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Old 11-28-2012, 11:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bad Trainer?

I hired a trainer to do some one on one and I'm curious if she set me and my dog down the wrong path. I'll give some details and then my concerns:

Facts -
1. I hired this person in June to get my dog (who was born 1/6/2012) trained in basic obedience with the end result being the AKC Good Citizen Certification at the end of six weeks.

2. The classes were at my house and were one hour classes per week.

3. The first few classes were great but after that it seemed as though we were repeating things. Not because he needed it but because the trainer forgot that we had already done these things.

4. The last two classes she came with another dog and handler that she was training...which kind of blew the one on one thing out of the water.

5. After the six weeks were up she never tested him and there were things he still needed to learn.

Opinions -

I feel that he's been trained in the wrong way. His behavior is hit or miss and he's constantly testing me. He won't listen to commands unless I have a toy or treat in my hand, he's on a leash, or close enough that he can't run away.

I feel the he performs his commands because he feels that he has to, not because he wants to.

Training methods -

What I was taught to use is a pinch collar for corrections and treats for rewards. Once he learned something the instruction was if there is hesitation to give a quick firm correction, if he did what he was supposed to give him a treat but only if he did it the first time. It seemed as though there was more emphasis on the negative than the positive though.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killian10 View Post
I hired a trainer to do some one on one and I'm curious if she set me and my dog down the wrong path. I'll give some details and then my concerns:

Facts -
1. I hired this person in June to get my dog (who was born 1/6/2012) trained in basic obedience with the end result being the AKC Good Citizen Certification at the end of six weeks.

2. The classes were at my house and were one hour classes per week.

3. The first few classes were great but after that it seemed as though we were repeating things. Not because he needed it but because the trainer forgot that we had already done these things.

4. The last two classes she came with another dog and handler that she was training...which kind of blew the one on one thing out of the water.

5. After the six weeks were up she never tested him and there were things he still needed to learn.

Opinions -

I feel that he's been trained in the wrong way. His behavior is hit or miss and he's constantly testing me. He won't listen to commands unless I have a toy or treat in my hand, he's on a leash, or close enough that he can't run away.

I feel the he performs his commands because he feels that he has to, not because he wants to.

Training methods -

What I was taught to use is a pinch collar for corrections and treats for rewards. Once he learned something the instruction was if there is hesitation to give a quick firm correction, if he did what he was supposed to give him a treat but only if he did it the first time. It seemed as though there was more emphasis on the negative than the positive though.
Part of the goal for my dog when she was a puppy was the CGC. The trainer taught us one thing a week, then repeated it the following week and added something new. The week she go over the previous two weeks and add something new. I used positive training throughout. When they take the CGC the only collar they can wear is a flat collar, no harness, choke, or prongs. Repetition IMO is actually a good way to train, every time a dog does that command they are getting that much better at it.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would be certain you are consistent in your training, because you are with your dog 24/7 not the trainer.
#1 CGC shouldn't be a goal with a very young pup..AKC STAR would be a better beginning. Personally I don't think dogs under a year should be given a CGC certificate.
#2 A one hour class for a young pup is way too long, unless you are changing up what you are working on and a young pup cannot absorb enough when you change it up like that!
#3 repeating/proofing is part of training, even what the dog learned 2 years ago, you refresh and keep on with consistency.
#4 I'd rather have a distraction while training, when you go out in the big world if your dog doesn't have this to work through, you'll lose him right off. Training through distractions is wonderful....you need to keep the focus on you and not the dogs/people that are in the surroundings.
#5 keep on training, six weeks is nothing in a dogs(pups) life....they are forever learning.
Quote:
I feel the he performs his commands because he feels that he has to, not because he wants to.
are you engaging him? Enthusiasm comes from you and you bring out the excitement to train, boring will keep a dog flat and it will check out.
Maybe try using a ball or tug mixed with the treats for rewards, I bet you'll see a different dog! Good luck!!
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Have you read what is expected in testing for CGC? Have you watched other dogs take the test so you have an idea of what CGC looks like?

Doing those simple things will aid you in deciding if your trainer is leading you in the direction of your goal.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by llombardo View Post
When they take the CGC the only collar they can wear is a flat collar, no harness, choke, or prongs.
According to the CGC rules, the dog must wear a buckle collar OR a slip collar.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Your dog is about 10 months old now? This is the teenage years, remember how you were? Unless you have an exceptional dog, it will probably not be totally focused at this age.

Did your trainer give you homework, and did you follow his/her instructions?

Was the 2nd dog and trainer there for training with distractions? Was there any practice with hand off, letting another person besides you have possession of your dog and it remain calm?

Is your dog having fun?

The prong and treat training worked well for our dog, but this was over a longer period of time when she was a bit older. At 6 months of age (your training in June) all my pup wanted to do was play and I would not expect her to do a CGC.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killian10 View Post
I hired a trainer to do some one on one and I'm curious if she set me and my dog down the wrong path. I'll give some details and then my concerns:

Facts -
1. I hired this person in June to get my dog (who was born 1/6/2012) trained in basic obedience with the end result being the AKC Good Citizen Certification at the end of six weeks.

2. The classes were at my house and were one hour classes per week.

3. The first few classes were great but after that it seemed as though we were repeating things. Not because he needed it but because the trainer forgot that we had already done these things.

4. The last two classes she came with another dog and handler that she was training...which kind of blew the one on one thing out of the water.

5. After the six weeks were up she never tested him and there were things he still needed to learn.

Opinions -

I feel that he's been trained in the wrong way. His behavior is hit or miss and he's constantly testing me. He won't listen to commands unless I have a toy or treat in my hand, he's on a leash, or close enough that he can't run away.

I feel the he performs his commands because he feels that he has to, not because he wants to.

Training methods -

What I was taught to use is a pinch collar for corrections and treats for rewards. Once he learned something the instruction was if there is hesitation to give a quick firm correction, if he did what he was supposed to give him a treat but only if he did it the first time. It seemed as though there was more emphasis on the negative than the positive though.
1. I dont believe 6 weeks is long enough for any kind of "Perfect obedience" 6 weeks should have you knowing the basic commands and practicing them with your dog.

2. this makes sense, although perhaps it makes more sense for you trainer to help you in a different environment, and you train the dog at home.

3. repetition for emphasis. I dont know your trainer, or what he/she was like during the sessions, but I would be quite shocked if a trainer came into my house and asked me to teach my dog 100 different commands, without working through commands the dog knows.

4. Distractions are very important. One on One time in my opinion is for a handler and his/her dog, this may be different when an owner needs proper tuition in training methods, but I think one of the best parts of obedience class is that your dog gets to spend time with other dogs, as well as strange people. The trainer will also give extra help where it is needed. I dont think the trainer was trying to get out of giving you the "one on one" time, only to help your dog with socialisation.

5. What sort of test are you wanting to do with your dog? or rather a better question may be, what sort of test do you expect your dog to pass, after only 6 hours of training? Dogs are CONSTANTLY learning, and will continue to learn right throughout their life, it is our job as handlers to make that experience rewarding and fun, so that the dog WANTS to learn and WANTS to accomplish the tasks that you give them. 6 weeks is not enough time for any dog to learn anything more than the basic commands and START to learn to enjoy training.

His behavior is hit or miss.

I would expect it to be. again, 6 hours of training is not enough to achieve perfect obedience. this is especially true of a puppy. If I were you I would enroll into a training class, one per week, and keep it up until you are at a point that you are happy with your dogs behaviour. Try not to think of it as a course that ends at a specific date in the future, rather an exercise in which you endevor to help your dog be the best that it can be, regardless of how long it takes.

He wont listen unless I have a toy or treat in my hand

Positive re-inforcement is an exellent training tool and just because you need to use these tools for your dog to obey you, does not mean that the training has not worked. Try to focus on the positive aspects of his training, he WILL obey you if you have these things, this ultimately teaches the dog that if he obeys you, good things will happen. But again this is a long process and should not be rushed.

I feel the he performs his commands because he feels that he has to, not because he wants to.

What he wants is to do what he enjoys, whether that be sniffing around in the grass, getting into mischief or anything else, I can tell you right now, he does not want to obey someone for the joy of it lol. If you make his training fun and REWARDING (this can be treats, toys, or just fun games in general) he will come to you LOOKING to learn. but again this takes time and a lot of effort on your part. Please dont just expect him to obey you because he has had 6 obedience lessons.

It seemed as though there was more emphasis on the negative than the positive though.

Different things work better for different dogs, maybe your trainer thought your dog responded better to negative stimulus, maybe it was just a negative trainer. Now that the trainer is not around, it is YOUR job, as your dogs owner and handler to find out what stimulus works best for your dog, be it positive only, or a mixture of positive and negative.

I hope these comments help. Please try not to expect too much from your dog, he sounds like a normal dog
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'll try to address everyone's questions here. I'm being vague on some things because I'm not sure if my trainer is on here and I want to get some outside opinion without offending anyone.

CGC - When I was searching for a dog trainer I told her that my end goal was to get him CGC certified. I said he had no training as of yet and I wanted to do whatever would put me on the path to getting their. Her plan was 6 one on one sessions (1 hour each) and at the end he would be ready to pass. If he didn't pass she would give me two more classes and retest.

Repeating - When I say things were being repeated I don't mean training commands or actions I mean she would bring over paperwork and homework that she had given me two weeks before or tell me "OK, today we're going to learn X" and we had already started that. When I told her we had already started that she would seem confused then say, "OH, we did???". I don't want this repeating to be confused with repetition, sorry about that.

Distraction (the other handler and dog)
- I should have given more details on this. The second handler and dog wasn't a distraction..it wasn't another trainder...it was another student, who was further behind in the training than we were.

Expectations - I agree with you all 100% as far as where he should be and that 6 weeks is not enough time to expect this or that out of him. Right now he walks great on a leash. He will recall 75% of the time, knows sit, down, and stay and will perform them 70% of the time. Distraction...he has A.D.D. but he's a puppy, I get that. I think I let this trainer fill me head with false expectations and that's why I was looking at it the way I was.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killian10 View Post
I'll try to address everyone's questions here. I'm being vague on some things because I'm not sure if my trainer is on here and I want to get some outside opinion without offending anyone.

CGC - When I was searching for a dog trainer I told her that my end goal was to get him CGC certified. I said he had no training as of yet and I wanted to do whatever would put me on the path to getting their. Her plan was 6 one on one sessions (1 hour each) and at the end he would be ready to pass. If he didn't pass she would give me two more classes and retest.

Repeating - When I say things were being repeated I don't mean training commands or actions I mean she would bring over paperwork and homework that she had given me two weeks before or tell me "OK, today we're going to learn X" and we had already started that. When I told her we had already started that she would seem confused then say, "OH, we did???". I don't want this repeating to be confused with repetition, sorry about that.

Distraction (the other handler and dog) - I should have given more details on this. The second handler and dog wasn't a distraction..it wasn't another trainder...it was another student, who was further behind in the training than we were.

Expectations - I agree with you all 100% as far as where he should be and that 6 weeks is not enough time to expect this or that out of him. Right now he walks great on a leash. He will recall 75% of the time, knows sit, down, and stay and will perform them 70% of the time. Distraction...he has A.D.D. but he's a puppy, I get that. I think I let this trainer fill me head with false expectations and that's why I was looking at it the way I was.
Even if this was another student of hers regardless of their training level, it's still a great distraction. One on one training is great but how often are you going to use your training when circumstances are perfect? The majority of time when you really need your dog to listen to you is when they are under distraction ie: recall vs squirrel who wins?

About the CGC, I'm not sure what to tell you there, I've been training different parts of it but she's too young in my opinion to take the test. How much did you work with him outside of training? That will have a big impact on how ready he is. I find that most of my training sessions is training me and giving me tips on handling my pup and then I apply it between sessions.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killian10 View Post
I'll try to address everyone's questions here. I'm being vague on some things because I'm not sure if my trainer is on here and I want to get some outside opinion without offending anyone.

CGC - When I was searching for a dog trainer I told her that my end goal was to get him CGC certified. I said he had no training as of yet and I wanted to do whatever would put me on the path to getting their. Her plan was 6 one on one sessions (1 hour each) and at the end he would be ready to pass. If he didn't pass she would give me two more classes and retest.

Repeating - When I say things were being repeated I don't mean training commands or actions I mean she would bring over paperwork and homework that she had given me two weeks before or tell me "OK, today we're going to learn X" and we had already started that. When I told her we had already started that she would seem confused then say, "OH, we did???". I don't want this repeating to be confused with repetition, sorry about that.

Distraction (the other handler and dog)
- I should have given more details on this. The second handler and dog wasn't a distraction..it wasn't another trainder...it was another student, who was further behind in the training than we were.

Expectations - I agree with you all 100% as far as where he should be and that 6 weeks is not enough time to expect this or that out of him. Right now he walks great on a leash. He will recall 75% of the time, knows sit, down, and stay and will perform them 70% of the time. Distraction...he has A.D.D. but he's a puppy, I get that. I think I let this trainer fill me head with false expectations and that's why I was looking at it the way I was.
This now makes a lot more sense.

With regards the cgc I agree with most that its unrealistic (at best) to expect 6 weeks to have your dog able to complete the test, I dont even think ceaser millan could manage that. I dont know how the cgc works, but dont you have to book the test and actually take your dog to it? if so, did you do this, and if it failed, did you take the trainer up on the 2 free lessons?

Getting confused about what the dog has done, is a little unprofessional, especially for one on one lessons, my trainer teaches a class of between 5 and 10 and has a good idea of where each dog is upto (granted it wont be perfect knowledge, but you get the idea).

again even if the other person, was not a handler, I agree with gaia_bear, its still a great distraction. When I train my dog Maya in the house, she is fantastic, she does every command she knows within 1 or 2 attempts, and she learns new commands quickly. However, When I took her to class on monday (and you can see the thread in this forum) she did not listen to me in the slightest, due to all the distractions, I think I managed to get about 3 commands out of her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaia_bear View Post
Even if this was another student of hers regardless of their training level, it's still a great distraction. One on one training is great but how often are you going to use your training when circumstances are perfect? The majority of time when you really need your dog to listen to you is when they are under distraction ie: recall vs squirrel who wins?

About the CGC, I'm not sure what to tell you there, I've been training different parts of it but she's too young in my opinion to take the test. How much did you work with him outside of training? That will have a big impact on how ready he is. I find that most of my training sessions is training me and giving me tips on handling my pup and then I apply it between sessions.
I think gaia_bear put it well. To me, it sounds like you have a great dog, that still needs more work before taking the cgc, but is off to a great start. My advice would be to speak to your trainer and ask him/her to address your issues and if he doesnt (either with an explanation or rectification) then the simplest solution is to find a new trainer (I vote for a class). but make sure you keep working with your dog, outside of training, so that he enjoys it, and you build a good relationship with him.
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