The Problem With Using ONLY Positive Dog Training Techniques

BETHANY asks: “I would like any advice you could give me regarding the use of positive training techniques. By this I mean training w/out choke chains, pinch collars or shock collars and without physical corrections of any kind.

I am not against these methods per se but I am not comfortable using them and do not think they would work well on my very sensitive rescue dog. Thanks for any advice! – Beth ”

Dear Bethany: The concept of Motivation is such that, once you understand it, it will work on any dog.

Motivation, as it applies to training, just means that– whatever you do– positive or negative– has to HAVE meaning. Now… to your question… When people talk about “Positive training techniques,” they’re usually talking about… as your question states… not using any corrections.

And the problem with that is:… Imagine somebody trying to teach you to drive from Los Angeles to St. Louis … but they ONLY tell you when you’re going in the right direction, and they NEVER tell you when you’re going in the wrong direction.

Either you’re going to get completely lost, or it’s going to take you a VERY, VERY LONG TIME to get to St. Louis. Of course… you might have a lot of fun taking a long, long time… but if you’re trying to get home on time for Christmas dinner… forgettaboutit!~ Plus, when you train exclusively with positive training techniques… you will never end up with a dog that is 100% reliable in a “street smart/around town” environment.

If you’re REALLY, REALLY good… the best you can hope for is 90%.

So why train with a handicap? Why take 2 years to train a dog something that you can do in 3 weeks? If the end result is a happy, working, reliable dog… ??? Just doesn’t make sense to me.

So what do I suggest?

I recommend using BOTH positive and negative motivation. The wise trainer will always adapt to the dog and respond with more or less positive or negative motivation in response to what the dog is giving him.