Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Killer Whales and the Limits of "Click and Treat"
In the March issue of Dog's Today, veterinarian Ian Dunbar has an interesting line.
After telling us that "science based training techniques are the best way of getting good, reliable results," and explaining that he never uses any aversive corrections when he dog trains, and that he even dislikes leashes because "leash training gives owners a false sense of security," he asks "I mean, how on earth would you reprimand a naughty killer whale?"
Dunbar is a pure "click and treat" dog trainer. He runs a dog training school in California, and he has written dog training books. I said nice things about him (and every other dog trainer who has ever written a book) in the March issue of Dog's Today, even as I explained the limits of his type of pure-positive training.
As for Killer Whales, you would think their name might be a caution.
You might think Ian Dunbar would have done a little research on this animal before writing about them.
You see, there are only 47 captive Orcas in the world, but these animals have attacked their positive-training handlers dozens of times, and have actually killed five of them.
The latest fatality occured today at Sea World.
I cannot tell the story or raise the issues better than Heather Houlahan does over at her blog, Raised by Wolves, so go over there to read her take on it all. And be sure to read it all.
As for Ian Dunbar, I have good news for him: there appears to be a new opening for a trainer of Killer Whales at Sea World.
Labels: dog training