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The Problem with All-Positive Dog Training

Posted: 05-07-2014 • Length: 14 minutes, 34 seconds
Categories: Basic Obedience, Eds Picks, Reward Based/Marker Training
Ed Frawley talks about the controversial topic of "the need for corrections in dog training."

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5/5 stars | 21 ratings

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5/5 stars

Thank you for your honest and truthful comments about SeaWorld and the horrible way the animals are treated there. I have acquired a 8 wk part Great Pyrenees pup and I appreciate the instructions you are offering. In the past, my dogs were very easy to work with and train, but this pup is offering a challenge. Thank you for assisting me with this new adventure in puppy training.

5/5 stars

Thank you Ed your infro is so true because I have retrain hundreds of dog's that where trained by these so call ALL-POSITIVE DOG TRAINER'S !!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!

5/5 stars

Very enlightening--wish some of my friends understood this. Food reward is a great start but as Chief Brodie said in Jaws sometimes you need "a bigger boat."

5/5 stars

Fantastic, I've been training K-9s for 20yrs and I can't imagine doing anything else. I've been working with Malinois for most of my career. I have always had a problem with trainers that want to come in and train all positive. I usually hand them one of my Malinois and ask for a demonstration of their work. Needless to say they all walk away because their system is flawed. Keep up the great work.

5/5 stars

Ed, THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES. Like you, I am 66. Like you, I too started pre-vet in upstate NY and gave it up when they told me at Cornell in 1975 that I was 'too old' for vet, and I've gone on to rescue dogs, and send them out with leash manners. I work exclusively with pitbull type dogs; I couldn't do what I do with the all-positive scam...ditto for the 'E-Z Walk Harness'. I use prongs (yours) proudly and e-collars as well as any other tool that works. But corrections, for sure. These people you are talking about are, simply put, POSITIVELY crazy.

5/5 stars

Words of pure truth, fact and wisdom from a hugely experienced practical trainer. The law should require every dog owner to watch this. Dog training in Britain is absolutely infested with all the lies, distortion and delusional myth of political correctness. Half the people advertising dog-training and behaviour services in Britain have done nothing more than read books and articles full of the sort of myth and garbage Ed describes. Most of them could, indeed, NEVER train any dog into even the most vestigial reliability in distracting situations such a reliable recall in open country. (As a qualified, professional trainer, I make a large chunk of my living fixing that exact problem for owner after owner after owner after..) Instead, they have started moving the goal-posts and are beginning to try and kid the public that dogs can't be humanely trained to cope with distractions and should not therefore be put in any distracting situations (off lead presumably). I have also seen that "dogs aren't ready to learn reliable recall before they are about 12 years old" - Hmmm! wonder why! Could it be that at that age they are no longer mobile enough to be difficult to catch and embarrass their useless "trainer". I agree with Ed's categories of the people who spout this garbage. I do have to say that, like any other practical trainer, I notice that the majority of the ignorant fall into a certain age and sex bracket. Need I say more. Practical trainers here and in the States will know what I mean.

4/5 stars

Ed I enjoyed listening to your comments and as a 'positive' trainer I agree on a number of your points. Reprimand can be as simple as removing the reward (what the dog wants) a harsh word or sound, a tag on the collar and raise in it's severity to e-collars, check chains, prong collars etc. In the positive training the owner may not get total reliability due to inexperience and lack of being consistent but they will do 'no harm' corrective tools as listed above can and do cause damage when used by these same inexperienced trainers/owners. How many times I see owners with choker chains strangling their dogs as they walk down the road crushing the dogs esophagus - these people think this is what a choke chain is meant to do, that to me is abuse.

I am what is known as a cross over trainer and I think I fall in your acceptable group. I teach positive training now to all my clients, I do talk about corrections and I make a point of telling them that they can only use a correction when they know that their dog really understands what he is being asked to do and chooses not to respond or comply. The trouble with the novice owner is that they do not have the ability to assess if their dog really understands and often use punishment/correction blind in the hope it will work. Plus as you say their punishment is generally a nag that continues for so long that the dog learns to shut it out. My attitude to training is use less not more. I was a pro horse trainer for over 30 years and had the same outlook. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

5/5 stars

I couldn't agree with you more! I have been a dog trainer for over 22 years and have watched people fall prey to the illusion of "100% positive dog training". The public is misinformed and it is frustrating to watch. I do my best to explain to people when they call regarding my training program that there will come a point where the dog will need correction!

Thanks for putting this out!!!

5/5 stars

Thank you Ed. Very well done summary of this ongoing challenge to training, to dogs and to our relationships with dogs. Given the strident nature of this movement, vigorous and cogent responses such as yours are very important. We can't be passive.

5/5 stars

All dog trainers from all walks of life should listen to this video. Couldn't agree with you more Ed, well done. I'm tired of walking in PetSmart and listening to these so called dog trainers give out instructions to the dog owners. I have yet to see a dog actually doing what it's being told. Seems very chaotic to me.

5/5 stars

Bravo Ed! You hit the nail on the head. You don't know how much your frank discussions are of value to the dog owners out there getting all this well intended "misinformation" from the inexperienced who claim to be "knowledgeable"! I have a training and boarding kennel and the pains that we go through to hire qualified help is never ending. Plenty of applicants but very few worth employing. Keep up the good work.

5/5 stars

I just finished hostessing a Forrest Micke Clinic, and am so thankful I met him and how he has helped me with my dogs. I also enjoy the Leerburg videos and streaming. I have a big powerful dog that was trained positive only until he was two, when he ran into some trouble. I went to the Michael Ellis School and spent a week working with Forrest learning about clear and concise FAIR corrections. What a joy to understand how to correct a dog and know I was doing the right thing to help him exist in a distraction filled world. Thank you Ed for really clarifying my new understanding.

5/5 stars

Hi Ed,

Solid, common sense information on properly correcting your dog when needed. I would like to know the most effective correction technique without using an e-collar. Thank you.

5/5 stars

Thank You. I am glad that you had the courage to publish this. I have great respect for your work, and this was long overdue. This is a great service for people who love and live with dogs that are being shamed by this "all positive crowd" that just don't get it.

All positive training dose not work with many independent resilient confident dogs. It can be downright dangerous for the dogs and the handlers if they don't have basic control over a strong willed dog with a set of "carpet cutters" under it's nose. Another example of this danger is poor recall which can get the dog in very bad situations or even killed.

I have a wonderful happy female Belgian Malinos that without corrections would be very challenging for any handler. Besides being independent and smart this dog is the type of dog that would shut down and blow off a handler she was afraid of but after developing a bond I have used purposeful corrections very successfully.

Children and Dogs don't learn by words they learn by experience. Once they understand what is expected both must feel the consequence of their inappropriate actions. Some dogs and children aim to please and need little or no corrections but you are foolish if you don't believe that some children or dogs don't need corrections or they will do pretty much as they please.