Those who only train with positive reinforcement are generally not positive with people, and those who only use negative reinforcement, the opposite.
When you say you don’t believe in harming an animal, you’re making a statement: “I believe that animals are our equals and should be treated as such.”
So it never ceases to amaze me how easily frustrated and rude towards other people, purely-positive trainers can be. That practically turns the table and changes the statement to: “Dogs, horses, etc are better than humans.” Which is also negative progress, am I wrong?
Then on the other side of the deal, there are people who train purely with punishment (negative reinforcement). They, even subconsciously, are stating that humans are better – other animals are not our equals. And that, of course, is also not okay.
What is better? Shouldn’t we just be able to be nice to humans and all other animals?I’m not one to shower my animals with treats, just as I wouldn’t with a human. I don’t pay someone in cash or cookies each time they say something politely or help me out with a small favor.
So I believe that if we say other animals are our equals, they should be treated as such. To me that means: show your appreciation when someone does something nice, teach in a friendly, patient manner and clearly say when you don’t like something. That is communication: we need to be able to say when something bothers us, just not rudely.
Only then are other animals truly our equals.