Anecdotal vs. scientific knowledge applied when dog training
As a believer in what science can provide for one’s knowledge, I’m still reminded that anecdotal accounts still remain important sources of information, often the beginning for scientific endeavors! And much can be said about the quality of anecdotal information!
I was reminded of this reading Chaser, about a border collie who learned specific features of language, often thought only possible in humans.
Additionally, I was reminded by Dr. Pilly’s training that discouraging using “no reward markers” was something I would never do. See my reasoning and interpretation of this here: Words! Good and Bad? Using No Reward Marker, It’s Your Choice!
The reason for using no reward markers and/or discouragement can be accounted for using many types of examples, both good and bad! However, in the case of Dr. Pilly and Chaser, the use of “no” during training proved useful when teaching her to find hidden objects or similar contexts when one doesn’t intend on using the dog’s innate senses to find something. This example does not include finding hidden narcotics or cadavers. For example, Chaser could find objects using two words “good” and “no” similarly to “hot” and “cold” games some of us learned in introductory clicker training! This seems to have been forgotten, I’m not exactly sure why. But suspect, some trainers are overly worried this will damage a dogs psyche! What was interesting and of course reassuring and rewarding was I discovered the same useful use training Boudicca. If she lost sight of a thrown object, I think chance, perhaps in the beginning, I applied this method. Since it worked, it was likely, I repeated, using a more formal method.
This is just one example why the book is worth reading.