Straight to the Point

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Straight to the Point

Postby Coveyrise64 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:01 pm

Was the recipient of this article today. Thought I'd share.....don't be misled by the check cording title at the top. That is the name of the training department in the magazine. I think the article will enlarge in if you click on it and then click the magnifying glass sign to zoom in..

cr
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby ryanr » Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:39 pm

Good read, definitely made me stop and think about things.
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby Lurker » Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:02 am

Nice article!!

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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:26 am

Excellent article. I think his philosophy of training for success through "practice" rather than through "pressure" is becoming more the norm in dog training. I never felt comfortable with the traditional force via stick or ecollar methods of getting success and I've been taught by several vdogs that food (positive rewards) and very low level stimulation gets better results and a happy dog as well.

I am currently shaping a new dog for upland and retriever work and just purchased some videos by Bill Hillmann. They are excellent. Also there's a new book I just ordered about positive training methods ( http://myemail.constantcontact.com/News ... IOci4o-o7E) but I know nothing about it except for the reviews. Still looking for a strong upland training book. Any recommendations?
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby 3drahthaars » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:33 am

Bruce Schwartz wrote:Excellent article. I think his philosophy of training for success through "practice" rather than through "pressure" is becoming more the norm in dog training. I never felt comfortable with the traditional force via stick or ecollar methods of getting success and I've been taught by several vdogs that food (positive rewards) and very low level stimulation gets better results and a happy dog as well.

I am currently shaping a new dog for upland and retriever work and just purchased some videos by Bill Hillmann. They are excellent. Also there's a new book I just ordered about positive training methods ( http://myemail.constantcontact.com/News ... IOci4o-o7E) but I know nothing about it except for the reviews. Still looking for a strong upland training book. Any recommendations?


Practice vs. pressure... exactly what Hillman preaches. And, it was one of the concepts that really caught my attention.

As for upland references... Hillman's Traffic Cop has worked for whoa and down for my pup.

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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby orhunter » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:29 am

Excellent piece of advice. Different words but same concept I've been ranting about since I entered the pointing dog world a while back.
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby Lurker » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:52 pm

Bruce Schwartz wrote:Excellent article. I think his philosophy of training for success through "practice" rather than through "pressure" is becoming more the norm in dog training. I never felt comfortable with the traditional force via stick or ecollar methods of getting success and I've been taught by several vdogs that food (positive rewards) and very low level stimulation gets better results and a happy dog as well.



Interesting how two people can read the same article and come away with two different thoughts. I might have misunderstood the quote above and if I did just disregard this post. As I read the article I read that the writer actually uses pressure and believes the dog thrives on it. (He also is a believer in e collars used correctly) He writes the key is that the pressure needs to be understood and not applied improperly or over zealously. He first shows/teaches the dog how the behavior will be enforced and the pressure is not in a form of punishment or correction but rather an enforcement of a known command. In my world the term used is "you don't have the right to enforce a command until the dog totally understands it". That starts with a good foundation. I read over and over again about treats and positive reenforcement with little to no "corrections", etc. While treats and all positive "thinking" might have some merit in some areas of training, rarely is a strong foundation built that way.

That is a very nice article and as in training, we all seem to interrupt differently. :)
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:04 pm

Lurker wrote:Interesting how two people can read the same article and come away with two different thoughts


Your comments really got me to thinking, but in the end I'm not sure we're really all that far apart.

In the article Sparks says, “… I think that much of today’s accepted training doctrine is antiquated, outdated and sometimes poorly conceived.” Then he says, “many train with the ‘get them to do it right’ mentality…I try to train with the ‘train until they can’t get it wrong’ thought in mind.” He also said exactly what you said about the dogs thriving on pressure and keeping levels as little as possible and that a tug on a lead is STILL pressure.

But I think there's a gulf between what two persons view "as little as possible" though. And I'm not sure exactly what he meant by calling "accepted doctrine" antiquated. To me, what I thought he meant was using REALLY low voltage on the ecollar, and using layer upon layer of repetition (practice) rather than getting the dog to do something a few times and then reinforcing it with the collar. Granted, on my own, I added the positive training reference because that’s pretty much the way the rest of the world (except gun dog trainers) train their subjects and I view that as a reason to look at our training in a different light.

Recently I watched over four hours of video by Bill Hillmann, who is arguably the most successful retriever field trialer today. He never used a setting on his ecollar higher than “2” - and he trains Labradors! But the “pressure” he applies is like Sparks said, "no more than what you cause by tugging on the lead of a dog you’re trying to get to sit ( Sit…nick…sit)". He might nick the dog a 100 times when teaching sitting but you couldn't ever tell that his dogs even felt it - and I never saw a dog with his tail drooping at any time. I think that is a fundamental shift in how we train conventionally! You could contrast that with the instructional books and video technique published by another well known retriever trainer (who frequents this site) and you will see most every dog's tail drooping - and you also get an entirely different view of the word "pressure"!! (please note: I am not speaking of Brad Higgins, as I consider him an "out of the box trainer" and someone whom Sparks would approve.)

Earlier this spring I started offering “treats for performance" to my four month old PP and within a few days she was fetching on command, sitting, dropping the dummy with perfect mouth manners. Before that she would get the dummy and run off or play or not even get it. I defy you to show me how to do that by conventional methods to a dog that young. Sure, I used the ecollar for reinforcement later when we went through FF but, because of the foundation with positive reinforcement , the process took only a couple of more days and she was pretty happy the whole time. Contrast that with a typical FF scenario teachings of today! I also got the idea that Sparks rejects conventional FF as well?

Lurker wrote:While treats and all positive "thinking" might have some merit in some areas of training, rarely is a strong foundation built that way.



Not sure I agree with that statement. I totally agree however that aversive training will never go away. And, yes, pressure IS pressure (no matter what degree). However, when you see a labrador retriever trained to the highest level of field trial competition with nothing more than a number 2 on the ecollar you have to question the “way we’ve always done it.”


I'm wondering what others think Sparks was referring to in his article? Is he advocating a shift in how we go about all this?
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby Chadwick » Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:45 pm

I thought that the article was interesting. My take was that Sparks uses minimal, no pressure, or positive to teach a dog through the complete behavior, then once the behavior is completely taught, he uses enforcement from the dog's perspective. Most trainers use pressure to "teach" a behavior and then punish when the dog does not obey.

Lurker wrote: While treats and all positive "thinking" might have some merit in some areas of training, rarely is a strong foundation built that way.


I would disagree with your statement from the standpoint that is it depends on how you approach training and what you view as a good foundation. Additionally, an all positive approach to training does not exist. Even if all you ever did was use a clicker, when the dog performs a behavior that is not desired and it does not get marked and rewarded, then the dog is experiencing negative information and a form of mild pressure.

I use positive training to teach completed behaviors first. I teach the completed behaviors by setting up a situation where the dog is guided through its own choices. When a dog gets to a completed behavior through its own choices, then repeating that behavior becomes a good option in the dog's mind. At least that is how my human brain interprets the situation.

Once the completed behavior is taught, then it is relatively easy to get the dog back on track with minimal pressure because it knows what choice to make.
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby Lurker » Sun Jul 19, 2015 2:18 pm

Bruce Schwartz wrote:
Your comments really got me to thinking, but in the end I'm not sure we're really all that far apart.



We might not be and in many ways it is difficult to debate (for a lack of better words) someone else's technique as a third party. :wink:

Bruce Schwartz wrote: But I think there's a gulf between what two persons view "as little as possible" though.


The article says, "Then you enforce behavior at a level that is dictated to you by the dog and taking account many factors at the given time and situation"
I take this as you as a handler have to be able to read your dog. "Reading your dog" is an ability that many people don't have and never will have. Successful pros generally are gurus at reading dogs and that contributes greatly to their successes.

What makes training interesting is that we all don't have to agree. Good luck with however you choose to go forward with your dogs. :)
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby Coveyrise64 » Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:44 pm

Bruce Schwartz wrote:[I also got the idea that Sparks rejects conventional FF as well?


I didn't read that as he has FF hundreds of dogs. What he said was "my best advice is to nurture a young dogs desire to retrieve". I think he was offering advice to the novice....based on my knowledge most aren't experienced enough to complete the task and end up with more issues than they started with. It can be done, one of my friends from Wisconsin has bred and raised GSP's for 35 years and never FF any of the pups he's kept. Their retrieving starts when they are puppies laying in his lap holding a big fat sharpie pen.

Have more offer but it will have to wait till later.....
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:57 pm

I read and was intrigued with the article, but did not walk away with much in the way of any details I could apply. Another instance where someone claims a new way of doing things but does not give enough details,examples to do much with it was my honest take on it.

It has been quite awhile since I hung out with any hardcore Field Trial lab guys training dogs. Yes there was certainly a time when their training methods were what I would call brutal and the dogs' demeanor showed it. Not for me or my dogs. Ever.

I have not followed what they do now. However the notion of using the lowest level stimulation needed to get a dog's reaction while training is hardly a new or revolutionary concept. I have always used my Ecollars that way when training. I use a TriTronics Pro with 18 levels and train with 2 low or medium most often. Enough that the dog might raise its ear slightly to indicate it feels a tickle. And of course I train the command initially without the ecollar and overlay the collar once the dog understands the command. (pretty much the same as we all do it I think)

I think notions that there are still a lot of folks dialing up their ecollars and frying dogs is what is most antiquated.

Once a command is trained, I find instances in the field where the bold, male dogs I choose to work with may need some level 3 reminders while in the presence of game early on in their career. There is a whole lot of details relative to each instance/correction that enter into that that I won't attempt to type out here, least anyone think I am doing something stupid. I am not.

I am saying that the bold hard going males I have raised, trained and hunted need some level 3 reminders along the way when fully amped up and engaged in the presence of game. Read the dog and read the situation, and act accordingly.

And I find some level 4 is most often the right choice for pure negative avoidance training to convince a youngster they want no part of running live healthy deer, while I say or indicate nothing otherwise ...

The instant on the fly ability to use such a wide spectrum of stimulation on state of art Ecollars is one the best things that ever happened to dog training in my view.

So I guess I did not see his advocacy as being that different than what alot of other pros espouse and use.
Last edited by AverageGuy on Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby Lurker » Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:54 pm

AverageGuy wrote:I read and was intrigued with the article, but did not walk away with much in the way of any details I could apply. Another instance where someone claims a new way of doing things but does not give enough details,examples to do much with it was my honest take on it.



Actually I didn't think he was actually giving (or selling) details or a new way of doing things. He was just saying to be fair to your dog, and in this article, your pointing dog.

:?: :?: Not even sure why I am responding or defending the guy other than I believe in how he says he does his training. I guess I get tired of dogs getting extreme pressure to perform tasks they have no clue on how to do because they have not the foundation, been taught right, had proper exposure, etc. I'm not sure why there would be a debate on being fair to your dog.

As far as treats, positive re-enforcement, no foundation take a trip to the mall and look at what society is turning out in these days. How is that all working out? I see fat kids with no manners or discipline with usually a parent justifying their actions. Sorry about the rant....
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:20 pm

I viewed the article in a positive light. I just question his slant that his approach is so significantly different than others. I agree with his advocacy to help the dog learn and succeed vs forcing a battle of wills is always best.

Perhaps off the subject, but I believe the day is coming soon where the continued use of Ecollars in the US will be opened to mostly uninformed debate/vote. Relative to that, my wish is that those claiming to have a new all positive treat and clicker approach to training hard going, independent gun dogs, will not throw the rest of us under the bus, by inaccurately equating Ecollars with harsh and harmful training techniques and approaches.
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Re: Straight to the Point

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:52 pm

"... all in all, I think much of today's accepted training doctrine is antiquated, outdated and sometimes poorly conceived."

That is a portion of article from which I got the impression he was heavy on the theme his approach is new and different. And then towards the bottom of the left column he teases the reader with his "100% successful" approach to teaching the whoa command. Left me wanting to learn all about it ... Which of course is by design as any good marketer of services would do.

No big deal, just reread it to make sure I still had some reading comprehension skills.

I like the overriding theme of helping the dog learn with the least amount of pressure necessary.
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