How Awesome is Reinforcement Really?
Okay if you haven’t read yesterday’s blog post, please do or this one won’t make sense to you.
Yesterday I had many of you stressing about what I wrote. You were like dogs shutting down on me, leaving the ring or frantically stress running about, looking for challenges in order to gain appeasement. Ain’t it grand when real life can teach us so much as a dog trainer?
If you re-read my post, no one was given a “cyber smack” no one was given a “time out” all I did was allow you to spend a few moments in my head (how scary was that being in MY head) as I reviewed my options as a dog trainer. As I was writing that post I thought, this should be all about reinforcing the behaviour I want to see in my readers. But then a little voice in my head say . . . “hey Susie Q . . .” (my pet name for myself when I have a brilliant idea) ” . . this can be so much more for everyone!”
What if I suggested the use of a mild punisher. What if I eluded to the fact that somebody may have disappointed me. Lets see how people react to that kind of stress. And bingo! Many of you did, and it was only the brave few that wrote in and told me you were feeling stressed, but I bet there were a few more of you at home either curled up in the fetal position sucking your thumb (stressing down) or dropping “F-bombs” at the computer screen saying “that Susan Garrett, how dare she insult me, I won’t read THAT blog anymore !” (stressing high).
I just love it when life gives you the opportunity to really walk in your dog’s shoes for a moment or two and allows you to feel what is it like to be one creature under the influence of another.
When you are training your dog, sometimes it only takes a heavy sigh to convey your disappointment to him. If yesterday’s post just rolled of your back like nothing of any importance happened to you, then you may be one of those gifted dogs. You know the ones, those are the dogs that some people believe are just “born” rather than created with solid dog training. Those are the ones some people hope to find when they constantly rotate through dog after dog hoping to find “the one.” You are one of those dogs that can “put up” with the stresses of training and the dealings of an impatient trainer with an agenda of places he needs to get to.
But for the rest of you souls who yesterday reacted in some way to what I wrote, you are the dogs we have be talking about in this thread. You are the dog that shows anxiety behaviours when a bar falls because, even though the punishment may be mild, the sense of disappointing his owner is unbearable to him.
Training positively is more than just “using a cookie most of the time”. Training positively is getting into your dog’s head and knowing what he needs to be joyfully connected to you so that you can bring out the best he has to give.
Today I am grateful to all of you that where an unknowing participants in my cyber petrie dish. I am sending you all massive amounts of outrageously positive energy. . . . and oh yeah, keep those challenges coming will you?