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DanRaff

Ndtf Vs Delta Dog Training Course?

106 posts in this topic

Luke W   

To the OP...

Seeing as the thread has (unsurprisingly) strayed into the pros and cons of positive versus compulsive training methods and the Delta versus NTDF philosophy...Perhaps it might be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the controversy.

A few of questions to help you start thinking about which course would be most suitable for you.

Are you new to dog training?

  • Have you done much reading on training in general?
  • Are you familiar with the four quadrants that have been mentioned here?
  • Do you know what positive training is?
  • Do you know what compulsion and aversive mean?
  • Do you know what operant and classical conditioning mean?

Do you have a philosophical position on training?

  • Are you willing to inflict pain, discomfort, stress or anxiety on your dog to achieve your training goals?
  • Are you willing to forgo some training methods and therefore make training your dog harder?
  • Are you interested in the science of training?

I'd suggest you do a lot of reading (not here).

A 'positive' training methodology (a la Delta) - is slowly winning favour in the mainstream (as it has been in the animal training world for many years) as the most effective and humane method of animal training. Personally, I believe that in 20 years time, compulsion and aversives will have gone the way of rubbing your dog's nose in it's piss.

Finally - training positively for some behaviours is not easy. It's particularly challenging to use positive training to stop a dog from doing something. It's not impossible though and there are ways to avoid even needing to train a dog to stop doing something.

I have a philosophical bent towards positive training. I'm a human though and sometime I do growl at my dog, or correct it with a flat collar. I wish I didn't though. It's one of my failings.

If you want a reading list (biased towards positive training).,.these books have inspired me...

The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor

The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell

* Edited: Changed "I have a philosophical bent towards 100% positive training." to "I have a philosophical bent towards positive training"

Edited by Luke W

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Kavik   

Also, I think NDTF has an elective on training assistance dogs (friend of mine currently doing course). You may also want to look into Assistance Dogs http://www.assistancedogs.org.au/ and I think Steve Austin is currently overseeing training dogs to help war veterans? http://www.steveaustindogtrainer.com/

Talking to these people may help you - maybe you could go and see what they do? or some volunteer work?

Edited by Kavik

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corvus   

Anyone who tells you you have to use all four quadrants to be an effective trainer doesn't understand what the quadrants are all about. They are merely a description of how different consequences affect the frequency/duration/intensity of behaviour WHERE IT IS DRIVEN BY REINFORCEMENT OR PUNISHMENT, which is not all of the time, and often in real life reinforcers and punishers can be quite surprising. And things can change from a reinforcer to a punisher from moment to moment. So quadrant-based training of any kind is going to do your head in sooner or later. And sooner or later if you stick to quadrant-based training you will find yourself severely limited because the quadrants are only a small part of the whole story. Where operant conditioning is an appropriate solution, you can usually find effective ways to use reinforcement rather than punishment if that's what you want to do. There are plenty of reasons to avoid using punishments and you usually can avoid it.

If you are a psychology student I expect you will learn the theory (which is an essential foundation to training dogs) anyway, or at least will know where you can follow up on it and get a more detailed understanding. I think you would get a lot more out of a short, intensive workshop with someone world-renowned for their knowledge of applying operant conditioning to train a variety of animals than you would out of a long and tedious dog training certificate. Bob Bailey is retiring, I think, but Ken Ramirez is doing workshops in operant conditioning out of his aquarium in the States, and Terry Ryan was in Australia recently running a couple of chicken camps that were very popular. Hopefully she will come again in the future, because I missed out this year! I practise my shaping on a couple of doves I have, and I can attest to the fact that they are a lot harder than dogs and keep me much sharper than the dogs do. There's also Grisha Stewart, who will really open your mind to how flexible operant conditioning can be. She is coming to the APDT conference this year, and I think doing a talk in QLD, perhaps? Ramirez will be in the country later this year as well, brought out by the Hills District Kennel and Training Club. Good way to get a taste of them.

Volunteering would get you much better hands-on experience than a certificate. Nothing like volunteering with shelter dogs to turn your training assumptions on their head. Organisations like Assistance Dogs Australia also have a volunteer program. I have been working with ADA in southern Sydney and their trainers are excellent. Incidentally, they do not as a rule use compulsion. They use a lot of counter-conditioning, management, and reinforcement. They train all-access service dogs and companion dogs with varying suites of service dog skills. They are just about to start a diabetes detection dog program. Volunteering with them gives you the opportunity to see how they train and you have to handle the dogs to be consistent with what the trainers are doing. I cannot say enough good things about ADA.

Finally, if you still want to do a course on dog training, I'd consider Roger Abrantes' online course. He is practical and methodical and communicates very clearly. I know some folks doing the Kay Laurence online course. I'm not a huge Kay Laurence fan myself, but the course seems quite good, although intensive. I've always thought the CASI courses look good, but there's some controversy in the academic world around the president, James O'Heare, just so you know. I've just got home from Europe where I was at a canine science conference and there was a presentation or two on animal assisted therapy, particularly with autistic children. I believe the results were encouraging. I can look up who was doing it if you like. It's good to know where the work you're interested in is being done. I have a feeling it was actually almost local, but I'm jet lagged and could be making that up.

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Weasels   

there's some controversy in the academic world around the president, James O'Heare, just so you know.

Would you mind elaborating on this Corvus? I was looking more at the website this morning and didn't recognise any of the qualifications listed after his name so was planning on trying to find out more about him. Happy to be PM'ed if you'd prefer :)

Edit: and another great post too, you guys are all very sparky this morning :D

Edited by Weasels

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kayla1   

Finally, if you still want to do a course on dog training, I'd consider Roger Abrantes' online course. He is practical and methodical and communicates very clearly. I know some folks doing the Kay Laurence online course. I'm not a huge Kay Laurence fan myself, but the course seems quite good, although intensive. I've always thought the CASI courses look good, but there's some controversy in the academic world around the president, James O'Heare, just so you know. I've just got home from Europe where I was at a canine science conference and there was a presentation or two on animal assisted therapy, particularly with autistic children. I believe the results were encouraging. I can look up who was doing it if you like. It's good to know where the work you're interested in is being done. I have a feeling it was actually almost local, but I'm jet lagged and could be making that up.

Do you know the name of that course? Can't seem to find it.

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fuzzy82   

The problem with Delta IMHO is that they are method pushers ignoring the latest tooling or even the check chain for that matter making claims to be able train any dog successfully in their methods which are false claims. No dogs requiring extreme reliability are trained without compulsion, police dogs, guide dogs for the blind, gun dogs, etc etc, the Ecollar took gun dogs to incredible levels of reliabilty and work ethics........Delta don't have the sensibility to learn how to use one, but they sure take a stance against them.......where are the Delta trained gun dogs, police dogs, etc. Reward based methods are good to train dogs to do things and also work well with high drive dogs in repetitive routines, but they are not so good at stopping a poor behaviour, balanced training takes all quadrants if addressing all problems in all dogs is the desired acheivement.

I'm not a spokesperson in any way, but Delta have always made it very clear that they offer a course to teach people how to be pet dog trainers and run a business servicing that area.

They never purport to be able to train service dogs, or serious sporting dogs or law enforcement dogs.

Unfortunately many many people choose to enter both the Cert IV and the NDTF Cert III having had no experience with dogs whatsoever. So, ethically, Delta recommends that if you have little experience in applying punishers or little experience with aggression in dogs you should refer the dog on - both for the dog's sake and for the legal implications that we all face these days. It would be irresponsible in the extreme (and potentially very dangerous) to teach trainers how to use punishers through a textbook, or a week long intensive. It takes a genuine feel to know how much force to apply and when - for a good result.

They may not practically teach all four quadrants but they definitely cover it - I did the assignment.

Of course they are method pushers - as are all dog trainers! :laugh: Everyone pushes the method they feel most comfortable with and gains results for the dogs (and handlers) they teach.

They teach a method that is safe, humane, acceptable to many dog owners, and fits the majority of pet dogs living a suburban lifestyle. They have never promised to fix all dogs and all problems. :)

Great post tollersowned. I don't necessarily have a problem with people using compulsion where appropriate, however I doubt any training course can teach people how to use it and train others to use it effectively given the time taken to do the course.

If someone wants to rehabilitate genuinely aggressive dogs, they're going to require a lot more than the Delta or NDFT course.

This is true, I did the NDTF course. I've been reading dog training books since I was a kid, and I've done loads of reading after the course, I run my own dog training business, but if someone came to me with a truly aggressive dog, I would refer them someone else.

The NDTF course is mostly about learning theory, and how to apply this in real life, and not so much about fixing specific issues. It does go over some basic stuff about fixing common behavioural problems like digging, barking, and also how to train obedience behaviours, but I think if I hadn't done a LOT of research on my own, I would feel in over my head most of the time.

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corvus   

Finally, if you still want to do a course on dog training, I'd consider Roger Abrantes' online course. He is practical and methodical and communicates very clearly. I know some folks doing the Kay Laurence online course. I'm not a huge Kay Laurence fan myself, but the course seems quite good, although intensive. I've always thought the CASI courses look good, but there's some controversy in the academic world around the president, James O'Heare, just so you know. I've just got home from Europe where I was at a canine science conference and there was a presentation or two on animal assisted therapy, particularly with autistic children. I believe the results were encouraging. I can look up who was doing it if you like. It's good to know where the work you're interested in is being done. I have a feeling it was actually almost local, but I'm jet lagged and could be making that up.

Do you know the name of that course? Can't seem to find it.

Try looking around here: http://www.ethology.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=2 There are a few available. I have a friend doing one of them because he's self taught well enough that he didn't feel he'd get much out of either the NDTF or Delta courses. I think he was right. I've met plenty of Delta and NDTF graduates and those with knowledge to rival what he's learnt on his own have gained it through ongoing education, self-driven and through conferences and workshops.

Weasels, I think the controversy around O'Heare is a little complicated and may have a bit to do with him making money doing some of the kinds of things they do but without the qualifications they worked so long and hard to get. I think it is less about him as a person, but that's just what I've gleaned from daring to mention his name in certain circles. ;) Anyone who has worked long and hard at something doesn't like it when other people waltz in and start doing much the same thing without having been through the 'proper' channels first. It's kind of like a slap in the face. Doesn't mean there aren't gifted people around who do a damn good job of it, and many of them are viewed with respect by the academic community, but only if they prove their worth and don't overstep the boundaries! I imagine O'Heare is probably good at what he does, but if you wanted to drift into academic circles at any point I would stay away from him, or at least build up your own credibility a bit first. Nothing personal to him, just pays to be circumspect when you're at the bottom of the heap.

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kayla1   

Finally, if you still want to do a course on dog training, I'd consider Roger Abrantes' online course. He is practical and methodical and communicates very clearly. I know some folks doing the Kay Laurence online course. I'm not a huge Kay Laurence fan myself, but the course seems quite good, although intensive. I've always thought the CASI courses look good, but there's some controversy in the academic world around the president, James O'Heare, just so you know. I've just got home from Europe where I was at a canine science conference and there was a presentation or two on animal assisted therapy, particularly with autistic children. I believe the results were encouraging. I can look up who was doing it if you like. It's good to know where the work you're interested in is being done. I have a feeling it was actually almost local, but I'm jet lagged and could be making that up.

Do you know the name of that course? Can't seem to find it.

Try looking around here: http://www.ethology.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=2 There are a few available. I have a friend doing one of them because he's self taught well enough that he didn't feel he'd get much out of either the NDTF or Delta courses. I think he was right. I've met plenty of Delta and NDTF graduates and those with knowledge to rival what he's learnt on his own have gained it through ongoing education, self-driven and through conferences and workshops.

That's interesting, thanks.

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Weasels   

Thanks Corvus that makes sense :) The Ethology courses looked interesting too!

I'm doing my darndest to drift out of academic circles, so there are no problems there :laugh:

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Kavik   

My current training methods (competition agility aimed) are derived from Susan Garrett, who is a positive Canadian agility trainer. Although she does not use corrections, I enjoy having the background, information and understanding that I gained through NDTF. I am glad that I was shown different methods and tools, including those that I am not comfortable using, so that I could make an informed decision based on knowledge, not just based on emotion.

If I was into a different sport, say obedience, Schutzhund or service work, I would look up Michael Ellis http://michaelellisschool.com/index.htm, he is also incorporating scent detection with Andrew Ramsay, likely because they all produce DVDs with Leerburg. All fascinating stuff.

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huski   

A 'positive' training methodology (a la Delta) - is slowly winning favour in the mainstream (as it has been in the animal training world for many years) as the most effective and humane method of animal training. Personally, I believe that in 20 years time, compulsion and aversives will have gone the way of rubbing your dog's nose in it's piss.

Finally - training positively for some behaviours is not easy. It's particularly challenging to use positive training to stop a dog from doing something. It's not impossible though and there are ways to avoid even needing to train a dog to stop doing something.

I have a philosophical bent towards 100% positive training. I'm a human though and sometime I do growl at my dog, or correct it with a flat collar. I wish I didn't though. It's one of my failings.

I think it would be a real shame if in 20 years time the only acceptable training method was positive reinforcement. Do you really believe that every dog can be trained using "100% positive training" only? Taking into account the difference in each dog and handler, the different goals, behaviour problems and purpose for which people train I am always a bit perplexed when someone thinks that there is a one size fits all approach for training. Personally, I don't see how anyone could train '100% positively' because there is always some element of stress in learning. Removing a reward from a dog can be more aversive than giving a correction with a prong or e-collar. It's about context and the dog you have in front of you.

I don't really understand the us and them mentality that these kinds of threads generate. I'm not sure what we think will be achieved from running down other trainers or their methods. If someone wants to be a DELTA qualified trainer and use only those methods and style of training props to them, but forcing that style of training on to everyone else is tiring and I don't understand why so many people waste their energy trying to convince everyone else that their training style is the only one that is 'right'. Dog training is not black and white and there is a lot more to it than being a training who uses positive reinforcement only and being a trainer who uses compulsion or aversives.

I really could not care less about the methods other trainers use, I'm far more interested in seeing the results they get with the dogs and humans they work with. If a 100% positive only approach is getting them super results, that's brilliant. If a trainer uses compulsion or aversives and achieves super results, great! Most pet owners that seek help from professional trainers don't know or care about quadrants or training theory in general. They care about the results you can help them to achieve with their dogs. That's why I find these kinds of debates (and we all love a good debate) generally become really tiring, pointless and honestly quite pathetic. Training shouldn't be about positive vs negative, at least I don't think it should be. It should be about getting the best result for dog and handler. I'm not sure what else matters more than that.

Edited by huski

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Luke W   

A 'positive' training methodology (a la Delta) - is slowly winning favour in the mainstream (as it has been in the animal training world for many years) as the most effective and humane method of animal training. Personally, I believe that in 20 years time, compulsion and aversives will have gone the way of rubbing your dog's nose in it's piss.

Finally - training positively for some behaviours is not easy. It's particularly challenging to use positive training to stop a dog from doing something. It's not impossible though and there are ways to avoid even needing to train a dog to stop doing something.

I have a philosophical bent towards 100% positive training. I'm a human though and sometime I do growl at my dog, or correct it with a flat collar. I wish I didn't though. It's one of my failings.

I think it would be a real shame if in 20 years time the only acceptable training method was positive reinforcement. Do you really believe that every dog can be trained using "100% positive training" only? Taking into account the difference in each dog and handler, the different goals, behaviour problems and purpose for which people train I am always a bit perplexed when someone thinks that there is a one size fits all approach for training. Personally, I don't see how anyone could train '100% positively' because there is always some element of stress in learning. Removing a reward from a dog can be more aversive than giving a correction with a prong or e-collar. It's about context and the dog you have in front of you.

I don't really understand the us and them mentality that these kinds of threads generate. I'm not sure what we think will be achieved from running down other trainers or their methods. If someone wants to be a DELTA qualified trainer and use only those methods and style of training props to them, but forcing that style of training on to everyone else is tiring and I don't understand why so many people waste their energy trying to convince everyone else that their training style is the only one that is 'right'. Dog training is not black and white and there is a lot more to it than being a training who uses positive reinforcement only and being a trainer who uses compulsion or aversives.

I really could not care less about the methods other trainers use, I'm far more interested in seeing the results they get with the dogs and humans they work with. If a 100% positive only approach is getting them super results, that's brilliant. If a trainer uses compulsion or aversives and achieves super results, great! Most pet owners that seek help from professional trainers don't know or care about quadrants or training theory in general. They care about the results you can help them to achieve with their dogs. That's why I find these kinds of debates (and we all love a good debate) generally become really tiring, pointless and honestly quite pathetic. Training shouldn't be about positive vs negative, at least I don't think it should be. It should be about getting the best result for dog and handler. I'm not sure what else matters more than that.

You're right about the 100% positive - I'll go back and edit my post and remove "100%" and explain in my "edited for" comment. Here's a good article on the Karen Pryor site.

http://www.clickertraining.com/node/988

For what it's worth - I believe it's not just the results that matter and I'm sure you're the same.

And no surprise to anyone - a thread on DOL is making me think about my own attitudes, preconceptions, and level of knowledge.

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Lollipup   

A 'positive' training methodology (a la Delta) - is slowly winning favour in the mainstream (as it has been in the animal training world for many years) as the most effective and humane method of animal training. Personally, I believe that in 20 years time, compulsion and aversives will have gone the way of rubbing your dog's nose in it's piss.

Finally - training positively for some behaviours is not easy. It's particularly challenging to use positive training to stop a dog from doing something. It's not impossible though and there are ways to avoid even needing to train a dog to stop doing something.

I have a philosophical bent towards 100% positive training. I'm a human though and sometime I do growl at my dog, or correct it with a flat collar. I wish I didn't though. It's one of my failings.

I think it would be a real shame if in 20 years time the only acceptable training method was positive reinforcement. Do you really believe that every dog can be trained using "100% positive training" only? Taking into account the difference in each dog and handler, the different goals, behaviour problems and purpose for which people train I am always a bit perplexed when someone thinks that there is a one size fits all approach for training. Personally, I don't see how anyone could train '100% positively' because there is always some element of stress in learning. Removing a reward from a dog can be more aversive than giving a correction with a prong or e-collar. It's about context and the dog you have in front of you.

I don't really understand the us and them mentality that these kinds of threads generate. I'm not sure what we think will be achieved from running down other trainers or their methods. If someone wants to be a DELTA qualified trainer and use only those methods and style of training props to them, but forcing that style of training on to everyone else is tiring and I don't understand why so many people waste their energy trying to convince everyone else that their training style is the only one that is 'right'. Dog training is not black and white and there is a lot more to it than being a training who uses positive reinforcement only and being a trainer who uses compulsion or aversives.

I really could not care less about the methods other trainers use, I'm far more interested in seeing the results they get with the dogs and humans they work with. If a 100% positive only approach is getting them super results, that's brilliant. If a trainer uses compulsion or aversives and achieves super results, great! Most pet owners that seek help from professional trainers don't know or care about quadrants or training theory in general. They care about the results you can help them to achieve with their dogs. That's why I find these kinds of debates (and we all love a good debate) generally become really tiring, pointless and honestly quite pathetic. Training shouldn't be about positive vs negative, at least I don't think it should be. It should be about getting the best result for dog and handler. I'm not sure what else matters more than that.

Well said, I agree with everything you have said.

In my training classes I use clicker training and it generally gets good results for pet dogs. The other week some students were having trouble getting their GSD to drop without the lure. I could have spent ages teaching them how to phase it out properly and they could have kept struggling through and eventually get it, but they were getting frustrated and so was the dog and they needed to see results now. So for that dog in that instance I used a bit of compulsion which had the dog dropping on command within a couple of minutes. I was glad that I had learned a few different methods and had the flexibility to use what was right for that dog and those owners in that situation. They didn't really care how they got there, they cared about the results.

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megan_   

But surely it is more than "whatever gets results". I know someone who toilet trained their dog by smacking and yelling at them every time the pup made a mistake. It got results, so is it okay?

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Weasels   

For what it's worth - I believe it's not just the results that matter and I'm sure you're the same.

I believe this very much :) I think of training as an exercise in communication and interactive fun between me & the dogs, I'm not overly fussed about the end result compared to how we got there.

In fact sometimes I prefer if it takes them a bit longer because it provides them more mental stimulation trying to get it right :laugh:

I think of aversives as a management tool rather than a training tool, if something needs to be shut down right away - then later we can go back and train it from scratch. My feeling is that having to deliver aversives means something has gone wrong somewhere and it's then my responsibility to go back and communicate my preferred behaviour.

BUT - as a hobbyist it's my luxury to be able to train like that and to be blessed with the dogs that I have. Each to their own! The only thing I don't like seeing is aversives used as a first resort before the dog has had a chance to learn and generalise all the baffling human rules they have to live by :(

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corvus   

Imagine that, in the several hours between hitting reply and actually replying a bunch of people said pretty much exactly what I did.

Edited by corvus

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Lollipup   

But surely it is more than "whatever gets results". I know someone who toilet trained their dog by smacking and yelling at them every time the pup made a mistake. It got results, so is it okay?

No, I think you still have to have some ethical guidelines to stick to. I think anyone who loves dogs enough to get into training would want to do what is best for the dog and wouldn't want to intentionally hurt a dog, I know I wouldn't want that. I'm still learning so if down the track I learn more and it turns out one way really is better than another, I'll take that into consideration and adapt my methods. I genuinely want what is best for the dogs.

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Lollipup   

For what it's worth - I believe it's not just the results that matter and I'm sure you're the same.

BUT - as a hobbyist it's my luxury to be able to train like that and to be blessed with the dogs that I have. Each to their own! The only thing I don't like seeing is aversives used as a first resort before the dog has had a chance to learn and generalise all the baffling human rules they have to live by :(

I think that's a good point.

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