Friday, December 21, 2012

Why switch from punishment based methods to reinforcement.


Talking to another trainer yesterday about the reasons for making the switch from punishment based methods to reinforcement.  When asked why the switch, the answer was

"I started doing more and more board and train dogs. I started getting some pretty shy sweet ones in and it was hard correcting them and seeing them not wanting to work with me. I started noticing a lot of holes in the training I was doing. Then, when my old trainer **** started showing me marker training, I started practicing on **** and saw a HUGE difference in her. So I started playing around with it, understood it fairly well and did a whole bunch more research on it. Then I knew.

I had to break a dog down before I could build it up and I hated that. Also working the board and train dogs, it was soooo boring. Same things day after day and I started hating it."

That last statement about having to break a dog down before being able to build it back up definitely resonated with me.  This is the only way a punishment based trainer can resolve behavior issues.  The "obedience" argument (that a dog has to have a good grounding in obedience first) is just an excuse to apply the only real tools a punishment trainer has  - harsh corrections.  That "obedience" training is what breaks the dog down, creates a dog so passive that it knows if it moves without permission it will have pain applied somehow.