Supplement Ready to Compliment Training The Tree Dog
Leaving a Tree
For an example of using an e-collar, negative reinforcement and redirection successfully to address behaviors it is explained how to begin addressing the behavior of leaving a tree. First and foremost try to avoid aversive measures using non aversive measures first. If non aversive measures fail then be sure to read the training techniques outlined by the collar Manufacturer. Leading e-collar manufacturers provide free online training manuals that reference how to introduce the dog to the e-collar and how to combine negative reinforcement with redirection to successfully alter behaviors.
Utilize the same good shaping practices that Training the Tree Dog uses to train your dog to hunt:
Shape the behavior of the dog in small increments. Concentrate on developing one behavior at a time to the point where it is established using variable reinforcement before moving on. Step the dog back to a simpler stage of training to introduce a new concept. Attempt to plan ahead for how you may need to react to unexpected behavior changes. Stick to a proven training program as outlined in Training the Tree Dog. Donít end the training session suddenly. Make sure the lesson ends successfully even if this means practicing at a more simple training level.
Begin the introduction when the dog has already become very responsive to the Training the Tree Dog hunting signals and has established strong hunting behaviors for all stages 1 to 6 as outlined in Training the Tree Dog. Variable reinforcement training schedules should already be in place by this time. The dog should already have a comprehension for associating non aversive punishment techniques with leaving a tree and picking the wrong tree as explained in Training the Tree Dog.
Use the lowest e-collar setting the dog will respond to. Revert to the Training the Tree Dog stage 4 simulated hunting methods to introduce the dog to this new method. Only secondary reinforcement is applied after each stage 4 training session game until the dog shows the behavior of second guessing itself and moving away from the tree. Immediately use negative reinforcement stimuli in conjunction with the established hunting signal until the dog redirects itself toward the tree. Give the dog the secondary and primary reinforcement stimulation after applying the negative reinforcement and once the dog is redirected to giving tree bark indication. Training the Tree Dog provides the reader with a good picture of how this method works.
Always maintain good basic training practices like the one used to outline Training the Tree Dog:
Be consistent not only in voice tone and stimulus delivery but also stick to a proven training plan like the one in Training the Tree Dog, maintaining a controlled environment. The duration of the lesson is kept relatively short with breaks. The trainer stays in control by sticking to the lesson plan and anticipating new behaviors. Make sure the lesson ends successfully. Concentrate on one behavior at a time during any given training period. However switch back and forth every few days to training on different behaviors. Better yet switch from a behavior that requires motion to a behavior that requires remaining still.
Follow good aversive stimulation practices:
From the standpoint of punishment and negative reinforcement always strive to refrain from using aversive measures such as using an e-collar, using the preferred non aversive punishment instead as outlined in Training the Tree Dog. The opportunity to do so is enhanced by good planning for a controlled training environment. A good training program like Training the Tree Dog is designed to try and avoid the development of any undesirable behavior maximizing the training process.
When an aversive measure is required administer it in a timely fashion and manner so that the dog can associate the stimulus with the behavior. Use secondary stimulation as discussed in Training the Tree Dog to avoid abusing the dog. Use a high enough level of punishment that the dog responds to it but without becoming fearful or aggressive. Use the aversive measure for the behavior consistently. Make sure the dog can not get away. If the aversive measure is delivered in this manner and it does not work after many tries, find a new approach to addressing the behavior.
Evaluating the Use of Aversive Punishment to Trash Break Puppies
The Training the Tree Dog training system concentrates heavily on optimizing the generalization principal of learning. It is designed to maximize learning success by controlling the environment and maximizing the use of positive reinforcement. It is designed to minimize undesired behavior development and the use of punishment, ESPECIALY by aversive methods.
The concept of trash breaking puppies fails to address the generalization principal all together. Another words, large numbers of dogs will NOT necessarily associate puppy trash breaking in the backyard using scent articles like glands with wild game scent in the wild hunting environment, especially not in the presence of a much stronger stimulus such as the live running assailant. Valuable positive reinforcement training time is lost with the puppy and secondly the dreadful negative side effects of using aversive punishment MUST be taken into consideration. What a shame to take a chance on creating an undesirable behavior in a puppy that was not there before like breaking its fun loving spirit when the pup has not yet even had the chance to display the behavior of chasing undesirable fast running game animals.
From experience with dogs that progress through the Training the Tree Dog system to the point they are ready to go to the woods for a wild hunt is that the first generalization they make in the wild hunting environment is looking for and treeing the desired game. Just the way Training the Tree Dog intends. The desired wild environment hunting and treeing behavior being well developed before any serious trash breaking is required. Also from experience, two trash breaking scenariosí result after using the techniques in Training the Tree Dog.
The first scenario, being a matter of luck is the opportunity to introduce the dog to secondary punishment stimuli and then the lowest effective level of aversive punishment possible while the dog is looking at the live off game and smelling it in the wild environment. With the dog being in a situation of taking a slow cautious approach toward the off game as opposed to being in a full blown chase. This allows the dog to make a clear clean association between the punishment and the live off game. One lucky experience like that goes a long way to deter the dogís curiosity for that would be assailant. Just be ready when the opportunity arises.
The second scenario is that the dog does gradually get away with following off game and begins to gradually find it somewhat fun. Somewhat, meaning that after applying the Training the Tree Dog system, the misbehaving dog will quickly choose to quit on its own and either come back to the trainer or successfully get back to the business of trying to find the correct game and to getting it treed. What is then being observed is the dog is exposing itself to a natural form of self applied training called (accidental) extinction combined with redirection.
The naturally occurring association that the dog makes in finding out that there is no treeing reward when chasing game that will not climb is taken advantage of. Combine the accidental extinction and redirection process with secondary punishment and sometimes, depending on the need, the lowest effective level of primary RANDOM, aversive punishment. The dogís decision to redirect itself to either come back to the trainer or to get treed on the appropriate game can be encouraged by the trainer using the appropriate command words. Either one of the two redirection behaviors that is displayed first must be positively reinforced. It is recommended using the e-collar to train the dog to come before using it to address chasing behaviors.
The trainer that uses Training the Tree Dog methods to train a dog to hunt and tree wild game is inadvertently addressing trash breaking. The dog is being prepared to make the distinction between running a track that is not associated with a treeing reward and one that is. Preparing the dog by using the Training the Tree Dog system increases the odds that the trainer can approach trash breaking through the use of accidental extinction with redirection and combined random, aversive punishment. By using many other types of techniques to train a tree dog the trainer is more likely limited to using punishment alone each and every time the behavior is displayed in order to address the undesirable behavior. The dreadful negative side effects of using just the punishment principal in the absence of the extinction principal make it much more likely to produce a detrimental behavior in a nice young dog.
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