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So for the first post in the positive dog bloggers action day I thought we should talk about what positive actually means to us
There is a whole lot of confusion about what 'positive training' actually is
For me personally it does not mean I only use positive reinforcements in my training (see the post on quadrants below) Yes I try and focus on them, but I dont need to get involved in arguments about if witholding a click is punishment or not
For me positive training is more about a state of mind. Traditional training sets up a dog to do the wrong thing and punishes them for that.
In my mind that is very negative, it is negative in that you are always seeing the bad in your dog, it is negative for your dog as working with you becomes stressful, always waiting to see if they have done wrong, and it actually has a negative effect on your dogs mental development, they actually use their brains less because doing things is punished
In positive training you are looking for your dog doing the right thing and finding ways to teach him to do things that you want. If you look for the positive you see exactly how often your dogs are actually good. For the past couple of hours my dogs have been napping and quietly pottering around the house.
At one point they barked at a noise outside for about 30s
I could focus on that negative and think how bad it is my dogs were barking - but really in 120 min my dogs did something I didnt like for 30s of that. Thats pretty good odds
And here is the extra good thing - positive dosent mean that I let them away with things I dont like. If a behaviour is something that I dont like rather than punishing them for it I can see it as a training exercise, I could desensitise my dogs to noise outside the house, I could teach them something else to do to alert me to noises outside, or, I could manage the situation and have the radio on so they are less bothered by noises outside - or of course if I liked being warned of people outside I could leave the behaviour and just ignore it or even reward it.
At no point do I actually have to punish my dogs for a natural behaviour that I may not like.
So to me a positive trainer is one who
Looks for the good in their dog and rewards that to make it more likely to happen and who trains the dogs alternative behaviours when they do something they dont like.
They train focusing on positive reinforcement, minimise negative punishment and avoid positive punishment and negative reinforcement.
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