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Steven_L
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PostSubject: 5 Myths about Treats   Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:27 pm

1.Treats are bribes. This myth is the old standard. The "Greensleeves" of treat disparagement, if you will. Let's be clear: a bribe and a reinforcer are not the same thing. A bribe is produced before the desired behavior, a reinforcer is produced after the behavior. Yes, some people do show their dogs a treat before asking them to do something. They're doing it wrong.

2.If you use food, your dogs will not obey you without it. Here again is a myth based on bad training. The only reason your dog would refuse to perform without food is because she's used to seeing it beforehand. You're doing it wrong.

3.Dogs should work because they want to please you. Some people seem to think that dogs should find working for their people inherently rewarding, like Jeeves and Wooster, or Smithers and Burns. When you think about it, it's pretty silly. Yes, it's true that dogs and humans have lived side-by-side for millennia, and as a result we are uniquely suited to work together, but the idea that this relationship is so one-sided that dogs will perform for no tangible reward makes no sense and is anthropomorphism, plain and simple. It's nice, it's romantic, and it makes for a great tear-jerker, but sorry folks; Disney dogs exist only in Disney movies.

4.Dogs should work for praise. Closely related to the the previous myth is the idea that dogs find praise inherently rewarding. Some dogs actually do find praise rewarding, and it's also possible to condition praise as a reinforcer (it may even happen as a side effect of a good relationship), but the idea that all or even most dogs are eager to work for just a pat on the head or a "good dog" is more fantasy.

5.Training for treats is fine for tricks, but not for "real training." I really find this one mystifying, but actually see it most often expressed by trainers. Is it that dogs instinctively know the difference between tricks and "real training" and take one less seriously than the other? Or maybe that behaviors trained without food are more reliable? What makes them more reliable? A lack of food? An emphasis on punishment or the threat of punishment? Maybe it's that inherently rewarding praise? Why would one reinforcer always lead to less reliable performance than another, regardless of the situation and individual dog?

Read more about this at: http://dogstardaily.com/blogs/5-myths-about-training-dogs-treats (read some of the comments)

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PostSubject: Re: 5 Myths about Treats   Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:33 pm

Very interesting! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: 5 Myths about Treats   Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:46 am

Steven_L wrote:
3.Dogs should work because they want to please you. Some people seem to think that dogs should find working for their people inherently rewarding, like Jeeves and Wooster, or Smithers and Burns. When you think about it, it's pretty silly. Yes, it's true that dogs and humans have lived side-by-side for millennia, and as a result we are uniquely suited to work together, but the idea that this relationship is so one-sided that dogs will perform for no tangible reward makes no sense and is anthropomorphism, plain and simple. It's nice, it's romantic, and it makes for a great tear-jerker, but sorry folks; Disney dogs exist only in Disney movies.

4.Dogs should work for praise. Closely related to the the previous myth is the idea that dogs find praise inherently rewarding. Some dogs actually do find praise rewarding, and it's also possible to condition praise as a reinforcer (it may even happen as a side effect of a good relationship), but the idea that all or even most dogs are eager to work for just a pat on the head or a "good dog" is more fantasy.
Steven, you KNEW you'd get a response from me, didn't you!?!?! Well, here goes!!! Smile

Its interestion that #3 and #4 are thought to be myths. I dont think its SILLY to think that dogs should want to work for you just b/c they like you. I dont think its a myth that they will work for you just to recieve praise or maybe just a tactile reward.

I actually think of these as training GOALS.

IMHO, it should be the goal of every dog owner to have a dog that will respond to voice and hand commands without expecting anything except a hearty "good dog" or a pat on the head. OH BTW, it is a very attainable goal. I have acheived it personally with 3 dogs, and I'm working on it with Patchs as we speak. So I ask you, does this mean that Tippie, Chip and Neka are "Disney Dogs?" Grin

The reason that its perfectly reasonable to EXPECT this level of excellence from a dog is b/c it is a reality. Just look at the Police dogs, Search and Rescue dogs, service dogs and even a lot of hunting dogs and hearding dogs. While they most often recieve a toy, a tug or a ball as a reward, it's not a food treat is it? Sheep dogs and hearding dogs seldom get anything more than their dinner and a warm place to sleep as a reward for a hard days work.

The key to attaining this "no treats" reward system is to build a UNBREAKABLE BOND with your dog. A bond is a friendship. Once the bond of friendship is built, and you are BEST friends with each other, you will want to do ANYTHING for your dog, and the feeling will be mutual.

I would like to note that with a puppy or a younger dog, it may take longer to "get there" because of the high energy levels and the shorter level of consentration they have. With older dogs, (like Neka for instance) it only took about a year. With Chip, it took about 5 years. With Tippie, it took his owner about 5 years. Bth Chip and Tippie were 8 week old pups when we got them. I think thats why police and service dogs go thru as much pre-job training. It takes a while to get the "puppy" out of them!

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PostSubject: Re: 5 Myths about Treats   Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:30 pm

Betterdog4u wrote:
Steven_L wrote:
3.Dogs should work because they want to please you. Some people seem to think that dogs should find working for their people inherently rewarding, like Jeeves and Wooster, or Smithers and Burns. When you think about it, it's pretty silly. Yes, it's true that dogs and humans have lived side-by-side for millennia, and as a result we are uniquely suited to work together, but the idea that this relationship is so one-sided that dogs will perform for no tangible reward makes no sense and is anthropomorphism, plain and simple. It's nice, it's romantic, and it makes for a great tear-jerker, but sorry folks; Disney dogs exist only in Disney movies.

4.Dogs should work for praise. Closely related to the the previous myth is the idea that dogs find praise inherently rewarding. Some dogs actually do find praise rewarding, and it's also possible to condition praise as a reinforcer (it may even happen as a side effect of a good relationship), but the idea that all or even most dogs are eager to work for just a pat on the head or a "good dog" is more fantasy.
Steven, you KNEW you'd get a response from me, didn't you!?!?! Well, here goes!!! Smile

Its interestion that #3 and #4 are thought to be myths. I dont think its SILLY to think that dogs should want to work for you just b/c they like you. I dont think its a myth that they will work for you just to recieve praise or maybe just a tactile reward.

I actually think of these as training GOALS.

IMHO, it should be the goal of every dog owner to have a dog that will respond to voice and hand commands without expecting anything except a hearty "good dog" or a pat on the head. OH BTW, it is a very attainable goal. I have acheived it personally with 3 dogs, and I'm working on it with Patchs as we speak. So I ask you, does this mean that Tippie, Chip and Neka are "Disney Dogs?" Grin

The reason that its perfectly reasonable to EXPECT this level of excellence from a dog is b/c it is a reality. Just look at the Police dogs, Search and Rescue dogs, service dogs and even a lot of hunting dogs and hearding dogs. While they most often recieve a toy, a tug or a ball as a reward, it's not a food treat is it? Sheep dogs and hearding dogs seldom get anything more than their dinner and a warm place to sleep as a reward for a hard days work.

The key to attaining this "no treats" reward system is to build a UNBREAKABLE BOND with your dog. A bond is a friendship. Once the bond of friendship is built, and you are BEST friends with each other, you will want to do ANYTHING for your dog, and the feeling will be mutual.

I would like to note that with a puppy or a younger dog, it may take longer to "get there" because of the high energy levels and the shorter level of consentration they have. With older dogs, (like Neka for instance) it only took about a year. With Chip, it took about 5 years. With Tippie, it took his owner about 5 years. Bth Chip and Tippie were 8 week old pups when we got them. I think thats why police and service dogs go thru as much pre-job training. It takes a while to get the "puppy" out of them!

Twisted Evil Oh you caught on to me! jocolor

I personally don't agree with the 3rd and 4th myths either. Althought I'm sure they are true in some dogs, but the ultimate goal in training is to get a dog to obey a command without having to wave a treat in their face (actually that would be a bribe).

Good job Mike! +5 Wink

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