Positive training, while a welcome training method through and through, still has a healthy amount of debate on what exactly it is. Many still need to know that positive reinforcement is definitely not positive training, and that positive reinforcement is a system employing no aversives whatsoever. Indeed, what is positive training? And what makes an aversive mild, or harsh?
Most owners generally think of positive reinforcement as the reward – a game, a treat, patting, belly rubs – given for good behavior. Others also think of positive training as mostly training a dog what to do, compared to training a dog what not to do.
This means that, with Golden Retriever Training, the dog, say, gets good things for doing what the owner wants, otherwise it does not get anything good for not doing what was expected.
But it is known to most owners that there is a difference in not rewarding to deliberately dishing out to the dog something unpleasant, and more so if that something causes discomfort. To put it into action, the first instance can always happen (skipping a cookie and giving only a pat), but the last one can be skipped altogether for the dog’s good (absolutely no physical punishment).
Still others look at positive training as the putting into action of a reward based training plan. So in order to train a dog to “go out,” a treat is placed on the target, as against using an e-collar to put the dog on the spot, or a pulley system.
Most trainers consider as light punishment acts like withholding rewards, and applying pressure on the leash. A leash pop counts as medium. Lastly, some sensitive dog owners think that examples of heavy punishment are eye contact, and lifting the dog by its scruff. The average trainer is also likely to say that the e-collar makes a tricky correction device, in the sense that it can be a valuable tool to a minimum extent, but only if mastered well.
Still other trainers see “positive reinforcement” as the rewards themselves, “positive training” as the system which uses positive reinforcement, and “positive based training” as a system which utilizes positive reinforcement most of the time.
Before we end, let’s get updated on more kinds of corrections we may or may not ought to use in our Golden Retriever Training. More examples of mild aversives would be a slight verbal correction such as “eh eh”, a foot’s nudge (not a kick) on the dog’s fanny to get its attention, or dropping a can of coins near it.
Heavy punishment involve corporal punishment. But these are of course no-nos.