So my friend Lydia posted an article by Victoria Stilwell on my Facebook page.
The article was titled, “Balanced Dog Training: There’s Nothing Balanced About It.”
In case you’ve never heard of Balanced Dog Training, dog trainers have developed categories to label each other.
You have: The “Positive Only” trainers, the trainers that I affectionately refer to as the PO’d crowd because this camp is M.A.D! You disagree with this “peaceful” group and lookout.
This camp has physically threatened me. They freak out if you talk about doing any type of physical correction to a dog but have NO PROBLEM talking about abandoning their “purely positive” methods and opening a can of whoop ass on you.
The “force free” crowd is lumped in with the PO’d.
Then you have the old school “yank and crank” trainers and recently, the label “balanced dog training” has become popular with trainers that use a combination of positive and negative consequences.
The PO’d crowd no likey the balanced trainers which is why trainers like Vicky are writing and attempting to sway dog owners into staying away from trainers like me.
In her article she states: "Science has consistently shown that punitive techniques are no more effective than reward-based techniques, and that dogs trained using punishment-based techniques experience much more stress and anxiety during training."
She pulls out the science card. So let’s look at science. Behavior is influenced by four behavior quadrants. You have:
Positive reinforcement - Rewards are used to reinforce a behavior so it happens more often.
Negative reinforcement - An unpleasant stimulus is applied until the behavior occurs, then it is removed to get a behavior to happen more often (The bell keeps ringing in your car until you put your seatbelt on. That is negative reinforcement.)
Negative punishment - Something is taken away from your dog to reduce or eliminate a behavior. Putting your dog in the crate is a form of negative punishment. You are taking the dog’s freedom away.
Positive punishment - A negative consequence is presented as a behavior is exhibited, making the behavior less likely to happen in the future.
Science clearly states that in order for a behavior to occur, you use positive or negative reinforcement.
To STOP a behavior, you use positive or negative punishment.
So when I am training a dog I follow the four behavior quadrants to help my clients get maximum results for the money they have paid me for my help.
You see, the PO’d crowd never wants you to use any form of negative consequence.
So my question for the PO’d crowd is always the same. How do you stop a behavior? The answer they will always give you is the same. Redirect the behavior, manage the dog’s behavior, what’s the underlying reason for the behavior, counter-condition and when all else fails, they will BLAME the dog owner.
And the PO’d crowd will switch it up and start to tell you that using any form of negative consequence will turn the dog fearful of you.
Who the hell wants that?
Not me, not most dog owners and any dog owner that did want their dog to fear them would never get me as a trainer because 98% of what I do is positive reinforcement.
In Vicky’s article she even states police K9 trainer Steve White as saying: "Punishment is like a nuclear bomb. If the blast doesn't get you - the fall out certainly will."
Really? I can show you plenty of dogs that have been taught to live within the boundaries of their yards. They were taught with a negative consequences and they are happy AND safe.
I can show you hundreds of dogs that I have helped train that are much better behaved and happier AFTER we introduced a negative consequence because the stress in the house is gone.
The problem with Steve’s comment is that the PO’d crowd jumps on board and starts repeating it word for word to dog owners.
Which brings us to the crux of the problem with her article. Telling dog owners that they can only use positive reinforcement leads to....
Luckily you hang out for a few minutes with me everyday because you know that I’ll lead you through the murkiness and despair. That I’ll give it to you straight.
So let me wrap this up with what you need to know to EFFECTIVELY train your dog.
It really is simple. What you need is.....
.....a balanced training approach!
You need to teach your dog the words “YES” and “NO”.
YES is associated with a positive consequence so when your dog does a behavior you want to see more of, you can reward it. When your dog does a sit, down, stay etc. you say “YES” and reward.
The second half is teaching your dog NO. When your dog jumps, digs, steals food off the counter you say, “NO,” and apply a negative consequence.
It’s not rocket science but it is scientific.
And if you’d like to take a balanced approach and finally train your dog you can get started for just $1.00!
I know. You can’t believe what a nice guy I am giving you access for just $1.00.
Here’s where to go NEXT: