This blog is a tribute to Belle, and all the dogs who have come before and after. They are my friends, my companions, my teachers and my students. They bring me both joy and heartache, laughter and tears. There is nothing as sweet as the smell of puppy breathe, and nothing as sad as the final goodbye.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Pack to Basics posting

A recent posting from Pack To Basics on training.  I totally agree!

Trainers often get hung up on labels, referring to themselves as “balanced” or “postive-based” and often have bitter rivalries over those labels and what they mean.
I believe it creates a false dichotomy. The line in the sand is mostly imaginary.  If we are effective, we each deal (to a greater or lesser extent) in compulsion and reward.  We may use different types of compulsion (hunger, social pressure, spatial pressure and internal drives are all forms of compulsion in that they exert a degree of pressure on the dog), and different types of rewards, but learning only happens in the context of contrast.  If there is no change in condition, we don’t learn how to change the condition.
Therefore, each of us in the role of teaching the dog how to improve their circumstances.  We do this by presenting them with options and allowing them to make choices and learn from those choices.
These things are true for all effective training regardless of the labels we give ourselves.  To the dogs, we either make sense or we don’t.  We either treat them with respect or we don’t.  We are either fair, or we are not.  If we convince the dog that we are the sort of person that gives good advice, we will have his trust and willing partnership.
This is what I seek.  I seek an honest and sincere relationship with the dogs I train.  I seek to help them unravel the confusion that has made their life with humans difficult or at least more difficult than it has to be.  I seek to have an honest dialog with them.  I seek to EARN their trust and respect, not to take it by force.
If any who read this does the same, then they are of like mind and spirit and we have much in common regardless of our ways and means of achieving that.  I would further submit that if you are effective then these are things you must do whether you recognize that need or not.
As far as I’m concerned there are really only two types of trainers, effective and ineffective.