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Community driven site dedicated to intelligent exchange of ideas and experiences between both dog training professionals and enthusiasts. We apply principles of critical thinking and peer review to the often controversial and provocative topics on dog training.

  • How Young Is Too Young

     Part of the Communicative Approach, is focused sharply on puppies and following the method of a Mother Dog with her offspring.  When first whelped and for about two weeks afterw ...

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    by Robert Vaughan
    Tuesday, 14 January 2014
  • karma2

    Rescue Promoting Balanced Training

    Unfortunately, there are many people that are not as open minded and that is the reason I am writing this article. I routinely get attacked on the internet as do many of my colleagues and it is comp ...

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    by Administrator
    Saturday, 07 December 2013
  • hollyattentive

    Why I’m Finished Volunteering at Animal Shelters…

    I’ve worked with behavior problems successfully, and if I do say so myself, made a couple of them adoptable.  It can be satisfying, and fulfilling work, watching a formerly “Reactive” dog walk ...

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    by Robert Vaughan
    Friday, 06 December 2013
  • rosecolored2

    Honesty Is the Best Policy

    Robin MacFarlane wrote : I've always been a proponent of the saying "Honesty is the best policy". However, this career has given me plenty of opportunity to realize that honesty isn't always ea ...

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    by Daniel Audet
    Friday, 01 February 2013
  • freakonomics-orange

    Economics….. And Dogs?

      And so it goes with dogs. The things we do to train them, sometimes don’t do what we intended. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes, it’s horrible. The reason this is on my mind, is because of my ...

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    by Daniel Audet
    Thursday, 06 December 2012
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Daniel Audet:  Robert Vaughan is an appreciated member of the the Balanced Trainers Forum.  Robert brings with him extensive training experience in the areas of Scent Detection and Search & Rescue dogs.  

You can find the original copy of this post and many other great articles on Robert's site.

German Shepherd Adventures

Today's post is indeed again controversial.

The only thing that 2 out of 3 dogs trainers will ever agree about is that 3rd guy is definitely wrong, regardless of which 2 you ask.

First, please watch this link of a group of young Malinois pups and their trainer using a unique facility.

Original Facebook Post

 

 

 What do you think?  Brilliant? Cruel?  WAY too young? The comments that accompany this video (after you translate them) display a huge crevasse  between two opinions.  While I cannot definitively say what those camps represent, my best conclusion is Working Dog people versus Pet Dog people.  A more cynical opinion might call it Positive trainers versus Discipline trainers.  An outright Pessimist might call it Americans verses European trainers.  Europe is currently under assault by the Purely Positive crowd, and many useful and effective training tools and methods are being outlawed by a small but loud coven of individuals, using politics as their fortress.  Meanwhile, in the West, a kickback has begun in response to the Purely Positive movement and it’s shortcomings  as an exclusive training method.  More trainers are moving toward a more balanced approach, including elements of all training according to the needs of each individual dog.  But I’m digressing into an entirely different subject…

 

 Watching the linked video, some see a dangerous activity for young dogs.  Others see happy, driven, young dogs doing what they love to do, run and jump and play under the guidance of a human companion. 

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Rescue Promoting Balanced Training

karma2

Daniel Audet: Recently there have been  a few Blog Posts with regards to shelters and rescues criticizing, verbally attacking and trying to damage the business of Balanced Trainers.  

This post  presents a rescue that is doing the opposite in that they actually promote Balanced Training and even use controversial tools such as eCollars.

The rescue being featured is Dog Karma Rescue based in Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada. It is owned by Guy Lapierre.  Here are Guy's words telling you about his rescue...


 
Guy Lapierre wrote:
 When I am out with my dogs I routinely get compliments about how well behaved and obedient my dogs are and if I'd be interested in training their dogs to be the same. As the conversation starts I inevitably get asked about their e-collars. I find most people to be very open minded and a very intelligent conversation continues. This is most likely a result of the struggles they’ve had with their own dogs and the fact that their story is often similar to mine. As a result, they are open minded enough to listen as they are seeing proof of the results with my very happy and obedient dog. 

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Why I’m Finished Volunteering at Animal Shelters…

  Written by: Robert Vaughn

Original: http://germanshepherdadventures.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/why-im-finished-volunteering-at-animal-shelters/ 

hollyattentive

Daniel Audet:  Robert Vaugh is an appreciated member of the the Balanced Trainers Forum.  Robert brings with him extensive training experience in the areas of Scent Detection and Search & Rescue dogs.  

I know that this post is bound to bring a fair amount of criticism from those involved in the world of rescue dogs from bad situations. My advice is that if the shoe doesn't fit, don't attempt to wear it. You can read this post and then be honest with yourself whether this applies to your resuce or not. If the shoe fits you won't get any apologies out of me or Robert. 

To make matters worse Shelters have now gone on the offensive ...  http://www.balancedtrainers.com/bloggers/entry/loving-a-dog-to-death

They are now intentionally trying to damage businesses that have a good track record of saving dogs from being euthanized. How wrong is that?!

 Robert wrote: 

I am not a person that adopts  dogs  from a shelter.  My dogs are acquired from a responsible, knowledgable Breeder.  In some places that confession is comparable to confessing to any number of  heinous crimes involving livestock, Meth labs, or eating kittens.  Don’t know what else to tell you about that…But that doesn’t mean that I’m not supportive of the industry, OR the animals.  I DO volunteer time to keeping the homeward looking dogs happy and exercised. 

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Honestly Is The Best Policy

rosecolored2

 

One of the most common behavioral issues that a trainer is called about is aggression. Aggression with regards to its causation and repair is a highly controversial and hotly debate subject in the dog training world.

Today, I was reminded of this when I received this article in my email today, via a Robin Macfarlane’s News Letter...

  

 

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Econmics ... And Dogs?

This post was written by one of our Forum Members, Jay Jack

If you enjoy it please visit http://3badbullies.wordpress.com/

 First…. Just in case you don’t know…. Economics isn’t just the study of money, and it’s effect.

A great book called Freakonomics convinced me to stop being nauseous at the though of economics. Anyway… What the hell does this have to do with dogs?

freakonomics-orange

 Well, there’s a rule in Econ called the Rule Of Unintended Consequences. Yes, it’s pretty self explanatory. Although, the story people in Econ always go to is called The Cobra Effect. As the story goes……. In Delhi India, there was an epidemic in the overpopulation of Cobras. The government tried to solve the problem by paying citizens for any dead Cobra they turned in. Of course, this lead to people breeding them to turn them in for profit. And when the government found out, they canned the program. As soon as there was no reason to keep the snakes…… They were abandoned. Which of course caused the population of loose Cobras go UP.  So, the solution for getting rid of Cobras, increased them. 

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Tigers On Stools

My daughter was invited to the circus last week by a classmate celebrating her 7th birthday. The circus comes regularly to a very nearby venue, but I’d successfully avoided it up to this point. The kids all enjoyed themselves, of course, and were especially excited to see real live elephants and tigers. I remember my own awe as a child being exposed to such creatures.

...
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Partial Science Packaged As The Whole Truth And Wrapped In A Healthy Layer Of Guilt.

Skilled dog trainers use all 4 quadrants of the motivational matrix.Positive reinforcement is only one of four options that a trainer can apply in shaping and modifying behaviour.  In it's simplest form the trainers decision about which quadrant of the motivational matrix is best applied, and when to do so, is about whether he is trying to increase or decrease a behaviour.

 The higher the skill and experience levels of the dog trainer, the more ability the trainer has to appropriately apply each of the 4 options (quadrants) in a way that is best suited to the individual dogs temperament, and in a way that advances the dog’s learning towards realisation of the desired training outcomes.

There is a falsehood being spread amongst the dog training community that punishment has no place in dog training – this push is being led by organisations and some individuals that, whilst claiming to have the best interests of the dog and heart, clearly have political power and financial reward operating as their primary motivators. Such organisations and individuals frequently play on the legitimate emotional connection that people have to dogs and rely heavily on selling partial science as the whole story in order to justify their agenda to the trusting masses that are simply looking to do the best thing for their dogs.

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If your dog was to be subjected to an aversive, would you rather it occurred randomly or control the timing yourself?

I put this question to a rational positive-reinforcement trainer, who responded unhesitatingly that she would prefer to control the timing of the aversive, so as to minimize fallout, and in order to potentially create some practical inhibition.

The logic of her choice hinges on a pair of sensible assumptions. First, that controlling an aversive (even just the timing) naturally lends any competent handler the opportunity to avoid (or at least temper) detrimental associations; second, that the well-timed application of an aversive has potential utility. Of course, she would prefer to avoid aversives altogether, and clearly stated so.

No surprise, given the well-publicized risks. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior,

the potential adverse effects of punishment [include] but are not limited to: inhibition of learning, increased fear-related and aggressive behaviors, and injury to animals and people[1]

Moreover, we are warned that risks such as extreme generalized fear and negative associations with the dog’s environment or handler, can occur “regardless of the strength of the punishment.”

This last claim must rest on belief in a dark sort of behavioral homeopathy, whereby the magical effects of punishment [2] endure despite its infinite dilution.

 

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Prologue

I have been fascinated for the longest time by observing dogs behaving and interacting with the world around them. I arrived at the inevitable conclusion that the only way to explain why a dog reacts to different situations the way it does, is to look to the canine mind, and not try to explain everything in human terms. I have long since given up attempting to explain human behavior. Man is supposed to be a rational being, but it is sometimes very difficult to believe this. When there is an understanding (however minimal) of how the dog perceives his place in the world, then we should be in a position to be able to observe its’ behaviour from the correct perspective; that of the dog. This article is a brief examination of the “mind of a dog” and following articles will look at behaviour, and how people interact with dogs. The dog is certainly not born with polite manners, but it has natural instincts hard wired from birth that need to be satisfied. These make up the dog psyche, and will be explored in the course of this article.

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