Say What? The Terminology Challenge
Training is a unique combination of science and practice. When the two are integrated into efforts to teach the public about training, we can run into a terminology conundrum. At times, the science vocabulary is too complex for the average pet owner. Often, the public’s understanding or use of a term does not match the way it is used in the scientific community. How do we as trainers handle those challenges? Do we understand fully the meaning of these terms? Ken will try to untangle the confusion and suggest some solutions.
In this presentation, Ken will explore the challenges of discussing punishment in a positive reinforcement community. He will describe the uses of the terms and the practical aspects of using punishment, including a look at deprivation, negative reinforcement, and timeouts. Similar confusion arises from differences in what Ken refers to as “technical chains and common chains;” he will explore this challenge, also. Ken will look at the trend to improve perceptions and create more comfortable and modern language around training concepts, and how this trend sometimes conflicts with the science. Examples of these conflicts will be included in his discussions about punishment, as will topics such as aggression and dominance.
Finally, Ken will delve in to how some popular techniques such as the Keep-Going Signal, Jackpots, and End-of-Session Signals have become popularized without clear scientific definitions or descriptions—and how that has created challenges for the training community. This presentation will encourage trainers to embrace and understand the science that already exists, while encouraging everyone to find the right balance between accuracy and practical applications. At first glance, the use of accurate science and the practice of teaching clients may seem at odds, but they don’t have to be.
Please note: This Session was recorded in 2018; content presented in 2019 may vary slightly.