Since my post last Monday, it’s been kicking around in my brain that there’s a level of dog training that goes past the merely positive. I was articulating part of this with my series last week about dogs who don’t want cookies–it’s one (don’t get me wrong, very important) step to train with positive reinforcement, but it’s a second step to look at what your dog really finds the most reinforcing. That may be what you think (cookies), but it may be something else altogether. Considering the dog’s perspective can be a radical shift.
While I’ve been thinking about this, a couple of examples have crossed into my notice.
First up, this youtube video from Kikopup:
Notice that she’s focused on both making her dog more comfortable in routine situations AND on the dog’s wellbeing throughout the training. Her refusal to push the dog yields, counterintuitively, a quicker and more complete result.
Another wonderful example is this handout from Grisha Stewart. There is, generally, a lot of greatness on the Empowered Animals website. I picked this particular example because it’s a quite radical reimagining of what leash-walking even means.
Lastly, I really love this article by Suzanne Clothier on “difficult-to-train” dogs. Why is your dog hard to train? Look at it from the dog’s perspective.
If we question everything, how far can we go? If we stop to really look at the conventions, even those of positive training, what does that yield?