I’m shocked that this video is controversial. What I Think About So-Called “Balanced Dog Training”

What I Think About So-Called “Balanced” Dog Training. (Contains paid promotion) ⭐️ Use DISCOUNT CODE: ZAK at http://PupBox.com/zak to get 50% OFF your first PupBox in a multi-month plan! ⭐️

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34 Comments on “I’m shocked that this video is controversial. What I Think About So-Called “Balanced Dog Training””

    1. @Workingsables he’s worked with multiple reactive dogs and made a lot of progress via changing their emotional state toward triggers. How has he set dogs up to be more reactive?

  1. This progression is amazing! Excellent work. Thank you so much for creating a wonderful guide to bond with our best friends! I also appreciate the explanation of balanced training and the fact that everyone is different with their training methods.

  2. You have come so far with little Biscuits!!!! Incredible job with her and I loveee your mindset too, your videos are really informative and useful, I have been watching you for years. 🥰🥰🥰💗💗💗💗

  3. This kind of explanation is really very helpful. I have both your books, but that’s the way to teach us how to form the training sessions on every occasion and not just rely on what we have seen. Thank you very much. Keep up the good work.

  4. I’m glad you’re the most watched dog trainer on YouTub helping to educate positive dog training. You’re able to educate and reach more people. We have only used positive training methods thanks to your books and videos teaching us how to properly train our dogs. With patience and implementing your suggestions, there has been no reason to consider other inhumane ways of training. I’m sad for those who believe in balanced dog training.

  5. Thanks for standing up for dogs to not get yanked around and shocked! Treating our dogs with respect and dignity is the way to go 🙂 ❤

    1. @Just a girl and her dogs Are you working as a balanced trainer? I don’t see why you’re so personally offended in this comment section.

    2. @Just a girl and her dogs Exactly! All the balanced trainers I know don’t shock and yank their dogs. Lol I use balanced methods with my dog and she is well behaved, well trained, happy, and loves life. In fact, most of our training is +r, contrary to what uneducated positive only people think.

  6. Great video. Most people like to criticize or mock positive reinforcement trainers, but the results are proof that it works. Keep up the good work Zak, you’re a great example to those following you.

    1. Thw reason people mock them is videos like this bashing other styles of training. I utilize psoriasis reinforces in my training techniques, and the e collar is not ever used as a punishment with my dogs, neither the prong. Many of my client dogs don’t ever get up to thst point and stay on a martingale or use just a harness or flat collar with rewards. Dogs don’t learn one size fits all, just like there’s different types of teachers for kids.

      If a dog is a danger and trying to bite people or dogs to a certain extreme, yes, i will implement the balanced out fair correction and then follow that up with intense reward.

      Dogs have to learn to handle discomfort, I wish I could say otherwise, but again, same for humans. It’s time we start setting our dogs up for success in the world instead of being shocked when the dog bites someone with the handlers back turned.

    2. People only mock PURELY positive reinforcement trainers. I’m not sure that anyone with a dog would disagree that positive reinforcement can be useful. HOWEVER, does anyone really know how to fix an aggressive dog with purely treats and affection? No. Not to my knowledge.

  7. Zak, I love how you actively work to avoid arguments about dog training methods, refusing to be drawn in to those types of conversations just to create controversy. Instead, you explain why your methods work for you and for the dogs. It’s a pleasure to listen to you!

  8. So glad you gave the comparison between Positive reinforcement and “balanced/Adversive” training. Helpful when explaining to ppl why I use PRT.

  9. It seems to me that one of the fundamental mis-steps in communication between different types of dog training is the conflation of the 𝘦𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 of a particular technique with the 𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘴 of that technique, and that conflation carries with it a personal emotional investment that can make critiques feel like either personal or systemic attacks. All four of the operant conditioning quadrants are effective, and this is simply an objective fact. That fact, however, doesn’t address whether or not there is an ethical problem with some of them. “Balanced” training utilizes all four quadrants, while “positive” training only uses two (yes, the focus is on positive reinforcement, refusing access to a rewarding stimulus until the correct behavior is presented is negative punishment). Even if the two methodologies had identical rates of effective performance (they don’t, methods that emphasize positive reinforcement as the primary tool showed both higher levels of learning speed and retention), the question still remains: If you can train a dog just as effectively 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 using aversives, is it morally a problem to do so? My personal answer to that is ‘Yes’, I don’t think that it’s ok to cause stress or discomfort to a dog without a compelling reason to do so. The dog training world has far, far too much ego attached directly to training method (as evidenced by the comment section of any dog training video that dares to critique a different method), and we should be spending more time looking at the data instead of doing things “because I’ve always done it this way, and it works fine.”

    Some of the science I mentioned:
    Arhant C, Bubna-Littitz H, Bartels A, Futschik A, Troxler J. Behaviour of smaller and larger dogs: Effects of training methods, inconsistency of owner behaviour and level of engagement in activities with the dog. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 2010;123(3-4):131-142.

    Hiby EF, Rooney NJ, Bradshaw JWS. Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare. Anim Welf. 2004;13(1):63-69.

    Rooney NJ, Cowan S. Training methods and owner-dog interactions: Links with dog behaviour and learning ability. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 2011;132(3-4):169-177.

  10. Thank you for spreading your knowledge and training methods. It is so important in this world full of quick fixes and ignoring of the animals’ languages.

  11. As a vet I have to say I absolutely love the way you train and try to help pet owners understand why positive reinforcement is preferred. It’s not just about getting the behaviour you want, it’s about helping the dog really understand it and building a bond. I’ve referred several clients with their first puppies to watch your videos!

  12. I’ve learned much from you, as well as, learning about positive reinforcement techniques. Thank you. You are really good at demonstrating the training and explaining the methods you use.
    Question. What is the long lead (brand, length, link if available) you use with Biscuit?

  13. As a trainer myself I try to understand the techniques of multiple trainers. You are such a nice guy and always take the high road, which I respect. I said yesterday on Beckman’s channel that if more people employed positive reinforcement training as a puppy less people would have to take their 3 year old out of control dogs to people like Joel (who I like and respect as well)

    1. @Tony Veguilla Do you happen to know if there’s any way to tame down a prey drive? My dogs are jack Russell/chihuahua Cross and it’s one area I am at a bit of a loss (I just keep them on their leash when there’s rabbits around since they killed one last year) – they don’t have this behaviour any other time and usually have great impulse control and recall. “Leave it” works for absolutely everything else, except a rabbit.

      I’m not one for giving up but I’m a bit stuck with how to tackle it. Any advice or recommended reading material/videos would be greatly appreciated. (They’re 3-4kg and have more of a chihuahua build, even if I was happy for them to hunt rabbits, they’ll wind up getting badly injured).

    2. @missymouseuk1 you can’t eliminate prey drive. It’s in their genes as they were bred to kill mice. I’ve owned a jack Russell and they are fierce little dogs. You can try redirecting but depending on the severity of the drive, it may be best to use a head harness if they make them that small.

    3. @Tony Veguilla A head collar is a brilliant suggestion!! Thank you so much!! I probably won’t find them in their size but I might be able to make them (or alter one to fit if in can find one close to their size) – I reckon it might work, Being turned around will hopefully be enough of a distraction, I can redirect them.

  14. Positive reinforcement works great on my perfect puppy for nearly everything. Hopefully she will grow up into a perfect dog and never require anything painful or adversive to keep her behavior acceptable. However, Ive found it only effective to clap of my hands and say a loud “hey” (ADVERSIVE!!!) get her to stop when shes overboard playing with the cat, or investigating the kitchen trash. Trying to distract her with a toy doesnt seem feasible. When someone adopts a non-perfect dog from an animal shelter, that window of making a perfect dog is closed, and it seems ridiculous to insist that problems inherited (reactivity, aggression) can ALWAYS be efficiently dealt with using positive reinforcement methods. Isnt this what the “balanced” people are saying? To say “balanced” = shock collars and electrocution is unfair, and implies that positive methods are ignored.

  15. I think some correction tools are judged too quickly, my dog struggles with recall, we use an ecollar to help us communicate. however it only vibrates to get his attention I would never I’m 2 million years shock him or anything remotely similar. I also use a martingale collar to help with heelwork training and because when I first rescued him he would slip out of collars and harnesses. Now tho I mostly use it to help break his prey drive focus on cats, squirrels etc and get him refocused on me and some treats. Using tools isn’t bad however people who purposely cause their dogs pain or lots of discomfort to get a disired behavior really need to take a step back and look at what they are doing and why.

  16. I tried to train my dog all positive for almost one year. It made great progress and he is pretty good today. That said, he is reactive to male dogs when he is in the leash. I have tried for months to end this behavior with positive reinforcement, and I couldn’t. My mom also walks my dog, and she is 65 years old. My dog weights 40 pounds. One day she was walking him, he saw a dog and he pulled so hard on the leash to go bark at the dog that she fell. After that I searched for another trainer, who uses punishment. In 2 weeks he solved my problem. So, here is my question, to what point should we only think about the dog’s well being? And, is it really well being if he can’t handle situations that he will always face in his life without freaking out? This is a genuine question, if you can please answer. I feel like he is much happier now, even if we have to walk with a collar on, instead of a harness. But I don’t know if this will be only a temporary fix, and in the future it will make things worse.

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