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Old 10-28-2012, 07:00 PM
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Linds Linds is offline
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Default Marker/Clicker/Positive Reinforcement Training Myths and Misconceptions

Inspired by the CM thread: What are the most repeated, wide spread, frustrating, inaccurate myths and misconceptions you hear about positive reinforcement and/or clicker/marker training and what arguments do you have to counteract them?
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:04 PM
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I never hear anything bad about positive reinforcement training, per se, but I get a lot of "you have to be the alpha dog", etc. type comments.

Counteract them? "Stop listening to everything you see on TV and read a book by someone who's actually trained in animal behavior, ya dumba$$"
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:07 PM
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That they don't work and are unreliable because you won't always have your clicker, treats, or toys with you.
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:12 PM
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Doesn***8217;t work on ***8220;real***8221; dogs, problem dogs, Xbreed of dog etc.
Will make your dog food aggressive.
Dog won***8217;t work unless you have food.
The value of a sliver of hot dog will never surpass the value of chasing a squirrel.
You will have to starve your dog so he is always hungry.
Your dog will get fat.
Is only good for ***8220;trick***8221; training.
If you feed a dog who is aggressive you will make the aggression worse.

And then the usual don***8217;t wind up in a ditch, don***8217;t get cable, get direct tv type arguments.
If you train your dog with food, he will only work for food and if you don***8217;t have food he will step out in to the road, get hit by a car and DIE. If you don***8217;t want your dog to die, do you? Well then don***8217;t train with food, or a clicker, or a marker...
"We become better trainers by refusing to swallow uncritically what is tossed to us as truth,
by developing our powers of empathy and observation,
and by searching for better ways to teach and educate the dogs we love."
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:19 PM
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(1) That if you use a clicker, you don't enforce boundaries with your dog
(2) That if you use a clicker, you never use any other method to train your dog.
(3) That if you use a clicker, you always have to have food rewards & the clicker on you at all times
(4) That if you use a clicker, you demonize and judge anyone who trains in any other way

I have clickers. I use them. I like them. I don't use them for everything. They were never intended to be used for everything. As Bob Bailey, one of the most famous "clicker-trainers", said:
I am not a fan of the "ever-clicking" approach to training. The proper application of the clicker is that akin to using a scalpel to make fine my opinion; a clicker can easily get in the way of getting good behavior. After a pet owner learns the skill of delivering food, or petting, or a toy, and that owner really wants to do more, then add the clicker. I do think that sometime, down the road, most trainers will learn that the clicker is the most powerful single tool they have, and they will quit beating it to death and learn to exploit it to its highest potential.

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Old 10-28-2012, 07:35 PM
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People really don't understand the clicker...they think the dog listens to the clicker or you don't teach a command...I'm not really sure exactly. But I've heard a lot of "no I don't want to use a clicker, I want the dog to be able to listen to me without it". I don't think they get that the clicker is for teaching the behavior, not commanding it.

Dogs trained with food work for food, dogs trained without food work out of respect for their owner.

Treats are for tricks, teaching manners requires punishment.

A dog trained with food will only listen if you have food on you.

Training with food will never create as strong of a behavior as training with punishment will.

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Old 10-28-2012, 07:46 PM
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I don't know what others believe or think, but I know what I used to think:

You can't "make" a drive in a dog. Food doesn't work if your dog doesn't care about food.
When you don't have food, they won't listen.
Rewarding everything, all the time will just make them value praise less.
If a dog is smart enough to do X, he should be smart enough to learn Y without making it a big ordeal.
Dogs need a leader, or they will lead you.
Not correcting bad behavior makes the behavior worse. You can't correct bad behavior by ignoring it.

So on so forth. I was one of "those" people. The only dog training I ever heard of was on TV, by CM. I was pure PR on some things, like potty training, but everything else sort of escaped me. I hated VS on Animal Planet, because I thought she was just shoving food at dogs for no real reason. There wasn't any behavior to reward, so I thought it was pretty stupid.

what arguments do you have to counteract them?
If you were minding your own business, maybe talking to someone and window shopping, and your friend all of a sudden came out of no where and started beating and yelling at you, would you know what you had done wrong? How would you immediately correct your behavior? Would you ever trust that person ever again? Would you fight back?

I've made a lot of people think by just putting it in easy terms for them, even if that's not how I personally figured it out. I use similar scenarios for dog food, too. Like the Mac and Cheese and Hotdogs. Yeah, you feed your kids that every day, they'll love you for it, and they'll survive, might even get fat. But is it really healthy for them? Ditto with corn. Do you ever see dogs going hayday in a corn field? No. Now give them a steak, and see what reaction you'll get.

When you put it SO simply and put the person in the dog's shoes(or paws), I think they get it a lot easier than with science and mumbo jumbo they've never even heard before. Step down to common sense level, and build from there.
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:51 PM
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My mom thinks that using a clicker is like when her dog doesn't listen to her and she would snap his fingers and then he'd do whatever it was that she was asking.

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Old 10-28-2012, 07:56 PM
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The dog won't 'really know' what you're asking.
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:18 PM
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That it's bribery - hear this one a lot
That your dog won't listen to you unless you have treats
That if your dog really loves you, he should work for your praise
That it's useless for "problem dogs"
That it will make your dogs fat

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