Category Archives: Training philosophy

The Dog Decides

“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 analysis, 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 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 analysis, 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 | Tagged , , , | 34 Comments

World Dog Trainers’ Motivation Transparency Challenge

What should a dog trainer be willing and able to tell you about his or her techniques? And how valuable is it to get that information in clear, concrete language? Renowned dog trainer Jean Donaldson has put a lot of thought … Continue reading

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Posted in Critical Thinking, Dog training hints, Punishment culture, Training philosophy | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

7 Effects of Punishment

Here are seven documented possible side effects of the use of punishment, negative reinforcement, and of aversives in general. Escape/Avoidance: If you hurt or scare your dog, it will likely try to avoid you, the places you frequent, and whatever else it associates with … Continue reading

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Posted in Escape/Avoidance, Fear, Negative Reinforcement, Punishment, Training philosophy | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

CARE for Reactive Dogs

Wow! My friend Jennifer Titus has created a wonderful thing. Website: CARE for Reactive Dogs FaceBook Page: CARE for Reactive Dogs on FaceBook CARE is an educational website that provides, free of charge, solid gold information on the protocols of desensitization/counterconditioning and … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Dog training hints, Fear, Reactivity, Training philosophy | Tagged , , | Comments Off on CARE for Reactive Dogs

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 hints, Fun, Handling and Husbandry, Toys and Play, Training philosophy, Tricks | Tagged , , , , , | 35 Comments

It’s Time To Celebrate!

Get ready for some fun! The Pet Professional Guild’s International Day of Force Free Training and Pet Care is coming right up. Register for this virtual event, and you can… support the only completely force free pet professional organization (registration is $25 … Continue reading

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Posted in Event announcement, Fun, Training philosophy, Tricks | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

What’s an Antecedent Arrangement?

One of the classifications in Dr. Susan Friedman’s Humane Hierarchy that is pretty unfamiliar to most of us dog trainers is called “Antecedent Arrangements.” And look, it is on the more desirable end of the hierarchy! There’s no speed bump, caution … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior analysis, Cues, Dog training hints, Management, Multiple dogs, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments