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All offensive reviews will be removed. Dialogue is welcomed as lengthy as you A) make feeling B) have evidence to back again up what you say.

Going more than the approaches of “Common Training”, “Alpha Training”, “Learn & Slave” & “Optimistic Reinforcement”. What just about every are about, entail, why it is alluring, pro’s and con’s.

Dr David Mech
four Musts to a Happy Dog


  1. Bit of a confusing video. It would make more sense to just mention reinforcement and punishment and leave out the positive.
    Anyway punishment could never ever be the only training method used. All trainers use reinforcement and punishment even +R trainers. You use reinforcement when conditioning a behaviour and punishment when conditioning a behaviour to stop. So "punishment doesn't teach a dog what to do" is a weird way of describing exactly what punishment is, by definition it conditions the dog what not to do. Reinforcement teaches a dog what to do.

    So if you stop moving because your dog is pulling you are using punishment. The difference I would say is that +R trainers generally are much less severe with punishment.

    Anyway my point is that you can't group training methods into different quadrants of operant conditioning. that's not how it works. no trainer uses only punishment, or reinforcement everyone uses both.

    1-2 punishing for it to work was another weird fact. More accurate would be punishment has to be less desirable than the behaviour that the owner is trying to stop. But 1-2 times to condition a dog? reinforcement or punishment, that would be a very fast learning dog.

  2. Great video not a lot of people are willing to tackle the issue of different training styles. You did a good job and did your best trying not to offend any particular style even though some people might still be offended no matter what one says. I'm in some ways like you I have learned from many trainers different methods of training dogs seen some of the pros and cons of each style and have come to the conclusion that different styles work with different types of dogs and temperments. Although I have to say the one style getting good results seems to be positive reinforcement training. There are breeds out there many of which I believe do very well with positive reinforcement training on the other hand there are some dogs that need a little something extra or different again my opinion. Just food for thought how would one incorporate positive reinforcement training with protection work, or retrieving work? For Obedience, positive reinforcement training has grown leaps and bounds.

  3. Here in the Netherlands I find that the positive reinforcement is getting really popular, but now a lot of people are taking the positivity to far. They allow the dog to do anything because it is 'abuse' to EVER correct your dog. I have been in situations wherein the safety of people and dogs where on the line because owners where not stepping in as they should. I love positive reinforcement, but there are also times that you should be able to tell your dog 'no, what you are about to do is not okay'. And I mean situations in which you cannot put your dog up for succes. Like when your dogs wants to chase a squirrel and blindly runs towards a busy road. It's okay to grab your dog by it's neck to get him out of that situation, because it's dangerous. Some people here are making it look like you can never ever touch your dog in a negative way because that automatically means abuse, but I think that is wrong. Again, positive reinforcement is realllyy good! But it doesn't mean the rest is always automatically bad… (Not saying that you are saying it is, just wanted to tell you how it is here)

  4. Tell me if anyone does mondioring with this training method? 🙂

  5. Do You do some work with your dogs? As a professional I love your work, because my kennel is full of behavior problems ( agressivity), in moutst of dogs already bitten all the family. Tks

  6. 11:12
    ^ This

    Keeping in mind you can't just become a passenger an reward for what you wan't. It's a measured approach using common when the dog does something wrong. The missing bit in the equation in nearly every case I see with your run of the mill family dog owners is the human(s) not doing enough or the right things. Each dog is different, each case is different.

  7. Wait, at the end, you imply positive punishment is harmful while also including things like e-collars and prongs as examples of positive punishment. How harmful positive punishment is depends on how it's used. When used properly, they're no more harmful than removing something. It's kinda like a kid. If you have a plate of cookies in front of them and take it away, they need to be able to understand what they did wrong in order for it to work, otherwise it's harmful. So negative reinforcement can be harmful too. When done abusively, it's called neglect lol very overlooked and misunderstood form of abuse, tbh. Positive punishment, in that case, would be telling the kid what they did wrong. "No, don't touch the cookies" is positive punishment. If you don't tell them what they're doing wrong by adding some sort of information, the kid has to figure it out on their own. This can be stressful for some, fun for others.

    Dogs don't understand our language, and it's our job to teach them. A kid understands "Don't touch the cookies", but a dog needs something to help them connect the dots. That's the job of a trainer. Dogs need to learn how to look to us for guidance, otherwise they try to solve problems on their own. Especially in the human world, that can be incredibly stressful for a dog, so you get more "primal" solutions when they experience fear or stress, like lunging/pulling/barking/biting/etc. We're supposed to be their "guide" in human-land, kinda like if you traveled to a country that doesn't speak your language. The easiest way is if you have a friend in the area that knows the language and understands the customs who can help you out so you can relax and enjoy your time without breaking any taboos or getting yourself into a dangerous situation. If you use positive punishment correctly, it's just sharing information with the dog so that they don't have to "figure out" what they did wrong. Instead, they can focus on figuring out what you, the owner, are trying to communicate. "Oh, I get it. They don't want me to do X, so what should I do instead? What solution are they offering?" = calm learning dog. Without some form of positive punishment, it takes much longer to help the dog understand, and many can't without it. The trick is doing it well, so that you don't have to do it anymore because the dog understands that your rules are serious. I think it's a little disingenuous to imply it must be done in 1-2 corrections, too. Many dogs have to be guided through it as they learn to cope with some kind of stressor. For example, if a dog is aggressive towards other dogs, you might walk them by the fence with a prong and correct with several pops to help them understand that although the stress is long-lasting, they need to focus on what you're asking them to do (walking, focus, etc).

    Some dogs don't need positive punishment because they're able to establish a healthy, respectful connection with their respectful owner without it. But many need it in order to MAKE that respectful connection. Especially pound pups and rescues who often had poor training. The key always comes down to HOW each of these are used. Positive punishment can obvs be done abusively (beating a dog), but negative reinforcement can ALSO be done abusively, and be even worse (neglect). It's wrong to imply that positive punishment is harmful, just as it would be wrong for me to imply that negative reinforcement is neglectful. It's just not. It depends on how and when it's used. Sometimes positive reinforcement is the most humane thing you can do.

    If you haven't, I highly recommend looking more into prong training. It's one of the most misunderstood tools, and I think you misunderstand them too, but they tap into a vital aspect of dog psychology. Maybe not the "mommy bite" that some people claim, but it IS similar in nature. mommy bites are positive punishment, after all. :^) SolidK9Training helped me learn about them, but there are many. I'm actually planning on using it for my dog, because she IS so anxious and insecure, and it seems like proper prong use would be perfect for helping me get through to her. It's surprisingly gentle, while giving good control for guidance, which is exactly what I need.

  8. Can I also genuinely ask/posit: MANY dog owners are not worthy of owning a dog.  They do not understand, or even attempt to educate themselves about a dog's various needs: companionship, mental and physical stimulation, love, play, etc.
    Are many behavioural issues actually caused by bad early socialisation, and compounded by, knowingly or unknowingly, abusive and/or neglectful owners who are not meeting their dogs full range of needs in order to be happy, balanced, fulfilled creatures?

  9. Has nobody, with an interest, and completely open mind, combined with genuine love for dogs, ever compared the various schools/approaches/techniques? 
    Could it be that someone needs to conduct serious interviews with a wide variety of leading proponents of these schools, dog trainers of all sorts, and animal shelter workers who have first hand experience with a wide range of "damaged"/abused dogs?
    There MUST be one philosophy which is universally most effective at teaching desired behaviours, reducing/eliminating unwanted behaviours, and rehabilitating damaged/abused dogs.

  10. Can you use both alpha training, AND positive reinforcement? That seems to be my style and I have good success. I dont physically make the dogs flip on their backs, but I do teach them to respect my authority. I eat first and walk in/out the door first as well as, I sleep on the be and sit on the couch, they stay on the floor… I have strict rules and boundaries and enforce them. If they break a rule, I tell them. If they do something good, I also tell them. Does that make sense?

  11. She doesn't know what she is talking about. She hasn't even lived long enough to gain any experience, but long enough to read things that fit with her morality. Brian Murray

  12. You forgot the MOST common form of training..Balanced training. It's not "Traditional Training", "Alpha Training", "Master & Slave"..and its unfortunate that that's how you view the other side.

    Most of the people in my dog owner and trainer circle use all quadrants when necessary. I have a particular interesting case with my dog who, when I adopted her, was MORE fearful..more shy..more reserved. Through her training she was not suppressed and actually the opposite happened..she came out of her shell and became more confident because there was clear and concise information. I've seen that a few times with other dogs as well. I even used an e-collar for proofing.. and she was not suppressed or traumatized or scarred for life..shocker right?
    At my local dog training school (balanced training) where was one particular doberman who came in scared of life.. everything terrified him. Punishment was never used on him prior..he was just never taught how to cope with the world and be desensitized to ordinary stimuli. After a month of training, using all 4 quadrants, that dog was completely different … came to class bouncy and happy.. wanted to engage with people and dogs. When we did outside classes in the city.. he coped with traffic and the sights and sounds well when he previously used to shut down. Dog training is not rocket science.. average owners are competent enough to be able to learn good timing and use good judgment if given the time to be taught how to do so.

    So its frustrating when I hear all these assumptions being made (I'm sure there are a few punishment based trainers out there who fit the descriptions)..because in real life..I see the complete opposite.

  13. thx again
    we love your help, and appreciate the time & effort you put into your videos

  14. babble, you have very little idea about dogs, moreso training
    dont listen to this fraud

  15. I've used a prong collar, but only as a training tool while walking. I had a 90lb Doberman who was reactive to other dogs and would try to drag me (I'm 5"2') down the street. For me, that collar was the only positive punishment used and it was only while walking, for the safety of myself, my dog, and others around us.

    Thankfully, with more socialization and more confidence, he was able to overcome most of his reactive behavior and be a happy, healthy dog. The prong collar was eventually put away and we had three lovely years together before he passed to lymphoma.

  16. Still I like your open mindedness. Much better than other "pure positive" trainers out there that are so righteous and holier than thou.

  17. 7:17 Problem with alpha training with most people is that they are too physically weak to correctly dominate their dog. Humans are the weakest organisms pound for pound on the planet by far. A 20 lb dog is much stronger and athletic than most 100 lb humans. That is the failing of dominance training for most people and it results in the dog winning that battle. Most people try to correct their dog and to the dog it's like a gentle poke and they challenge it back. You whoop that ass properly and they will not challenge. Dogs have no issues submitting to a higher force. It's their natural instinct. You can use a prong collar to augment your strength. If that's not enough, that's why there is e-collar. I have no problem alpha training any dog unless they are over 80 lbs.

    Again…this is just as easy to get wrong as pure positive training.

  18. If your timing is faster than your dog…you're much stronger and more athletic than your dog…dominance training is the only thing that truly works.

    Your analogy that pure positive training is best with shittier trainers is completely wrong. It's just as easy to coddle a dog and reward bad behavior. Imagine the owner that coddles his dog because he's barking. If you suck, just get professional help.

    Your point that people have poor relationships with their parents because their parents were too strict is wrong on so many levels. First off, a dog's life from beginning to end is that of a child. There is no complexities of social change or needing to develop into a productive member of a human society while balancing social pressures like body image. My dad hit me when I was bad. I don't look badly on it because he set a great example for me. I look up to him to this day and I'm a highly responsible individual that literally never calls out of work and I'm the most productive member of my workgroup by a huge margin. I'm highly respected at work and I listen to my superiors.

    Again, bad behavior needs to be positively punished with the right timing and intensity. I wake up at 5 every morning to run my dog at full sprint for a half mile everyday. I spend a lot of time with her and I socialize her properly. But I will whoop that ass if you don't listen…case closed. I decide when she gets anything and I decide when she gets it taken away. End of story. That's the best way. That "pure positive" crap is stupid and dogs don't care about it. Dogs are perfectly happy being the lower rung. You watch dogs play and one is dominant and one is submissive and the submissive one is perfectly happy. Dogs are not compassionate. Humans are wrong to anthropomorphize dogs.

  19. David Meck has outright stated very recently that people like you and researchers are horribly misrepresenting his research. Dominance is real. It's the term alpha instead being replaced with "mating pair." Dominance is still real. There is still a pack leader. You're making me dig through months of porn in my internet history to find this article…


    Again. David Meck…the world's leading authority on wolf pack behavior clearly states himself that dominance is real and people like you are misrepresenting his work.

    "I do not in any way reject the notion of dominance." -David Meck circa 2012

  20. I agree that there's a thin line between fair and unfair punishment but first of all I think there is also some room between unfair punishment at the fault of the handler and flat out abuse. Abuse is a very strong word to describe the very small gap between correcting a dog hard enough to be effective and overcorrecting because you pulled the leash(for example) a little bit too hard.

    If the dog is confused by a correction, I think it's the trainer's fault for not being clear with it and furthermore, I think that you have to be emphatic in the first correction so that you do get your point across clearly and you don't have to make the dog even more uncomfortable with too many unnecessary but tentative corrections.

    However I disagree that positive punishment is unnecessary in obedience training, and in fact I believe it's very important to reliable obedience. In order to effectively train a dog to be reliable in a behavior, say come, in any situation with any distraction – which I think is required for that exercise as it's so important to control your dog in emergencies, you have to bridge the gap between their positive motivation to obey you because of a reward, and the motivation it takes to overcome that distraction. Discipline is what it takes to bridge that gap and that is not achieved through treats and games.

    But I do very much agree that punishment based training is a bad way to do things, however the Koehler Method, as horrible as positive trainers accuse it of being, is 75-80% positive reinforcement.

    That's all I can think of, I applaud you for being willing to let YouTube comments go here, sometimes that doesn't go well and people are afraid of that.

  21. Not certain about the points made but ,if anyone else needs to find out about how do i stop my puppy barking try Loctavan Quick Puppy Strategy (just google it ) ? Ive heard some incredible things about it and my mate got great success with it.

  22. I am a balanced trainer and I really like this video. I really appreciate your approach in explaining the quadrants and how that is translated or conceptualized by the laymen dog owner. And I agree with almost everything you said. I use all 4 quadrants of OC but have a very non confrontational interrogation of leadership and do not subscribe to the traditional definitions of dominance, alpha or pack theory (hypothesis).

    I work mostly in behavior modification and I would say my style is a mix of applied animal behavior and the hands on "dogmanship". Though I think aggression for many dogs is a learned response (through positive reinforment), I can definitely say that some of my clients have been a product of the misuse and over use of physical punishment and a lack of understanding. Their is really know room for positive punishment when teaching a dog to do anything.

    Thanks for being non confrontational and respectful. It's very refreshing and creates good dialogue and discussion.

  23. I love watching video content of such quality. Keep them coming for 2017!

  24. I'm not trying to be rude but what makes you an expert? Do you have a degree or anything? Just because you've tried something on one or two pets doesn't make you an expert. Additionally if you don't know what your talking about your spreading lies and someone could potentially cause harm to themselves or others. Again I'm not trying to be rude. But maybe you should really get the h a r d f a c t s and evidence instead of misleading people with your Opinion. Or at the very least present your video as an opinion instead of "fact". Just a thought have a good one.

  25. I trained my first dog using "combination training." It was just a really great way of making him fear me and confuse him. Oh, feed him when he does something good, but if he doesn't obey, punish him until he submits. I now use clicker training, but this dog is still scared of me most of the time. My poodle who has been trained using a clicker is very confident, happy, and affectionate. I think the two show the difference between positive and negative methods of training dogs.
    I take my dog to school with me, and the other day I showed off his amazing staying skills. My teachers and friends were amazed, saying how I must be a great trainer. I think the thing people don't understand is that positive training is a lot more about what the dog does than what the handler does. Yeah, I put 7 months into that stay, but the only reason he does it is because he wants to.

  26. I have a beautiful Border Collie, had him for 20 days, I'm his 3rd owner in 15 months and this will be his forever home.

    Having a few problems, I've been using the clicker, treat, praise reward but he is still mischievous, I have never raised or changed the tone of my voice, instead praise him for everything he does right.

    We have a few problems but one we've been working on is chewing, he chews furniture, scratches the carpet, chews the skirting boards, the exercise bike, tries to rip his bed, anything, he will chew, if I give him his toys which he loves, he constantly drops them in my lap to play and won't give up, even dental sticks, he tosses them in the air and catches them , then gives them to me to throw.
    He knows he's doing wrong as when I catch him, he has "that look" but then goes onto the next thing he wants to chew, each time giving "that look"

    I've tried rewarding him to stay on his bed and play but he won't. If I put him in the laundry room which leads to the back yard, he constantly barks and scratches the door.

    I'm at my wits end, he's on the go all day and night except for when it's time for bed, as soon as I get up, he wants to go outside and play. I've managed to make him wait until at least I've had a coffee and will only go out when he stops barking.
    So anyone? how can I make him stop chewing everything in sight? I would appreciate your advise. Thanks

  27. Hi nice video. I'm finding it very confusing that there are so many conflicting methods. I'm reading a dog training book at the moment which swears by not using treats and making you and your praise the reward. Is this a viable method or do you think treats are a necessary aid?

  28. How old was Luna when you started trainning her?


  29. I used positive reinforcement and management with my dog when I first got her. She was the near close to being a perfect dog for a couple of years until I started to lose my patience and understanding, I also stopped walking and exercising her as much (my depression). She's now reactive and aggressive, and I know that her behavior is an effect of my treatment of her. Everything you said makes sense here!

  30. I think it's a lovely overview, very helpful and resonates with people who are into dog training and building great relationships with the dogs.

  31. I got the "hippie" vibe advice from a bite work trainer who trains the local cop dogs. He told me to never use the marker word, No or to never tell my dog No because it decreased confidence in puppies and breaks their drive. bite work and agility dogs need their drive. No sure if this was sound advice. What do you think?

  32. Great video. I train retreivers for AKC Hunt test and UKC hunt test

  33. How long should a training session be for a dog that is about 2 1/2 years old. ? thanks

  34. Hi Kristin! I have an aggression problem with my dog. She becomes really upset when she's on her bed or is playing or eating something that she loves very much and we get closer to her. I'm still trying to work on this problem progressively but yesterday everything fell apart… I was trying to introduce the toothbrushing starting with a gauze in my finger. I started by touching her left tusk and everything was okay, but when I moved to de right one, suddenly she bit my hand. It hurts a lot, most emotionally than physically. She is 3 years and 9 months right now. She always been like this, since she was born. Can you please tell me what can I do to fix her aggressivity? I would really appreciate it

  35. positive punishment can also work on kids too. I ran into the street once, got a swift and sure spanking right there on the side walk. Never did it again

  36. Question: Been watching Cesar Millan… He seems to be using pack theory but with positive reinforcement and at most he teaches to ignore or stop playing if unwanted behaviour exists. Just wondering what your thoughts on this style are. Thanks.


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