The How to Tell When Someone Claims to, but Doesn’t Actually Understand Dog Training Starter Kit:

✔️Won’t use “corrective” tools in dog training, but yells at their dog constantly for not listening.

✔️Allows their dog to pull on a “gentle” leader with the strap almost in the dogs eyeballs, but touts that prong collars are inhumane.

✔️Gives unsolicited advice on the internet and says things like: “Try humane ‘science based’ dog training instead,” implying that only positive reinforcement is science-based.

This is the age we live in. We live in a sea of experts simply because people have a keyboard and Google. Believers in positive reinforcement (+R) only training, from my experience are some of the most critical, confrontational folks out there. I’m not writing this to draw a line in the sand. I actually think that the more people talk about +R versus balanced, the more of a divide it creates in all of us. But because I see so much of this nonsense, I need to speak up. Aren’t we all in this for the same reason, to help dogs and live a happier life with them? But here’s the thing. It’s all bullshit. It’s a fear mongering façade that certain personality types like to force onto others. I’m here to give some much needed clarification on this topic.

All of science works: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, negative punishment. It’s ALL science and it ALL works to increase or decrease the likelihood of a behavior happening again. The next time you hear someone refer to +R as the only part of the four quadrants that is “science-based” laugh, and then ignore everything else they have to say.

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Oh and here’s the kicker. There’s no such thing as positive-only training. In order to achieve that your dog would have to live completely off leash, free range. The second you have a leash on a dog you’re using negative reinforcement. If you tell your dog “no”, or use your leg to quickly block them from bolting out of a doorway, you’re using positive punishment. Dogs are ALWAYS being trained by the cause and effect patterns that take place within our homes day to day, whether we realize it or not. Let’s stop the madness and not have such harsh opinions or choose sides on topics we don’t thoroughly understand. 

Aren’t we all in this for the love of dogs anyway? And if we respect dogs for who they are in their most pure form, WE WON’T BE AGAINST THEIR INNATE WAYS OF LEARNING; as Mother Nature isn’t exactly keen on positive reinforcement only.