Category Archives: Why Use Positive Reinforcement?

“I Will Never Use the Shock Collar Again!”

This is a story from a client of one of my professional trainer friends. Let’s call my friend “Phoebe.” My friend had met the client for some coaching for her young, exuberant dog, Raven. But it was a very long … Continue reading

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Posted in Aversive stimulus, Behavior Science, Shock Collars, Why Use Positive Reinforcement? | Comments Off on “I Will Never Use the Shock Collar Again!”

My Dog’s Emotional State: Crucial to Training

I always flinch a little when people start to discuss dogs’ emotions. What’s coming? Relevant, evidence-based observations or woo? I’ve removed some words from my own vocabulary when talking about dogs because of this. Even though my relationships with my … Continue reading

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Posted in Aggression, Dog body language, Fear, Resource guarding, Why Use Positive Reinforcement? | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Finding the Joy in Agility

What do you see in this professional photo of Summer on an agility A-frame in a competition? She’s so pretty in that photo, and running nicely, but you know what? She wasn’t happy. Here are a couple more photos from … Continue reading

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Posted in Dog body language, Positive Reinforcement, Why Use Positive Reinforcement? | Tagged | 17 Comments

Actually, I **Can** Get My Dogs’ Attention

I was thinking the other day about how and why I have a dream relationship with my dogs. They are cooperative. They are sweet. They are responsive and easy to live with. You know how I got there? Training and … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior Science, Classical conditioning, Dog Training, Operant conditioning, Why Use Positive Reinforcement? | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

A Milestone for Clara: Socialization Work Pays Off

Clara keeps racking up the successes. I don’t mean awards, ribbons, or titles. I mean socialization successes, which are far more meaningful to her. These successes mean that her world gets bigger. A couple of months ago I posted a … Continue reading

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Posted in Socialization, Why Use Positive Reinforcement? | Tagged , , , | 12 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

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

Let’s Talk about Using Aversives in Training. I’ll Go First!

Today’s post is about how people often justify the use of aversives. I’m going to use my own experience as an example. I am going to present a description of an aversive method I used to use. I am going to list many … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior Science, Escape/Avoidance, Negative Reinforcement, Punishment, Terminology, Why Use Positive Reinforcement? | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Just a Trick?

“Crossing over” is a phrase dog trainers use to refer to the act of giving up training that uses aversives and changing over to training that uses principally positive reinforcement: becoming a Humane Hierarchy trainer, a force-free trainer, or a … Continue reading

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Posted in Dog Training, Fun, Handling and Husbandry, Toys and Play, Training philosophy, Tricks, Why Use Positive Reinforcement? | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments