Category Archives: Terminology

Haters

We interrupt this dog blog for a rant about rhetoric and civil discourse.  Here is why I plan never to call anyone a “hater” or refer to them as such. History: Haters Gonna Hate It’s a good bet that the … Continue reading

Posted in Punishment culture, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

The False Hypothesis of the Pack

Hey! “Pack theory” is not a theory at all! Theories vs Hypotheses One of the biggest misunderstandings between science folk and lay folk is the definition of the word, “theory,” and here we are adding to that misunderstanding. In science, … Continue reading

Posted in Dog behavior, Human and dog misunderstandings, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Leaving the Scene: Clarifying the Science of Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcement is really, really easy to get mixed up about. Recently I read something that quite bothered me until I did a little research and figured it out. I’d like to share what I learned with you. What I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Dog training hints, Fear, Negative Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Positive Reinforcement, Premack Principle, Reinforcement, Terminology | Tagged | 17 Comments

But Isn’t it Punishment to Withhold the Treat?

Lots and lots of people think that if you withhold the treat you are punishing the dog. Some will ask the above question in a gleeful, challenging way, feeling certain that they have caught the positive reinforcement based trainers in … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Extinction, Operant conditioning, Punishment, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

Why Scratching an Itch is Not the Same as Performing a Force Fetch

Quite often in discussions about negative reinforcement, someone brings up a plethora of examples from human life that sound harmless and benign. Here are some of the items that are often mentioned: Scratching an itch Washing your hands to remove … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Negative Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Shock Collars, Terminology | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

Force-Free Training and the Continuum Fallacy: Defining Ourselves

Although this post is about discussions and accusations about humane training, it doesn’t provide fodder for pithy sound bites or snappy answers. The whole point of it is why it can be difficult to explain succinctly our position as science-based, … Continue reading

Posted in Examples for Teachers, Punishment culture, Shock Collars, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , | 30 Comments

The Humane Hierarchy, Part 2 of 2: Examples

This is the second of two posts on Susan Friedman’s Humane Hierarchy. Here is Humane Hierarchy Part 1 in case you missed it. In this part, I present examples of each of the methods listed in the Humane Hierarchy. My … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Negative Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Positive Reinforcement, Punishment, Reinforcement, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

The Humane Hierarchy, Part 1 of 2: Overview

I am a Humane Hierarchy trainer. That is the name of the roadmap I use to make ethical choices about the training methods I use. I’m going to describe the method in this post. (Humane Hierarchy Part 2, which is … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Negative Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Positive Reinforcement, Punishment, Reinforcement, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , | 35 Comments

But Every Dog is Different!

But every dog is different! This is another common argument against trainers who train without force. It usually goes like this: But every dog is different! You can’t just use a cookie cutter! But every dog is different! Why limit … Continue reading

Posted in Operant conditioning, Punishment, Reinforcement, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , , | 51 Comments

But What if Your Dog Runs Out Into Traffic?

Anyone who spends any time on FaceBook reading the arguments between trainers who train mainly with positive reinforcement and those who don’t has seen this question. Just lately I have seen three different versions of it: But what if your … Continue reading

Posted in Dog training hints, Punishment, Reinforcement, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , , , | 45 Comments