Positive Discipline Dog Training

The Dog’s Perspective

If you have human children, you probably have heard of Positive Discipline. If you have doggy fur-babies, you most likely have heard of Positive Training. While the Human’s Perspective advocates positive training methods, the Dog’s Perspective advocates and applies positive discipline to dog training. The obvious question is – are these training approaches the same or different? Although the names, positive discipline and positive training, are very similar and based on the same learning theory with the ultimate goal of training dogs, their approaches to training and success rates are quite different.

In our upcoming book series, The Dog’s Perspective: How to Train a Dog by Thinking Like a Dog, the similarities and differences between positive discipline and positive training are explored. Operant conditioning, the learning theory that is the foundation of both positive discipline and positive training, is explained in Volume 1: Philosophy Primer. Positive training, as advocated by the Human’s Perspective, applies only one quadrant of operant condition, known as positive reinforcements, to most dog training scenarios. In contrast, positive discipline incorporates all four quadrants of operant conditioning as a method to parent and educate human children, and is adapted for dog training by the Dog’s Perspective. These concepts are introduced in “Positive Discipline for Dogs”.

The purpose of the Philosophy Primer is two-fold. First, two basic training philosophies (Human’s Perspective and Wolf’s Perspective), based on positive and aversive training, are presented and evaluated from a scientific viewpoint. Second, an alternative training philosophy, the Dog’s Perspective, is presented that is based not only on behavioral psychology, but equally important on other sciences, especially the biology of dogs. Below is a brief excerpt from the book. We look forward to having the complete book available very soon. Until then, we will be sharing some sneak peeks. Hope you enjoy!

Positive Discipline for Dogs

Asheville Dog Training - Wild Thing

Positive Discipline for children is based on the work of two early twentieth century Viennese psychiatrists, Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs, who believed that human behavior is motivated by a desire to belong and connect with other humans. Psychological research has demonstrated that human children are hard-wired to seek connections with other humans, and those children who feel a sense of connection to their families and communities are less likely to misbehave. Similar analogies can be made of domestic dogs. Domestication has hard-wired dogs to seek out connections with humans. And, dogs are less likely to misbehave if they have a sense of connection to their human family and others. The applications of positive discipline techniques makes perfect sense for dog training.

The “positive” part of Positive Discipline stresses that children and dogs should always be treated with calm, friendly and respectful methods. The “discipline” part of Positive Discipline has NOTHING to do with punishment, but everything to do with teaching and guidance. Positive Discipline recognizes there are good and bad behaviors exhibited by children, but that children, themselves, are good. Applying Positive Discipline to dog training, there are no bad dogs, just good and bad behaviors. Good behaviors can be encouraged and bad behaviors can be discouraged without hurting dogs verbally, physically or emotionally. These ideas are the foundation of the Dog’s Perspective.

Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD is an evolutionary biologist, college biology instructor, former zookeeper and certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) with Lucky Dog Training Asheville and has over 30 years of training experience. The Dog’s Perspective is a training philosophy based on how dogs think.

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