Balanced Training? Or?

Understanding Balanced Training


B Anderson

5/30/20233 min read

There has been an ever growing number of people that are promoting training methods that are not only not effective. They are NOT "the science" in most cases that I have seen in fact they are quite the opposite. The so called PP (Purely Positive) crowd along with the other ideologue driven thought police that is constantly clattering in the background of the dog training interest.

Many of us, after working with high drive dogs especially, realize that PP methods are great for teaching behaviors, shaping behaviors etc. But they are not enough to get us to a well trained dog. We need other tools along the way other means of communicating with the dog. This brings us to what many label "balanced training". This indicates that all four quadrants of behavior are acknowledged and employed in the training of the dog.

Balanced dog training is an approach that utilizes all four quadrants of behavior modification techniques, which include positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment. By utilizing all four quadrants, balanced dog training aims to provide a well-rounded and effective training experience for dogs.

Here are some advantages of utilizing all four quadrants in balanced dog training:

1. Versatility: Each quadrant has its own unique purpose and can be used in different situations. By using all four quadrants, trainers have a wide range of techniques to choose from and can tailor their training methods to suit the specific needs of each dog. This versatility allows trainers to address various behaviors and challenges effectively.

2. Positive reinforcement: Positive reinforcement involves rewarding desired behaviors, which encourages dogs to repeat those behaviors in the future. It creates a positive association and fosters a strong bond between the dog and the trainer. By incorporating positive reinforcement in training, dogs learn to associate good behavior with positive outcomes, making them more likely to exhibit desirable behaviors.

3. Negative reinforcement: Negative reinforcement involves the removal of an aversive stimulus when the dog performs a desired behavior. It relies on the concept of escape or avoidance, where the dog learns that by performing the desired behavior, they can escape or avoid an uncomfortable or unpleasant situation. Negative reinforcement can be useful in teaching dogs specific commands or cues and can help establish clear communication between the trainer and the dog.

4. Positive punishment: Positive punishment involves the application of an aversive stimulus to discourage unwanted behaviors. While it should be used sparingly and with caution, positive punishment can be effective in addressing certain behaviors that may pose a risk to the dog's safety or others' well-being. When used appropriately and accompanied by positive reinforcement for desired behaviors, positive punishment can help establish boundaries and discourage undesirable actions.

5. Negative punishment: Negative punishment involves the removal of a desired stimulus as a consequence of unwanted behavior. This technique can be useful for teaching dogs impulse control and helping them understand that certain behaviors lead to the loss of privileges or rewards. Negative punishment can be an effective way to address behaviors such as jumping or excessive barking.

6. Individualized approach: Dogs are unique individuals with different temperaments, learning styles, and behavior patterns. By utilizing all four quadrants of behavior modification, balanced dog training allows for a more individualized approach. Trainers can assess each dog's specific needs, strengths, and areas for improvement, and then select the most appropriate techniques from the quadrants to create a tailored training plan.

It's important to note that balanced dog training should be implemented by knowledgeable and experienced trainers who prioritize the welfare and well-being of the dog and aspire to create an environment of low to no conflict.

The appropriate use of aversive techniques should always be accompanied by positive reinforcement and should aim to create a positive and supportive training environment.

Balanced Training- IN DEPTH