I know this has been discussed in the past, but I was wondering if there are any trainers now that have managed to put master hunters or field trial championships on dogs using "purely positive" methods. There is a woman in my agility class that wants to do field work with her lab but won't go to any trainers that aren't "positive." She is so caught up in the "purely positive" that she can't see that any other methods of training are valid and can be useful.
Beth
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I know this has been discussed in the past, but I was wondering if there are any trainers now that have managed to put master hunters or field trial championships on dogs using "purely positive" methods.

Very unlikely. But the dogs are doing what they love and can live with consequences. Susan can weigh in.
I know this has been discussed in the past, but I was wondering if there are any trainers now that ... agility class that wants to do field work with her lab but won't go to any trainers that aren't "positive."

Why doesn't she want to train her dog herself?
That would be the best way to put her PP "theories" into practice. She will never really be totally convinced otherwise.
She is so caught up in the "purely positive" that she can't see that any other methods of training are valid and can be useful.

Most people have to find out certain things the hard way.

This sounds like one of them.
Your classmate sounds like the ideal candidate for this age-old learning technique. Emotion: smile

Handsome "Jack" Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to reply via e-mail
Q: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation. A: Why is top posting frowned upon?
You can most likely get a WC (working certificate) and maybe the JH (Junior Hunter) but I doubt that someone could get really good distance work and do blind retrieves with PP.
I'm not PP but will not do an ear pinch and am told by field people that we won't go far without it; that Kali will not have the drive over long distances, difficult terrain and long training days and that without a compulsory retrieve she will refuse when she's felt like she's had enough or give up when finding the bird is difficult and may refuse to pick up a cripple.
Personally, I don't care. I'll be happy with a WC and/or a JH which are fairly easy to get and fun to train for. The WC is a single land retrieve at about 50 yards and two back to back singles (or one double) from the water. The JH is 4 single retrieves; 2 on land and 2 from water less than 100 yards.

Kristen and
Kali CDX, CGC, TDIA, TT
www.kristenandkali.com
You can most likely get a WC (working certificate) and maybe the JH (Junior Hunter) but I doubt that someone ... but will not do an ear pinch and am told by field people that we won't go far without it;()

There are other ways to force-fetch a dog. And if the breeding is there, you might even get away with no FF at all. For hunt tests, not field trials. It may take a lot longer, but it can be done. I think a MH is within reach of any dog with great breeding and a patient trainer, whether he's FF'd or not. But forget about field trials.
that Kali will not have the drive over long distances, difficult terrain and long training days and that without a ... she's had enough or give up when finding the bird is difficult and may refuse to pick up a cripple.()

She may, and then again, she may not. And the distances are fairly short in hunt tests. That's why you might have a shot at it, if you're in no hurry and can afford the extra entry fees (because it's going to take your dog more tries).
As many Zen masters advise, it's not about reaching your destination, it's about enjoying the journey.
OOmm.

Handsome "Jack" Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to reply via e-mail
Q: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation. A: Why is top posting frowned upon?
I was wondering if there are any trainers now that have managed to putmaster hunters or field trial championships on dogs using "purely positive" methods.

The short answer is:
No.
The longer answer is that if you attempt to teach all the complex behavior chains required for upper level field retrieving events with the feed-back from the trainer being all shades of white, the dog is likely to be confused and out of control, which will do nothing but frustrate both handler and retriever. This scenario falls far short of the mutually enjoyable interactive experience that training for this TEAM event should be.
If, on the other paw, the trainer makes the communications to the dog CLEAR by painting in black and white, the dog gets the "picture" much more readily! The human/cannine cooperative venture is not de-railed by misunderstandings and vague resentments. This lends itself to a journey (ooomm) that is much more enjoyable for both parties, whether it acheives the goal of earining titles or not.
Tell your PP friend to do a little research into "self-rewarding behaviors" in operant conditioning theory.( Hint: these are behaviors that you cannot extinguish by ignoring (negative punishment) or offering something better (positive reinforcement).)
To a birdy retriever, there are many instances where there is simply nothing better than getting the bird, and ANYYTHING you offer is of lesser value. And simply ignoring many behaviors means the dog goes out of control in pursuit, which is counterproductive at best, and usually downright dangerous. (Remember that retrievers are totally off lead in unfenced fields during training.)

If you limit yourself to two quadrants of OC (positive reinforcement and negative punishment), and refuse to resort to the other two (negative reinforcement or positive punishment) EVER, your choices are to:
1) live with the self-rewarding behavior,or

2) be in total control of the environment so that the dog never has a chance toindulge in a self-rewarding behavior.
Choice 1 precludes earning any title, even Junior Hunter.

Choice 2 prevents attempting any title, even Junior Hunter.

IF, however, the trainer is willing to go slowly and communicate with the dog that there are some things that are NOT O.K., even if they are self-rewarding (and this doesn't take a lot of P+ ro R- but it does take some) then it is possible to introduce those things slowly and gently and instill some degree self-restraint on the part of the dog.
And once this is acheived, the dog is capable of internalizing a work ethic that allows you to use other methods of "control" that rely on self-disclipline and self-regulation on the dog's part. BUT it is still always desirable to have total control over the environment to remove the thing that self-rewards (which is impossible).
It's kinda like the "leap of faith" thing. You have to get the dog to trust that there is a greater reward in the future by abstaining from the immediate pleasure of the "sin" right now. And you can't use threat of fire and brimstone ;->
It IS possible to get the dog to make the leap of faith and abstain from self-rewarding behaviors. Just not with purely positive methods.

IMHO.
Is your friend on the Click-train email list? There are a few retriever trainers over there who DO discuss training methods. None are "Pure" but some are willing to go much slower, accept a looser degree of control, and ultimatley acheive a lower standard of performance than I.

But even among clicker trainers, it is my finding that the ones who retriever train resort to some sort of P+. Hell, I write a column about retriever training for The Clicker Journal, and I make no bones about using an ecollar!
Susan Fraser, owned and trained by
Auntie SheBop, Boog "da Man", and ShamMoo and her Gold Octet http://mypeoplepc.com/members/chinchuba/AuH2OK9s /
What does this woman consider "positive?" There's a range of "positive" training methods and trainers. If she is into clicker training, there is a mailing list that is really wonderful. That's where I'd ask if anyone is doing field work and how far they've gotten.
Is she dead set on master hunter or field trial championship? Or does she just want to develop her dog's working ability and demonstrate it at more of the entry level?
Also, are there any opportunities to do field work with dogs that aren't in a strict coach/trainer setting? For example groups that get together and work with their dogs?
Though I can't directly answer the question asked I don't know a lot of field people, much less know what training methods they are using I would encourage her to "go for it." Whether it's been done before or not. Just because something has always been done that way doesn't ALWAYS mean that's the best or the only way to do it. And only by actually doing it, identifying the training tasks and probems that come up, can she (or anyone) really learn what works.If she wants to go for it, here's what I'd recommend. Find a like-minded training group, and that includes online groups. Concurrently, get the rules for field trials, and go to some events. See what the dogs need to be able to do, learn what the training tasks are. And yes, find out how they are traditionally done. Then take those tasks to her like-minded group and work the problem! It may be quite possible to train a dog to the level she is interested in with methods that suit her, and the best way to determine that is to try.

It may also be that some of the "traditional" methods really are the clearest and most straightforward for the dog, and only by working on the problem with an open mind will she learn if that's the case for her. So... just do it!

Quoth (Email Removed) (Bethgsd) on 25 Nov 2003 00:02:39 GMT,
I know this has been discussed in the past, but I was wondering if there are any trainers now that ... in the "purely positive" that she can't see that any other methods of training are valid and can be useful.

Only know that there is no spork.
Though I can't directly answer the question asked I don't know a lot of field people, much less know what training methods they are using I would encourage her to "go for it."()

I know one thing I'd pay to watch. Emotion: smile

Handsome "Jack" Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to reply via e-mail
Q: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation. A: Why is top posting frowned upon?
Oh, Hi , Susan! I must not have seen this message before I replied, or else I'd have referred to it. ClickTrain is indeed the list I was thinking of if she's interested in clicker training, and I sort-of remembered that we have "a field retriever person" who has chosen to use an e-collar. If I recall correctly, you didn't go to the e-collar right off the bat, you looked at the tasks and how to best communicate them and decided what was best for your dogs. Huzzah! To me that *is* positive training, keeping an open mind and finding what works best, is clearest for the dog.
I am hammering on this point because the usual response is "it can't be done" or pointing out that no one has reached high levels without this or that tool or technique. Whatever she ends up doing, an important part of the journey is (in keeping with the zen analogy) being mindful. I think mindfully trying to train a working retriever without positive punishment is a good journey, and the best and clearest path will make itself apparent if one pays attention to what one is doing and how the dog is reacting.
I would pick a couple of nits. Ignoring the behavior is not negative punishment. It's just non-reinforcement... *if* reinforcement depends on your not ignoring it, e.g. begging at table, barking to be let in or out. If ignoring the behavior means the dog gets to something it finds pleasant/rewarding, then ignoring the behavior can be positive reinforcement! Seems like this might be the problem in field training?

Only know that there is no spork.
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