Category Archives: Training philosophy

Ist dieser Hund außer Kontrolle vor Freude oder aus Stress – falsche Frage

Click here for the English version of this post.  Immer wieder machen Videos von Agility Hunden die Runde im Internet, die die “Zoomies” kriegen, also ohne ihren Hundeführer vom Kurs abkommen und über den ganzen Parkour ihre Runden drehen und … Continue reading

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Posted in Safety, Stress Signals, Training philosophy | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Is That Zooming Agility Dog Stressed or Happy? Wrong Question!

Auf Deutsch. (German version of this post.) There’s a video going around (there always is, right?) of an agility dog getting the “zoomies” and taking off on her own, running and jumping all over the ring without her handler. As … Continue reading

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Posted in Safety, Stress Signals, Training philosophy | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

The Opposite of Force

I think I’ve figured something out. I continue to see the concept of choice bandied about the positive reinforcement-based training world. It can be a code word for a setup that includes negative reinforcement. “I’m going to do something physically unfamiliar … Continue reading

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Posted in Choice, Enrichment, Training philosophy, Why Use Positive Reinforcement? | Tagged | 14 Comments

The Joy of Training With Food

Thank you to Debbie Jacobs, who pointed out that many training videos do not include the important moment when the trainer feeds her dog. We need to see more of that.  Training your dog with food is not only effective. … Continue reading

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Posted in Enrichment, Food reinforcers, Training philosophy, Why Use Positive Reinforcement? | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Being Open-Minded About Training

Has anyone ever accused you of being “closed-minded” because you base your training on positive reinforcement? It’s pretty common. Some people come right out and say it. Others imply it by going on about their own open-mindedness. Here is a … Continue reading

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Posted in Critical Thinking, Training philosophy | Tagged , | 25 Comments

Opposition Reflex: What Is It Really?

Thank you to Debbie Jacobs and Randi Rossman who made suggestions about this. All conclusions and any errors are my own.  Have you heard the term “opposition reflex” used in dog training? It’s used pretty often. But recently I got to wondering … Continue reading

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Posted in Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , | 82 Comments

The Dog Decides What Is Reinforcing

“The dog decides what is reinforcing.” Positive reinforcement trainers frequently say that to their human students.  What they mean is that people can easily be mistaken about whether something constitutes reinforcement. For instance, we may think praising or petting our dogs are reinforcers, but … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior Science, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged | 12 Comments

The Dog’s Choice (Choice: Part 2)

This is a followup to my previous post, “Not All ‘Choices’ Are Equal.” “Choice” has become such a warm fuzzy buzzword that I hesitate to use it anymore. Yet it stands to reason that animals in our care benefit from … Continue reading

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Posted in Choice, Training philosophy | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Not All “Choices” Are Equal (Choice: Part 1)

Shout-outs to Companion Animal Psychology for the post, The Right to Walk Away” which covers the effects of offering that particular choice in animal experiments, and encourages us to apply the concept to our animals’ lives. Also to Yvette Van Veen for her … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior Science, Choice, Operant conditioning, Training philosophy | Tagged , | 21 Comments

What Dog Training Really Taught Me

Have you ever had an epiphany? Wherein all of a sudden some information you had been turning over and over in your mind fell into place and created an entire new picture? It has happened to me a handful of … Continue reading

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Posted in Training philosophy, Why Use Positive Reinforcement? | Tagged , , , | 34 Comments