Positive dog training

Have you ever heard of the term “Positive dog training”?

Have you wondered how it would help your dog’s problem behaviors?

Have you wondered if positive dog training mostly popular by British dog trainer Victoria Stilwell or by American dog trainer Pat Miller and other methods you can find on books and on TV are different from each other?

I am not a dog trainer, but after watching/reading all kinds of methods available, I liked positive dog training method better and,  I trained our Corgi Palette positively with clicker training rather than using the finger jab, leash jerking, alpha roll to correct the behavior.

My personal feeling is that, positive dog training teaches dog what they should do under the situation they had problems in as opposed to dominance/submission based technique like finger jab, alpha roll, quick leash jerking would teach the dog not to do the behavior just because they do not want to get rolled or jerked or jabbed etc..

I personally think those finger jab,leash jerking, alpha roll would not teach dog what to do under the particular situations;would not let the dog to think on their own and give you the behavior you want with their own free will without thinking of punishment that comes after.

Good example could be.. I just came back from walking Palette.

Before we went for walk,she was super excited (who does not like walking,lol) as soon as she sees me preparing the leash, and she was standing right in front of the entrance door to get the leash hooked on.

What did I do to answer her reaction?

Nothing. I just stand and watch her quietly.I did not say anything to her.

She then realized, standing, whining, excited state would not ear the leash hooked up.

Therefore, she sat in front of me facing out (her back toward me ) so I can hook her on leash easily.This is something that I taught when she was a puppy.

Once leash is on, she waited quietly,patiently in front of the door and door opened and we went for walk.

However, for her, thought of going for walk sometimes excites her and she forget how she was patient and be good inside the house.

Therefore, she sometimes tries to run forward which result in leash pulling.

What would I do then?

I just stand still, say nothing and wait until leash relax and walk to the opposite direction and I say “Heel”.

Once leash is relaxed and does not feel tension on the leash, I turn to the correct direction and start walking forward, leaving house for walk.

Every time she pulls and makes leash tensed up, I wait til the leash relaxed standing on one spot like a tree and once relaxed, walk to opposite direction to where we want to go and we repeat that.

By 3rd,4th turns, at most, she gets it and understand what she should do without being told to, and I can walk forward without feeling tension on the leash. I feel like I am walking with an empty bag in my hand.She walks next to me smiling and that is the great feeling when walking.

As you can guess, I never go for walk with correct direction until her excitement notches down and be calm and relaxed. I never start walking with her being excited. If I let us go for walk with that state of mind, I am pretty sure I get dragged around the neighborhood and my arms would feel yanked out.

Now, if I implement submission/dominance base way, most likely, right when she pulls/start giving tension to the leash, leash correction would be given. That would tell the dog “not to pull the leash” by repetition. But it did not happen with the dog’s thinking but by correction.

So, dog may be start not pulling the leash after practice that way just because they do not want to get quick jerk leash correction.

Not only that, I assume that it cannot be so soft that the dog does not notice it or gets habituated to it. It could also got possibility that it would make them give you aversive response to those corrections from frustration.

Actually, that is exactly what happened when guy vet gave Palette the leash jerk.

That particular day, the lady doctor was off and we saw the guy doctor and, when examination time comes, she did not like his handing and she was not cooperative with him. He looked like using more force than anything else to make her cooperate with what he was trying to do.

She was not behaving good like she would with the lady doctor she loves. Palette growled at him right when he gave her the leash yank and I was shocked to see the leash jerk by a vet and I really did not like the way he handled and since then, we make sure we make reservation with the lady doctor Palette loves.She sits on the floor, petting Palette, talking to Palette with smile, very different approach and she is more cooperative with her.

I think Palette growled at the guy vet when leash Jerk because it made her frustrated more and gave him the warning that she does not like what he does. I don’t blame her.

That being said, some things the famous  Cesar say on training for walk are good one like, he says he thinks short leash is better than long leash like flexi.

I agree with that one. Because flexi can make dog walk forward as far as they want to go and it would not teach dog proper walking manner.

Another one I agree with Cesar is that, you would not start the walk with excitement or the excitement would continue/escalate and you will be dragged around the neighborhood (pulling you on walk all the way).

One other thing that I agree is that, you must be confident and relaxed and calm when walking. I think dog reflects our inner feeling and, when they sense our fear for strange dog approaching etc.., it would make them feel uneasy too. They are very good at reading our mind.

I am now a mother of  one son who is 2.5 years old now and, I implement the discipline positive way as well.

I think dog training and disciplining toddlers are kind of similar in a way, and experiencing dog training with Palette was a plus and gave me some good thoughts on how to raise/teach kids positively.

I am opposed to the dominance/submission approach to training that is very popular today, as you can see.

Anyway, what exactly is “positive dog training?”

Positive training means rewarding your dog for performing a behavior you want.

When your dog exhibits a behavior you like, you show your dog that you appreciate that behavior by rewarding your dog.

Most often, telling the dog they are doing what we want them to do, we use clicker to let them know the exact moment of the behavior we want.

A reward can be anything your dog loves. Food (treats), throwing a tennis ball, just simple praising your dog, are all good examples of rewards.

Lets say somebody gave you praise and what would that make you feel to do next?

You would feel happy inside and, probably want to do the same another time too.

By rewarding your dog for performing a good behavior, your dog will want to repeat the behavior again.Same.

By repeating the behavior you want them to give you, your dog will get good number of repetition and eventually they would give the behavior you want naturally without given any food rewards etc.. to reinforce the behavior anymore.

It will become natural behavior to them.

Now the question is, how is Positive Training different from dominance/submission base method?

First, the method of submission/dominance base technique can have possibility of getting your dog more frustrated and it can be confrontational.

Again, it is not teaching your dog to give the behavior you want with their own will naturally without the thoughts of negative punishment.

Positive dog training would most likely set your dogs up for success and let them learn what to do instead of what not to do.

Reinforcing the good behavior with praise would earn you the trust between the two of you, and dog would naturally give you the good behavior over and over again with their own thoughts and will and make the behavior as their natural behavior.

Punishment, reinforcement in positive dog training..

That being said, positive dog training is not purely positive, and positive dog trainer uses punishment as well when necessary.

However, in positive dog training, the term “punishment” does not refer to the meaning to physically do something to your dog but rather, in this case, positive, negative means something is added (positive; +), or taken away (negative; – ).

So, if you hear “positive punishment, it simply means, something was added.

If you hear “negative punishment”, it means something was taken away from your dog.

For punishment in positive dog training, both positive punishment, negative punishment works to decrease the possibility of your dog’s unwanted behavior without force.

Good example can be my way of walking Palette. My way is negative punishment; taking something away from your dog to achieve the desired behavior.

When I start walking Palette, I wrote I do not start walking until she gets loose leash means moving forward. When leash got tensed, I stop and not moving like a tree and when leash got loose, I turned to opposite direction to where we want to go and keep walking,and once we find pace of loose leash walking, then, I turn to correct direction of walk route and move forward.

Therefore, for Palette, me stopping the movement of moving forward to teach her loose leash means walk, tensed leash means stop, that is negative punishment. I am not using any kind of physical punishment like jabbing finger or leash jerking but negative punishment in positive dog training works for me and Palette.

What about positive punishment?

Good example can be when dog nips you, you would yell loud (unexpected sound from you for dog’s view) “Ouch!” and you are adding something to decrease the possibility of being nipped by your dog.

Your dog would probably gets surprised and you can give him an appropriate chew toy instead.

As you can see, positive punishment is not adding any force to teach your dog to give you desired behavior at all.

For the reinforcement part, you would probably hear “positive reinforcement”, “negative reinforcement” in positive dog training.

What it means is simply positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement both means that you are working to increase the possibility of repetition of your desired behavior in your dog.

Positive reinforcement can be giving treats when your dog gave you the desired behavior. When clicker training, you do click-give treats, click-give treats. That is positive reinforcement.

Good example of negative reinforcement would be… when you walk your dog, if you had to resort to head collar like gentle leader to stop being pulled by him, Then, you are using negative reinforcement method.

Because the head collar applies pressure when the dog pulls, and when dog decided to walk next to you, then pressure would be gone; in this case, something was taking away to teach your dog to give you the desired behavior.

Now you see the difference between positive dog training vs other dog training method with force to decrease the possibility of unwanted behavior.

Positive dog training is not purely positive and it got punishment part as well but, it does not use force in punishment.

Positive dog training uses appropriate tool like gentle leader to help the dog to learn to give you desired behavior.

Often times, positive dog trainers would use positive reinforcement most and if that does not work, then, cooperate it with negative punishment to guide your dog into desired behavior.

No intimidation, no physical punishment would be used.

I feel dominance/submission base techniques focus more on “bad” behavior, and make them learn what he needs to do so he would not get punished, rather than what behavior he should give his owner.

I find that teaching your dog  “what to do” ,rather than “what not to do” is much easier and, most of all, if you could prevent the behavior from happening (like you will pick up the socks before dog find it and decide to play it with), that would be good.

I think that using force free training technique is more effective and dogs enjoys them because they think it is the game and fun.

Whether positive reinforcement is used or negative punishment is used, both time, dog would be thinking what they should do, instead of what they should not do.

Next time you train your dogs, you can review yourself, and see how your approach is making an impact on your dog’s behavior.

The training should not have to be the doggie boot camp.

Happy training!

Mar 13, 2017 | 0 | Dog Training

Leave a Reply