|Zoe, recalling off hunting bunnies.|
We've all heard that saying "the proof is in the pudding", right? Well it's really true. It's hard to believe someone about something unless you see the thing for yourself. Reward-based training really works and here are some photos to prove it.
The first photo is of Zoe. She's recalling off hunting the rabbits in the field. When I first got this dog, she could not recall off any prey. I honestly wish I had a video of the day the training really started to stick and of the conflicting reinforcers. Everything is about motivation and reinforcement. She was sitting at the fence watching the squirrels when I recalled her. She wanted to come to me, I could see how conflicted she really was and she also wanted those squirrels. In the end she did make the right choice. I'm really glad those days of conflict are over. She has learned that if she listens when I call her the chances are pretty high that I will release her back to what she was doing. (premack)
The thing I would like you to notice about these photos is that she's recalling happily. Sure, I could of strapped a shock collar to her neck and trained her that way and probably gotten similar results but I highly doubt she would be happy about it. That's the thing about forceful dog training, it's not fun for the dogs and it's also painful. (Anyone who tells you a shock collar doesn't hurt is lying. If it didn't hurt it wouldn't work.)
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When you give the dogs a choice they are so much happier to do the thing for you and to keep doing the thing for you. I would much rather my dog recall with a big smile on her face than come back because she had no other choice. I feel that positive reinforcement is the best way to get really reliable behaviors because the dog wants to work with me and it's so much fun!
|Phoenix poses with ducks!|
You may have seen this photo from yesterday's post. Phoenix is posing with some ducks. No one is holding her leash. She could of turned around and eaten those ducks if she wanted to because they are only about 3 feet from her. She was not given her "leave it" cue, either. She's been reinforced so much for looking at the camera that ducks do not matter any more and she didn't need any cues. This dog has a lot of prey drive, she is no slouch! She doesn't care about the prey because she knows better stuff comes from me and I'm more fun than those ducks. I was so proud of her!
I'm pretty sure everyone has experienced moments of frustration and we are no different. I've had moments where I have wavered on using positive reinforcement and I've had moments of doubt but I am so happy that I've stuck with it. They are not perfect and sometimes they do make mistakes but it's okay and we've learned from each one. Training takes time and patients but it's definitely worth it!
Now it's your turn, tell me in the comments how you and your dogs have been impacted by positive reinforcement! What has your dog done to make your proud?