• Hannah @ Longsnouts

Positive does not equal Permissive

A wee bit of a rant may follow.


See, I'm tired of the stigma that science-based trainers sometimes are given. While we - I -do our best to hang out in the R+ quadrant of the Operant Conditioning world, it's *impossible* to be a purely positive trainer. We are not - I am not - a pushover.


Yes, you read that correctly. I use corrections. Well, really consequences. No, nothing that will physically harm a dog (e.g., a choke, prong, or e-collar) that would usually be categorized in the Positive Punishment quadrant (see below graphic). However, 'correction' or 'consequence' from a dog's perspective could merely be the removal of something they find valuable (e.g., a toy, human attention, etc.). That's the Negative Punishment piece. In fact, in concert with science-based approaches, the main formula for dog training is


A (Antecednt) + B (Behavior) = C (Consequence)


Did you know that 'positive' as it's used in Positive Reinforcement does not mean happy happy? The correct terminology is R+ ---> something positive (a reward, valuable to the trainee) is added. Punishment translates as removal of a thing - not "punishment" in the way we use it in everyday language. The plus or minus signs simply mean adding or taking away - either positive or negative.


Confused? The below graphic will help...and I'm always here to answer questions.


Regardless of training label - force-free, positive reinforcement, fear-free, reward-based - I would encourage you to find a trainer that uses science-based training techniques (e.g., Operant or Classical Conditioning) alongside fear- or force-free methods and that they're certified via a knowledge-based organization like the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. If they're trainers who are also member of fear-free organizations, well, that's icing on the cake!


At the end of the day, I want to help the dogs we work with understand that certain behaviors getting noticed and rewarded so they show up most often.





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