What's the deal with positive reinforcement with ecollar?
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Thread: What's the deal with positive reinforcement with ecollar?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tobias's Avatar
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    I get a sense that you are a bit of a troll (just being honest here - given your avatar and some of your comments)

    While I don't agree with Hillmann that the use of the collar (even at such low levels) is all 'positive' - I believe his reasoning is that the dog gets so pumped up (in drive mode, essentially) that the constant ultra low stimulation 'nicks' in conjunction with the excitement of the 'drive mode' makes the entire training scenario 'positive'. This, compared to the traditional 'good dog' or occasional fun bumper, moves away from the more traditional type training.

    Does it work? many say it does, and many say it is a better method for those who are opposed to higher pressure training OR are new to the use of an ecollar.
    The way I look at it, every dog is an opportunity to be a better trainer, and every day is a new day to be a better trainer to the same dog we trained yesterday.

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    Senior Member Good Dogs's Avatar
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    No, the electronic collar is not "a must to make a good gun dog." But in its absence, a sturdy pair of running shoes is.
    Good Dog Ranch
    Bob Swift

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    Senior Member Steve Shaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah Fitzsimmons View Post
    Why punish a dog for doing exactly what he was told? Is ecollar an absolute must to make a good gun dog? I would think nicks would only come with bad behavior.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3aF4xqof_w

    The electric collar and Positive Reinforcement - Lesson 1

    by Bill Hillmann




    When used correctly the word punish is not the proper description for collar use.

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    Senior Member Tobias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Pines View Post
    The terms positive, negative, reinforcement and punishment have specific meanings in operant conditioning. So, it is correct and meaningful to describe Hillmann's use of the collar as positive reinforcement. This is described as a conditioned reinforcer or secondary reinforcer (reinforcement).

    The e-collar might be more commonly used in a different manner whereby, in operant terms, it would be described as positive punishment or negative reinforcement. If used in this manner, it doesn't matter if it is high intensity or low intensity. What matters is whether the stimulation is added (positive) or removed (negative) as a consequence of a behavior ... and whether the stimulus has the effect of making the behavior more likely (reinforcement) or less likely (punishment) to be repeated in the future.

    good clarification T-Pines!
    The way I look at it, every dog is an opportunity to be a better trainer, and every day is a new day to be a better trainer to the same dog we trained yesterday.

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    Senior Member drunkenpoacher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah Fitzsimmons View Post
    Is ecollar an absolute must to make a good gun dog?
    The e collar is among the most efficient, effective and humane dog training tools we have IMO. Obviously it can be abused, just like everything else.
    Opinions on Hillmann and his training methods vary but I doubt anyone would say he promotes punishing a dog with the collar. He certainly does not in the linked video.

    The phrase "a good gun dog" has widely varying meanings. I have seen many "good gun dogs" that I would never hunt with.
    "I'm thankful someone stood up to him, even if it was a woman." Franco 10/18/19

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    Senior Member jacduck's Avatar
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    DP said this "
    The phrase "a good gun dog" has widely varying meanings. I have seen many "good gun dogs" that I would never hunt with. "

    and I would mostly change "good" to loved gun dog in a lot of cases.
    John Cottenham aka jacduck in many circles before the internet
    I love my labs because I am not smart enough to train a golden and not tough enough to train a chessie. Just ask any of the "Bitches with Bumpers"

    "Duck hunter's minds are like concrete. All mixed up and permanently set."

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    I did not take from the video that the collar stimulus was the reward. I saw the reward as the immediate retrieve following the obedient act of sitting on the whistle.
    Hillman makes the point towards the end of video that this association, sit - retrieve, is eroded in a blind requiring multiple whistles
    You order a Lab; ask a Golden; but negotiate with a Chesapeake!

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    Senior Member 1tulip's Avatar
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    The OP might look up videos of Hillmann that specifically address the level(s) of stimulus he applies. He goes in to a great deal of detail. It might also help the OP to imagine the nick (on very low level) to be much like the clicker training that is used by many obedience trainers and trick dog trainers.

    I recently had to buy a new e-collar and when it arrived, used it on my palm to figure out what levels of stimulus I needed to use on my dog. Seriously, the manufacturers provide levels of stimulus I can barely perceive. On the Garmin Pro 550, I use a low 2 which is a buzz of a few microseconds. (Micro... 1/1000... or so momentary as to have not been. Except that it was, and it was experienced by the dog.) Does this clarify somewhat for the OP?

    In contrast, one of the most noxious types of pressure that I can apply to my dog is to call her back from the line it was taking in order to change her mind and require a recast.
    Last edited by 1tulip; 02-19-2020 at 12:36 PM.
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    Senior Member 1tulip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah Fitzsimmons View Post
    So, the dog accepts the nick as an indication of something rewarding to follow? I guess then we can't remotely hand the dog a treat at a distance so maybe it has a purpose. I took an obedience class for one of my dogs at the ASPCA in 1996 and praise was used as patting on the head, "good boy", a treat etc. for desired behaviors as immediately minding a sit command. No e-collars were used in class. The dogs in class were worked up close and not any any distance.
    Yes, in general I think you understand how Hillmann and others are trying to adapt the e-collar. It's an extremely versatile tool. Field training is conducted at hundreds of yards distance.

    Vis. the sensitivity of the subject: E-collars are banned in many parts of the UK. Areas of Canada (can't remember which province) contemplated such bans. They are almost always sold as bans on "Shock Collars" and the people who use them are mischaracterised as cruel sadists.
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    "Why punish a dog for doing exactly what he was told? Is ecollar an absolute must to make a good gun dog? I would think nicks would only come with bad behavior."

    "So, the dog accepts the nick as an indication of something rewarding to follow? I guess then we can't remotely hand the dog a treat at a distance so maybe it has a purpose. I took an obedience class for one of my dogs at the ASPCA in 1996 and praise was used as patting on the head, "good boy", a treat etc. for desired behaviors as immediately minding a sit command. No e-collars were used in class. The dogs in class were worked up close and not any any distance."


    It appears that you have a preconceived notion about the use of an ecollar is synonymous with applying the stimulas as a punishment. Many here will take you to task with this.

    A comparison I present to you to think about is this - In 1996, in your training with ASPCA, you praised your dog with a pat on the head. It probably worked pretty well. However, I could call you that a pat on the head can also be misunderstood as a punishment depending on how hard you pat your pup on the head....

    Just because you have a ecollar that can make your dog scream, doesn't mean you use that feature!
    It's a tool in the toolbox, just like a leash, or healing stick or whistle, or training pistol. A good trainer uses each in a manner beneficial to their dog. After all, YOU are the one controlling what the tools do to the dog!

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