“What Science Says”

coke-vending-machine-47815It is quite popular for animal trainers to claim that they use “scientific” methods. They also like to use the word “evidence-based” which implies that a higher standard of proof was used to find knowledge. Hogwash. It’s actually a cheap attempt to elevate their status and shut up the competition. Nothing more, nothing less. If you doubt the sweeping range of my accusation, let’s look at the real evidence – evidence that would stand up in a criminal court of law. Continue reading

Aversive Control: A biological and evolutionary perspective. Part 3

MousetrapNow that we’ve laid out the foundation for the topic it’s time to talk about specifics. First and foremost I have to clear up a widely held fantasy. Training is not the only situation where your dog might experience some fear inspiring or painful events. People who predict dire consequences from using aversive control in training seem ignorant of this fact. Scary and often painful events are part of life. Dogs are built to deal with it. Some of those events change a dog’s behavior and sometimes – like a vet performing a terrifying and/or painful procedure – they simply have to bite the bullet.
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Contrast: The Secret to Changing Behaviors Effectively – Pt. 1

At any given time in a dog’s life there exists a readiness to be influenced by the environment. The dog’s senses are designed to monitor every waking moment for changes or anomalies. This means more than you think. It is not simply novelty that triggers focus. It is more than that. Any deviation at all is noticed. Deviation itself creates novelty. That can include the absence of some normally occurring thing, an odd combination of objects or sequences that are individually long-standing associations.
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