As a newer person here, this is probably a thing I should stay out of....but apparently that requires more self control than I have.
I'm not as enthusiastic about Denise Fenzi as many. When the topic of positive reinforcement for ____ activity comes up, this article always comes to mind: What is Possible? | Denise Fenzi
So then we end up with some questions:
- Is it possible to do high level North American retriever competitions on a R+ type training plan? We can probably agree that it's possible - Field Training Test Series
That guy has achieved a fairly high level with his dog.
- Is it possible to replicate those results?
- Is it possible to be more successful than he was/is?
- What kinds of dogs can be "successful" with this type of program - is it a different type of dog than with a traditional program?
And we don't know until people try. And we won't expect everyone who tries to succeed because that doesn't really seem to happen with any type of training program - not necessarily because the training doesn't work - but the time, money, space, access to helpers, access/opportunities to test/trial, dog health, human health, handler knowledge going into it. People drop out over time. Some dogs can't handle the work. There are reasons all dogs don't end up at the highest levels of any and all activities.
ANd I don't expect a lot of people to want to do the R+ sort of experiment for many, many reasons.
I know people who compete at the national level with R+ trained dogs in sports where that is extremely not the norm. What's common among those trainers? Those people were already successful at that level with other training methods before doing the experiment. They weren't blindly walking into it having to learn the sport and figure out how to train it - they knew exactly what end product they wanted with the training, they knew about judges, what the tests/trials required, what behaviors were desirable and undesirable, the level of perfection and detail wanted, etc...