This is long winded, so bear with me. So, we went to our orientation night for Kain's Beginning Obedience class. The class is held by a big training company out of Rochester, so the trainer is one of many that trains off their principles.
Now, I used to train for PetSmart and actually learned from an awesome CPDT who taught me how to train using positive reinforcement, NILIF, treats, and clickers. I had a lot of success training that way, but these methods did not always work for every dog. She was extremely against prong, choke, and e-collars, so I never used them either. She also thought Cesar Milan was a weenie.
Now, this company's philosophy is focused on discipline and a lot of dominance type training. They don't use treats, only praise, and they said positive reinforcement.
I started to get weary when the trainer started talking about alpha rolling. I have never agreed with this training method. The trainer described it as a last resort method for a "correction." He also described alternate methods that do not include pinning the dog to the ground, merely holding their snout and scruff and saying "no bite, no ....etc." I searched a lot of threads on here and the general consensus is that alpha rolling shouldn't really be used except in extreme circumstances where the dog may cause harm to someone or another animal. I just don't know if this single thing should completely deter me from the class.
Also, the class recommends a choke chain, which I also have never used. I have however been cruising the forum to see if I should be using a choke or prong on Kain. He's one of those different kinds of dogs that the other method didn't always work on. He's very high prey drive, high energy, with Czech and Schutzhund in his bloodlines. I was actually looking for a training class that was different from my beliefs, thinking that he needs a different kind of training. I'd like to get him into Agility and possibly Schutzhund if he's suitable for it in the future. Do you think GSDs benefit from a different or specific kind of training?
Another couple in the class said they do not use choke collars and the trainer said it was completely fine to use a flat collar or head halter, but they DO NOT allow prong or e-collars. So at least the trainer isn't a "my way or the highway" kind of guy. He also made it clear that there will be no hitting or harming of the dogs in any way.
So I'm weary because some of these methods seem antiquated, but the trainer seems like a nice guy. He comes from a reputable dog training business and although they have their methods, he seems willing to work with people's preferences. The orientation was without our dogs, so I haven't seen any of this in action.
Thoughts? I live in a small town and this is the only training offered in an hour radius, so I'd like for it to work out as our free time is limited. I wouldn't mind driving far, it's just an hour class would turn to 3 hours with drive time and I'm unsure our schedule would allow it. [/long windedness]
Kelly & Kain