On this website you will find lots of articles with a gentle but still traditional approach to basic training.
Some of these articles are extracts from my Gundog Club Training Books
A number of people refer to this training approach as ‘Balanced Training’ and describe those that use them as ‘Balanced Trainers’
I think this is actually a misleading term and prefer the word ‘Mixed Training’ which makes it clear that this trainer uses a mixture of rewards in training and some ‘aversives’.
Most gundog handlers still train this way, with a wide range in the type and severity of aversives used.
A gradual change
Over the last few years, I have actually changed my approach in several ways.
None of which are very obvious, but they are actually quite profound changes.
I use aversives less than before. And I use positive reinforcement more than before.
This means that you will find my more recent articles have a slightly different ‘flavour’
You might well ask ‘why change’ when we all know that traditional methods work.
As a scientist I am interested in evidence. And the evidence shows that positive reinforcement works too.[wp_ad_camp_1]Not only that, but it has less ‘fall-out’ than training with aversives.
There has also been a significant change in public feeling towards the use of aversives and many people nowadays prefer to train without any punishment at all.
Whilst there are some challenges for gundog trainers in working largely without aversives, and whilst I am not yet a completely ‘positive-only’ trainer I am finding that on balance, I prefer working with positive-reinforcement training.
In some of my older articles I give alternative techniques for those that wish to train without aversives. Many of my newer articles avoid aversives and use only positive reinforcement techniques.
This is simply a reflection of my changing approach. I hope it does not cause any confusion
As I work through and update the articles in the archives on this site, I will try to make it clear what approach is being used, so that people can choose a positive only method, or go for the more traditional approach if they prefer.
If you enjoy my articles, you might like my new book: The Happy Puppy Handbook – a definitive guide to early puppy care and training.