Saturday, February 4, 2012
Correction and Punishment, are they the same?
In my experience, the reasons most people employ positive punishment are:
1 – to get quick “results” (i.e., behavior stops)
2 – they don’t know how to train an alternate behavior with positive reinforcement
3 – it’s an emergency management situation
If my dog is about to steal my Thanksgiving turkey, I will stop him. He will be disappointed. That is not a training plan, it’s an emergency intervention. If I am a good positive-reinforcement trainer, I will recognize the need to train an alternate behavior and create a positive-reinforcement training plan. What I won’t do is put a shock collar or choke chain on the dog, bait the counter with smelly food, and punish him every time he tries to go for the food. Would both methods achieve the same goal? Probably, if they were well implemented. But ask the dog which method he would prefer.
“Correction” is too often used as a euphemism to make the use of aversive stimuli acceptable to clients/students. But the definition of correction means to change a response by showing what is real and truth. A correction, by definition, is not delivering an aversive to mark what is wrong.
To me a ‘correction’ is rightly ‘showing the student the correct way’.
You can correct a paper/work by indicating where a mistake was made and writing is either the ‘correct’ answer or give advice to the student of how to it would have been better answered. Or you can ‘correct’ a physical exercise by actually showing the student how the exercise should be done.
So in dog training, “Correction should be going back a step and working from where the dog actually does perform as wanted.
It is NOT teaching to only indicate ‘mistakes’ without letting the student actually learn the ‘right’ answer.
Correction is used synonymously with punishment and aversive in the world of dog training, and yet it really is something totally different.