This month’s Positive Training Blog Hop theme is reviews. Product reviews actually, but I’m going to review myself instead. Or rather, my effort to use All-Positive language during April’s A to Z Challenge.
It wasn’t that hard to come up with topics for each letter… what was hard was expressing my point of view without using any negative language.
Look at that last sentence. Based on my own rules, I couldn’t use “wasn’t,” “hard,” “without,” or “negative.” I found ways to work around words that either conveyed something bad (“hard”) or focused on what was being taken away, rather than what was being given (“without”). At least I hope I did. It’s possible I slipped up. Let me know if you catch anything.
Even when one has an optimistic, upbeat attitude, one tends to use a lot of these words. I had to work last weekend at an event where some Karelian bear dog handlers demonstrated how the dogs train bears to leave people alone. This saves bears’ lives because they don’t have to be euthanized. Awesome, right? My Instagram post read, Not hard to talk me into working on a Saturday if dogs will be there. I could have written Easy to talk me into working on a Saturday… but I didn’t.
It’s interesting to realize how often we frame our experiences by talking about what something isn’t, instead of what it is.
What does this have to do with dog training? I think you know.
Positive training is the best! But we spend a lot of time talking about what it isn’t. We don’t use aversive methods. We don’t use punishment… except when we do.
I couldn’t talk about it then because both of those words violated my all-positive pledge, but I’m pretty sure no puppy would live to adult doghood without some negative punishment being employed during the nipping phase. With both Isis and Leo, we thought the nipping would never end. We had scratched and bruised ankles, and Leo actually tore a few jacket sleeves by jumping up and biting our arms during walks.
I can’t even say for sure that negative punishment worked, because I kind of think you just have to wait for them to outgrow the nipping, but the only way for both you and the puppy to come out alive is to remove yourself or the puppy from the situation. Time out.
That’s negative punishment. Taking away something good (you) to decrease the repetition of a behavior (biting).
I just discovered this David the Dog Trainer in the negative punishment link above, so I haven’t full vetted him. But based on his website and the video below, I think he gets it.
This is why “reward-based” is a great way to describe my positive pet training philosophy. Read the story of how positive training helped my reactive dog Isis in my book, Bark and Lunge!
This post is part of the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Cascadian Nomads, Tenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. Join us on the first Monday of every month to promote positive pet training and share advice and experiences. The hop is open all week long! The next hop begins June 1st with the theme of training multiple pets.
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