Thursday, 27 June 2013

PDBAD - What is positive training to you?

5th of July 2013 is the first Positive Dog Bloggers Action day. Please try and post on or around the 5th July to be guaranteed to be included, If you are later I will include your link when I get to it.

Your post it to be on 'What is positive training to you?' (or force free, reward based or whatever you call your training :) )

Include this line to this page on your blog and comment underneath with your link to your post and if it is approved then your link will appear below here from the 5th July

Please visit as many of the blogs here, comment on them and support the positive community

BenMcfuzzylugs : What is positive training to you?

Positive dog bloggers action day

As you will have seen before I have joined the agility blog action day, a few of us were looking for ways to popularise positive training methods as there are way too much punishment based information out there.
So we have decided to create the positive dog bloggers action day.
This is for anyone to join who uses force free modern scientific methods based mainly on positive reward based training.
No choke chains, e collars, prong collars or setting the dog up to fail and punishing them for it.

If you fit the criteria take a look for one of the upcoming action days and write a post for that - or write a post on one of the old topics with a link to the topic page and a comment with the link to your blog and if approved your link will be added.

Also try and visit the other blogs on here and comment and share their work

Friday 5th July - What is positive training to you?

Friday, 7 June 2013

A mini staffie

I have been neglecting sharing my new small range of fuzzylugs as I have been so busy making and shipping these to the Beauly Gallery where they are selling like hot cakes :)

But I had to share this wee man

I dont usually make clothes for my fuzzies but I just had to with Ben. This is the outfit he wore for his owners wedding, a lovely well behaved addition to their day. Sadly not long ago Ben passed away and when his owners asked for a fuzzy I was very honored and tried to do him justice

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Dog Agility Blog Day - Improving agility organisations

Its that time again!! My 2nd DABD
Please look HERE to see the other fantastic blogs posting on this theme

Improving agility organisations

Im in Scotland so really the only agility organisation I can compete with is the Kennel Club

Like all good positive trainers here I would like to look at the positives of this organisation first

They let me run with Ben :)  Some organisations you can only compete with pedigree breeds, I am so glad that in the UK we can run our scruffy mutts. (Cue gratuitous shot of me wee man jumping)

I also want to mention the great work people do running a show, I could never be a judge standing in the ring all day!! And the rest of the team giving up their time to be grumped at by the people queuing
I dont actually go to shows very often at all but the last one I was also very surprised at the great number of classes for my medium dog - and not only that they were graded classes (graded means you are only competing against dogs at the same level as you - combined you can be competing against top level dogs!)
and there were also a very generous amount of rosettes (often medium and small dogs only get an award for 1st place)
(Cue another gratuitous shot of Ben with his loot from the weekend)

5 places in 8 runs :) on some amazingly tricky courses!

As for the things that could be improved
Now dont get me wrong, I am not against change
But it seems after sitting on its fingers forever there seems to be quite alot of changes coming in all at once

The weaves changed to larger spacings - which I am loving to be honest, think its a great idea

and now the contact equipment is changing. Since year dot it has been wooden contacts with a sanded finish for grip, now suddenly we can have wooden contacts and rubberised coating or aluminium contacts with the rubberised coating, and the rubber can be in a skin or granules

It dosent sound a huge problem - and at the moment it isnt - but the problem is what these changes are doing to the little clubs. Many clubs havent even been able to afford to change to the new weave spacing yet and with the new contacts costing much more than the old wooden ones and reports of them not even lasting the winter many clubs just cant make the change (or just wont - we just got ourselves a whole set of equipment and rubber.aluminium contacts was not on the cards due to the price)
(cue shot of our fabby new agility training ground and equipment)

Now show schedules have to tell us what type of contacts there will be at the show. So far Ben has run on rubber contacts with no problem - but I did notice the difference when we came to move an A-frame later in the day - they weigh a tonne!! We havent met aluminium contacts yet but I am hearing people say for larger dogs they do flex a bit more which is putting some dogs off.
I am not against change, but consider the small clubs before implementing more changes - please!!

Now please go and check out the other blogs and support the work everyone is doing

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Dog training 101 - The quadrants

In the last post I discussed Reinforcements and Punishments, today we are going to learn
the four quadrants of operant conditioning.

For this we need to define positive and negative

Positive - something is ADDED
Negative - something is REMOVED

So this leads us to the four quadrants

Positive reinforcement - Something is ADDED to makes the dogs behaviour MORE likely to happen
Positive punishment - Something is ADDED to make the dogs behaviour LESS likely to happen
Negative reinforcement - something is REMOVED to make the dogs behaviour MORE likely to happen
Negative punishment - Something is REMOVED to make the dogs behaviour LESS likely to happen

So what does that really mean?

Positive reinforcement
If the dog does something we like we give them something they like - for example when the dog sits nicely we give them a treat and that makes them more likely to want to do that again.

Positive punishment
For example when a dog moves out of the heel position a jerk on a prong collar makes them less likely to want to move out of heel position again

Negative reinforcement
When a dog starts to recal back to you you the e-collar stops zapping the dog so he is more likely to want to recal to you

Negative punishment
When a dog jumps all over you for attention when you come into the house so you ignore them while they are bouncing - he is less likely to want to jump over you for attention in the future.

One other thing to consider
Reinforcing behaviours makes dogs not only repeat the behaviour you reinforced but it also makes them more confident to try new things and use their brains to problem solve so actually helps make your dog smarter, more confident and happier

Punishing makes a dog not only less likely to repeat the behaviour you punished but also makes them less confident to try new things, less likely to try and use their brians to solve problems and can actually make them less smart, less confident and less happy

Of course in the real world punishments happen but when your dog presents you with a training challenge it is always best to try and fix it using as much positive reinforcement  as possible, a limited use of negative punishment where needed and to try and avoid positive punishment and negative reward

Monday, 3 June 2013

Dog training 101 - reinforcements and punishments

I did something like this a little while ago but things drop off the bottom of blogger so I though I would update it.
For the next few weeks I am going to post some articles on basic dog training. The good news is dog training is actually dead easy, there is no special woo-woo to learn, no mystical energy you need and you dont have to have been raised by a pack of wolves in Mongolia to know how to train dogs.
Just a couple of really simple scientific facts to learn.

Dogs (and all other animals including us) learn by doing something and the consequences dictate whether they are more likely to do it again in the future.

If something bad happens they are less likely to do it again
If something good happens they are more likely to do it again

In dog training we call something that makes the behaviour less likely to happen in the future a PUNISHMENT

We call something that makes the behaviour more likely to happen in the future a REINFORCEMENT

Most people would consider the term 'punishment' to mean something harsh like hitting the dog, but it dosent have to be - look at the definition - it just means something that makes the dogs behaviour less likely to happen.
The dogs behaviour shows you if something is reinforcing or punishing, you may think a pat on the head is enough 'pay' for your dog to work for, it will be for some dogs, but if you are finding no increase in the behaviour you wanted then at that time for that dog in that situation the pat on the head just isnt reinforcing enough


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