how I lived with Lucy the wonder-Greyhound. All that off-leash stuff was risky.

It depends on your reinforcer. If you've studied behavior, I'm sure you've heard of Premack?
Yes, I use it quite a bit. The Premack Principle is discussed usually in the first week of your first behavior analytic class. Without a reinforcer on hand, I insist on a polite behavior before I allow access.

Let me say also that when I label something as a reinforcer or punishement (pos or neg, too), I am making a guess. Unless it is utterly obvious, it is hard to know without a functional assessment.

Someone may be believe that their "eh eh" is some sort of flowerly non-punishment, but a complex, difficult to detect, early learning history may have conditioned it to act as a punishment.

And that early learning history may or may not have included you or other people! Otherwise, it could indeed involve some other kind of happier learning history. It's hard to say.

You mention that "training" is going on all the time, and I agree, but if we are to be so picky about our words, I would say it is more accurate to say that "learning" is going on all the time. "Training" implies a kind of deliberate attempt at changing behavior.

The lingo of behaviorism is very specific and allows very little interpretation (as a proper natural science should be), so when speaking in a forum such as this, I do not expect finely tuned vocabulary at all... and I speak rather casually myself unless someone seems to seek a more formal chat.

Being keenly aware of behavioral principles puts a person at an advantage as a trainer. However knowing all the principles does not make a person a great teacher or trainer.... not at all.

I once had a conversation with a leading behavior analyst (also well publish and "out of my league") and he whispered that one of THE most respected and productive analysts would probably make a lousy practical teacher. It would be like having a theoretical physicist attempt to tune a car.... he might know all the important principles, but having never held a wrench is a disadvantage.

Similarly, a person might know and understand every single letter of the alphabet and hundreds of thousands of words, but that does not mean that they can write Shakespear.

Even with such "word" knowlege, a person needs to know how to arrange the facts in clever and creative ways to get the result they seek.

I'm sure there are skilled dog trainers with 9th grade educations that could run circles around a behavior analyst with his first puppy.
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There is some fog in how a person could interpret the "zen" technique. I'm not familiar with the "zen" thing, but from your description, it might be more accurate to say that you are using "extinction".

The dog can bump your fist, nuzzle it, paw at it, or bark.... and nothing. The treat is there. The fist is there. But those behaviors are failing to produce the reinforcer. That part sounds like extinction.

You still seem bent on taking a defensive and insulting tone which keeps me baffled.

You ask me to stop arguing against positive only training.... as though I am dropping endless posts on the matter. The title of this thread asks the very question, "why positive only...?". It's the subject!

Also, I more specifically meant to say that I am a radical type of behaviorist... which is the type that Sidman is as well.... along with being a behavior analyst. You might be a clicker trainer (don't know) which is the type that Pryor is known for as well.

If someone asks an honest question ("what's 'correction' mean?"), I'll answer it if it's easy enough.... rather than sending them away. (are you sure you avoid harsh consequences???)

Besides, it is more interactive to discuss things in a forum. You and I have now posted two or more threads on this "correction" word. Apparently, it deserves a bit of chat!

Extinction is merely the non-delivery of reinforcement after the occurence of a behavior.... and usually it is the occurence of a behavior that probably has, in the past, produced the reinforcer.

This protocol serves to reduce (and possibly eliminate) a behavior if we are, indeed, truly eliminating the reinforcer for that behavior consistently.

You are right, though. You have not wiped pawing from his repetoire, but you have probably worked toward wiping pawing from his repetoire in that specific context (you squating on the kitchen floor, fist extended with a treat inside).

You'd probably have to be braced to manage the "extinction burst", too! On the first training trials, that dog might try to work us for all he's got.... and it can be very energetic and disappointing!

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I find "house training" to be fascinating.

A dog that will only "go" outside is a remarkable feat. I don't get it.

Sure. In a crate, a typical dog possesses some sort of instinct to "not go" right where it sleeps. This seems to be the primary horsepower behind the thinking irrespective of the owner's reinforcing the proper piddling.

I'm guessing that we are wanting the dog to eventually expand his "no-pee zone" crate to include the entire interior of the house! I'm amazed that many dogs manage to do this.

Sure, I can understand why a dog might avoid piddling in the main room, but houses are large spaces. It just seems remarkable that they would avoid piddling in the 4th bedroom, upstairs, at the far end of the hall!

I've had a number of adult dogs, but have not house trained any of them (and one was a race track greyhound...with no home living experience at all). I foolishly just expected the dog to "not go" and got lucky.

The act of relieving yourself produces it's own reinforcer. That makes things a bit more dicey, in my opinion. It is a good idea, I suppose, to reward a dog for "going" outside (I am doing it with my new pup). I'm not sure of how the behavioral contingency is playing out, though. At best, I woudl think that I am merely teaching the pup to "hurry up and go" when we go out. That's a good thing, but I just don't know if I am improving my chances of having a house trained dog per se.

Now, if one were to apply some sort of aversive to a dog's environment at the moment that it is piddling in the house (a startling "no!"), then the formulation might start leaning in favor of a dog that prefers going outside.

You wouldn't want to have the side effect of a dog that won't piddle in your presence, though! Hopefully, a long history of getting rewards from you, outside after a pee, innoculates the dog from forming an unfortunate association!

For myself, I am going to do the things that I have learned from other people.... but the principles involved lack clarity... so I am mindlessly giving reinforcement for outside piddles/poos, preventing indoor accidents, and have said "no!" the one time that I have caught her piddling in the house... and that was about six days after bringing her home from the pound.

In all, she has had 4 or 5 accidents in the 13 weeks of ownership... and those were within the first two weeks.
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I guess you could look at it that way. Does extinction generally happen in less than five minutes? I think it is more likely that the dog quickly figures out what produces the better treat. And the clicker helps them.
Extinction doesn't describe a change in behavior. It is a procedure used to reduce behavior. If you deny a behavior it's customary reinforcement, you are using extinction.

Some people like to use the phrase " the behavior was extinquished ", which is probably what you are referring to when you ask about whether "it" can happen in five minutes, but this is a manner of speaking losely.

Can behavior decrease within five minutes? It depends upon the learning history of the individual behavior (its resistance to extinction)... but "yes"... it can decrease in five minutes.
My my, it sounds like someone thinks a lot of themselves :/. Just because someone doesn't have "credentials" doesn't nessessarily mean they are beneath anyone who does. Also thr methods you choose to use are not always the best & they do not always work with every dog. JMO
Not sure if I'm the one who thinks a lot of himself or not in this post, but I certainly don't. I meant to say that I am a radical behaviorist. Many think that behaviorists are cold and use harsh methods to change behavior. Because of this possible concern, I am saying that Murray Sidman ... the guy who wrote Coercion and its Fallout ... often referred to by positive reinforcement enthusiasts.... is also a radical behaviorist. So we aren't all bad.

Incidentally, you do not need any kind of formal education to be a behaviorist (radical or otherwise).

Like I said, a good dog trainer can give a degree'd behaviorist a run for his money in real world, applied applications.... and maybe even Sidman himself!

Now, I don't know Sidman's experience with dogs, but does anyone think that he could get a Bluetick Coonhound to heal faster than a solid dog trainer? I wouldn't bet on it.

Granted, if he decided to bone up on dog training methods, he would be at a distinct advantage to someone who never studied behavior (of course).
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That all sounds perfectly good to me.

In my case, I have no interest in punishing a dog for mere disobedience or failing to perform something with precision.

As with your toads, I'm concerned with behaviors related to safety and the predisposition of the dog. For that, I am willing to formally apply an aversive.

My past dogs seemed intently concerned with what "we" were doing and, for lack of a better word, wanted to "please" or go along with what we were doing... staying underfoot. This current pup clearly has different DNA! For sure, she'll need to come when called even when under distraction.... and she is the opposite of an "underfoot" type animal.

I'm plotting and scheming now, but won't introduce the formal use of an aversive until she is closer to a year old.... if it is necessary.

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Ha, "supervising like HECK"... that's really 99% of what I'm doing much to the annoyance of my girlfriend.

But my confusion about the principles involved is what is motivating me to do so much supervision! By keeping her piddling behavior outdoors, I am assuming that some sort of genetic/instinctual predisposition is going to give me a helping hand eventually.

Your statement, "..housetraining isn't really *training* per se." captures it fairly well.
Sticking with the positive theme.... how do you folks normally carry your edible treats?

I have been using the method that I've seen on TV dog shows.... carrying hotdog or string cheese in my mouth... leaving my hands free. Do you strap a fanny pack type treat bag around your waist?

What's the latest good idea on treat holders?
"I wear bdu's training"

Juliemule, what is bdu's? I lived most of my youth in a military family and then was in the military myself, so BDUs means "battle dress uniform" in my world. It kinda makes sense, though. Lots of pockets, durable, no worries about stains, etc.
That's why captJack says to supervise the heck out of a puppy.

My schedule looked like this (to avoid unsupervised piddling):
1. If the dog recently pee'd outside... she gets freedom in the house with minimal supervision for up to an hour.

2. After an hour, if I'm too busy to increase the intensity of the supervision, she goes back in the crate with a great, treat toy.... usually for at least 30 minutes.

3. When I am available, I let the dog out of the crate and we go direction outside. If she pee's, she gets the indoor freedom for an hour. If not, back in the crate with great toy.... or...

4. I supervise the heck out of her in a confined area of the house.

5. If I notice that the dog has been chugging water, I might start intensifying my scruitiny early.

The reason for this is that an piddling indoors is a lost learning opportunity. Actually, it is a learning opportunity, but the lesson is: "I enjoyed some piddling relief INSIDE".

I agree with the notion that you can not arrive, after the fact, and inform the dog that it was a bad behavior. It's just a setback and you have to suck it up and continue with the "supervise like heck" plan.

To tell you the truth, I HATE dealing with this!

Not only is all this supervision a hassle, but you just never quite know when you truly have a "house trained" dog! It's not like the dog hands you a diploma, "Congratulations, I am now officially house trained! You can now relax.".

With most behaviors, there is a far more distinct time when you realize, "great! that behavior is looking solid! I can prove it... just watch this retrieve behavior!". With house training, you can't say, "watch my dog's house trained behavior!".
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I keep seeing this thread pop up but as a novice, I didn't really feel qualified to respond but every time I see it the same answer keeps popping into my head: "why not? It works." I clearly haven't worked with any difficult or special needs dogs. I've only trained 2 dogs in my life but positive for anything, IMO, is always better than negative.
I would definitely agree that there are far fewer disadvantages (and fewer possible pitfalls) from a positive reinforcement approach... even when mismanaged or possibly over-the-top generosity with the reinforcement, the problems (if they occur) are far less problematic.

There are hard core behaviors, though, that can be eliminated much more quickly with a proper punishment procedure.... and sometimes, within one single trial! Whether this is ethical is up for debate, but I'm saying that this feature is the "big attraction".

(of course, an angered person likes to dole out punishment, too... it's just so satisfying...and the most dangerous training moment for a punitive trainer)
"hardcore behavior" - With that, I'm just speaking casually.

But we've all seen dogs that appear to be "hard wired" to follow a scent or chase moving prey for instance. Lot's of dogs like this stuff, but some dogs are koo koo for it.

My pup isn't as bad as some, I suppose, but when she catches an interesting scent, I can't gain her attention with a frig'n hotdog... even if she hasn't eaten in 10 hours!

Now, I have found some ways to address her behaviors with a different reinforcer, but if she wasn't interested in that... I'd be screwed without some version of punishment.

When the time comes to check her against some even more serious distractions (powerful reinforcer distractions like a stranger walking by), I may have to impose a penalty.
In negative punishment, you are removing something that he has. Preventing access is an interesting issue for analysis, but it probably depends upon the learning history and context.

So, if the dog misbehaves in some way (or fails to comply with some cue), it may result in the phrase "oh well" and ending the rewarding fun... or putting the treats away. If the learning history looks like that, then "oh well" has been conditioned to act as a positive punishment.

The sight of the closing hand could act as a positive punishment as well. It is a new stimulus that is added to the dog's environment. You hand is open and the dog is behaving in some fashion, and then bam! ... the hand slams shut. If the dog has a solid learning history of knowing the meaning of the shut hand, then the sight may be construed as a positive punishment.

It doesn't matter terribly much regardless of how we conceptualize these details. What matters is that the dog's "world" just worsened as a result of the behavior... whether through positive punishment or negative. With punishment (or reinforcement), THAT is the most important thing behaviorally: "Did my world just worsen (or improve) as a consequence of my behavior? "
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aiw and curbside:
The (apparently) emotional, problematic behaviors that result from punishment seems to be what you are discussing.

I am gleening that a "balanced" trainer is one who uses reinforcement and also punishment (especially positive punishment) when it serves the purpose.

All living things are be conditioned "classically" by the environment.... and whether you are using reinforcement or punishment, the principles of classical conditioning are at play.

I'm not sure the word "classical" is being used anymore or not. Behavior analysts use the word "respondent" ... I think Skinner did, too.... can't recall. respondent conditioning
I'm aware of the differences between classical (aka: respondent) and operant conditioning.

Perhaps I did not explain myself very well.

There was an earlier post that seemed to imply that balanced trainers use classical conditioning AND operant, while some other type of trainers use only operant. (not sure if I am interpretting their email correctly). One of the important problems with heavy handed punishment is that it can have some very unfortunate classical (respondent) results that can impede efficient learning, and I'm thinking that the OP was referring to this? don't know.

What I am saying is that the behavioral principles of classical (respondent) conditioning are at play continuously with an awake dog. When when you are providing a reinforcer, it is also likely that classical stuff is happening as well.

A very positive reinforcer will elicit all kinds of respondent behaviors when he approaches the dog. This, because the trainer has paired himself with wonderful things. The dog, seeing the approaching trainer, may squeal with delight... experience an increased heart rate.... or might even salivate if the trainer is associated with edible reinforcers.

As I sit here, I am watching my pup react to particularly severe and shocking thunder claps. Surely, the dog is experiencing all manner of unhappy visceral reactions to these violent sounds (as witnessed by her overt "worried" behaviors). She isn't out of her mind with anxiety, but she ain't calm about it either! For myself, I am reacting notably calm for her benefit....making some nice smelling food for myself in the kitchen... going about life as though nothing urgent is happening. Not attempting to stroke or directly reassure her. When she lays down, I occasionally and non-chalantly give a bit of kibble.

The above protocol is, of course, focused specifically on the classical (respondent) end of her behaviors.

The two mechanisms are not interchangeable, but it is highly likely that the two are intermingling at all times..... whether you are training the dog or whether the dog is walking alone through the woods.

Give a hungry dog a bit of hotdog, and you have probably produced both operant and classical effects.
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Your idea for a "thunder party" might be a better idea.

The day before, another massive storm was coming...with slight thunder booms in the distance. I took her favorite toy outside with her and we played a bit. Unfortunately, a SLAM! thunderclap with a super bright lightening flash happened. That ruined it.

She is obsessed with this particular toy, but she dropped it and ran for the front door. (I was actually happy that she used the house for cover... I wasn't sure she'd do that)

Now, I was actually expecting that storm to pass to our west.... my mistake. It scared the fool out of me, too.

Not that you don't know this (below).... but it is one of my concerns in making decisions.
There is this tightrope that some people fail to notice. They offer soothing voices or cajoling type praise during the worst moments (like lightening storms, nail trimming, etc.)... the tactic has it's possible risks. If things don't work out, they might create a dog that is, now, suspicious of soothing voices! Or perhaps a kind of sensitization takes place where soothing voices makes the anxiety worse!

When out there with that thunder clap, I was reminded that I could create a "suspicious dog" problem: I may have made her more reluctant to trust me when it is sprinkling... or when my tone of voice somehow reminds her of a terrifying storm.... or when I bring the best toys outside... .etc. etc.

For this last storm, I detected a bit of worry, but decided on another tactic: act bored. joke with someone on the phone. heat up some food.

Another tactic probably could have worked even better....like that thunder party.... especially indoors, of course.

Part of my decision, too, was that I am trying to condition her to tolerate 8 hrs of crate life. I happen to be home a lot over the past few weeks, but that won't last forever and I don't want her to be a basket case when the real world of work life returns. So, I let that sway my decision on not-having-a-party too.

Today, she went 7.5 hours and appeared to handle it swimmingly.
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James, do you know where your BF Skinner quote comes from? I'd like to see it in context.

I'm wondering what he means by "I do not think it (positive punishment) works". Hard to believe he'd say that, but perhaps there was an overcall context.

I know he has discussed the management of a human society. The problem with aversive control (punishment) is that people tend to engage in troubling counter-control measures.

Of course, harsh punishment can make a continuation of training less effective if the dog has been crushed into some sort of anxious mode.

So here's some food for thought. B.F. Skinner said, " The problem with positive punishment is....it does not seem to work very well". I just went to a 3 day Schutzhund seminar, with 4 time world champion Edgar Scherkl....and he said, "Positive punishment....I do not think it works. but negative reiforcement is much more effective". Now, Skinner was a versed animal trainer, and Scherkl has some seriously high success in training dogs....both came to similar conclusions.
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