Podcast – Dog Training and Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, an interview with Linda Case, Part 2

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In this second of a two-part series, Kate and Don interview dog trainer and author Linda Case about her book Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog. In the last episode, we focused on foundational material covered in the book. This week we get into the nitty-gritty of dog training and talk about:

  • The benefits of working with a professional dog training instructor.
  • Qualities to look for in a dog training instructor and what to avoid.
  • Why it is so important to teach students how a dog learns and the most important things we can teach them on this topic.
  • What is clicker training and why it is so useful when training a dog?
  • The power of using food as a reward when training a dog.
  • How we help students address undesirable behaviors, they experience with their dogs.
  • The four most valuable behaviors we teach our students to train their dogs.

If you want to learn about your dog and how to live together happily, you will want to listen to this show and read Linda’s book.

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on Z62 Retro Radio, AM620, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://streamdb7web.securenetsystems.net/ce/index.cfm?stationCallSign=WZON or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show. You can download this show and others at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ and the Apple iTunes store.

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#WoofMeowShow #LindaCase #ScienceDog #DogTraining

Contact Info

Linda P. Case, MS
AutumnGold Consulting and Dog Training Center
Mahomet, IL

(217) 586-4864

Autumngoldconsulting.com

https://www.facebook.com/pg/LindaCaseAutumnGold/posts/

https://thesciencedog.wordpress.com/

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Book Review – Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog by Linda P. Casehttp://bit.ly/BkRvw-Case-DogSmart

What Is Dog Training?http://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining

How to Choose a Dog Trainerhttp://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer

Understanding Dog Behavior, How Dogs Learn, and the Most Humane (Best) Ways to Train Them, P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center, Camden, Maine – 10NOV18http://bit.ly/PAWS-Camden-10NOV18

What Is Clicker Training? – http://bit.ly/WhatIsClickerTraining

Reward Based Training versus Aversives –  http://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

Help! My Dog is Aggressive, Reactive, Fearful, Anxious, etc. – What do I do? – WWM – APR2017 – http://bit.ly/HelpDogAggx

Teaching the ATTENTION or LOOK Behavior http://bit.ly/GAKS-Attention

Teaching Your Puppy to Come When Called – Starting Pointshttp://bit.ly/Come-Recall

How Do I Get My Dog to Walk Politely Instead of Pulling on the Leash?http://bit.ly/WalkingPolitely

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Dog Training and Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, an interview with Linda Case, Part 1http://bit.ly/WfMw-LCase-11MAY19

Is Feeding A Grain-Free Food to Our Dogs Dangerous?, with Linda Case, MS – http://bit.ly/Podcast-FDA-Grain-Free-LindaCase-29SEP18

How to Choose A Dog Trainer (2017) http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/01/08/how-to-choose-a-dog-trainer/

Podcast – The Benefits of Training Your Dog and 2019 Classes at Green Acreshttp://bit.ly/WfMw-Training2019

©18MAY19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 2

< A version of this article was published in the February 2019 issue of Downeast Dog News >

< A short link to this article on my blog – < http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-2 >

< A short link to all the articles in this series – http://bit.ly/ThingsIWishIHadKnown >

Last month I described how in 1991 I had been told to use a choke collar to train our dog Gus and how that damaged our relationship. I defined the term “aversive” and discussed the use of choke and prong collars, two of the most common aversives used to train dogs. ( FMI – http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-1 )

Today, the most extreme aversive used with dogs is the electric shock collar. A shock collar works by administering a shock to the dog’s neck to stop a behavior (positive punishment) or continuously shocks the dog until they do the desired behavior (negative reinforcement). Shock collars are promoted for remote training, containment, and to stop barking. Some trainers even routinely recommend shock be used to train a puppy to sit. All objectives that a knowledgeable and skilled trainer or behavior consultant can achieve without the use of aversives.

Why people choose to use a shock collar on a dog that is allegedly their best friend is a mystery to me. ( FMIhttp://bit.ly/BestFriendsAndShock ) Based on experience with some of my clients I believe that they did not understand that the shock from a shock collar needs to hurt their dog to be effective. These individuals had been convinced to use a shock collar because they had been told it would allow their dog more freedom and then were appalled the first time their dog was shocked, and they heard her yelp in pain. They never used the shock collar again. Unfortunately, the marketing materials for shock products are not always clear about their aversive nature.

Why a canine professional would ever recommend any aversive, but especially a shock collar, is even more unsettling. It may be because they have elected not to keep learning.  Veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Lisa Radosta noted in the 2017 documentary film Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats: “If your trainer is still using pinch collars and choke collars they haven’t read a book or gone to a scientifically based seminar in 25 years.” That is why when choosing a dog training professional it is essential to make sure that they have been certified by an organization that mandates continuing education. ( FMI – http://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer ).

Experts in animal behavior know that the use of electric shock can be extremely harmful. That is why the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) have taken positions that shock collars should NEVER be used. It is why shock collars have been banned in many countries, and why many more are working towards that goal. You can find a list of scientific resources on the dangers of shock on my blog at http://bit.ly/SayNoToShock.

Electric shocks are painful, but it is equally important to understand that there are other tools that are used with dogs with the intention of causing physical or emotional pain/discomfort. These include, but are not limited to air horns, alpha rolls, beating, cattle prods, choke collars, citronella collars, dominance downs, lunge whips, pinch/prong collars, squirt bottles, starving or withholding food, throw chains, and more.

What many people do not realize is that anything that makes your dog anxious, afraid or uncomfortable is an aversive, even if you did not intend for it to be aversive. For example, within days of adopting our current dog, Muppy, she was sitting on my lap for some snuggle time when I sneezed. Muppy bolted off of my lap and ran out of the room. When I found her she was trembling, her tail was tucked, her head was down, her mouth was closed, and she was avoiding eye contact. She did not feel comfortable approaching me until I got down on the floor, looking the other way, allowing her to decide if she wanted to approach. She eventually did, and we resumed snuggling, but she continued to react in this manner every time I sneezed for several months. We finally got past this, but it took a concerted effort on my part.

I have had clients with dogs that have experienced a shock collar who will no longer enter an area where they received the shock. Others that have a panic attack anytime they hear something that is even remotely similar to the sound made by the shock collar. Some aggressively bark, growl, and lunge at any child because that is what they were focused on when they received the shock.  I know I could never put a dog through that, especially knowing that it is NEVER necessary.

I was fortunate; I learned how to train and care for a dog with management and positive reinforcement before shock collars became the latest fad. I hope that by reading this, you can avoid causing your dog unnecessary pain.

My next column in this series will address reward-based training and why it is the most humane and most effective way to train a dog.

If you agree that the use of shock collars is harmful to dogs, I encourage you to join the many people throughout the world that have signed the Shock-Free pledge. You may pledge and join the Maine chapter of the Shock-Free Coalition at http://bit.ly/Shock-FreeME-Chapter. You can follow our activities on Facebook at http://bit.ly/ShockFreeMEFB

If you are reading this and not from Maine, check out these links:

https://www.shockfree.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/shockfreecoalition/. The Shock-Free Coalition is an international project and we value your support no matter where you live.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 1 – WWM-JAN2019 http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-1

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship – WWM-SEP2018 – http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

Is Your Dog Your Best Friend or a Family Member? – WWM-OCT2017 –   http://bit.ly/BestFriendsAndShock

What Is Dog Training?http://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining

Reward Based Training versus Aversiveshttp://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too! – from the May 2017 issue of the Pet Professional Guild journal, BARKS from the Guildhttp://bit.ly/ThanksPPG-Gus

Dog Training – How science and reward-based training have pulled dog training out of the dark ages – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/21/dog-training-how-science-and-reward-based-training-have-pulled-dog-training-out-of-the-dark-ages/

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet-Friendly” Philosophy – Part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/04/02/yes-a-trend-towards-kinder-and-gentler-professional-pet-care-green-acres-kennel-shops-pet-friendly-philosophy-part-1/

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – The PPG – Part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/05/02/selecting-a-pet-care-provider-yes-a-trend-towards-kinder-and-gentler-professional-pet-care-the-ppg-part-2/

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

<Click on the title to listen to the show>

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collars

The Pet Professional Guild and the Shock-Free Coalition with Niki Tudge

Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet-Friendly” Philosophy

Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – The Pet Professional Guild and Force-Free Pet Care with Niki Tudge

Pet Behavior, Vets & The AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines – Dr. Dave Cloutier – Veazie Veterinary Clinic

 

Other Publications & Blogs

BARKS from the Guild – May 2017 – Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too! https://issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_may_2017_online_edition_opt/58

BARKS blog – Choke Collar Pathologyhttp://ppgworldservices.com/2017/06/13/choke-collar-pathology/

 

Videos

Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats (The entire film)    https://vimeo.com/230807934

Malignant Behavior: The Cesar Millan Effect (from Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats ) https://vimeo.com/243498663?fbclid=IwAR3RYOlIP7LeePV0B8ZaHhed5pPDYZbPu8KQbXNxfzOodWCRKspgcSQrwnc

Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats – The Mind of Cesar Millanhttps://vimeo.com/236013182

Position Statements

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB)

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animalshttps://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Dominance_Position_Statement_download-10-3-14.pdf

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior AVSAB Position Statement on The Use of Punishment for Behavior Modification in Animals – https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Punishment_Position_Statement-download_-_10-6-14.pdf

Green Acres Kennel Shop

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on Pet-Friendly, Force-Free Pet Carehttp://bit.ly/GAKS_Pet-Friendly

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogshttp://bit.ly/GAKS-Pos-NoPain-NoForceNoFear

 Pet Professional Guild (PPG)

Pet Professional Guild – Guiding Principleshttp://www.bit.ly/2mUCTqN

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Choke and Prong Collars – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/chokeandprongcollarpositionstatement

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Pet Correction Devices – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Equipment-Used-for-the-Management-Training-and-Care-of-Pets

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Shock in Animal Training – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/shockcollars

 Books

Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, Linda P. Case, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018read a review at http://bit.ly/BkRvw-Case-DogSmart

Don’t Shoot the Dog – The New Art of Teaching and Training (2ndedition), Karen Pryor, Bantam Books, 1999.

The Culture Clash, Jean Donaldson, James & Kenneth Publishers, 2005.

The Power of Positive Dog Training, Pat Miller, Howell Book House, 2001.

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonam.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com. The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©02FEB19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 1

< Updated 02FEB19 >

< A version of this article was published in the January 2019 issue of Downeast Dog News >

< A short link to this article on my blog – < http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-1 >

< A short link to all the articles in this series – http://bit.ly/ThingsIWishIHadKnown >

In September I wrote the 1st of a series of columns entitled “Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs” [ FMI http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance ] which I have since renamed Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog, because there are things I will be sharing that are not about training.

This month I am addressing the next stage in Gus’ training.

In 1991, dogs were routinely trained with collars explicitly designed to administer an aversive; positive punishment or negative reinforcement. At the time there were two primary types of training collars; choke collars or prong collars.

Choke collars are typically made of a metal chain or nylon. They are used to give a “leash pop” or “correction” when the trainer quickly jerks the leash. The intent is to cause the dog discomfort or pain around their neck.

A single correction with a choke collar may restrict breathing, cause damage to the spine, the thyroid gland, and even to the eyes. The use of choke collars has also been reported to cause brain damage.

Prong collars, also called pinch collars, consist of a metal chain that contains several prongs that rest against the dog’s neck. Just as with the choke collar, the trainer jerks on the leash causing the prongs to press against the dog’s neck causing pain or discomfort. Prong collars, like choke collars, can cause both physical and psychological injury to a dog.

The fundamental training philosophy behind the use of choke and prong collars is to set up a training scenario where the dog will react inappropriately (e.g., the dog does not sit when cued or the dog pulls on leash) whereupon the trainer administers a correction by jerking on the leash. This jerk causes an aversive or pain which is meant to deter the dog from misbehaving in the future.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “aversive” as “Tending to avoid or causing avoidance of a noxious or punishing stimulus – behavior modification by aversive stimulation.”

I find the above definition somewhat cumbersome and unclear, so I define an aversive as;

An aversive is anything that makes your dog anxious, afraid or uncomfortable. An aversive makes our dogs want to be away from whatever they believe caused the aversive. If they believe we caused the aversive, they will no longer want to be near us.”

Since most people get a dog to be their companion, I have to ask; why would anyone want to use a tool that would cause our best friend to want to avoid us? Today it makes no sense to me. Unfortunately, not knowing any better back in 1991, the next stage of Gus’ training involved the use of a choke collar.

We taught Gus to sit, to lie down, and to stay when he was given a verbal cue by using a correction with a choke collar. We worked on the heel but never mastered it without using the choke collar; something fairly common with dogs trained in this manner. Gus never had a reliable recall until we discovered reward-based training.

There are those who use choke and prong collars that will insist that when used correctly there is no pain involved with the use of these tools. They are either in denial, do not have a thorough understanding of operant conditioning and the science of learning, are being dishonest to themselves and anyone that they recommend use a choke or prong collar, or just don’t care because “Hey, it’s just a dumb animal.”. Choke and prong collars were specifically designed for two purposes; to administer positive punishment or negative reinforcement as part of a dog training regime.

With a skilled trainer, both choke and prong collars can accomplish the task of training a dog. However, neither collar was meant to be used on the dog for life. If someone is still using these devices a year after they “trained” their dog, the training was obviously not successful.

Even though these tools can work, based on what science has taught us about dogs and how they learn, those in the pet care profession that believe in continuing education, know there is no acceptable use for choke or prong collars today. Dr. Lisa Radosta, a veterinarian and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behavior, put it best in the 2017 documentary film Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats where she stated “If your trainer is still using pinch collars and choke collars they haven’t read a book or gone to a scientifically based seminar in 25 years.”

Positive punishment uses an aversive stimulus with the intention of stopping a behavior such as a dog pulling while on a leash. If the dogs pulls, the handler jerks on the leash, administering an aversive pressure around the dog’s neck until the dog stops pulling and the dog returns to the side of the handler causing the leash to go slack. The handler continues to do this everytime the dog gets out of the heel position, with the hope that the dog will never pull again so that they avoid the aversive. An example of positive punishment with people would be someone getting a ticket for speeding or parking inappropriately. How many of those people go on to repeat the offense? While positive punishment works some of the time, it often fails.

Negative reinforcement uses an aversive with the intention of causing a behavior to occur by administering something aversive until the dog performs the desired behavior. For example, if a trainer wanted a dog to sit, they would use the leash to tighten the choke or prong collar to be sufficiently aversive so that the dog will sit, whereupon they will stop tightening the collar and end the aversive stimulus. In its most benign form, the alarm in your car that beeps until you fasten your seatbelt is an example of negative reinforcement. In its most nefarious application, negative reinforcement was the method used by the dungeon master as he stretches a person on the rack until they confess. The latter is defined as torture; something viewed as being morally wrong and which is illegal in most civilized societies. I often ask myself why we still allow animals to be tortured in the name of training, especially when a skilled trainer can get the same results using rewards?

I am not arguing that punishment and negative reinforcement do not occasionally work as training methods. I am alerting you to the fact that there are significant adverse side effects to using these tools. Peer-reviewed studies indicate reward-based techniques, emphasizing positive reinforcement, work as well or better than punishment. That is why organizations such as the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) have policies that state:

This Task Force opposes training methods that use aversive techniques. Aversive training has been associated with detrimental effects on the human–animal bond, problem solving ability, and the physical and behavioral health of the patient. It causes problem behaviors in normal animals and hastens progression of behavioral disorders in distressed animals. Aversive techniques are especially injurious to fearful and aggressive patients and often suppress signals of impending aggression, rendering any aggressive dog more dangerous.

Aversive techniques include prong (pinch) or choke collars, cattle prods, alpha rolls, dominance downs, electronic shock collars, lunge whips, starving or withholding food, entrapment, and beating. None of those tools and methods should be used to either teach or alter behavior.” – 2015 AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines [ Emphasis added ]

This is what I would have liked to have known about aversives before I started training.

  • Aversive training tools and methods are designed to hurt, and if these methods did not cause pain, they would not work.
  • The use of aversives can cause physical injury and thus both acute and chronic pain.
  • The emotional and psychological trauma caused by the use of aversives can be just as debilitating as physical injuries.
  • Causing pain and discomfort is not necessary to train a dog.
  • The better the relationship you have with your dog, the easier they are to train. Aversives are damaging to the relationship.
  • The use of aversives can cause reactive and aggressive behaviors in a dog.

Next month I will address other aversives still used far too often to train and manage dogs.

Next month I will address other aversives still used far too often to train and manage dogs. < Click to Read part 2 NOW >

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

 

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship – WWM-SEP2018 – http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

What Is Dog Training?http://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining

Reward Based Training versus Aversiveshttp://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too! – from the May 2017 issue of the Pet Professional Guild journal, BARKS from the Guildhttp://bit.ly/ThanksPPG-Gus

Dog Training – How science and reward-based training have pulled dog training out of the dark ages – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/21/dog-training-how-science-and-reward-based-training-have-pulled-dog-training-out-of-the-dark-ages/

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet-Friendly” Philosophy – Part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/04/02/yes-a-trend-towards-kinder-and-gentler-professional-pet-care-green-acres-kennel-shops-pet-friendly-philosophy-part-1/

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – The PPG – Part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/05/02/selecting-a-pet-care-provider-yes-a-trend-towards-kinder-and-gentler-professional-pet-care-the-ppg-part-2/

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

<Click on the title to listen to the show>

Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet-Friendly” Philosophy

Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – The Pet Professional Guild and Force-Free Pet Care with Niki Tudge

Pet Behavior, Vets & The AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines – Dr. Dave Cloutier – Veazie Veterinary Clinic

Other Publications & Blogs

BARKS from the Guild – May 2017 – Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too! https://issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_may_2017_online_edition_opt/58

BARKS blog – Choke Collar Pathologyhttp://ppgworldservices.com/2017/06/13/choke-collar-pathology/

 

Videos

Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats (The entire film)    https://vimeo.com/230807934

Malignant Behavior: The Cesar Millan Effect (from Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats ) https://vimeo.com/243498663?fbclid=IwAR3RYOlIP7LeePV0B8ZaHhed5pPDYZbPu8KQbXNxfzOodWCRKspgcSQrwnc

Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats – The Mind of Cesar Millanhttps://vimeo.com/236013182

Position Statements

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB)

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animalshttps://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Dominance_Position_Statement_download-10-3-14.pdf

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior AVSAB Position Statement on The Use of Punishment for Behavior Modification in Animals – https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Punishment_Position_Statement-download_-_10-6-14.pdf

Green Acres Kennel Shop

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on Pet-Friendly, Force-Free Pet Carehttp://bit.ly/GAKS_Pet-Friendly

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogshttp://bit.ly/GAKS-Pos-NoPain-NoForceNoFear

 

Pet Professional Guild (PPG)

Pet Professional Guild – Guiding Principleshttp://www.bit.ly/2mUCTqN

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Choke and Prong Collars – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/chokeandprongcollarpositionstatement

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Pet Correction Devices – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Equipment-Used-for-the-Management-Training-and-Care-of-Pets

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Shock in Animal Training – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/shockcollars

 Books

Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, Linda P. Case, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018read a review at http://bit.ly/BkRvw-Case-DogSmart

Don’t Shoot the Dog – The New Art of Teaching and Training (2ndedition), Karen Pryor, Bantam Books, 1999.

The Culture Clash, Jean Donaldson, James & Kenneth Publishers, 2005.

The Power of Positive Dog Training, Pat Miller, Howell Book House, 2001.

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonam.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com. The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©01JAN19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Shared Podcast – NPR and How Clicker Training Improves Learning for Both Animals and People

When Everything Clicks: The Power Of Judgment-Free Learning – broadcast on NPR on June 4th, this podcast discusses how clicker training helps people and animals learn. It includes an interview with Karen Pryor and how she became involved with operant conditioning and clicker training. –

To Listenhttps://www.npr.org/2018/06/04/616127481/when-everything-clicks-the-power-of-judgment-free-learning

To Readhttps://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=616127481

Clicker Training For Dogs Is Adapted To Help Surgeons Learn Quicklybroadcast on NPR on June 12th, this podcast discusses how clicker training is being used to help surgeons improve their skills.

To Listenhttps://www.npr.org/2018/06/12/619109741/clicker-training-for-dogs-is-adapted-to-help-surgeons-learn-quickly

 

Animal Training – The Best Animal Trainers – Ever!, Memories from FaceBook – 16SEP12

Don at "Chicken Camp" with Marian and Bob Bailey
Don at “Chicken Camp” with Marian and Bob Bailey

This morning FaceBook reminded of a series of blog posts from Dr. Sophia Yin that I shared four years ago.  If you are an animal trainer or aspire to be one, if you are interested in training or psychology, or if you are a science history geek, I believe you will find these four articles enlightening.

These four links are to two blog articles on Dr. Sophia Yin’s blog page where she has published her interview with Bob and Marian Bailey about the best animal trainers in history. I was very fortunate to have attended the same seminar that Dr. Yin did and heard some of this important history firsthand and had an opportunity to learn from two of the best animal trainers in history; Marian and Bob Bailey. Thank you to Dr. Yin for publishing this interview and Thank you to Marian and Bob Bailey for all that you taught me..

The Best Animal Trainers in History: Interview with Bob and Marian Bailey, Part 1 –  https://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/the-best-animal-trainers-in-history-interview-with-bob-and-marian-bailey/

The Best Animal Trainers in History: Interview with Bob and Marian Bailey, Part 2 –  https://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/the-best-animal-trainers-in-history-interview-with-bob-and-marian-bailey-2/

The next two articles discuss some of the training accomplishments of Animal Behavior Enterprises where Keller Breland, and Marian and Bob Bailey did much of their pioneering training work with animals.

Keller and Marian Breland Create the Field of Applied Animal Psychologyhttps://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/animal-behavior-enterprises-creates-the-field-of-applied-animal-psychology/

How Technology from 30 Years Ago is Helping Military Dogs Perform Better Nowhttps://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/how-technology-from-30-years-ago-is-helping-military-dogs-perform-better-no/

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

How I Trained A Chicken – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/19/training-how-i-trained-a-chicken/

©16SEP16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Training – How I Trained A Chicken

< A version of this article was originally published in the APDT Newsletter NOV/DEC 1999>

I knew of Marian and Bob Bailey but had never heard them speak until the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) Conference in Valley Forge in the fall of 1998. After spending an hour with them and their chickens, I realized there was a great deal that the Bailey’s could teach me. I knew they were having a 5-Day workshop in the summer, and like an eager retriever waiting for dinner, could not wait to sign-up.

Chicken at "Chicken Camp"
Chicken at “Chicken Camp”

When I told my family, staff, friends and clients that I was going to Arkansas to learn to train chickens, everybody laughed; “You can’t be serious,” they said. I was serious and off I went. In the process of learning how to train chickens, I became a better dog trainer!

Between the two of them, Marian and Bob Bailey have over 100 years of training experience, with more than 15,000 animals, across 140 species, from cockroaches to killer whales. I doubt any living person has more knowledge of using operant conditioning to train animals.

With all of their expertise, the Bailey’s could easily be prima donnas. They could be animal training gurus but all they desire is to share their knowledge and experience with those who wish to learn. Those of us who have experienced the Bailey’s workshops are fortunate that Bob and Marian would rather be teaching than enjoying an idyllic life in their lakeshore home. I believe anyone who trains animals, no matter how skilled or experienced, would learn a great deal from Marian and Bob, about training animals and about teaching people.

So what do you learn when you go to the Bailey’s Operant Conditioning workshop, or as I call it “Chicken Camp?”

You learn:

  • How to wrangle chickens (something new for us city folk, and necessary if you want to train a chicken).
  • Training is a mechanical skill. Training is a mechanical skill. Training is a mechanical skill, (something Bob and the chickens never let you forget, ever).
  • The importance of Timing, Criteria and Rate of Reinforcement (this is the key to it all!).
  • Training is simple but not easy, and is most effective when planned and executed in a scientific manner (most trainers make things more difficult than they need to be).
  • Animals can be trained to reliably perform complex behaviors, exclusively with positive reinforcement. In the 15,000+ animals trained by the Bailey’s, they used positive punishment no more than a dozen times.

Chicken Wrangling

Having only handled a chicken once before, I was a bit tentative about reaching into that cage to get my chicken. Feathers do not feel anything like fur, and while puppies tend to lick, the chickens tend to peck. Especially if they know you are intimidated. Actually, I was lucky compared to my friend Carolyn Clark who was affectionately calling her chicken Fang by the end of the first day. Fortunately for me, I became good friends with my chickens by the end of the week.

Bob kept telling us “You are bigger, stronger and smarter than the chicken” and eventually we started to believe him. (Note he never said we were faster). We were handling “experienced” birds, ones that had been used at several chicken camps, as well as “rookie” birds that had no prior chicken camp experience. These chickens were raised in a barnyard and were a bit wild. We were well matched with the rookie birds because on that first day we did not know any more than they did. Our first goal with the rookies was socialization and getting them accustomed to being handled. When you think about it, they really are not that different from puppies.

The experienced chickens, however, came with baggage. Not Samsonite, but training mistakes, inadvertent or advertent, which had been made at previous camps. Bob explained that they do chicken camps at universities and you can only imagine what students will train a chicken to do. Working with these experienced chickens was not unlike many of the shelter dogs we all see. We could train them new things, but also had to do some un-training.

Training Is A Mechanical Skill

The workshop was a mixture of lectures and hands-on chicken training experience. The first couple of days were spent on developing the timing and mechanical aptitude necessary to be an effective chicken trainer. Chickens are extremely fast and you must become almost as fast as the chicken.

To be the most effective you can be, a trainer needs to be able to observe the animal for behavior, mark the behavior precisely, deliver the reinforcement in a timely manner and be ready to do it again and again, rapidly. The concept is very simple, but it is not as easy as it seems.

You develop these skills like any other mechanical skills, with practice. When you are rewarding chickens with feed from a cup, you must have a nice, fast fluid motion that does not scare the chicken and does not spill feed all over the table. The act of clicking and delivering the reward must become an automatic response on your part so that you can concentrate on observing behavior and monitoring the animal’s response. It is difficult to count pecks per minute when you are concentrating on clicking and delivering the food.

Bob helped us develop these skills much like we might train a dog, shaping in small increments. We first practiced just moving the cup to present the food, no clicking and no chicken at this point. Then we added food to the cup which added a whole new dimension. If you move the cup to fast, you spill food all over the table. Next we added the chicken and started presenting food but still no clicking. Finally, by the end of the first day, we combined all of the steps and clicked and presented food to our experienced chicken.

While most of us who train dogs already have good mechanical skills, it is something lacking in many of our students. Spending some time working on these skills, in addition to having them work with their dogs, would be beneficial. It is something I believe we need to spend more time on in our classes. The use of a video camera can be a great aid in developing timing skills.

Timing, Rate of Reinforcement and Criteria

The Bailey’s believe that most problems in training, (where the trainer believes the animal is just “not getting it”), are actually trainer problems related to timing, the rate of reinforcement or the criteria being used. I think we all understand the importance of timing so I will not go into details. As indicated above, the best way to improve your timing is to practice. It is a mechanical skill. It also involves understanding the animal so you can anticipate the behavior and be ready.

Based on their experiences, the Bailey’s believe it is essential to keep the animal’s rate of reinforcement at a high level when training. The animal will match your pace, and if you work quickly, so will the animal. If you work slowly, the animal will slow down and be at increased risk for being distracted. Training is all about repetitions, and the faster you get the repetitions, the more efficient you will become.

Bob emphasized that timing of the delivery of the reward is also very important. While the clicker buys you some time, delivery of the treat needs to be prompt, particularly in the early stages of training. For example, when teaching a dog to heel, the treat needs to be given while the dog is still in a heel position. If the delivery of the reinforcement is delayed too long, the animal may exhibit an undesired behavior and may associate the reinforcement with the wrong behavior, even if you clicked at the right time.

The Bailey’s emphasize that training works better when you have a clear idea of the behavior you want and the steps it will take to get there. It is important to break a behavior down into small incremental responses, splitting, something many people find difficult as opposed to grouping several response together, lumping. Bob also advocates planning a training session and committing that plan to paper before you start, but more on that later.

When you specify a criterion for a training session, make sure it is broad enough so that the animal can be successful. For example if we are working on the heel position we might start by clicking and treating every time the dog is within 3 feet of our left leg. When 8 out of 10 training trials are successful, it is time to raise the criteria for the next training session. You want to keep the range of acceptable criteria sufficiently large so that you can make a steady progression forward. When the animal only meets the criteria twice out of 10 trials, learning is not taking place. If you have to backup and lower the criteria because you moved too fast, you are wasting time.

Training Is A Science

The Bailey’s approach to training animals is as a science and as a business. The methods they used in their business, Animal Behavior Enterprises, had to be effective, efficient and reliable. They strongly advocate planning and maintaining data on each session. I will be the first to admit that I do not document each and every training session. I have a clear goal when I start, but then tend to “go with the flow.” I believe my style works, but am convinced that I need to give Bob’s way a try. I do believe that keeping track of my chickens response rate did make us progress faster. I am hesitant to ask students to do it, because I think maintaining records may be too overwhelming, but it is something I will be trying with my own dogs.

UPDATE: I still don’t write a training plan as often as I should; however, in the fall of 1999, just a few months after my first chicken camp, we rescued a Cairn Terrier that we would name Dulcie. It was my intention to take her through our training classes like I would with any other dog. On the first night, it was clear that she was fine in a room full of dogs and people but she was not going to be lured into a sit like the other dogs. It turned out Dulcie was incredibly hand shy and any attempt to get hear her head with my hand, necessary when luring,  resulted in her rapidly scrambling backwards to safety.

Dulcie "sitting" on cue for a photo
Dulcie “sitting” on cue for a photo

My next thought was I’ll just capture her sits when we’re hanging around in my office or the house. It turns out Dulcie was not a “sitter.” She was either in motion, standing, or lying down comfortably.

Dulcie presented me with my first opportunity to develop a training plan to shape her to understand the “sit” behavior. I started by using the clicker to teach her a simple touch behavior so that she could learn the meaning of the “click” and the reinforcement. When I was able to put that on a cue, I started shaping a sit. Within two months’ time and a total of 47 sixty-second training trials (we did not work every day) Dulcie had a reliable sit cue in multiple environments, with and without distractions with me in any position. My total training time to get a really reliable sit behavior, less than one hour. Developing and following a plan, keeping records or of progress or lack of progress, and adjusting the plan according, worked extremely well. – djh, 19JUL15

Bob also believes we need to avoid “trying to get into the animals head.” Since we cannot really know what they are thinking, there is no point in wasting time considering it.

Schedules of Reinforcement

The Bailey’s firmly believe, and they base this on many years of experience, that the use of anything other than continuous reinforcement is not necessary for most pet dog training. This runs contrary to what many other clicker based dog trainers say and do. The position many take is that variable reinforcement is necessary in order to get a strong, reliable behavior. I must admit, we used continuous reinforcement to train our chickens and when it came time to extinguish those behaviors, it was not easy. Continuous reinforcement can build very strong behaviors.

I need to give this some more thought before I decide how to handle it in my classes. Reinforcement schedules are not an easy subject for many students to grasp, and not talking about them may make training easier. I chatted with other trainers at the workshop about how they handle this and the consensus was that when students try to do variable reinforcement most do not do it very well. However, when they are not trying, nature takes over and they start doing it without realizing it. Perhaps that alone is sufficient.

UPDATE: Over the years we have learned that if we teach continuous reinforcement to our students they will eventually move to a somewhat schedule of random variable reinforcement on their own. Helping students to understand the value of reinforcement and that their dog will not do things “just to please them” is still one of the biggest obstacles in teaching. For so many years people have heard that “dogs should work for praise” which essentially means work for free, that they are very hesitant to reward at all, much less frequently enough or with a high enough value reinforcer. Fortunately, they’re starting to get it. – djh, 19JUL15

R+, P-, P+ and R-

No workshop on operant conditioning could be complete without a discussion on the various aspects of reinforcement and punishment. Over the past couple of years we have seen the definition of a clicker trainer evolve to mean a trainer who uses the positive reinforcement and negative punishment aspects of operant conditioning. Many of us specifically choose not to use positive punishment or negative reinforcement. While Bob freely admits he has used all aspects of operant conditioning, he clearly believes that the positive punishment should only be used as a last resort, and must be applied carefully. If you have to do it more than twice, you are not doing it properly.

Bob told us that of the 15,000+ animals he and Marian have trained they have only used positive punishment a dozen times or less, and that was at the insistence of the client. They felt the use of punishment was not necessary. I think the Bailey’s record should convince the most obstinate doubters that positive punishment is rarely necessary. Bob served as the first Director of Training for the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal program and accomplished some absolutely amazing feats of training, many of them still classified. If a dolphin can be trained to do a 30+ mile directed retrieve, it should not be necessary to use punishment to train a dog as a pet or even for competition.

So, would I go to chicken camp again? You, bet I would! I think the most seasoned, experienced dog trainers in the world could learn a great deal from the Bailey’s, as long as they are willing to learn.

UPDATE: Between 1996 and 2014 I’ve attended over 1447 hours/ 180 days of training on animal behavior and training. Out of all those hours the most valuable were: 1) my two weeks at Chicken Camp with Bob and Marian Bailey, 2) my one week at Wolf Park with Dr. Erich Klinghammer, Dr. Ray Coppinger, Terry Ryan, Ken McCort and Pat Goodmann, 3) my several sessions with Turid Rugaas, 4) my week at the Shedd Aquarium with Ken Ramirez, and 5) my many days of training with Heather Simpson at the Natural Animal Centre. I mention these opportunities here with the advice, if you are on the fence about chicken camp…. DO IT! – djh, 19JUL15

Graduation photo from Introductory Operant Conditioning workshop with Marian and Bob Bailey - 1999
Graduation photo from Introductory Operant Conditioning workshop with Marian and Bob Bailey – 1999
Graduation photo from Intermediate Operant Conditioning workshop with Marian and Bob Bailey - 2000
Graduation photo from Intermediate Operant Conditioning workshop with Marian and Bob Bailey – 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

The Best Animal Trainers in History

These four links are to two blog articles on Dr. Sophia Yin’s blog page where she has published her interview with Bob and Marian Bailey about the best animal trainers in history. I was very fortunate to have attended the same seminar that Dr. Yin did and heard some of this important history firsthand and had an opportunity to learn from two of the best animal trainers in history; Marian and Bob Bailey. A big thank you to Dr. Yin for publishing this interview.

http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/the-best-animal-trainers-in-history-interview-with-bob-and-marian-bailey

http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/the-best-animal-trainers-in-history-interview-with-bob-and-marian-bailey-2

The next two articles discuss some of the training accomplishments of Animal Behavior Enterprises where Keller Breland, and Marian and Bob Bailey did much of their pioneering training work with animals.

http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/animal-behavior-enterprises-creates-the-field-of-applied-animal-psychology

http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/how-technology-from-30-years-ago-is-helping-military-dogs-perform-better-no

Dog Training – What Is Clicker Training?

clickerClicker Training uses an event marker or signal paired with positive reinforcement to train the dog each desired individual behavior. The reinforcement may be food, play, or even freedom; whatever is most motivating to the dog and applicable for that specific training session. The marker signal, in this case a “click”, is used to precisely indicate the instant the dog performs the desired behavior. For example, if I’m training a dog to sit, I click at the exact instant the dogs butt touches the floor and then reward them with a small treat. There is nothing magic about the clicker it is just a signal. Marine mammal trainers typically use a whistle as their signal or event marker. The clicker is used as a training tool only, and once the dog has been trained the behavior the clicker is no longer used for that behavior.

Clicker Training is not a novel new approach to training for dogs. It is a form of Operant Conditioning first outlined by behavioral scientist B.F. Skinner. It has been used since the 1940’s for training a wide variety of animals and has been increasing in popularity for training dogs since the 1990’s. It is also used at marine mammal parks like Sea World as well as at many zoos throughout the world.

Clicker Training at the Shedd Aquarium – These videos from NBC News describes how the Shedd Aquarium uses clicker training with everything from whales to dogs. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEn7kMb22bAhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqRmK7Wy92U

If you want to learn more about the power and versatility of clicker training, check out these articles:

Clicker Training: A Dog’s Point of Viewhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/1997/12/01/dog-training-clicker-training-a-dogs-point-of-view/

The CIA’s Most Highly-Trained Spies Weren’t Even Human-Smithsonian – This link from the October 2013 issue of the Smithsonian discusses how clicker training/operant conditioning was used to train animals for intelligence gathering. It illustrates the power and versatility of this training technique. – http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-cias-most-highly-trained-spies-werent-even-human-20149

 

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>