Direct vs Indirect Pressure
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Thread: Direct vs Indirect Pressure

  1. #1

    Question Direct vs Indirect Pressure

    I’m trying to understand these concepts.

    Direct Pressure: My current understanding is that Direct Pressure is always a punishment and is done with a higher setting on the e-collar. Breaking during an honor might be a good example.

    Indirect Pressure is harder to wrap my head around. My current understanding is that by using very low levels, this can actually re-enforce the current, desired behavior. Sit-nick-Sit. Back-nick-Back. Here-nick-Here.

    Do I have this much right? Direct Pressure = Higher setting; Indirect Pressure = Low setting? Or perhaps the setting is always the same and one uses continuous for Direct pressure and just a nick for Indirect?

    Assuming I have this correct, I struggle with how a “negative” (stimulus from an e-collar) can ever be perceived as a “positive” by the dog, even at a low setting. Perhaps this is where CC comes in? The dog is “taught” that a low stimulus nick is a good thing?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Mark Littlejohn's Avatar
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    Direct pressure is just that: Direct, instantaneous, immediate, almost premeditated.

    Indirect pressure is best described by only one RTF'er:

    "You send your teenage son to the mailbox. On the way he spots the neighbor’s voluptuous daughter in a bikini (factor). He immediately starts in her direction (succumbing to the factor).

    You yell (whistle) Son!!!!!! (Handle). His eyes get back into focus and turns toward you and says “WHAT??” (responding to the whistle) For the Amish folks, you walk up to him and whop him upside the head!!! (correction=indirect pressure). You then say ‘You were told to go get the mail, now do what you were told!!!

    That my friends is Indirect Pressure and why it works.” Unca Jerry

    Collar intensity, or for that matter whether it's the collar, verbal reprimand, a heeling stick, or a whop up side the head, has nothing to do with the difference.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Littlejohn View Post

    Indirect pressure is best described by only one RTF'er:

    "You send your teenage son to the mailbox. On the way he spots the neighbor’s voluptuous daughter in a bikini (factor). He immediately starts in her direction (succumbing to the factor).

    You yell (whistle) Son!!!!!! (Handle). His eyes get back into focus and turns toward you and says “WHAT??” (responding to the whistle) For the Amish folks, you walk up to him and whop him upside the head!!! (correction=indirect pressure). You then say ‘You were told to go get the mail, now do what you were told!!!

    That my friends is Indirect Pressure and why it works.” Unca Jerry
    So; Direct would be son runs toward girl; her dad tackles him in route?
    Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 12-03-2019 at 05:18 PM.
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  6. #4
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    Indirect pressure is giving a correction (nick) for a known command and then expecting a positive response on next command. If dog doesn't take a correct cast (if not an honest mistake). I give the dog an opportunity to self correct. Next I try attrition by repeating casts (maybe twice) before I correct with pressure to insure it wasn't an honest mistake. etc. Next time on wrong cast blow sit whistle and then nick on sit. Dog knows sit command. Next time dog takes the proper cast. Thus the name indirect. He get pressure for another command that dog knows and then expecting compliance on next cast.

    Direct pressure would be if dog goes back instead of over. You would nick the dog immediately after going back.

    Nick or burn or level of pressure is not a factor.
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    I'm am not certain you have a distinction on collar intensity between indirect and direct pressure, meaning that saying direct pressure is always an extended burn at a higher intensity. If I am doing back to the pile and using direct pressure I wouldn't use a high intensity especially since you are probably going to be doing a lot of pressure in succession. I personally haven't used a burn for 9 years. I know it's 9 years as my current MH30 dog is when I quite using high intensity burns, I only use a nick, no matter what the correction is. However, that is just my method I use. I know plenty of extremely successful pro and amateur trainers that routinely use an extended burn. Using the e-collar is an art. But you sue can wreck a dog pretty darn quick if you don't use the collar wisely.

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    Senior Member DarrinGreene's Avatar
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    You lack a basic understanding of operant conditioning based on your post. You shouldn't be using an e-collar or any other corrective device on your dog without that clarity.

    Once you understand that, you need to understand what's called "escape/avoidance" training, again, to get clear on what you're really doing.

    Without that basic knowledge you are just mimicking what other people are telling you, likely to the detriment of your dog.

    Direct/indirect is pretty straight forward.

    Direct = use of punishment/relief on the behavior you're trying to strengthen. Indirect = punishing/reinforcing one command, to in hopes of getting a correct response to another one.
    Darrin Greene

  9. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Nutt View Post
    Indirect pressure is giving a correction (nick) for a known command and then expecting a positive response on next command.
    I like this definition, it is short and concise, and one I can follow!

    A nick is perceived as punishment by the dog. Do we agree on that? If so, then what message is the dog receiving when being nicked on a known command such as sit? I would expect the dog to be confused.

    Darrin: The reason for my post is because I do not understand Indirect Pressure even after trying to educate myself through Google. I do not use an e-collar on my dog at the present time, but I am getting a lot of Direct Pressure to do so from the people I train with. However, when I ask them to define Indirect Pressure, I mostly get “I don’t know how it works, but it does, so I use it”. This is not good enough for me. I’m somewhat turned off by the body language many of the dogs exhibit at the field where I train and I have to wonder if improper use of e-collars is the reason. I’m not condemning e-collars, I just believe they can be abused and/or used incorrectly

    I have not followed any particular training plan, but I’m mostly happy with our results so far. Still, I try to maintain an open mind to other ways as we advance to more difficult levels. But I can’t implement a technique that I can’t understand.

  10. #8
    Senior Member RetrieversONLINE's Avatar
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    Understanding Indirect Pressure is a lot easier if you have a basic understanding of the science behind learning theory including operant conditioning. Many years ago, I wrote a series of articles in Retrievers ONLINE and subsequently the following threads on the RTF in the good ole days! It requires some careful reading and re-reading perhaps but I suspect many of the ideas are new to many of the current RTFers.
    Have a look-there are 3 core threads:


    https://www.retrievertraining.net/fo...g+dog+learning

    https://www.retrievertraining.net/fo...earning+theory

    https://www.retrievertraining.net/forums/showthread.php?34331-Simplifying-Dog-Learning-Science-Part-3&highlight=simplifying+dog+learning




    Last edited by RetrieversONLINE; 12-04-2019 at 01:57 PM.
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    Thanks for re posting Dennis.

  12. #10
    Senior Member DarrinGreene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeri View Post

    Darrin: The reason for my post is because I do not understand Indirect Pressure even after trying to educate myself through Google. I do not use an e-collar on my dog at the present time, but I am getting a lot of Direct Pressure to do so from the people I train with. However, when I ask them to define Indirect Pressure, I mostly get “I don’t know how it works, but it does, so I use it”.
    It really works as a way to refocus the dog's attention on you, lower their excitement level a bit and help them make better decisions. It's more of a cognitive process than a conditioned one. Learning theory is far more basic however, and should really be understood by everyone who puts their hands on a dog, IMO.

    Dennis's overview is VERY good on basic learning theory. You should understand all that well if you are concerned by using a tool without understanding it fully.
    Last edited by DarrinGreene; 12-04-2019 at 03:34 PM.
    Darrin Greene

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