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My Method is Better Than Your Method .........

05 Apr 2018 10:47 AM | Joanne Tudge (Administrator)

There are always rumblings on social media about different dog training methods and their names and acronyms. Everyone seems to have comments and opinions on why one method is better than another. In some cases, in fact long Facebook threads, arguments breakout that become extremely aggressive and rude.  Comments like

  • I never use ....  because it functions on the use of negative reinforcement.
  • That method is punishment based
  •  My method is superior because it works on the application of positive reinforcement.

I am often asked what do I think? Do I approve of this method or that method? Well I never get pulled into these types of conversations or share my opinions and thoughts on one method versus another for a couple of simple reasons.

1.      We are often talking at odds about the procedure with no shared meaning or visual to analyze
2.      We have different takes on a procedure because we are discussing it in theory only
3.      We have different beliefs about what is considered an acceptable procedure

So, I just don’t do it, I don’t think we can make these kinds of general statements about a hypothetical dog training method because of reason x, y or z!  

I remember one discussion about a method that had two different people passionately promoting it. Both individuals provided links to videos they had of their training in action.  When I watched the videos of their actual training session and I functionally analyzed what was happening they were both very different. One was a -R protocol and one a +R protocol, yet both were promoting the training method as examples of great positive reinforcement training protocols.

So, to summarize.

Rather than make general sweeping statements about one of the many training protocols methods or philosophies, is it not more accurate to observe a training session and functionally analyze what is happening.

  • 1.      What is the targeted behavior?
  • 2.      What are the consequences and how are they affecting the behavior?
  • 3.      Is the behavior as a direct result of the consequences increasing or decreasing?

And for me, the most important factor in determining if the training protocol should be used is “Is the animal enjoying it?” 

Then you can quietly decide if it’s a protocol you would choose to use in you practice.

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