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caretaking vs. ownership: towards new
philosophy of dog training?

Michał Piotr Pręgowski, Ph.D.
Warsaw University of Tech...
dog training: the beginning

Kynegetikos / Cynegeticus (gr. Κυνηγετικόν; eng. On hunting; Hunting
with Dogs) – a treatise ...
the birth of contemporary dog training

Abrichtung des Hundes – training manual for military and police dogs, by
Prussian ...
military roots of modern dog training
• Carl Spitz – student of Konrad Most; owner of Hollywood Dog
Training School in Cal...
military training gone popular: the
Koehler method
• William Koehler - The Koehler Method of Dog Training (1962)
• „one of...
the new wave: science rules!
• Ian Dunbar, Ph.D. – lure-reward training, based on Burrhus F.
Skinner’s radical behaviorism...
© Lili Chin, http://boogiebt.files.wordpress.com & www.doggiedrawings.net
the other new wave: outdated
scientific data, misinformation
• Monks of New Skete – How To Be Your Dog's Best Friend (1976...
the other new wave: outdated
information and „esoterics”
• Jan Fennell - The Dog Listener (2000) and other books

•
•
•
•
...
the other new wave: outdated
information and „esoterics”
• Cesar Millan – Cesar’s Way (2007), Be the Pack Leader (2007), o...
myths debunked
• dogs’ behavior is very similar to that of wolves
• wolf pack is a field of constant fight for dominance
•...
scientific & non-scientific approach to dog
training share one notion on
anthropomorphism*

* - attribution of human chara...
…according to both, it is plain wrong
behaviorism

„esoterics”

animal behavior should not be interpreted in
terms of human emotions – it limits our ability to
...
what sociology says
• Clinton R. Sanders: attribution of human characteristics to other
animals is natural, as interaction...
what sociology says
• dogs are co-actors in our everyday lives, they are cast in the roles of
persons:
• they listen
• the...
emotions are not uniquely human

• „it's not being anthropomorphic to attribute emotions to other
animals. In fact, it's b...
the rise of cognitive ethology

• attention to planning, consciousness, will, purpose & other subjective
phenomena in nonh...
…but how does that relate to dog
training?
• the focus should switch from shaping behavior by external agent
(human) to un...
Q: is this groundbreaking change of
perspective present in the dog training
community?
A: yes…
A: …but it’s only starting to happen
researching the newest wave

• qualitative research
• step 1 - content analysis: training philosophies and trainers’ manif...
the newest wave: behaviorism as academic
background is not enough
the newest wave: behaviorism is
not enough
•

progressive dog training philosophies still benefit from
operant conditionin...
the newest wave: scientific
background revised
• behaviorism is prone to objectificating
• e.g. NILIF: all of the positive...
the newest wave: humane, dogoriented training
Kathy Sdao:
• beyond chaining and shaping
• dog has real choices, human beco...
the newest wave: humane, dogoriented training
Grisha Stewart:
• Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT), rehabilitates dog reac...
the newest wave: humane, dogoriented training
Emily Larlham:
• Progressive Reinforcement Training (PRT) Manifesto – form o...
the newest wave: humane, dogoriented training
Emily Larlham:
• criticizes selfish or uncompassionate goals for training
– ...
to sum up
new approach to dog training
•
•
•
•
•
•

seeks supplemental scientific knowledge beyond behaviorism
does not use the anim...
training as mutual profit

• „Besides being fully deserving of dignity in their own right, dogs can
help us figure out how...
thank you!
m.pregowski@ans.pw.edu.pl

this presentation is based on findings discussed in detail in my article „Your dog i...
ICAWC 2013 - Caretaking Vs Ownership  - Michal Piotr Pregowski
ICAWC 2013 - Caretaking Vs Ownership  - Michal Piotr Pregowski
ICAWC 2013 - Caretaking Vs Ownership  - Michal Piotr Pregowski
ICAWC 2013 - Caretaking Vs Ownership  - Michal Piotr Pregowski
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ICAWC 2013 - Caretaking Vs Ownership - Michal Piotr Pregowski

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ICAWC 2013 - Caretaking Vs Ownership - Michal Piotr Pregowski

  1. 1. caretaking vs. ownership: towards new philosophy of dog training? Michał Piotr Pręgowski, Ph.D. Warsaw University of Technology m.pregowski@ans.pw.edu.pl
  2. 2. dog training: the beginning Kynegetikos / Cynegeticus (gr. Κυνηγετικόν; eng. On hunting; Hunting with Dogs) – a treatise by Xenophon (ca. 444-362 BC), ancient Greek philosopher and military leader
  3. 3. the birth of contemporary dog training Abrichtung des Hundes – training manual for military and police dogs, by Prussian colonel Konrad Most (1910).
  4. 4. military roots of modern dog training • Carl Spitz – student of Konrad Most; owner of Hollywood Dog Training School in California (1927) • later: author & supervisor of the US war dog program during WWII.
  5. 5. military training gone popular: the Koehler method • William Koehler - The Koehler Method of Dog Training (1962) • „one of the most influential dog training books of all time” – Amazon.com • ex-soldier, experience in war dog training, heavily influenced by Most • top-down, correction-heavy training • if the dog runs the other way on a 15-foot long leash, run the other way: „he’ll come with you, if only to be near his head” (Koehler 1962; reported by Schaffer 2009) • master-servant (owner-slave) relationship
  6. 6. the new wave: science rules! • Ian Dunbar, Ph.D. – lure-reward training, based on Burrhus F. Skinner’s radical behaviorism (1982) • Karen Pryor – Don’t Shoot the Dog (1984), operant conditioning and clicker use in dog training • scientists instead of ex-soldiers / policemen • methodological change: • scientific and research-based (since 1950’s) • focused on positive reinforcement – tuning out corrections and intimidation (empirically verified fact: stress inhibits learning) • clicker as a new, effective training tool
  7. 7. © Lili Chin, http://boogiebt.files.wordpress.com & www.doggiedrawings.net
  8. 8. the other new wave: outdated scientific data, misinformation • Monks of New Skete – How To Be Your Dog's Best Friend (1976; 2002) • • • • • dogs as wolves in our homes interspecies dominance mild antagonism of dogs and humans living with a dog as a zero-sum game introduction of alpha rolls
  9. 9. the other new wave: outdated information and „esoterics” • Jan Fennell - The Dog Listener (2000) and other books • • • • • pack theory interspecies dominance dogs as wolves in our homes dogs seen as creatures forced to take responsibilities in a family trainer’s ability to „speak dog language”
  10. 10. the other new wave: outdated information and „esoterics” • Cesar Millan – Cesar’s Way (2007), Be the Pack Leader (2007), other books and a TV show • • • • • • pack theory interspecies dominance dogs as wolves in our homes natural antagonism of dogs and humans living with a dog as a zero-sum game „dog whispering” skills
  11. 11. myths debunked • dogs’ behavior is very similar to that of wolves • wolf pack is a field of constant fight for dominance • wrong assumption: family of wolves in the wild behaves like non-related wolves in a zoo • dogs & people form an interspecies pack • dog-human „pack” is a field of constant fight for dominance (pack leadership, alpha status) • punishment is as important in education as reinforcement • alpha roll shows leadership …fixation on control? B. Eaton (2002, 2005, 2011), Dominance: Fact or Fiction, Barry Eaton Publishing (2002), Dogwise (2005, 2011) L. David Mech (1999), Alpha status, dominance, and division of labor in wolf packs, Canadian Journal of Zoology 77:1196-1203 K. Sdao (2012), Plenty in Life is Free. Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace, Dogwise
  12. 12. scientific & non-scientific approach to dog training share one notion on anthropomorphism* * - attribution of human characteristics to anything (beings, objects) other than humans
  13. 13. …according to both, it is plain wrong
  14. 14. behaviorism „esoterics” animal behavior should not be interpreted in terms of human emotions – it limits our ability to understand animals dogs live in harmony as animals – anthropomorphism destroys their peace and causes behavioral problems anthropomorphising animals may burden them with expectations we hold for humans anthropomorphising dogs may burden them with expectations we hold for humans feelings, states of mind and introspection – not overly important, if scientifically treatable at all dogs may have their own language or energy fields that resonate with ours, but they aren’t like humans anyway animals don’t have sophisticated emotional lives, they are driven by environmentally-induced stimuli [so-called neo-Cartesian approach] the black box metaphore (nothing is known about what goes on inside animal’s mind. However, that knowledge is not necessary for understanding behavioral changes; Driscoll 2000) the four-legged little human metaphore
  15. 15. what sociology says • Clinton R. Sanders: attribution of human characteristics to other animals is natural, as interactions with dogs and other companion animals are very common & emotionally significant (Sanders 1999:2) • between 70% and 99% of pet caretakers defined their animals as members of the family (Beck & Katcher 1983, Voith 1983) • people share social rituals with dogs: celebrate their birthdays, buy them gifts for Christmas • dogs are seen by caretakers as thoughtful, reciprocating, emotional beings with individual tastes & personalities
  16. 16. what sociology says • dogs are co-actors in our everyday lives, they are cast in the roles of persons: • they listen • they offer affection • they offer support • they make people feel valuable and individual (Sanders 1999: 15) • certain dog-human relationships are based on significant interdependence: guide dogs are experienced as extension of blind person’s self (Sanders 1999:57)
  17. 17. emotions are not uniquely human • „it's not being anthropomorphic to attribute emotions to other animals. In fact, it's bad science not to do so because we're not inserting something <uniquely human> into animals. Instead, we're identifying commonalities and then using human language to communicate what we observe” (Bekoff 2013)
  18. 18. the rise of cognitive ethology • attention to planning, consciousness, will, purpose & other subjective phenomena in nonhuman animals • intentionality is evident when the animal encounters problematic situation and displays novel (adaptive) behavior
  19. 19. …but how does that relate to dog training? • the focus should switch from shaping behavior by external agent (human) to understanding animal’s intentionality and responding to it • anthropomorphism is not necessarily bad – there is sentimental („bad”) and critical („good”) anthropomorphism.
  20. 20. Q: is this groundbreaking change of perspective present in the dog training community?
  21. 21. A: yes…
  22. 22. A: …but it’s only starting to happen
  23. 23. researching the newest wave • qualitative research • step 1 - content analysis: training philosophies and trainers’ manifestos in books, DVDs and websites [01-11.2012] • step 2 – semi-structured interviews with chosen progressive trainers • step 3 – in-depth analysis of data
  24. 24. the newest wave: behaviorism as academic background is not enough
  25. 25. the newest wave: behaviorism is not enough • progressive dog training philosophies still benefit from operant conditioning, clicker training and positive reinforcement – but go beyond • • cognitive ethology social learning theory • „It is not enough to know the principles of behaviorism, if you don't know what behaviors the species does and what social structure they have, because everyday life with a sentient being is more than response-reward.” – Grisha Stewart (interview)
  26. 26. the newest wave: scientific background revised • behaviorism is prone to objectificating • e.g. NILIF: all of the positive reinforcers are to be strictly controlled by humans Kathy Sdao: • communicating via two-way flow of information rather than simply controlling (2012: 31) • reciprocal reinforcement: training can be a reward – not just a task – for both sides (2012: 88) • „eye” instead of „I” http://www.kathysdao.com
  27. 27. the newest wave: humane, dogoriented training Kathy Sdao: • beyond chaining and shaping • dog has real choices, human becomes choice architect: dog is responsible for making his own behavior happen (although the options are set by the human, just like mother sets options for children) • STILAF program (2012: 73) http://www.kathysdao.com
  28. 28. the newest wave: humane, dogoriented training Grisha Stewart: • Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT), rehabilitates dog reactivity by looking at why the dog is reactive and helping him or her meet his needs in other ways • BAT is a dog-friendly application of „functional analysis” that gives the dogs a chance to learn to control their own comfort level through peaceful means http://functionalrewards.com/
  29. 29. the newest wave: humane, dogoriented training Emily Larlham: • Progressive Reinforcement Training (PRT) Manifesto – form of training that „furthers an evolutionary progress towards harmonious relationship between humans and the animals who live with them”. • canine (also) chooses what is rewarding, not (only) the trainer • „humane, respectful training based on latest scientific evidence” – a commitment to PRT means 100% time spent with animal, not just sessions http://dogmantics.com
  30. 30. the newest wave: humane, dogoriented training Emily Larlham: • criticizes selfish or uncompassionate goals for training – physical and psychological intimidation without timing, consistency etc. is nothing more than abuse • trainer is a benevolent leader and guide http://dogmantics.com
  31. 31. to sum up
  32. 32. new approach to dog training • • • • • • seeks supplemental scientific knowledge beyond behaviorism does not use the animal rights discourse overly often focuses on mutual relationship facilitates choice-based training considers trainer a leader and a partner of dog in training context sees training as an opportunity, not a chore
  33. 33. training as mutual profit • „Besides being fully deserving of dignity in their own right, dogs can help us figure out how to get along with other beings, human and nonhuman (…). They are ideal <lab partners> for humans desiring to develop new skills to become better parents, spouses, siblings and friends.” (Sdao 2012: 82)
  34. 34. thank you! m.pregowski@ans.pw.edu.pl this presentation is based on findings discussed in detail in my article „Your dog is your teacher: Contemporary dog training beyond radical behaviorism” [in press; academic journal „Society & Animals”, early 2014]

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