As you read about Baron’s story, you will learn that he was, in fact, my first dog and he is a rescue. Aside from the miniature poodles that my parents raised as family dogs, I had occasional exposure to canine companions on a regular basis as a young adult. “Sunshine” our family’s second poodle was not trained, but she showcased her gifted intellect all the time.
In zoos and sanctuaries, I relied entirely on positive reinforcement marker-training, but after adopting Baron I quickly discovered that what works for performance, enrichment, husbandry and research training in captive wildlife facilities, does not necessarily work for obedience training in dogs when human and animal saftey are potentially at risk. Complementary training methods can be a necessity. I began to apprentice under a trainer who introduced me to a training program that incorporates both marker-training through compulsion-praise training.
In theory, compulsive training utilizes positive punishment and negative reinforcement, but when paired with positive reinforcement it can serve simply as an adjunct method of training, which serves to keep animals and people safe . All of the methods described on this website’s “Learning Theory” page rely on operant conditioning.
I specifically use remote training collars on a case by case basis to help primarily with recall. These collars emit a low-level electrical stimulus or vibration by the push of a button on a remote device. They are not only quite humane when used appropriately, but they are very benign as far as stimuli are concerned and they are used as communicative tools. In fact, these electronic devices incorporate the very same electrodes used in chiropractic medicine to treat musculoskeletal ailments in people and animals. In my experience, most people who are opposed to using remote training collars no very little, if anything about them. This is not to say that there are some fundamental problems with the use of aversive conditioning techniques in general, but by and large, when used appropriately, these remote devices can nicely complement positive reinforcement training.