Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Gguevara, Jan 13, 2010.
Short question, is koehler training basically all corrections, choke chains etc?
Depends on how you look at it, I guess.
Koehler Training Website:
Dog Management Systems presents
Traditional Koehler how I remember it (reading it a few years ago) and seeing Koehler trainers there was never any p+ But not all of it is 'mean'. Its not something I would use training style wise, even the less mean bits. Part of the idea behind it is good, but to me its not a good application of those ideas.
There is no positive reinforcement as far as I remember. It's not all bad though. It certainly gets results.
There are parts of it I use. There are parts I would consider using. And of course there are parts I would never use.
I've read two of his books. You have to understand that at the time he was training we didn't have the dog psychology information that we have today, so he was operating under certain misconceptions. That said, most trainers who use a choker do not actually follow his method. His method was to teach the dog what you want him to do, usually through modeling. After that, he used the choker to make corrections on a dog who presumably knew what he was supposed to do. Koehler did not use the choker to make the dog figure out what he had to do to avoid getting popped by the chain.
Koehler did not understand about generalizing, that dogs do not generalize so that's why they behave properly at home, but don't when they get to training class. You have to reteach them. If you read his books you can glean some very useful advice. I learned about long line work from reading his books, though I use a harness rather than a slip collar. He was right, long line work greatly improves at home respect.
We've had real behavioral science since much further back than Koehler. People just didn't make use of it because they were clinging relentlessly (and many still do) to wolf pack theory. And incorrect wolf pack theory at that. Thorndike, Lorenz, Pavlov and Skinner and more. Skinner actually recommended, specifically, a cricket toy (clicker) for dog trainers. The idea of operant/classical conditioning was there for the taking, but didn't really get going till later.
I read Koehler's book back in the 70s or early 80s and it sickened me, even though I trained in a more compulsive way back then.
short answer, NO.
I don't know if there's ever been someone that has been talked about and vilified more than Koehler by people that have never read, nor ever attempted to actually read what he said, or think about it. They just repeat like parrots what someone else said.
so, one thread out of thousands on the net is your sample size? i'm actually surprised this thread has so few responses. I guess Koehler is old hat now a few years ago, this thread probably would have drawn the same type response as a certain guy does today.
His teachings weren't perfect by any means, but there is much more in there, that sound training principles can be based on, even by today's standards.
Yes absolutely, actually more so. Because I do believe that people are better educated today in how to train animals/dogs. Especially considering how many people compete now compared to 40 years ago. And the simple fact that there is so much readily available information.
I also wasn't using this one thread as an example but thinking of the number of people that I know along with the countless threads on the net concerning this topic, so it wasn't based on this one little thread.
I also believe that no one method or any one person is perfect and that a person can read Koelher and take some good out of it, as long as that isn't the ONLY thing they read and train by. I don't agree with many of the methods of CM either, but that also doesn't mean everything he does is wrong. And I do respect what he has done for the Pitties.
I often have working spots or audit seminars, I may only take one or two things away from that seminar and I may not agree with the methods of the presentor but that doesn't mean I don't tuck as much of that information away as possible to either use, not use or to modify it to my own uses.
One of my fav pass times is finding very old training/breeding books on horses and dogs etc and I do read them. Some of the methods are very scary and down right cruel but there is still some very good information to be had in them.
One of my fav old breeding books was written in the early 1900's, some very valueable information on how to whelp etc, especially considering they didn't have Vets then around every corner.
So my point to all this is simple, the more information you can obtain from as many different sources as possible is never a bad thing. The key is being educated enough to sort through it and not believing everything as gospel.
Very well said adojrts. I agree 100%.
Can I get an AMEN?!
I agree completely
I actually studied with a former canine officer, who ran a local training group based on the book "The Koehler Method of Guard Dog Training" (I think that's the correct title, if rusty memory serves). I also raised one of his dobermans up until she was two years of age, then the dog went to his daughter. This was 30 years ago. He has since passed away. His wife still does local training using the basic Koehler dog obedience book, which is very much Koehler "lite" in comparisson to the guard dog portion of what Koehler taught.
Now, I've always been an independant thinker and will not blindly follow what someone else teaches. Most of my work with this doberman was done on my own and away from the instructor. I never got into the agitation or bite-work, only basic obedience. When he told me to "hang" (all fours off the ground) this dog for a minor infraction, huh, no way. He was generally a know-it-all-my-way-or-the-highway kind of guy in his early years. When I ran into him before he died, I jokingly said "Hey G___, hung any dogs lately?" to which he laughed and replied "I haven't hung a dog in fifteen years!". Well, I guess he was capable of growth after all.
Anyway, Koehler does have some good stuff if you stick to the basic obedience portion of his philosophies. He did use praise as positive reinforcement, but no treats. I still use the word "out", the line work, and especially his manuevers and turns when teaching "heel". He had his own basic form of a NILF type of philosophy, which I also still use.
Now, I do have some major issues with Koehler's guard dog book and some of the aversion methods. The darkside did include taping an object in a dog's mouth for chewing, dunking a dog's head into a water-filled hole for digging, hitting a dog with a leather strap as a punishment, and hanging with all fours off the ground.
Locally, I've seen better results in dealing with aggression and leash work at the owner level from the dogs who have gone to my former instructor's wife's class than I have from the folks who are using the "positive" (not balanced trainers who are primarily positive, I'm talking about the extremist "positive only" type) trainers.
I think there is always a danger in following anyone blindly. I pick and choose lots of great tidbits from a variety of different people, philosophies, and methods. I agree with much which has been said regarding this and admire the folks who don't rush to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
So, that's my take on Koehler.
But this is what kills me (bolded) how do you know that the 'positive only' trainers are using those methods correctly? Many people who claim to be positive only trainers may not be using those methods right either and the end result has people going in the other direction which gives the corrections type trainers fodder as to why Positive doesn't work.
I have had students that I don't allow them to use food rewards or if they do, I give them the rewards to give to their dog.......why? Because they are not training by rewards but luring and shovelling food into their dog's mouths.......and they are the first ones that complain that they can't get results. Meanwhile, I am tearing my hair out, repeating how to use the methods correctly, demonstating and providing hand outs but you can
t get them to stop when 'training' at home. Then they blame the method and the instructor.
Success to me in training dogs especially ones with issues is about understanding behaviour (and knowing what you are seeing) and how a dog is hard wired. And second is getting the owner/hanlder to understand how and why the method CAN work and does work even if you have to modify it to suit the owner and/or dog.
:hail: :hail: ...on both the above.
Problems begin when people either a.) believe everything they read from ONE source; and especially b.) look for a one-size-fits all solution.
It just doesn't work that way. Dogs are not computers that can be easily programmed. They are living, sentient beings and each is unique. That's part of the challenge... but also part of the fun of training.
There's just nothing like seeing that "light bulb" go off in a dog's head when he/she understands and is so happy to understand.
I would like to point out I know of a 'balanced trainer' that helicopters and hangs dogs. That does not mean I would paint all balanced trainers with the same brush.
Just cause people do it wrong does not mean it doesn't work. The stance of the Association of Vet behaviourists is that of positive reinforcement. If it didn't work you would think it would be rejected. Us science types reject methods known to be faulty.
THe problem arises when wannabe dog trainers hang out a shingle.. doesn't matter what style they profess to do. I feel very sad for you Angelique that you haven't had the chance to exp really good positive trainers. People with very very high success rates and extremely precise and obedient dogs...
(I have to say I am lucky to have met people who are considered excellent in their chosen style so have seen first hand the various styles done well)
See....If I read from someone that they advocate and recommend hanging a dog by his neck, with all four feet off the ground, until he loses consciousness or someone who forces a dog's head under water until he is sputtering and gasping for breath or let your dog run fast out to the end of a 25 ft. line and let him hit the end. Give it a yank so he'll flip over backwards. He'll never run out ahead again causes me to more than disrespect anything about that person....causes me to dislike that person intensely....makes me want to put that person in prison. Anyone who could abuse an animal that way, I do not want to know or associate with in any way. One book was enough for me. I moved on. I have read many, many books on dog training since the mid 60s or early 70s. I have not stopped reading. But when I read that one, I think the next one was the Monks of New Skete, then How to be your dog's best friend, then others that I use to bring home from the library. None of them were that great. Things have come a long way since then. We have so many good trainers/behaviorists writing books now. There is just no excuse for beating up, bullying and threatening a dog anymore.
I don't care if he gets a few things or even a lot of things right. I will throw the baby out with the bath water because if there is anything good that that person has to say, you can be darn sure the word of good things spread. And there will be other trainers who also use these good things and teach them. I don't need to slog through more of someone's books or seminars where a vast percentage of it disgusts and outrages me, to find one or two good things. I can find those from many, many other sources. If there are any good, workable tips for training that line up with my philosophy of how I believe dogs deserve to be treated, I can be sure to find them without digging through someone's books when they disgust and upset me. Dog training is suppose to be fun. At least that's the way I see it. And I will not train a dog unless he has fun too.
I agree with your post Dekka. I can relate to what you say. (as usual) LOL.
I am going to throw a flip side at you as to why I believe it is important to read them and to understand the methods. If somebody gets a dog, whether it be a students dog or one for themselves and that dog HAD been trained by those methods, wouldn't it be reasonable that if you know the methods that were used on the dogs, that you would be better able to help it?
And by reading the material of such a trainer that you don't like, don't respect and absolutey hate their methods, that you are then able to give sound educated arguements to others as to why those methods shouldn't be used?
Remember that old saying, ' Know your enemy'?
That jerk Brad Pattison is coming to do a seminar near me, don't want to give him an ounce of my hard earned money nor am I interested in anything he has to say ...........on the other hand I do know that a very good trainer is planning on going to get into a behavioural/training debate with him. That would be oh so much fun to watch lol. I know he isn't in her league and once he figured that out, I would expect he wont debate with her.
Oh, I hate when people do this to seminar presenters, it's so disrespectful.
I don't think it is. If you pay your money and are polite why can't you debate? I mean where else will you get a chance to?
I mean if it gets disruptive thats bad. But when I went to the Ian Dunbar seminar there was enough time to go and talk to him on breaks and such. I don't see why its disrespectful to want to debate someone.
Why is everyone so afraid of open discussion?