Sunday, June 26, 2011

5 Important Dog Training Terms and Abbreviations That You Must Know Before You Start Training Your Dog

Why shouldn’t you use Negative Reinforcement or Aversive Training Method to train your dog?

If you are planning to train your dog(s), it is very essential to get acquainted with technical terms and abbreviations used in dog training circles. And if you don’t plan to do the training part on your own, that’ OK, but it is still highly recommended to know these terms to get a better understanding of what your dog trainer is talking about.

I must confess that I was a person who had no idea about what positive reinforcement dog training was all about – or what kind of training method is the safest; and subjected my dogs – solely due to ignorance - to those unhealthy negative reinforcement training methods that I remorsefully repent with all my heart now. So I really don’t want any genuine dog lover out there to repent for their irreversible and ignorant actions later on in their lives, that can put their dog's health at risk.

Before you start with dog training, you must definitely learn these 5 most commonly used terms in dog training circles. Dog training is fully based on these - 5 major - behavior conditioning techniques defined in psychology, known as Operant Conditioning.

  1. Positive Reinforcement (also denoted as R+) – Something is added to reinforce a behavior. For e.g. giving a treat to the dog when it sits will reinforces the behavior (sitting) in the dog. Here the treat is added to reinforce the behavior – sit - in the dog.
  2. Negative Reinforcement (also denoted as R-) – Something is taken away to reinforce a behavior. For e.g. A dog is leash popped until it stops barking and leash popping is stopped immediately when the dog stops barking to reinforce that behavior. Here the leash popping is taken away which reinforces the dog to remain silent. This is an aversive technique that is commonly used in traditional dog training. A technique that is unhealthy for the dog and not recommended.
  3. Positive Punishment (also denoted as P+) – Something is added to suppress a behavior. For e.g. – a dog is leash popped in order to stop pulling the leash. In fact there is a very little difference between R- and P+ and they are often used as a pair. This is an aversive technique that is commonly used in traditional dog training. A technique that is unhealthy for the dog and not recommended.
  4. Negative Punishment (also denoted as P-) – Something is taken away to reduce the occurrence of a behavior. For e.g. withholding the treat if the dog is standing and doesn’t sit on a cue. Here the treat is taken away from the dog to suppress the behavior – stand. R+ and P- are used in pair in R+ training method.
  5. Extinction – A behavior fades away due to lack of reinforcement. This means that unwanted behaviors in your dog go away if you only reinforce the desired behaviors.
Usually “positive” and “negative” are used to denote something good or bad in lives, but in a dog training perspective or in operant conditioning they have different meanings; to “add” OR “take away” something. In operant conditioning the word punishment means suppressing or reducing the occurrence of a behavior.

Some of the Best Sites On Learning R+ Dog Training on The Internet

My experience has taught me that using aversive methods to train your dog is one of the most merciless and inhumane things that you can ever do in your life, resulting in serious and long lasting health problems – both mental and physical – in your dog and also making you more violent and negative in life. So I highly recommend every dog owner and trainer in this world to only use positive reinforcement training like Clicker Training, if you really want your dog to stay healthy – mentally and physically – through out its life.

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