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corvus

Why Is Balance So Good?

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corvus   

What's so great about 'balanced' training? I'm becoming increasingly dubious that you need to reward the good behaviour and punish the bad. Especially considering my punishments are never gonna match my rewards in creating motivation.

So explain to me. Why do you need a balanced approach to training? Do you need to use every corner of the quadrant? Why?

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KitKat   

I think it's because the dog itself understands balance better - often better then we do :rolf: But in their own learning they do it with more balance and need it to be relaxed etc etc. But i think with balanced training you get a more honest way of going...if you start doling out more/mostly punishment you are doing something wrong, when you are doling our mostly praise then you are doing something right...lol. If i tried purely positive on one of mine i'd be waiting until we both grew old - lol.

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haven   

What method you use depends largely on what you are trying to achieve, eg whether you are trying to teach a new skill or extinguish an unwanted behaviour. However, generally I think a dog learns faster when you use both punishment and reinforcement because it is that much clearer what is expected of it. What's that Konrad Most quote? Something about it being the sharp contrast between the disagreeable things a dog experiences for doing the wrong thing and the agreeable experiences for doing the right thing which show a dog where his advantage lies, and he learns very quickly.

Edited by haven

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Kelpie-i   

Corvus, it all depends on what you are training for.

Please excuse me as I am not as eloquent when I write as the others...but I know what I want to say :thumbsup:

A dog's learning isn't too much different to our own learning so if we go back in time to when we were...say 7 years old, our parents did one of 2 things to teach us right from wrong. You would either be rewarded with TV and ice cream if you cleaned your room but you would get a smacked bottom if you answered back (especially to Dad). We all 'feared' dad yet we loved and respected him for the lessons he taught us.

I don't know about you, but I learned my lesson very quickly this way and have grown up to be a well balanced individual (well I hope so anyway :laugh:). I applied the same techniques with my son (who is now 16 years old) and who is extremely well behaved and polite...oh and respects authority.

Now let's go back to dogs...

Creating or maintaining behaviours: positive reinforcement only

Eliminating learned behaviours (not due to fear): a balanced approach, teaches clear 'black and white' consequences and shows the dog where his advantages lie. Results occur far quicker.

It's not complicated and it shouldn't be...just like us, dogs learn by way of consequences - good and bad. This is what balance is all about..it's in our lives everyday as is in our dog's lives.

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Simply put, because a balanced trainer has more tools in their tool box and because dogs learn faster with a balanced approach.

There are some dog behaviours that IMO can simply not be modified by a purely positive approach. You will never get the best out of others with a more corrective approach. Handlers of all dogs deserve to have access to a trainer that can help them, not throw their hands in the air and tell them to simply 'manage' the behaviour.

And lastly because dogs themselves use a 'balance' of responses to communicate with one another. Using what dogs use, it stands to reason they should understand us better.

Edited by poodlefan

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"Balanced trainer" is a blatant euphemism and for that reason I don't consider it a particularly worthwhile description.

It basically means someone is prepared to use physical correction. If one is prepared to use physical correction and one is happy to stand behind that, they why not just say as much? People who use physical correction get peeved with people who consider themselves more highly evolved because they don't.

It shouldn't be too hard to see why calling yourself "balanced" is just as obnoxious.

For the record, I use physical correction in very limited circumstances. I do not consider myself "balanced", I aspire to be fair, reasonable and appropriate but I am the first to admit I'm still climbing the mountain.

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"Balanced trainer" is a blatant euphemism and for that reason I don't consider it a particularly worthwhile description.

It basically means someone is prepared to use physical correction. If one is prepared to use physical correction and one is happy to stand behind that, they why not just say as much? People who use physical correction get peeved with people who consider themselves more highly evolved because they don't.

It shouldn't be too hard to see why calling yourself "balanced" is just as obnoxious.

For the record, I use physical correction in very limited circumstances. I do not consider myself "balanced", I aspire to be fair, reasonable and appropriate but I am the first to admit I'm still climbing the mountain.

Not all corrections need to be physical though Anita - the voice is a very effective training tool be it for encouragement or correction. It's very hard for the average handler to effectively physically correct a dog that's not within arms reach. Ask any agility trainer.

"No reward" is also not a physical correction but is definitely negative reinforcement.

Edited by poodlefan

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Not all corrections need to be physical though Anita - the voice is a very effective training tool be it for encouragement or correction. It's very hard for the average handler to effectively physically correct a dog that's not within arms reach. Ask any agility trainer.

"No reward" is also not a physical correction but is definitely negative reinforcement.

I agree. I think most self-styled positive trainers don't consider voice corrections corrections. Which is a problem. I had to be hit over the head with it to get it myself.

However, I doubt most people describing themselves as balanced call themselves balanced because they say "UH UH". "Balanced" is not code for a positive trainer who doesn't realise they're being negative.

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Not all corrections need to be physical though Anita - the voice is a very effective training tool be it for encouragement or correction. It's very hard for the average handler to effectively physically correct a dog that's not within arms reach. Ask any agility trainer.

"No reward" is also not a physical correction but is definitely negative reinforcement.

I agree. I think most self-styled positive trainers don't consider voice corrections corrections. Which is a problem. I had to be hit over the head with it to get it myself.

However, I doubt most people describing themselves as balanced call themselves balanced because they say "UH UH". "Balanced" is not code for a positive trainer who doesn't realise they're being negative.

Yep, few trainers are "purely positive" even if they describe themselves that way.

Corvus, I don't know why you feel the need to have people convince you about this. It would be far easier to convince yourself.

Take up a dog sport. The test of any training is in the results. I am of the view that shaping and rewarding behaviour can only take you so far. Why not test the theory yourself.

I'm a mostly positive trainer but I do believe that appropriate corrections or non-rewards have their place in training. That does not mean I condone abuse in any form.

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corvus   

Kivi doesn't use both. He ignores behaviour he doesn't like, or he walks away. He is more even-tempered than I am! He gets a long way without aggression or warnings. I wouldn't like to be quite as helpless as he is, but given I have opposable thumbs, access to unlimited resources, and the power of foresight, there's no reason why I should be as helpless as he is while still not resorting to punishment.

I guess I don't really care if it's faster. Erik learns so fast with just rewards that it makes my head spin. I haven't tried using punishment to help extinguish behaviour yet because asking for a heavily rewarded incompatible behaviour and then rewarding that again works faster than anything else I've ever tried. I don't know if this is just Erik, though.

What kind of behaviours can't be modified with rewards alone?

ETA I don't think there are many people on this board that wouldn't consider punishments. But that's not really the topic. I want to know why "balanced" is apparently so important.

Actually PF, I ain't gonna be convincing myself because I'm biased and I'm not going to take up a dog sport just so I can answer a question the collective brain of DOL might be able to answer for me with a more "balanced" viewpoint than mine. Where's that ironic emoticon?

Edited by corvus

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Kelpie-i   

The term "balanced" denotes the use of both side of the quadrants - punishment and reinforcement - both positive and negative...... (yes here we go again!!).

I'm a mostly positive trainer but I do believe that appropriate corrections or non-rewards have their place in training. That does not mean I condone abuse in any form.

Hear hear PF :laugh:

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What kind of behaviours can't be modified with rewards alone?

Ingrained stock or wildlife chasing. Try being more interesting than a fleeing rabbit. :laugh:

Corvus, I'll ask you the question I ask anyone who wants to discuss training theory.. what complex sequences of behaviour have you actually trained your dogs to do? Is there any occasion when you need those behaviours to be performed reliably?

Kivi is not human and isn't trying to train any dog to perform complex sequences of behaviour. Even so, disengaging and walking away is negative reinforcement, even if you don't recognise it as such. It's "game over" and you'll see many an agility handler do exactly the same thing when their dog ignores their cues and does equipment without being asked to.

You don't need to use aggression to be using a balanced approach to training. There are far more sublte ways to discourage a dog from doing something than flogging it, screaming at it or stringing it up. There is no place for temper tantrums in dog training regardless of what quadrant you're using.

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Kivi doesn't use both. He ignores behaviour he doesn't like, or he walks away. He is more even-tempered than I am! He gets a long way without aggression or warnings. I wouldn't like to be quite as helpless as he is, but given I have opposable thumbs, access to unlimited resources, and the power of foresight, there's no reason why I should be as helpless as he is while still not resorting to punishment.

Kivi is one dog.....he is not representative of all dogs, he is not even representative of all dogs of his breed.

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Cosmolo   

Corvus i don't understand how you can say you haven't tried using punishment with Erik when you say in another thread you've scruffed him to stop him mouthing.

What kind of behaviours can't be modified with rewards alone? Behaviours that are self rewarding where you cannot control the reward and IMO behaviours where it would be otherwise dangerous or injurious to not correct and stop the behaviour quickly. There are also situations where its not possible or sometimes practical to ignore.

I understand you don't care if its faster Corvus- but when i am working with someone who has punctures all over their arm because their puppy keeps mouthing, i am going to advocate a correction of some kind because that person DOES care that its faster.

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Cosmolo   

I am happy to say i use corrections when deemed appropriate. I never used to be happy to say it because it wasn't politically correct- but now, whether someone calls me balanced or a trainer who uses aversives/ corrections doesn't bother me provided they don't then imply this means i'm in some way abusive.

Edited by Cosmolo

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What kind of behaviours can't be modified with rewards alone?

Ingrained stock or wildlife chasing. Try being more interesting than a fleeing rabbit. :laugh:

I tried that once, long ago. Never tried it again :laugh:

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I have been thinking on this........... and I figure that pups , from neonates up, learn by trial & error.

Do the 'right' thing, and you get a reward..food/warmth/comfort/play/relief

Do the 'wrong' thing, and you stay unrewarded, or even receive something unpleasant/painful.

simple :laugh: and balanced.

(right & wrong are obviously a human concept :laugh: )

Edited by persephone

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