Wednesday, August 29, 2012
What Is A Thinking Dog?
Traditional training creates a dog who listens to and responds to humans, but doesn't specifically know how to make decisions based on environmental input. Clicker training - strict clicker training like I've seen in most of these DVD's and the clicker trainers here in town - also create a dog that listens to and responds to humans and doesn't truly know how to make decisions. I know that sounds odd since clicker training is suppose to create a thinking dog, however, the only thinking I see in most clicker trained dogs is "what movement do I make to get the treat". not "there is a cat and there is my human - I choose human". I suppose I look at all things based on behavior not obedience, but what I see with most clicker trainers is just a gentler way of completely controlling a dog.
Does that make any sense?
I include clicker training in this because so many clicker trainers never look beyond the mechanics of "wait for a close approximation of the final behavior, click and treat". Everytime that click and treat happens, it breaks down the dog's choices as to what to do next. I've had dogs do a tricky behavior like circle around a cone in three tries compared to 50 or 60 that I've seen on DVD's teaching the same behavior. I can only attribute it to the fact that I don't interrupt the dog when it continues to move in the direction I'm teaching just because it moved a fraction of a inch closer this time.