I've gotten a few inquiries about my post that referenced Karen Pryor.
Does she actually use an Invisible Fence on her own dogs?
She does. As she notes in Don't Shoot the Dog:
"The same principle is at work in the Invisible Fence systems for keeping a dog on your property. A radio wire is strung around the area in which you want to confine the dog. The dog wears a collar with a receiver in it. If the dog gets too near the line, the collar shocks it. However, a few feet before that point, the collar gives a warning buzz. The warning buzzer is a discriminative stimulus for "Don't go any further." If the setup is properly installed, a trained dog can be effectively confined and will never receive an actual shock. I used such a fence when my terrier and I lived in a house in the woods. An actual fence would have been a perpetual invitation to try to dig under it or escape through an open gate; the conditioned warning signal and the Invisible Fence were far more secure."
And what about my note that she could not train her border terrier not to chase squirrels? That can be found on her own web site:
"Going from that collie to terriers in the woods is just a shaping staircase; if you want to do it, it can be done, but it involves a lot of steps. For me, that's too much like work. My practical solution is a mix of training and management. The backyard is fenced, and there the dogs can bark and chase squirrels all they want. Outside the front door, on the sidewalk, we enjoy a shaped behavior of stalking squirrels, with an occasional brief 'chase' reinforcer. In the woods, my poodle, whose lust for squirrels is mitigated by his general timidity, can be off-leash, because he was quite easily shaped to come when called, even from squirrels. My 17-year-old border terrier, however, stays on-leash in the woods. From her standpoint, it's a lot better than no woods at all."
Bottom line: Reliance on clicker training alone is a reliance on a system that will fail you in the real world.
Have you noticed that Skinner, the Brelands, and Karen Pryor mostly focus on training animals in cages, tanks, and boxes?
This is where they learned animal training -- in an environment without distractions, where nothing comes in or out.
Is that the real world? A box? A fish tank? A living room? Of course not.
And did you notice that their fame was not gained training dogs?
Why is that?
Here's a hint: They all tried to train dogs outside of cages, boxes, tanks, and closed rooms. That's where the money is. But guess what? They were not very good at it.
One reason they were not good at it, is that their core experience was training non-predators (chickens and pigeons, pigs and raccoons), or animals with relatively weak prey drives. Give these folks line-bred predators like a working terrier or a Malinois, and rewards-only theory fell apart pretty quickly. Sure, you could get a very hungry animal to perform behaviors with food. Always. But could you get them to reliably perform in an open forest and field situation when they were not very hungry, and any and every kind of distraction could pop up at every turn?
Could you get the border terrier to not chase the squirrel?
Karen Pryor couldn't, and she had 17 years to try.
Please do not misunderstand the point being made here. Food reward and marker (clicker) training is core stuff. Rewards-based marker or clicker training is a big part of getting a dog to understand what he is supposed to do -- exactly what you are asking at that moment. But so too is the use of aversive markers to show what you don't want to be done, at that moment, whether that is a leash pop (hard to do from 12 feet), or a thrown chain or heavy rope (hard to do from 30 feet), which is why a modern e-collar is such a game changer (a panoply of reliable and instant signals sent from as far as a mile away).
For those who wonder what the difference is between an Invisible Fence, a modern e-collar, and an old-fashioned "buster" caller, see this post: 10 Quick Notes for the E-Collar Curious.