I've been following this thread for quite awhile. Since I'm a retired teacher I have at the very least a basic understanding of Pablov and Skinner. That being said, I know in ALL of my retriever training in the last 12 years, there hasn't been one instance of thinking about either......which explains my reluctance to post.
However, this last "interlude" with indirect pressure has proven to be more personal. I use it for effect in certain situations (and not very often) and my dogs have learned how to respond correctly to it. It has proven effective. They learned how to respond correctly through the use of consistent, fair reps with teaching as the main focus. A responsive dog doesn't just happen.
Basically, the dog must be in a situation where they are not doing anything wrong.......like sitting. Supposedly, the immediate reactions of the dog are 1) "I am sitting so that which you just sent me can't be for not sitting" (not doing anything wrong and you have my attention), 2) "I now can't remember what I wanted to do" (forgot what his mistaken mindset was) and asks 3) "What is it that you want me to do?" (re-focused and more responsive).
I have always looked at indirect pressure as a refocusing, attention "getter". I suppose the key here is that for me the scientific lingo of conditioning makes more sense when it is verbalized in a real time, simple English.
This communication issue reminds me of the street wise student I once had in chemistry. One day he raised his hand and "axed", "Hey Bro, can't you just say all this scientific "stuff" in street lingo so's I can get it?" Now I know how he felt.
I suppose it would be better to understand why it works in terms of the "conditioning" discussed in this thread, but I am at a loss on how significant that is if I read the dog, have a solid, consistent way of communicating and seem to be accomplishing what I need for the level of dogs I work with.
Tell me why I need to know......for reasons other than to understand all the posts in this thread or the generic response "because it will improve your training".
One extra bit of info, I have trained with FT groups often and been to several retriever seminars held by established pros.....none of this "stuff" (Pablov, Skinner) was ever discussed.