a link to an article I found thought provoking
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  1. #1
    brody's Avatar
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    Defaulta link to an article I found thought provoking

    http://www.dogdaysnw.com/doc/overall_collars.pdf

    about aversive training by Karen Overall

    a teaser for those of you, like me, on dial up - but really I urge you to read the article your selves - there is lots in between worth checking out ;0

    "Given what I do for a living, my focus is always going to be the dogs. That said, whether or not anyone understands or accepts what I have written here, there is one aspect, not yet discussed, that must be considered. A blind reliance on these methods is preventing handlers and trainers from
    having the partnership with science and scientists that would benefit both of them."

    "We can do better. The canine handler teams that work best are those that best understand and trust each other. Anything that interferes with that trust and understanding is hurting the team."
    http://andrea-agilityaddict.blogspot.com/

    “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller

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    I read most of the article. It got a little too technical for me. I think I got the jist of it and that is that building a respectful and trusting relationship will get you farther with your dog than aversive tactics. I think teaching the dog to understand his job will get you better and more consistent results than teaching them to avoid certain activities. With these aversive therapies to run the risk of serious mis understandings. We've all heard about dogs afraid to go outside because of their electric fence. They didn't learn about a boundary, they learned that they get hurt when they outside.

    Unfortunately, too many people are looking for a quick solution, in my opinion. They see a shock or prong device as a way to solve a problem quickly. It does, but in the process they miss out on so much more. Most dogs love to learn and want to please you. Spending the time, the hours to teach them something and help them understand the task at hand, does so much more to build that bond between you.

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    Karen is an interesting person, she formed her conclusion and then set out to find evidence to support it. The articles she qoutes from are usually always about people and fish and she takes only certain parts of those studies to support her claims. She does point out things that people understand...If a dog is to excited/emotional/over the top it cannot learn...that is pretty obvious to dog trainers. electrical stimulation without clear instruction causes distress. lack of information in teaching causes distress, clicker training is very stressful to the dog because they don't get the information on what is wrong and will often start throwing out behavior after behavior faster and faster often whining and barking because they are experiencing stress.
    Basically the article is just her opinion it is not anything new or different, no solutions just collar bashing.
    Light, "weedy" individuals are definitely incorrect; equally objectionable are cloddy lumbering specimens. Labrador Retrievers shall be shown in working condition well-muscled and without excess fat. Females should weigh between 55 and 70lbs and Males between 65 and 80lbs. Height females 21.5 to 23.5 inches males 22.5 to 24.5 inches at the withers.

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    Anyone still using the word "SHOCK" as she has a number of times in that article has a vote of zero confidence from me. I know of no one still hanging dogs by choke collars either. I wonder if she's ever stepped foot into a hunt test or field trial to see those dogs work? I wonder what she'd think of my 18 mos old that the open obed judge said "I LOVE her enthusiasm" 3 x in the ring as she did her individual exercises (she only nq'd for a distraction on the DOR).

    Are ecollars necessary in training the average pet dog? No, of course not. But.. I can tell you I see far more screwed up, stressed out positive only clicker trained dogs at competition obed classes because they have no idea how to handle the pressure. In that regard, it's no different than sheltering a child from the big mean nasty world (the same that were given participation trophies and ribbons no matter how little effort they made), then expecting them to go out and conquer it at 18...

    Does it make me anti-clicker? No-- others can use whatever they want and feel comfortable with. May the best dog team win.

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    From Overall's article:
    "Absolutely, without exception, I oppose, will not recommend,
    and generally spend large amounts of time telling
    people why I oppose the use of shock collars, prong collars,
    choke collars, and any other type of device that is rooted in
    an adversarial, confrontational interaction with the dog..."

    She's formed her conclusions first and then talks about the difficulties dealing with highly anxious, formerly abused or traumatized dogs as if that was true of ALL dogs.

    I strongly agree that using methods that can be aversive will often be misused by people who are not properly trained in how to use them.

    At least 10 or more times in the 8+ years I've been on JL, someone (without any training or experience) describes buying an e-collar, charging it, and then using it on their dog with terrible results for the dog.

    I've used a Dogtra 200 NCP with Puff in training her. It has adjustable stim levels (0 - 100) and the setting I use cannot properly be considered aversive. It's the lowest level at which she barely notices it and, it's a setting at which I just notice a mild tingle on my bare fingers.

    Overall is NOT an expert on learning or training. Her therapeutic experience with dogs which have been traumatized by e-collars is obviously restricted to those dogs handled by owners who didn't know what they were doing.

    Used by people who are properly trained and skilled in training and learning principles, e-collars can be very valuable.

    When used by people who spend 5 minutes reading directions or 30 minutes watching a video and then strap it on to use -- they will often be extremely dangerous and detrimental.

    Last edited by Bob Pr.; 07-12-2010 at 01:59 PM.
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    Overall is NOT an expert on learning or training
    That's the funniest thing I've read in ages...

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    thought provoking - YAY
    forgot I had posted this ... I have two different thoughts so I'm trying two posts in response - hope it works

    one is a bio of Overall for those who haven't heard of her (I kind of thought everyone had - my bad!)

    kaytris - you should appreciate this in light of your chuckle above ...
    "Dr. Karen Overall received her BA and MA degrees concomitantly from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. After a year spent at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama she was awarded her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine in 1983. Dr. Overall attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin - Madison where her PhD in Zoology was awarded for research focusing on mating systems and egg physiology of a protected lizard. She completed a residency in Behavioral Medicine at Penn in 1989. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behavior (ACVB) and is certified by the Animal Behavior Society (ABS) as an Applied Animal Behaviorist.

    Dr. Overall has given hundreds of national and international presentations and short courses and is the author of over 100 scholarly publications on behavioral medicine and lizard behavioral ecology and dozens of textbook chapters. She has also been a regular columnist for both Canine and Feline Practice journals, has been the behavior columnist for the popular magazine, Cat Fancy, and continues to write a bimonthly column for DVM Newsmagazine. Her best-selling textbook, Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals, was published by Mosby in 1997. Her new book, Manual of Small Animal Clinical Behavioral Medicine, will be published by Elsevier in 2006, and her first instructional video, Humane behavioral care for distressed humans and their confused dogs: techniques for the treatment and prevention of canine behavior problems, will be released at the same time. Another text, Behavioral Medicine for Old Dogs, will follow later in 2006 or early 2007. Additionally, Dr. Overall serves on the editorial and editorial advisory boards of numerous journals, and is the editor-in-chief for the new Elsevier journal that will begin publishing in 2006, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.

    After 14 years at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, where she ran the Behavior Clinic for more than 12 years, she was offered a tenured position as an Associate Professor of Behavioral Medicine and Director of the Behavior Clinic at The College of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign as part of the faculty excellence program. Instead, she chose to join the faculty of the Psychiatry Department at Penn Med as a Research Associate. Dr. Overall’s clinical work has at its core the humane treatment of troubled pets and their distressed people. Her research has 2 main foci (1) understanding the neurobiology and genetics of canine behavior and canine cognition, and (2) the development of natural genetic and behavioral canine models for human psychiatric illness, particularly those involving anxiety, panic, and aggression. Such models allow better treatment for pets with behavioral problems while adding to our understanding of the shared conditions in humans. Dr. Overall and her colleagues have recently funded a series of studies to examine the behavioral genetics of anxiety in groups of dogs where familial concerns, including those that affect performance, have been noted.

    Dr. Overall frequently consults with service and assistance dog organizations and military and police organizations that use dogs in any capacity. She also consults frequently with law makers regarding legislation affecting dogs. Dr. Overall is currently the Co-Chair of the US government SWGDOG (the Scientific Working Group on Dogs and Orthogonal detector Guidelines), and serves on the board of Directors of both charitable (PALS for Life) and working dog (International Working Dog and Breeding Association [IWDBA]) organizations. She was awarded the 1993 Randy Award for Excellence and Creativity in Research. In 2005, Dr. Overall was voted the Small Animal Speaker of the year at the North American Veterinary Conference.

    When she is not traveling, speaking, writing, seeing patients, or conducting research, she tries to play with her 4 Australian shepherds and husband - and collaborator - Dr. Art Dunham, who shares her passion for the wonder and logic of science, fine art, language, culture, wild places, and doing the right thing. " from ABRI: Karen Overall, VMD, PhD, Diplomate ACVB
    Last edited by brody; 07-12-2010 at 10:21 PM.
    http://andrea-agilityaddict.blogspot.com/

    “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller

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    brody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by windycanyon View Post

    Are ecollars necessary in training the average pet dog? No, of course not. But.. I can tell you I see far more screwed up, stressed out positive only clicker trained dogs at competition obed classes because they have no idea how to handle the pressure. In that regard, it's no different than sheltering a child from the big mean nasty world (the same that were given participation trophies and ribbons no matter how little effort they made), then expecting them to go out and conquer it at 18...

    Does it make me anti-clicker? No-- others can use whatever they want and feel comfortable with. May the best dog team win.

    My current competiitive dogs are all positively trained - Sally is the only wholly shaped dog of the three and I am what my training refer to in horror as a cross over trainer .. while I have always used reward based training I also used pretty powerful corrections when I thought they were needed. Sally handles stress differently than my traditionally trained dogs did but she handles it well. We ran a really tricky agility course on Saturday - at a place where pretty traditional training is the norm - she was 2 seconds OT but easily earned 36 points in the opening and NAILED the final gamble - there were major stessors on the course. Instead of shutting down as many dogs did she checked in with me, gave the issues some thought then tried our solutions .. and gosh darn it all they worked!
    http://andrea-agilityaddict.blogspot.com/

    “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller

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    So you are not a 100% positive trainer. I train using positive methods, but I use corrections, including the ecollar in field and certain obed work where the dog is working away from me and needs a "leash" correction.

    Do you do other sports besides agility (because I think agility is one of those places where positive CAN and DOES work more successfully because it's FUN and EXCITING-- has more instant rewards for the dog)? And further than a CD and JH too... Because it's really not until you enter the higher levels of either that you encounter more issues in training. JH is a ton of fun, all dog, requires little pressure from the handler really other than teaching the dog a basic delivery to hand if that's all you want (the JH title). The CD is basic--- much of it is on leash so the dog doesn't have alot of trouble to get into. Jump up into SH and MH, you will see a HUGE difference. I've only done SH personally (along w/ obed and agility and a bit of tracking) but train w/ folks who run at MH and field trials. They too use positive methods in training... but correct when needed. Their dogs come sit in my lap w/ a chew bone when I'm at their house too, just as mine do when they visit here. We love our dogs too.... we are not cruel.

    The problem w/ the behaviorist types (and I have a couple friends who are that too ) is they have very little to no understanding of what it takes to train these dogs at any competition, let alone the upper levels. This is hardly akin to parlor tricks... These are not "just" pets, they are truly working dogs and must have impeccable training for their own safety.
    Last edited by windycanyon; 07-12-2010 at 10:36 PM.

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    I want to add that I don't want to sound like I'm picking on you, Brody. I'm just trying to figure out peoples' training strategies and goals with their dogs (esp w/ the little breeds!). I like to see what is working and what's not. I've been watching some dogs in my Open/Utility level obed classes this year and it's really fascinating to see how the owners handle it when the dog either shuts down or just plain blows them off. So many have no real choice but to put the dog away if the dog chooses not to work that day because they've not been taught that they HAVE to do it. To me, it doesn't seem like that bothers the dog a bit though. In some cases, the dog clearly wins.

    I personally think the dog w/ a solid foundation and who has had clear training methods (force fetch, etc to learn how to turn off the pressure) is generally a happier worker. Now that said, I've got one that is so soft (and ring wise now) that I don't know if I'll ever bother to try to get her last CDX Q. I figure if she's not enjoying her ring time (and she's not-- she's stressing out), why bother? Interesting that the dog is great in training where she knows she can and will be corrected.

    I'm also curious about what venues folks participate in because I really don't think obed is nearly as stressful (that 40x50' gated ring, familiar sequence to exercises) as compared to SH and MH hunt tests (100's of acres, w/varying tests and conditions--- anything might happen!). I reserve agility for after CDX and maybe during SH training as it seems to be a low stress, fun activity for them by comparison.
    Last edited by windycanyon; 07-13-2010 at 01:36 AM.

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