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Reliability or Relationship?

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Why do you train? Is it because you need your animal to do certain behaviors, and you want to be able to elicit those behaviors reliably? Or is it because you've found that training helps you build a bond with your pet and is a rewarding journey for both of you? Reliabilty or relationship?

This question was debated this week on the ClickerSolutions mailing list. A list member, fairly new to clicker training, expressed concern when traditional training and clicker training were contrasted as being result-oriented versus relationship-oriented. She wanted a training method that could deliver precise, reliable results. If clicker training wasn't results-oriented, then she wasn't going to waste anymore time with it.

Different trainers have different goals, different needs, different interests. A service dog trainer needs reliable results. Someone working with an abused rescue may need the relationship-building aspect of the clicker even more than specific, reliable behaviors. Someone training a pet who shares his house and life needs BOTH relationship and reliability. Fortunately, clicker training is a complete package.

Just because one trainer emphasizes one aspect doesn't mean the other is absent or impossible. Different people are attracted to different aspects of clicker training. This is especially important to keep in mind when explaining the virtues of clicker training to a non-user. You may have been sold by the improved relationship you felt, but someone else may have more practical needs.

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Aaron B. Clayton's picture

Relationship oriented or Results oriented

Great question to bring up, from CS Melissa.
Hey, in KPCT's opinion, the choice between relationship or results is a completely false dichotomy. May I suggest people interested in this question look at is Clicker training Right for Me? http://clickertraining.com/node/654.

If obedience, in this context is an acceptable synonym for the word results, and that's ALL one is after you will achieve that with clicker training... but you don't HAVE to achieve it with clicker training. But if you want something more than mere obedience from your life with your dog then clicker training is for sure the way to go. It opens up a set of possibilities that just can't otherwise be achieved.


Aaron Clayton