I Use Punishments

Semantics are a bitch.


The word Punishment brings up images of “Mommy Dearest” style wire hanger beatings.


But the truth is that in technical terminology, Punishment just means that it decreased something. It’s a description of the effect of what you did. Not a description OF what you did. Make sense?

This post came to me reading a blog from Denise Fenzi called “Have to VS Want To”. It’s actually a good blog (I typically like Fenzi a lot). But…. Technically….. I’m in the “other” camp.

I use punishments.

Of course…. The problem is…..

I am super gentle. As gentle as I can possibly get away with.

I AM NOT in the same camp as the yank and crank crowd.

At all.

I’ll show you what I mean.

Here is a video of me working with Jax on his “Look” command.

Using corrections to proof it.

So….. There it is.

Not everyone that uses corrections and punishments are abusive assholes.

Even if there are abusive assholes that use them.

Just make sure that when you get in arguments on the internet, you at least know what THEY mean when they use certain words. Can make a HUGE difference in how you see them.



Comments 5

  1. Sapphire

    It is very interesting that what many are taking away from Ms. Fenzi’s post is that she is saying that punishment is always harsh.

    She was simply making this point:

    “We all fail. Regardless of method. Without exception.

    The fact is, dogs trained with “have to” fail on a very regular basis . . .”

    I get the impression, from the comments made on the blog post, and the responses that I am seeing around the internet, that people are taking away quite a lot that was not actually said, and that the true point of the post has been missed …

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    1. Post

      Sapphire- I actually posted this response on Denise’s Blog. I will just re-post here. Too lazy to re-type. “Denise- I just saw my post got tagged on here. Wanted to chime in.
      – I Liked your article. And…. I totally understand your point!!! You weren’t doing a comparing styles thing. You were saying that the “have to” in the studio doesn’t always transfer to “having to” in the ring. I agree. Good training causes reliability. Bad training doesn’t. It’s the quality of the training that matters not the “style”. Like you said, that isn’t taking ethics, or picture into account, just reliability. Awesome points. Missed by many. But still….. Awesome.
      – My blog was NOT supposed to be a rebuttal to it. Like nanny nanny boo boo I use punishments. I referenced your article because it was the place that the snowball began rolling. (and it was good). It was a literal rant about the semantics. I get flack from “both” sides. I use punishments and so I get flack from anti punishment people. But, I am heavily reward based, and uber LIMA, so I get flack from the compulsive crowd. My topic was the semantic discussion of the word punishment and it’s implied meaning. NOT to “counter” your piece.
      I like your work! Don’t want be “positioned” incorrectly in this discussion.

  2. Deb H

    I never thought of “uh uh” as a punishment which I use quite a bit with my young Lab pup (which works) but after seeing your video apparently I am using “gentle punishment” as well. Not that I am against the use of corrections/punishment as I have always been of the opinion that you need many tools in your training bag. It is the same with our horses — you start with a “phase 1” level of assertiveness and go from there.

    1. Post

      That mark is my “No Reward” mark. So it was never “charged” in the sense that I arbitrarily said “ah ah” and didn’t give something. But… Throughout game play, training, and life…..”Ah ah” means you made a mistake and will not get whatever you’re looking for.
      Sometimes that can be a trick question though. Cause the implication can be that I associated bad things with it to get the result. But now on video…. I’m making it sound all fairy farts and rainbows. I get that all the time.
      For transparency : I use. Different mark (“No”) to denote severe mistakes where +P is going to be used. Now…. Again…. For me, that is mostly in the form of social pressure. sometimes physical pressure. But….. I don’t use physical pain as a strategy ever. Not only is it just not how I like to be, but…. I prefer game dogs. And it would be pretty useless on them. So…. Not in my toolbox.

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