Schutzhund and positive reinforcement training

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by sallygoeswaltzing, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    40,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    This is where training discussions get messy, because many people have their own idea of what "correcting" means. I correct my dog all the time--verbally. And I withhold rewards (negative punishment), like a toy or treat, if they don't do what I know they know how to do (a fully proofed command). If it's still a work in process, then a very mild "nope, try again" is all I give as a "correction".

    But most people view corrections as leash pops, scruffs, alpha rolls, etc. aka "physical punishment/positive punishment" and that's where the trouble (for the average pet owner) starts.
     
  2. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    I lean towards thinking it means fight drive in this context, which is itself a bit of an iffy thing, as it's unclear whether fight drive is a real drive or if it's some combination of prey and defense working together.

    A dog certainly can do schutzhund entirely in prey drive. My best bark and hold dog doesn't even have interest in biting the sleeve. His bark for the sleeve was harnessed out of and attention bark. It's a horribly demanding "Me!Me!Me!" bark and impresses a lot of schutzhund people.

    Tyr barks out of frustration and he bites in play drive. It gets the job done, and I prefer to work with what he brings to the game than put him into an uncomfortable state of mind. Because he's in play drive, he's pretty easy to control.

    But at high levels of the sport, the judges do prefer a dog with defense and fight. How much is necessary really depends on your goals.
     
  3. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    I agree.

    But Joe Public isn't usually at the local schutzhund club.
     
  4. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    4,381
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    7
    Location:
    Midwest
    aggression can come in different forms for different dogs. It's tough to define, for me, it's one of those things you learn to identify with experience. I don't like to use prey and defense, because I think those are pretty vague terms and there can be lots of confusion using them.

    Dog training is easy with experience, but complicated too. For me, a dog can have a lot of prey drive, but very high thresholds to stimulate those behaviors, and defense? that is for when they feel threatened and what most people call "aggression",but some dogs, Mals especially have a lot of prey aggression too.

    For me, nerve strength and thresholds mean a lot more to me than what "drive" they're in. Some dogs will go into "defense" very easily, but have no nerve to stay in the fight. Some dogs have such strong nerves and high thresholds you have to push the dog so far to get even a tiny bit of real aggression it's not worth it. It's too hard on the decoy/handler :) Some dogs have ton of "prey" drive, but have no nerve to come and get it when the "prey" is cornered, ie the blind or on re-attacks (drive switch to defense) Some have poor nerves, but such high prey, they cant' help but come and bite, even though in their mind, they want to run.

    We don't do table training. I've actually never met anyone that has. To me, if the dog can't do it with 4 legs on the ground, they have no business doing it anyway. We do use tables to teach positions and do OB stuff on them, but that's entirely different.

    I'd say the people i've trained with most vary pretty widely in how they train, but most of their training is based in motivation, but some will use e-collars or pinches for corrections, some will put their dog up and stop the fun, some can use mostly all verbal, and pretty much everything in between at some point. Honestly, there isn't a lot of difference in the end products if the handler is competent in what they're doing. I have never seen someone not use a "correction" and train the dog to standards I think they should be at.

    To a lot of people, it's just a way to go have fun, and it is for me too. In fact it is my number one priority to have fun with my dogs. But at the same time, it's a test, or it should be. Dogs and handlers need to be pushed, they need to be tested, and sometimes it isn't always happy fun and pretty, but when pressure is applied it is also taken away. In the end I think it makes a more complete dog and a more complete test of the nerve and strength of the dog. Physical corrections are a part of that and they can be used in positive ways for the end product considering the handler knows what they're doing. I've also seen yahoo's that have no business handling any dog, let alone a fine working dog, and you can see they're a moron in their work. The dogs dont' lie, you can tell what someone is doing to them just watching them interact.

    and most importantly, schutzhund or any of the ring sports aren't something you learn in a few week class and get a certificate. it's years of training to get it right, and that's just with one dog, then you get another one and everything is different :) But it gets easier, you make less mistakes, but you still make new ones even if you're smart. If not, you just keep making the same ones over and over again :)

    I've seen a few have success early, some because they were more natural in their understanding of dogs, and they got a good dog to start, but usually, it takes a lot work and experience to get good at it, but that's like anything i guess.
     
  5. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    8,893
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 Pit bulls and 2 Malinois, We like to stay busy.
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Home Page:
    Great post.

    I completely agree about nerves are most important. I have (in my relatively short time in this sport and prior to this one in PSA) seen more dogs than I should have seen dogs that owners just keep pushing and pushing and frankly their dogs are just not made for the sport.

    Honestly I got ridiculously lucky with my male. I didn't know exactly what I was looking for when I bought him and he outshines all the other dogs at our club (until my TD gets his new pup lol). Our female is very nice as well but a bit on the overly nervey/edgy side like the rest of the mals in our club. The GSDs are mostly boring but I have hopes for the two puppies if their handlers can rise up with the dogs.

    We currently only have these two breeds but have a boxer that plans to come out soon enough and I'll be interested to see some variety.
     
  6. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    9,420
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Georgia
    Can someone explain what tabling a dog is? I've done some schutzhund, but most of it has been in the obedience part with a bit of tracking and a bit of protection. I've heard of tabling a dog, but I don't have any real clue as to what it is.
     
  7. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    8,893
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 Pit bulls and 2 Malinois, We like to stay busy.
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Home Page:
    A quick explanation set forth by Ed Frawley (not a favorite of mine or... anyones.. lol)

    "Let's take a minute and explain exactly how table training works. Two tables are used. A three foot square table at waist-height and a shorter, larger round table closer to the floor. The dog is chained to the taller table by a short chain attached to a swivel that turns 360 degrees. When moved to the short table, the length of chain is increased. The tall table is used for the beginning work and the short table used for the control work.

    Table training is founded in survival drive. Survival is the wrong way to train protection dogs. When a dog is placed up on a table and attached to a very short chain it quickly realizes that all avenues of escape have been removed. Initially the helper stresses the dog and demands attention and aggression. If the dog turns his back on the helper or does not act aggressive enough the level of stress is increased until the dog is brought into fight. The dog quickly learns that if I don't show aggression I get the crap scared out of me and the safest place to be is on the sleeve.

    What people don't understand here is that the “fight drive” that they see in this work is coming totally from the “fight or flight” in avoidance."

    I have heard there is a right way to do table training and not damage the dog but I also can't yet grasp a need for the tool. I think more often than not when faced with such an issue the dog should be reconsidered as an appropriate sport dog.
     
  8. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6,403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Two dogs, three cats
    Location:
    Central Texas
    My two cents:

    I do think it's possible to train a really awesome schutzhund dog using aversives and heavy punishments. I also do think it's possible to train a really awesome schutzhund dog using positive reinforcement and no aversives. There are really only two [main] factors to consider to figure out which method to use:

    1. The handler/trainer. Personally, I wouldn't use heavy aversives in training, just because I don't believe in it; I don't trust the method. If you forced me to do it, I might be able to, but my dog would never be as good as a dog trained by someone who really believed in the method. At the same time, I know a lot of people who simply will never be good clicker trainers, because they don't believe it will work.

    2. The dog. Similar to trainers, I know a lot of dogs who would respond well to aversives, and I know a lot of dogs who would break down with the slightest bit of punishment.

    So, to the OP, I'd suggest deciding which method you will be willing and able to use first. Then find a trainer/club or fellow handler who also uses those methods - successfully - and discuss with that person what kind of temperment traits make the dog easy to train as a schutzhund dog. Then go out and find a dog with those traits.

    It's the same way we find service dogs. At my organization, we are not allowed to use aversives to train service dogs. So we look for dogs with particular temperment traits - such as orientation to people, a calm disposition, appropriate with other animals, etc. - that make them particularly easy to train with positive reinforcement methods. Other organizations use more punishment in their training (I know of one organization in particular that uses minimal positive reinforcement), and they look for dogs with different traits that will make them easy to train with those methods. Both organizations put out quality dogs, just the way they got there may be very different.
     
  9. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    4,381
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    7
    Location:
    Midwest
    I like Ed :) I've met him, got some dogs from him, all nice and what I wanted and Cindy is a class act. Very knowledgable and great to be around and train with. He's made a lot of changes in what he does, but anyway. I don't see the need for a table either. It basically takes away all options for the dog, but to be aggressive to stop the stress they apply to them.

    I haven't seen any better quality using one, and can think of a thousand reasons why it could make things worse. any and all of the dogs we train are quite capable of engaging on their own for the right reasons with all four feet on the ground.
     
  10. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    8,893
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 Pit bulls and 2 Malinois, We like to stay busy.
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Home Page:
    I genuinely have no personal knowledge of his current state, so I hate to offend if he's a favorite of anyone. I only know of the reasons people don't fancy him and they're all mostly based in the past. That and the fact his catalogue on my bathroom floor says hes bred 350 litters in 32 years which... is a bit much if you ask me.

    I stated he's not a favorite of mine merely because I have other mentors but they don't have a simple explanation about the tool.
     

Share This Page