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Purely positive dog training: is the preferred approach?

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Purely Positive Training vs. Balanced Training

There are many ways to train a dog. But the two most commonly used methods: purely positive dog training and balanced dog training. Both of these methods consider the below elements,

  • positive reinforcement
  • negative reinforcement
purely positive dog training

Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement – adds something to the equation that the dog wants, to increase the chances of that behavior repeating. In contrast, negative reinforcement removes something that the dog wants to increase the chances of that behavior repeating.

Purely positive training is the better way to train a dog, and it can be very effective. However, it’s not the only way to train a dog, and it’s not always the best way.

The Problems with All-Positive Dog Training

One of the biggest problems with positive reinforcement is that it often leads to dogs that are “all bark and no bite.”. In other words, the dog might learn to sit when you ask him to, but he’s not going to do it if there’s anything else going on that he finds more interesting. This can be a big problem if you’re trying to train a dog to do something that he really doesn’t want to do, such as staying in his crate or coming when called.

Another problem with purely positive training is that it can “spoil” dogs. If you keep giving the dog something (treats, toys, attention, etc.) to do what you want, and he expects this. If you’re not careful, you can have a dog that throws tantrums or becomes manipulative to get what he wants.

Negative reinforcement

Many view negative reinforcements as the “bad” way to train a dog. Negative reinforcement occurs when a dog discovers that a particular response ends the presentation of an aversive stimulus. An aversive is anything that the dog does not like, such as verbal admonishment, or a tightened choke chain.

This is because it involves adding something that the dog doesn’t like (such as a shock collar) to decrease the chances of that behavior repeating.

Negative punishment method by Millan

César Felipe Millán Favela is a Mexican-American dog trainer with over 25 years of experience. He is best known for his Emmy-nominated television series Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, which was broadcast in more than 80 countries from 2004 to 2012.

In October 2012, Millan appeared on The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Titchmarsh called his methods “cruel” and “unnecessary”, citing a video in which, Titchmarsh said, Millan punched a dog in the throat. Millan called it a touch, not a punch. Titchmarsh read out an RSPCA statement saying that “Adverse training techniques which have been seen to be used by Cesar Millan can cause pain and fear for dogs and may worsen their behavioural problems.”

Writing in the British newspaper Metro, features writer, Andrew Williams, described the interview as the first time that Titchmarsh has “deviated from his usual interview strategy – which runs the gamut from mild to wild sycophancy”. And described him as “Probably the only celeb Millan has failed to win over…” Teach your dog where he SHOULD take his potty breaks, instead of trying to use punishment to teach him where he should NOT go potty.

If you focus on what you want him to do, instead of what you don’t want your dog to do, you’ll get faster results.

However, negative reinforcement can be just as effective as positive reinforcement, and it doesn’t have the same problems. In fact, in some cases, it can be more effective. For example, if you’re trying to train a dog to stay in his crate. You’re more likely to be successful if you use a shock collar than treats. This is because the dog doesn’t want to be shocked. And he’ll quickly learn that staying in his crate will avoid this.

In general, the best way to train a dog is to use a combination of both positive and negative reinforcement (balanced training). This way, you can avoid the problems associated with each method. And you’re more likely to be successful in your training.

Please find here for what is a balanced dog training.

Conclusion

Purely positive dog training does not involve any punishment or corrections for undesired behaviors. Many prefer positive dog training, given it is the most humane and effective way to train dogs, as it relies on reinforcing desired behaviors instead of punishing undesired ones. Usually, pet owners use this type of training to teach basic obedience commands, tricks, and even complex behaviors.

However, some people believe that positive dog training is not effective in all situations, and that it can even be harmful to some dogs. For example, some believe that positive reinforcement can lead to spoiled or “soft” dogs who are not obedient or well-behaved. Others believe that positive dog training can be used effectively in all situations, as long as the trainer is experienced and knowledgeable. There is no one definitive answer to whether or not positive dog training is the best method; it ultimately depends on the trainer’s experience and the individual dog’s personality and learning style.

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