The Difference Between Dog Poop and a Bagel:



It may surprise you to know that behavior modification isn’t the same thing as “learning” in the sense used by scientists and modern dog trainers. If this sounds like splitting hairs, it’s not. It is a significant point that leads people down the garden path. I’ll give you an example.

Example 1: “Punishment does not teach an animal what to do.”

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The Distorted World of Hearsay Expertise:

I lived in the Pacific Northwest for enough years to know the area well. I went to college and managed a humane society in Corvallis, Oregon. I lived in Seattle and Everett, Washington and with the National Guard I routinely traveled up the Columbia Gorge to central Washington. If we have a conversation and you tell me that there is a restaurant at the top of the Space Needle at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, I’m going to do an instant brain freeze. I already know that you are either mistaken, stupid, inventing the information or passing along something someone else told you. Regardless of cause or motivation I know you are not describing reality. The biggest reason for similar statements within modern, scientific dog training and behavior modification is of the latter category – passing on hearsay from people who claim to be experts. Like the Space Needle in Orlando, their image of reality is based on fiction. Note: This fiction is very profitable and elevates the status of the pretender.

Myths Passed Like Gas:

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Weeing Weenies and What to do with them:

Doxie2Many years ago I lived with an adorable Mini-Dachshund named Rosey. Every time I attempted to greet her, she urinated. I ignored her, she urinated. I tossed treats on the ground to distract her. She urinated. I had my roommate put Rosey in a crate for about 10 minutes so she couldn’t greet me as I entered the house. She urinated. No matter what we did, Rosey leaked when she greeted people. This type of urination goes by a number of names — submissive urination, submissive wetting, excitement urination and greeting urination. Regardless of what you call it, it’s big nuisance for dog owners.

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Punishment is bad because you might have to reapply it: Tell that to Wiley Coyote

A common objection to aversive control, first proposed by B.F. Skinner in his 1953 book, Science and Human Behavior, is that punishment sucks because it may not stop the behavior forever. Meaning you may have to re-apply it if the behavior comes back. That Skinner had no idea how to stop a behavior for life or that it is entirely do-able is a different set of topics and I will not digress at this time. So I will present the rebuttal alone.
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