Harsh methods of animal training have been around for thousands of years. Many people today are finding that newer teaching techniques enable their students - dogs, dolphins, horses, pigs, parrots and people - to learn willingly in ten minutes what traditionally used to take ten days.
As a result an increasing number of ‘command based’ traditional dog trainers - some of whom have reached the highest standards in obedience competitions - have changed over to positive reinforcement training procedures. To their surprise they have discovered them to be equally if not more effective and certainly more time efficient.
Their enjoyment of the new training processes, their approach to learning and their philosophy and vocabulary have changed. 'Command' and 'obedience' become 'cue' and 'good manners', while 'correct' and 'dominate' change to 'show' and 'motivate'.
Like many of the younger generation of modern trainers who have known no other training methods, these older trainers have reached new heights that they never previously dreamed possible. They have come to realise, often with initial reluctance, scepticism and surprise that:
When dogs learn because they HAVE TO, they learn unwillingly and often soon forget. With positive reinforcement training - especially when used in conjunction with a marker signal that pinpoints the precise required muscle movement before the delivery of the praise, pat or food treat - dogs look forward eagerly to training as one of the highlights of their day. They learn willingly, they remember what they have learned and their repertoires of reliably performed ‘on cue’ behaviours is large because they WANT TO learn.
© Oliver Beverly, C.L.E.A.R. Dog Training, Brisbane