Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why Pinch when you can Click?

Yesterday I went to the dog park with Abbey and a couple of her canine buddies. We spent part of the afternoon there walking around the park...I let Abbey on some of the agility equipment and it was overall a really great time. As we were exiting the park, there was a training class in session instructed by a man I am unfamiliar with. Every last one of his students were in a prong collar. Now, I'm very much against prongs, choke, and shock collars because I think that the use of any one of them is taking the easy way out and that you aren't teaching your dog anything. At most, in my opinion, a dog is learning to react to a form of pain or discomfort...or performing a behaviour to try and avoid the pain or discomfort.
There are so many people who argue that positive reinforcement is not real training because we initially use a form of motivation (food or toys) to get our dogs to perform the desired behaviours. There are so many people that believe that if the treats are no longer there for the dog to receive then the dog will no longer perform the behaviours we want. This is completely false. In fact, I have encountered more negative reinforcement trainers that cannot walk their dogs on a normal collar than R+ trainers. I have never seen one person who started their dog on a prong collar, choke chain, or shock collar that goes out for a walk and doesn't still have to use the damn collar. The freaking training tool you started with DOES NOT get removed!! As an advocate for R+, if trained properly, I can proudly say that I don't walk around with cookies in my pockets! Abbey responds to sit, down, wait, come, EVERYTHING except for maybe complex tricks without a treat or cookie present. In R+ we teach, they learn, we live happily. No pinching necessary.
Everyone grab a clicker and actually have success training your dog. Interact with your dog. Learn from your dog. You should never have to continue using your training tool throughout your dog's life. So, more proof that using aversive methods are ineffective? They never go away.

Why Pinch when you can CLICK?!

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