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Old 01-02-2013, 05:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Scotch Pines Dog Training- thoughts or experiences?

I train for reliability off leash first and foremost and am working hard with my youngest dog, a malinois. I like the description of the course, but it sounds like Khoeler methods- praise and corrections. Scotch Pines Dog Training

Quote from website: "At Scotch Pines, we believe that true obedience must extend beyond the 6 foot leash. Gates get left open, leashes slip, and even in your own backyard. REAL LIFE is off-leash. Our goal is to instill off-leash reliability, regardless of the distractions. To test our training, we bring a rabbit, goat, raw hamburger, and cat food to class. Your dog’s greatest distraction is other dogs, so a group class, with up to 30 dogs and handlers, provides an ideal setting for him to learn to listen to YOU no matter what the circumstances. We train for serious obedience, but you and your dog will have fun. It requires hard work and perseverance but the reward is incredible! 9 weeks is a short time compared to the life of your dog! If you love your dog make the commitment to help him live up to his potential as an obedient, trustworthy companion." END QUOTE

I tend to agree with some of this- in real life I don't always have treats, or e-collars fail or aren't fitted just right or the battery dies in the cold (or doesn't last for a two week backpacking trip) and so on. My first goals with my dogs is to have solid off-leash OB, but I do and have used treats, markers, and e-collars (Lou Castle's methods or plain aversion for dangerous wildlife).

Ideally, someone on here has taken a class and can tell me their experiences. I am a bit worried that this is all about corrections and uses really old school methods, but I'm intrigued.

Anyone familiar with the trainer and program? They'll be offering a course here in January.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I quickly skimmed the site, I wouldn't say they are die hard Koehler, They say they train one part correct and 2 parts praise. I don't think Koehler had any praise at all.

I took a class with Masi like this, no treats, nothing but praise and correction (not hard correcting, but correcting)...She LOVED it, she was not into purely positive (whole nuther story which actually was a negative experience) but really thrived on praise/slight corrections only. Masi is not a treat motivated dog, she lives for praise and loves to work, isn't a soft dog where a correction will shut her down, she recovers quickly and moves on. I think I have a pretty solid dog that can go anywhere (safe anywhere) off leash and be called off whatever it is I need to call her off of.

Keep in mind, if I took the above with my marshmellow aussie, she would have withered up and died..She was trained with positive methods.

So it depends on the dog, and I can't honestly say 'how' this training place does train without having observed it..

My suggestion is go watch, especially a beginners class that has just started, where dogs are usually unruly and see how it goes. If it's something you think you and your dog would benefit from, go for it. If it's not for you, well atleast you went and observed.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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THE KOEHLER METHOD
Scotch Pines Dog Training uses the method devised by William Koehler, chief animal trainer to Walt Disney Studios for twenty years. During his career,
Mr. Koehler oversaw the training of 40,000 dogs and wrote the world’s number one selling dog training book, The Koehler Method of Dog Training.
The distinctive results of the Koehler method are dogs who will happily obey off-leash in the presence of distractions.
At Scotch Pines we diligently researched other methods before settling on the Koehler method. As part of this investigation, we took a three week trip across the United States, asking dog trainers about their methods and the results. We found methods that are easier, methods that use no force, and methods that are great for getting dogs to perform tricks (food training, click and treat), but NONE of them could compare to the Koehler method for off-leash reliability in real life distractions. The Koehler method works and we are very enthusiastic that it will work for your dog also!

That's in their brochures. I started training years ago in the Koehler method, it does involve praise for a reward. It's not my cup of tea now but as long as they don't have a one size fits all mentality, it can work well.


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Old 01-02-2013, 07:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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thanks capone, I missed that part guess Masi was trained with Koehler method, tho I thought they did not use praise,,but thanks for correcting me

Anyhoo, didn't seem to hurt her any, like I said, she is a tough dog to begin with , if you think your dog wouldnt benefit from it, don't do it..
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Conversely I had a knowledgeable police trainer explain to me why the correction a dog class trainer did was going to set us up for some handler aggression issues down the road, if we followed it. and taught me how to give a FAIR correction to a hard dog. Seems some GSDs are not going to tolerate an unfair correction and you either have to train smart or be prepared for a fight. I assume the same can be said of Malinois.

I learned this when he whoa'd me and said "all you are doing is ramping your dog up in drive" -- Any other dog I had would have shut down with the level of correction I was giving Beau.

The lady I took the class under who was giving the harsh correction (and got into a bit of a fight with Beau when he got growly with her) taught field retrievers and perhaps they have a bit different mentality. I hear a lot of those issues with strong ecollar corrections, too. FWIW, that was my last class; walked away did not look back- worked with the police after that.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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One thing I didn't like that they said is that police dogs and other working dogs don't use food for rewards. Which may be correct but they DO use tugs or balls for reward. Not just praise. They have drive for these things, why not use it to your advantage. This training really doesn't take drive in to consideration at all.

To the OP read over everything in the brochures before making your decision.


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Old 01-02-2013, 08:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jocoyn View Post
Conversely I had a knowledgeable police trainer explain to me why the correction a dog class trainer did was going to set us up for some handler aggression issues down the road, if we followed it. and taught me how to give a FAIR correction to a hard dog. Seems some GSDs are not going to tolerate an unfair correction and you either have to train smart or be prepared for a fight. I assume the same can be said of Malinois.

I learned this when he whoa'd me and said "all you are doing is ramping your dog up in drive" -- Any other dog I had would have shut down with the level of correction I was giving Beau.

The lady I took the class under who was giving the harsh correction (and got into a bit of a fight with Beau when he got growly with her) taught field retrievers and perhaps they have a bit different mentality. I hear a lot of those issues with strong ecollar corrections, too. FWIW, that was my last class; walked away did not look back- worked with the police after that.
We must have posted at the same time.


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Old 01-02-2013, 11:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am struggling with the idea that you can only get reliability with compulsion. How does one train a search or detection dog who may have to stay on task for hours and tear through briars, heat, etc. unless they have a sheer joy for the work and anticipation of a reward? I have never seen a detection dog trained by compulsion, yet reliability is critical.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for your input- I think what appealed to me most about this course was a reliable opportunity to train around a bunch of other dogs and distractions. It's hard to find that around here- either we see only a few dogs on the trail, or we are overwhelmed by dogs in a popular off leash area. I also like the idea of not needing to rely on a tool like an e-collar all the time.

But- regarding Koehler methods- I also see that NOT using a toy as a reward is losing a big part of my malinois' motivation to work. Thing is, when she is working (schutzhund or detection work) she is focused and not reactive and just amazing. I am having reaction issues when she is not "working" in that sense- mostly off leash on trails.

Right now, I really need to proof a recall and basic leave it type behavior around other dogs and people. I'm debating going with an e-collar or trying something else- which lead me to the Scotch Pines program.

I like the idea of positive only training- like the Control Unleashed protocol, but I simply don't see it working for the off-leash work I require. The malinois would have no problems with focus at agility trials as she works fine in OB at schutzhund with other dogs working nearby. Also walks fine on a leash with other dogs passing and so on... I am dealing with very specific situations that are somewhat unique to my lifestyle of running miles on the trails with my dogs each day.

I WISH that somehow I could pay people with neutral dogs (the naturally aloof type) to hang out on the trails each day and practice passing them with success for two weeks straight, twice a day. At the end of that time, my malinois- indeed all three of my dogs, would be in great, if not fool-proof shape... maybe I should pay people to make it happen instead of spending the money on a course. I just don't know how to train good trail manners other than practicing trail manners during predicitable encounters... hmm.

Well, I think I'll investigate this program a lot more- Capone, you found more info than I dug up intitially- and if I decide to try it I will pull my dog(s) out if it is not working for us. I guess if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But I could possibly see a properly executed Koehler program actually working really well for the malinois- she will work for praise alone and truly wants to please me. I'll do some more reading on Koehler. I am all about marker training, but some behaviors, like the recall, almost always require a correction of some sort to proof the behavior.

I'll post later if I decide to try the course.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Understand. I do think you can get a reliable recall under distraction without correction if you start early enough....but folks can argue that. I am on my second offlead cadaver dog so we are in woods off trail around wildlife and sometimes encounter loose strays. A real good test is having a fawn leap up from its nest right between your dog's legs and not have them take chase even though they have the drive to do detection work.

But I currently have a knucklehead who for other reasons was wearing a prong for training at 6 months. [but we had a darned good recall and drop on recall] anyway......I would see if you can audit an ongoing class before you commit and see how they respond to the dogs - that should tell you a lot of what you need to know. If not, my lesson learned, is I will not hand over my dog to ANYONE unless I trust them implicitly not for one minute to "show me something"
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