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DanRaff

Ndtf Vs Delta Dog Training Course?

106 posts in this topic

huski   

Loose leash is no problem 99% of the time - unless there's something particular tasty just out of reach on the ground (discarded sandwiches for example) - he's not a puller. I'm incredibly fussy. I want him to walk shoulder to my leg, on lead 100% of the time (a 'loose heal position'). I don't like running into him when I turn, or having to use the lead to guide him or changing the length of the lead.....Hmmmm....my standards are a bit high aren't they :( I'm forever saying 'close' - it's his cue to slow down and drop back 6 inches. I don't walk him much on lead - off-lead parks abound in Melbourne.

Oh yes, and who could resist gravy indeed!!!

It's ok to be 'fussy' and have high standards about that if that is what you want, we all have different goals and things we rank more important than others. He is probably a bit desensitized to the word 'close' if you are saying it all the time which also suggests he doesn't really understand what you are asking. Not achieving that goal as a handler doesn't mean you've failed, you just haven't found a way to train it yet that works for both of you.

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corvus   

"Best for dog and handler" is a very slippery thing to hold up as the gold standard. How does one define "best"? I imagine there are at least dozens of ways. You and I have butted heads that many times purely over a disagreement on what we personally would consider "best", and to what end? I still did what I thought was best and you still did what you thought was best and I don't know how your dogs have been cruising lately but I'm pretty chuffed with mine. Dogs are kind of horrifically forgiving of handlers. You can make so many mistakes and most will absorb it and you'll get by anyway. Little wonder there is so much disagreement in how to train them. A lot of things work! So what do results tell you? Nothing except that the person has found one of the dozens of things that would have worked and managed to apply it not so terribly that the dog eventually figured out what to do. I'm sure what matters to many more than results is whether the dog and human are enjoying their life together.

She's fast. That was only up for, like, 2 minutes!

How many people that come to you for training Corvus are happy for you to tell them that it doesn’t matter if the dog stops biting people, as long as the dog and owner are happy together?

I would never presume to tell someone with a biting dog that they and their dog are happy together. Seems unlikely.

I’m not trying to be argumentative, but people seek out the help of a professional trainers because they have a problem they need assistance with. They aren’t interested in going to a trainer who can’t tell them they can help fix the problem so as to give them a good result.

As I said above, I thought it went without saying that I’m talking about getting the best result possible, and I’d argue if you could call something a successful result if the ‘side effect’ is damage between the dog and owner’s relationship.

But how can you possibly judge that one method is "best"? You only tried one, hopefully. If you tried more than one, you have no idea how the history with the first one may have affected the effectiveness of the second one. It's a whole lot of confirmation bias. You pick a method, you apply it, it works, dog is wagging tail whatever, human is happy, you say "See? I chose the best method." How do you know? I'd rather ask the dog. If you're attentive the dog will give you some hints, it's just not always easy to tell if there are side effects damaging to the relationship. It really isn't. Dogs are quite subtle, complicated beings and they don't shout about it when they are not happy like other animals will. They are also under some odd pressures living with people. Their behaviour can be chronically weird and yet accepted as normal because they've "always been like that" or because there are other dogs known to behave similarly.

I talk to a lot of very desperate dog owners each day that will come for a consult as a last resort, if we can’t show them in that time frame (generally two hours) that results are achievable, and give them hope that their dog’s behaviour can change, their next stop is often having the dog PTS. Luke W talked above about “positive” training sometimes being harder or taking longer than using compulsion or aversives. If you train dogs professionally and see a lot clients taking time to show great results is not a luxury you are often afforded (regardless of what method you are talking about using).

:shrug: Skill is skill, regardless of the method chosen. You say you don't want "this method is better than that" yet you're claiming that compulsion is quicker. I don't think either is necessarily quicker. It's largely based on timing and clarity and picking an effective consequence. That's independent of quadrants. Maybe if speed was all that mattered and you had a dog with no training history and no interest in people and no way to control the dog's environment you might chose compulsion. Which is why I think people should not be so obsessed with quadrants. That and the fact that my treatment of problems is rarely confined to purely operant approaches. There is so much more to life. And this goes back to my original reasons for joining the discussion. Choosing a training program for yourself based on what the favoured quadrants are at each school is kinda pointless when you realise training is so much more than quadrants. If you want to learn about quadrants in training, learn intensively from the best. People who have trained a lot of animals of a lot of species. The methods don't change for them, just the reinforcers. The rest you pick up as you go along. If I were picking a course I'd go for one that teaches applied behaviour analysis or something similar. It will teach you how to assess a situation so you can decide what is likely to be effective. Not just what quadrant to use and how to use it for common problems. Most of my favourite behaviourists have a multi-level approach. They figure out a program to attack not just the operant side of a behaviour, but the emotional root. The OP probably just wants hands-on experience applying learning theory. So go do a chicken camp or a free flight bird training workshop, or something similar with exotics. That's why chicken camp was created. Chickens are hard! Dogs are dead easy.

Incidentally, when I left DOL last year many people still thought of me as this positive nazi. On clicker training lists I always end up getting mired in discussions about negative reinforcement because I actually really like it. In moderation used subtly I have found it boosts confidence quite a bit. People think R- is nasty. It's not. None of the quadrants are nasty. It's up to us to make them nice. It's a lot easier to make positive reinforcement nice than any of the other quadrants in most cases, though. ;)

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huski   

I would never presume to tell someone with a biting dog that they and their dog are happy together. Seems unlikely.

Sure does, but you were the one who said as long as the dog and owner are happy together results aren't important...

But how can you possibly judge that one method is "best"? You only tried one, hopefully. If you tried more than one, you have no idea how the history with the first one may have affected the effectiveness of the second one. It's a whole lot of confirmation bias. You pick a method, you apply it, it works, dog is wagging tail whatever, human is happy, you say "See? I chose the best method." How do you know? I'd rather ask the dog. If you're attentive the dog will give you some hints, it's just not always easy to tell if there are side effects damaging to the relationship. It really isn't. Dogs are quite subtle, complicated beings and they don't shout about it when they are not happy like other animals will. They are also under some odd pressures living with people. Their behaviour can be chronically weird and yet accepted as normal because they've "always been like that" or because there are other dogs known to behave similarly.

And what the 'best' result for one dog and handler may not be for another. It depends on the dog and what the owner is striving to achieve. Shouldn't all trainers strive to give their clients and their dogs the best results they can :confused:

You say you don't want "this method is better than that" yet you're claiming that compulsion is quicker.

No, not at all. I haven't said that anywhere and I certainly don't believe it is true that compulsion is always better or quicker :confused: That is why working towards getting the best result you can is so important. What method will get you there is hugely dependent on the dog and owner you have in front of you.

Edited by huski

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huski   

Just to clarify a bit further...

I do think that compulsion is quickest for stopping a behaviour, that is it's purpose. Positive reinforcement is quickest for teaching a new behaviour.

When I wanted to stop my dog counter surfing in the kitchen I used an e-collar and it did stop it, right away. There may be other ways to stop that behaviour, and I'm not saying one is better than the other but I don't think that there is really any argument that compulsion is the quickest way to stop it.

I don't really think of the quadrants as something to obsess over, I have watched Steve train a dog using all four quadrants within a couple of minutes. You can mix them up and I don't think it's something to be guided or driven or restricted by. I think it's really dog dependent because every dog responds differently and is driven by different things.

ETA: When I used the e-collar to stop counter surfing it was on a low stim so it gave me accuracy without any fallout. It took maybe three reps that first time to stop the behaviour. It's not for everyone, but it is certainly quick. It also meant that she would stay off the counter when I wasn't around because I wasn't part of the equation when she received a stim. This was a dog who had years of reward history for counter surfing so it was very ingrained.

Edited by huski

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JulesP   

Hi guys,

I am a training psychologist interested in working with dogs for animal-assisted therapy. I am looking into a few dog training courses and found ones with NDTF and Delta. Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences about which course is better/ more comprehensive for this area? NDTF seems to be more promising based on the course descriptions (plus it seems cheaper and shorter??) but I know Delta is a charity tuned to helping people with trained dogs. Delta is also "companion animals" not just dog training - what else do they cover?

Help me!

Cheers :)

Just a reminder about what this topic is actually about....

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PAX   
1344244026[/url]' post='5921684']

Just to clarify a bit further...

I do think that compulsion is quickest for stopping a behaviour, that is it's purpose. Positive reinforcement is quickest for teaching a new behaviour.

When I wanted to stop my dog counter surfing in the kitchen I used an e-collar and it did stop it, right away. There may be other ways to stop that behaviour, and I'm not saying one is better than the other but I don't think that there is really any argument that compulsion is the quickest way to stop it.

I don't really think of the quadrants as something to obsess over, I have watched Steve train a dog using all four quadrants within a couple of minutes. You can mix them up and I don't think it's something to be guided or driven or restricted by. I think it's really dog dependent because every dog responds differently and is driven by different things.

ETA: When I used the e-collar to stop counter surfing it was on a low stim so it gave me accuracy without any fallout. It took maybe three reps that first time to stop the behaviour. It's not for everyone, but it is certainly quick. It also meant that she would stay off the counter when I wasn't around because I wasn't part of the equation when she received a stim. This was a dog who had years of reward history for counter surfing so it was very ingrained.

Sorry to stay OT, but wouldn't keeping the counter clear of surfing rewards also worked?

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huski   

Sorry to stay OT, but wouldn't keeping the counter clear of surfing rewards also worked?

Wouldn't that be management not training? Or if it was training it would be training me and not the dog.

Besides that, you can't always keep your kitchen counter clear of food, at some point you'll need to use that space to cook on. I could be chopping or rolling or cooking something and turn my back for a second (literally, to put something on the other side of the counter) and Daisy would jump up and steal something. She'd even try to steal food as I was cooking it even if I was just standing there. Correcting her myself was causing conflict between us. She would actually try to jump up and lick hot saucepans and would stick her head in the oven to try and take food. Aside from being irritating counter surfing can actually be really dangerous. I'd rather teach my dog not to do it than have to manage it forever which isn't very realistic or practical.

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PAX   
1344248993[/url]' post='5921791']
1344248264[/url]' post='5921779']

Sorry to stay OT, but wouldn't keeping the counter clear of surfing rewards also worked?

Wouldn't that be management not training? Or if it was training it would be training me and not the dog.

Besides that, you can't always keep your kitchen counter clear of food, at some point you'll need to use that space to cook on. I could be chopping or rolling or cooking something and turn my back for a second (literally, to put something on the other side of the counter) and Daisy would jump up and steal something. She'd even try to steal food as I was cooking it even if I was just standing there. Correcting her myself was causing conflict between us. She would actually try to jump up and lick hot saucepans and would stick her head in the oven to try and take food. Aside from being irritating counter surfing can actually be really dangerous. I'd rather teach my dog not to do it than have to manage it forever which isn't very realistic or practical.

Well NO! It's training and pretty easy.

Why can't you teach her to lay on a mat? It's easy to teach, when you're finished in the kitchen and the benches are clear, release her, it's not that hard:) if there is no freebies on the bench, she will learn its not a rewarding behavior, but whatever works best for you.

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huski   

Well NO! It's training and pretty easy.

Why can't you teach her to lay on a mat? It's easy to teach, when you're finished in the kitchen and the benches are clear, release her, it's not that hard:) if there is no freebies on the bench, she will learn its not a rewarding behavior, but whatever works best for you.

Each to their own, like I said before I am sure there were many ways that you could have trained it, this just worked best for me and there is nothing wrong with how I trained it. I like letting the dogs in the kitchen with me, it's nice to spend time with them when I get home from being at work all day. I didn't want her on a mat, I just didn't want her counter surfing. Doing it this way meant I don't have to manage the behaviour by making sure there is never anything on the counters ever in reach of Daisy, it is safer for her because it means she won't try to steal anything in the first place.

Keeping in mind this is a dog who had already learnt counter surfing WAS a rewarding behaviour. Management is great for dogs that haven't developed those habits so you can prevent them from forming but it doesn't help stop behaviours that are already habitual. I could crate her every time I use the kitchen but that wouldn't stop her wanting to counter surf if the opportunity ever arose.

If anyone else has questions about how and why I trained it this way, feel free to contact me directly either in the thread or by PM. :)

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Sorry to stay OT, but wouldn't keeping the counter clear of surfing rewards also worked?

Also sorry to stay OT!

I was managing this behavior, no food on the benches when I went out!

Unfortunately, to a Labrador, apparently pain killers are food..

I think managing a behaviour can be really dangerous, I slipped up Once. Only once. It landed both my dogs at the emergency vet.

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PAX   
1344253014[/url]' post='5921901']
1344248264[/url]' post='5921779']

Sorry to stay OT, but wouldn't keeping the counter clear of surfing rewards also worked?

Also sorry to stay OT!

I was managing this behavior, no food on the benches when I went out!

Unfortunately, to a Labrador, apparently pain killers are food..

I think managing a behaviour can be really dangerous, I slipped up Once. Only once. It landed both my dogs at the emergency vet.

I'm so sad for what happened to you boys but wouldn't putting the meds up and safely away in cabinets prevented this? I've never had this problem, although never had a Lab, maybe having children makes me more careful with meds?

Edited by PAX

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Snook   

Sorry to stay OT, but wouldn't keeping the counter clear of surfing rewards also worked?

Also sorry to stay OT!

I was managing this behavior, no food on the benches when I went out!

Unfortunately, to a Labrador, apparently pain killers are food..

I think managing a behaviour can be really dangerous, I slipped up Once. Only once. It landed both my dogs at the emergency vet.

I'm so sad for what happened to you boys but wouldn't putting the meds up and safely away in cabinets prevented this? I've never had this problem, although never had a Lab, maybe having children makes me more careful with meds?

I think it's pretty clear that it was a one off and an accident and that they're normally safely away from the dog's reach.

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corvus   

Each to their own, like I said before I am sure there were many ways that you could have trained it, this just worked best for me and there is nothing wrong with how I trained it.

Yah, but how do you know when you only tried one thing? What happened to what's best for dog and handler? Now it's just what's best for you? Did Daisy think the e-collar was best? Assuming it was Daisy who was in trouble again.

Rhetorical questions and I'm not picking on the method or you in particular, I'm trying to get people to think critically about their training decisions and why they make the ones they do and how they can tell it was a good decision after the fact. We have to be accountable at some point.

On management... it's not inherently dangerous. Failed management is dangerous. I'd far rather depend on a leash and harness than a recall, but if the leash snaps I have good recalls to fall back on. Hopefully the leash won't snap! I've had prey animals in the same house as very predatory dogs. I factored in failed management and had two levels of management in place for the times when someone left a door open accidentally. Never had a close call. A couple of months ago Erik swallowed a fish hook attached to a couple of metres of fishing twine on the beach. Can't tell him to leave it if we didn't see him pick it up. The week before he had a tooth extracted after fracturing it on something or other. While we were overseas one of the dogs he was staying with took a piece out of his ear. Stuff happens. Failing to anticipate disaster is not a failure of management. It's just bad luck.

Edited 'cause I'm tired and sick of it.

Edited by corvus

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huski   

Corvus, if someone came to you for training, how many chances do you think you have to get it right?

How many methods do you think you can get them to use before finding the "best" one? Maybe you can have 1000 shots at training something with your dogs but you rarely will have more than one shot when someone comes to you for training.

BTW, I'm not sure what you mean by Daisy being "in trouble again" or what led you to think I had never tried anything other than an e-collar to stop counter surfing. Implying I wouldn't do the best by my dogs is insulting and arrogant. It wasn't safe to have a dog hell bent on counter surfing at the hot plate with boiling saucepans or trying to take food from the oven or eating dangerous things. Stopping the behaviour quickly and effectively WAS the best option for the dog.

Edited by huski

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Hi guys,

I am a training psychologist interested in working with dogs for animal-assisted therapy. I am looking into a few dog training courses and found ones with NDTF and Delta. Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences about which course is better/ more comprehensive for this area? NDTF seems to be more promising based on the course descriptions (plus it seems cheaper and shorter??) but I know Delta is a charity tuned to helping people with trained dogs. Delta is also "companion animals" not just dog training - what else do they cover?

Help me!

Cheers :)

The Delta one looks to be rubbish but I haven't done it. I enjoyed the NDTF course, there were some good trainers and the people I were there with were great... but the management when I did it made me want to stab myself. It took over 18 months to get my certificate. Items of assessment were misplaced and I was constantly forwarding copies to them. In the end I cracked it and told them they had 3 options: refund the course costs, provide the certificate or I'll go to the small claims court and claim the full costs of the course plus all related expenses. In 2 weeks they found all of my assessment items.

tldr version: You'll learn some things, might be worth the cost, but management will drive you insane.

Edited by NotMidol

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corvus   

Corvus, if someone came to you for training, how many chances do you think you have to get it right?

It doesn't matter, because I'm not the one saying I have picked the best method. I don't know if my method is best! How does anyone know?

It's not about how many things you try, it's about accountability. Preferably you only try one thing, but that's why claiming it's best is problematic. Like I said, I'm not digging at you or the method. I'm just trying to show how using a standard such as "best for dog and handler" to settle on a method is problematic. Just because you were the one that is arguing it's perfectly acceptable doesn't mean that I'm attacking you. I'm not demanding that people try a dozen different things to convince themselves they know which is the right one. I'm saying if you're going to use a benchmark it has to be observable and objective. Otherwise there's no accountability. As in, you can say what you like and no one can prove you are right or wrong. I'm not trying to judge because I can't, and that's the point I'm trying to make. I can't judge, you can't judge, no one can. So how do we know we are doing what we say we are doing? This is regardless of method.

For example, I use Erik's alert behaviour and his poking frequency as indicators of where he's at emotionally. For Kivi I use his attentiveness to sounds that may or may not indicate I have food, and his responses to barking dogs. I use those behaviours because they are quite variable and they occur independently of training. The variability suggests the behaviours are in response to something other than just one signal, and being outside of training means I'm keeping the immediate effects of reinforcement and punishment out of it as much as possible. I'm not interested in the immediate effects because they are immediately observable. ;) I'm interested in the general effects, because that's how I keep myself accountable beyond the obvious. That's the intensely abbreviated version. This is mostly coming from my research and if I offered the full story we'd be here all day.

I bet almost no one has any idea what the heck I'm talking about, so this is the general gist of what I'm getting at:

1) Quadrants are only part of the story. The immediate part, usually.

2) Picking a method based on subjective judgements of a suite of factors (handler skills, dog personality, behaviour to change etc.) is, well, subjective. It's not good enough to me to think I'm doing what's best. I know I'm a biased creature by nature and training dogs is easy and there are many roads to the same destination. How do I know I'm walking a path that adheres to my ethical obligations? The ones that I have defined for myself, which are different to what other people have defined for themselves.

3) The answer is to find indicators of my dogs' feelings of wellbeing or otherwise that are as objective as possible and not strictly immediate in nature. i.e. behavioural responses that occur regularly but are variable - sometimes the dog responds a little, sometimes a lot, sometimes not at all if you do nothing and let it play out. Or with Erik's poking, it's how often he pokes and what he pokes and whether he does it once and moves on or multiple times.

Make sense? At all? To anyone? Whenever we make a decision for another being we have a responsibility to do more than just assume we are doing what's right. Humans are hardwired to find evidence that they are right and ignore or even avoid evidence that they are wrong. We ALL do it. If you want to do what's best, you have to know how to objectively judge it or you will end up kidding yourself without knowing it. I imagine that's something they don't teach you at NDTF or Delta.

Calm down, huski, you have your evil beagle and I have my problem child. Erik's always getting into trouble, and we wouldn't have him any other way.

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raineth   

hey corvus, I think I kow what you're getting at.

But sometimes we also need to take into consideration not just the effect on the particular dog we are training, we might need to take into account the safety or wellbeing of the people, or another dog, or the cat maybe (depending on what the behaviour is that we are trying to change).

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fuzzy82   

Corvus, if someone came to you for training, how many chances do you think you have to get it right?

How many methods do you think you can get them to use before finding the "best" one? Maybe you can have 1000 shots at training something with your dogs but you rarely will have more than one shot when someone comes to you for training.

BTW, I'm not sure what you mean by Daisy being "in trouble again" or what led you to think I had never tried anything other than an e-collar to stop counter surfing. Implying I wouldn't do the best by my dogs is insulting and arrogant. It wasn't safe to have a dog hell bent on counter surfing at the hot plate with boiling saucepans or trying to take food from the oven or eating dangerous things. Stopping the behaviour quickly and effectively WAS the best option for the dog.

That sounds like a lack of impulse control to me, which is basically a lack of manners around the house. It would be so easy to teach the dog impulse control instead of resorting to punishment, and impulse control is something all dogs should know because it transfers to other things in their life, like reliable sit/stays, being able to call them away from prey animals, not bolting out the door etc.

I have a JRT x. I don't know if you know, but JRT's score the lowest on impulse control out of all dog breeds, and are also known for their high prey drive. Because I have taught him impulse control I can have food on the coffee table and leave to go and get something in the kitchen and he doesn't touch my food (I don't tell him "leave it" as I walk out either) and just the other day I called him off a lizard hunt. And I train completely without the use if positive punishment. Not because I'm against it, but just because I don't see the need for it when training obedience or manners. And it's not like I spend all day every day training the dog to achieve great recall and impulse control. I train a few days a week, but each session is about 5 minutes long. So it doesn't require loads of time and effort to get the dog to this level, it just requires commitment and desire.

And of course not everyone are great trainers, and for some people it makes sense to use some punishment for their pet dog, I'd rather see them use some punishment than rehoming the dog, but there's needing to use a little bit of punishment after you've taught the dog what you want using rewards, and there's reaching for an e-collar for something that would be easily fixed without it.

Edited by fuzzy82

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Weasels   

I get the gist of what you're saying Corvus - small sample size, multiple variables per trial and non-independence between trials all mean you can't draw valid conclusions from the results.

I'm not clear on what the nose pokes are indicating tho - are you thinking they are a stress behaviour, or a part of natural doggy expression that get diminished when he is unhappy or unsettled generally?

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Luke W   

Corvus - I think understand what you are saying.

From a personal perspective, you challenge the assumptions and decisions I make (often unconsciously) about how I train my dog. You ask that I think (really, really think) about what I'm doing. You ask for objectivity (as far as is humanly possible). You ask for measurable outcomes.

FWIW - I think your approach and perspective (while definitely admirable) - is far, far beyond the average professional dog trainer (let alone the average pet owner). There aren't many Bob Baileys out there, teaching dogs not to bark at the front door.

Was I close?

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