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Watch out for "Guarantees"

Lately, there has been upsurge of places claiming to guarantee that they can have a person's dog well trained in 2 to 3 weeks. They are also advertising themselves known as "We only do positive training". They know that the average dog owner knows that the term “Positive” is actually a simple way of saying that they are adding something. What they are leaving out is the simple fact that they could be adding pain.

In the dog training world, the term Positive is broken down into two very different worlds. One is “+R positive” Also known as positive reinforcement. Then the other one is “+P positive” The P stands for Punishment. So, although they are semantically both “Positive” in one you are adding one pleasant experience and in the other you are adding a negative experience.

A quick example of an “+R positive” treatment would be giving a dog a treat after telling them to “sit”

A quick example of an “+P positive” using a shock collar to get a dog to stop jumping. Although, technically this would never work (for a variety of reasons), the only point that I am trying to make is that there are punitive ways of having a dog comply with what you want. While still saying you use “positive” methods.

Technically, the place or company is correct. They are using “Positive” techniques. But it’s very misleading to say the least. I really wish they would just call it a different word beside the term “Positive”.

Although, I myself have never worked at one of these places. I once did have a neighbor who sent their dog to one of these places and in 4 weeks for $5,000, the dog was trained, but I was concerned once I saw the dog was suddenly using a shock collar.

I asked my neighbor, what it was because I had no concept even what a shock collar was. He then told me that the place had given them a free shock collar with their dog.

My point is not to label shock collars as good or bad. I am trying to make the larger point here, which is that the public just reads the word “Positive” and are unaware of what they are getting themselves into.

I don’t see a way of how a company can “guarantee results” with only doing “+R positive” training for every single dog they run into. It is much easier to try out something that is +R positive” and then if the dog does not comply then apply pain, until the dog does what you want. At that point you can pretty much guarantee anything.

A good question to ask point blank is to ask: "Does your company use aversive measures to train your dogs?" This should give you the answer your are looking for.

I hope this has been educational,

Good luck, choose wisely.

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