So my wife is mad at me….
I don’t think mad is even the correct word. I think it would better be described as frustrated.
Here is what happened:
I decided to join some dog training Facebook groups which she immediately disagreed with because of what she calls my strong opinions and beliefs.
I quickly added:
“Opinions and beliefs backed by years of experience and education. Author of four dog training books available on Amazon, approaching 12 million views on YouTube and a thriving online dog training community known as The Dog Training Inner Circle.”
She rolled her eyes and walked away. Its very tough to impress her these days.
….I joined this group and immediately had to hold my tongue and did not enter the conversation. The conversation revolved around a video put out by a very respected and accomplished dog trainer using positive punishment (+P for all the dog behavior geeks reading).
This group of dog trainers on Facebook went out of their minds. One guy even threatened to punch the guy.
This group is a clicker training group that focuses on using positive reinforcement and will not allow any conversation of negative consequences. And if you do use or recommend negative consequences, they will immediately talk about all the negative consequences they’d like to inflict on you.
So I entered the conversation.
I pointed out that for a “positive reinforcement” group it seemed strange to me that someone would physically assault another trainer because they used a negative consequence to stop a behavior.
The person who wrote the comment said he was just making a point and that he would never actually punch the trainer.
I wasn't done.
I asked a simple question: “What would you do if someone was threatening your dog? If someone walked up and started to physically hurt you, your child or your dog? How would you stop the behavior?
How would positive reinforcement be used to stop a behavior?
I was asking this question because the discussion of any type of negative consequences is taboo and it really is too bad.
You see, in a perfect world you would ask and reward someone to stop pounding on you and they would.
In reality, if someone starts pounding on you or your dog, you’ll have to use some type of punishment (+P for you behavior geeks reading.) or run away (which is what a wimpy guy like me would do).
When I asked this question the conversation went strangely quiet and I was told this would be a topic for another thread.
I share this story because it contributes to the biggest problem facing dog owners looking for solutions. It contributes to…..
If you’re told that you can only use positive reinforcement, it will make training very, very difficult for many dogs.
If you’re told that you should never use a treat and that training has to be done with a choke, prong or electronic collar, it will make training very difficult AND you run the risk of developing an aggressive dog.
So what’s a confused dog owner to do?
That’s simple….you listen to me - haha!!!
Just kidding. Sorry, let’s be serious here. Let me clear this up for you.
For behaviors we want more of (sit, down, stay, come etc.) we apply a positive consequence.
For behavior we want to stop (jumping, barking, begging, biting, stealing) we apply a negative consequence.
And let me add that the negative consequence DOES NOT HAVE TO HURT OR HARM YOUR DOG.
So my wife was right….
I haven’t been back to the group since.
On a related note...if you’d like to learn more about using positive and negative consequences to have a dog that would make Walt Disney envious, check out The Dog Training Inner Circle which you can get into to FOR JUST $1.00!
Remember, I lowered to just one smacker to help as many dog owners as possible clear up the dog training confusion. Here’s where to go NEXT: