Monday, July 16, 2012

Progressive Reinforcement Training

Happy Monday everyone!  Here I am again, in my never-ending journey to become the ultimate D.B.N. and I had a chance to get my fix over the weekend; this time bringing to you a recent discovery in the wonderful world of positive progressive reinforcement training.  

My current DVD series rental from Tawzer Dog has led me to get a better understanding of "Trick Dog" training as led by a Ms. Emily Larlham.  The name Emily Larlham didn't mean anything to me before I opened up my doggie Netflix rental mail last week. Holy crap, I had no idea who this woman was (shame on me!) and what a wonderful inspiration she has and will continue to be to me. 

She has an absolutely fantastic manifesto written about her Progressive Reinforcement Training methods that is well worth a read for anyone training with their dog or helping others in classes/private sessions.  Her manifesto is refreshing and spot on, in my opinion, to what I am trying to do in my personal and professional dog-related careers.

Some highlights from Emily's manifesto:
"Progressive Reinforcement Training Means: 
1) Training by rewarding desirable behaviors so they will be more likely to occur in the future, while preventing reinforcement of behaviors that are undesirable.  
2) Interrupting and preventing undesirable behaviors without physical or psychological intimidation, as well as rewarding an alternate response (training a behavior you find desirable in it’s place). 
3) Taking an animal’s emotional state and stress levels into account. 
4) Socializing and teaching an animal to cope with his environment using reinforcement. 
5) Using a marker to train, whether it be a clicker, some other noise-maker, your voice or touch, or a visual marker.  Or, on the other hand, not using a marker, and instead for example reinforcing an animal by feeding a treat directly to his mouth. 
6) Employing humane, effective, respectful training based on the latest scientific evidence.
Progressive Reinforcement Training Does Not Mean:  
1) The intentional use of physical or psychological intimidation. 
2) Intentionally disregarding an animal’s stress levels or signals.
3) Holding selfish or uncompassionate goals for your training.
...Progressive Reinforcement Training is not a permissive form of training.  It requires providing consequences to all behaviors.  The trainer takes on the role of a benevolent leader and guide using these ethical and scientifically based methods." 

Beautiful stuff, right? I love that she is sensitive to the animal as an emotional being and could not agree more with her beliefs of interrupting and preventing undesirable behaviors.  

Beyond Emily's manifesto, she has a plethora of free videos (yes, FREE!!!) that are refreshing, easy to watch and easy to understand (I've already used some of the new learning this weekend) and are based on scientific-training methods (and did I mention they are 100% FREE?!!).  I encourage you to swing over to her website, and get your Progressive Reinforcement Training fix!  


  1. I have been watching her Trick Dogging seminar on DVD and love her! She is so sharp and yet fun!! Gave me terrific ideas for the new class I'm working on...

  2. That's the exact DVD I'm watching right now too. She is great!! Make sure to check out her's packed with TONS of free videos. :)