Thursday, February 25, 2010

Operant Conditioning Fails Again

A lot of dog trainers have been watching the SeaWorld story (killer whale kills trainer) with interest. There has been a raging argument within the training world regarding the efficacy of so-called "purely positive", "cruelty free", training, focusing on operant conditioning and clickers. I have stated again and again that the theory of operant conditioning is obsolete, a truncated, limited, myopic view of behavior. And this incident proves it once again. Training animals is more than something as simple as putting a quarter in the machine and getting your candy bar.

I work with dangerous dogs on a regular basis. Many are treated quite well, and still end up dangerous. Why is that? I know, and so do a lot of more common sense trainers.

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