Friday, October 8, 2010

PROGRESSIVE REINFORCEMENT TRAINING MANIFESTO

By Emily Larlham

The Need for a New Term:


A type of animal training exists that involves no forms of intimidation, confrontation, violence, reprimands, or domination.


This non-violent type of training has gone under many names: “Clicker Training,” “Positive Training,” “Positive Reinforcement Training,” and “Reward Training,” among others. However there is a need for a more specific, more accurate, more inspirational term. This is because the above terms have been used so loosely in recent years that they may soon lose their original meanings altogether. How has this happened? Trainers who use compulsion methods may incorporate a clicker (a noise maker to mark desirable behavior) and refer to themselves as a “Clicker Trainers.” Trainers who use painful or intimidating methods may include food or toy rewards in their training and refer to themselves as “Reward Trainers” or “Positive Reinforcement Trainers.” It is already possible that a member of the public may seek the guidance of a trainer who claims to be “Positive,” only to find out that this trainer routinely uses physical violence towards animals.


I propose a new term that trainers and members of the general public can use to refer to this type of modern training – a training system that is not only humane, compassionate, and reliable, but is also based on the latest scientific studies. Because this form of training constantly incorporates the latest and most reliable scientific findings, and because it furthers an evolutionary movement toward a more harmonious relationship between humans and the animals who live with them, it shall be referred to as Progressive Reinforcement Training.

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