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Old 01-22-2013, 03:28 PM   #121 (permalink)
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I'm not sure why anybody has to be labeled..or follow a label to train their dog. They should have all sorts of tools in their training box.

If I took my dog to a new training class and the first thing the trainer did was pull out an e-collar, I'd run.

If I took my dog to a new training class and the first thing the trainer did was beg my dog to sit (sit.sit..sit..sit..) I'd run.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:45 PM   #122 (permalink)
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I have found that once I have paid my money, I can make ANY training class suit my purpose.

But you have to know some things first:

1. The trainer may know LESS about dog training than you do.

2. The trainer does not have to live with their mistakes, you do.

3. You do not have to do ANY exercise that you do not want to do with your dog.

4. If the class is BORING, do your own thing with your dog in between whatever the trainer is working on. Some dogs are perfectly happy to assume a state of near-vegetation while everyone watches each dog perform a mundane task in various levels of bad to worse. Other dogs would be better off practicing tricks or doing push ups, or other stationary moves. I try not to be distracting, but this is MY time, MY money, and I am going to do what is best for MY dog.

5. I have yet to be asked to not come back to classes. Most trainers need the body in their class to cover expenses. If I refuse to do a thing the way a trainer wants to be done they aren't going to chuck me out.

Classes are an opportunity to work around distractions. They are an opportunity to be up close with people and dogs. You can make even a complete novice petsmart trainer's class work for you if you throw out what is not helpful, and use what you can, if nothing else the dogs, the people, and the environment (indoor/heated rather than muddy rainy field, or snow covered driveway).
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:55 PM   #123 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by selzer View Post
I have found that once I have paid my money, I can make ANY training class suit my purpose.

But you have to know some things first:

1. The trainer may know LESS about dog training than you do.

2. The trainer does not have to live with their mistakes, you do.

3. You do not have to do ANY exercise that you do not want to do with your dog.

4. If the class is BORING, do your own thing with your dog in between whatever the trainer is working on. Some dogs are perfectly happy to assume a state of near-vegetation while everyone watches each dog perform a mundane task in various levels of bad to worse. Other dogs would be better off practicing tricks or doing push ups, or other stationary moves. I try not to be distracting, but this is MY time, MY money, and I am going to do what is best for MY dog.

5. I have yet to be asked to not come back to classes. Most trainers need the body in their class to cover expenses. If I refuse to do a thing the way a trainer wants to be done they aren't going to chuck me out.

Classes are an opportunity to work around distractions. They are an opportunity to be up close with people and dogs. You can make even a complete novice petsmart trainer's class work for you if you throw out what is not helpful, and use what you can, if nothing else the dogs, the people, and the environment (indoor/heated rather than muddy rainy field, or snow covered driveway).

I did this. Last winter Rocket and I went to a class where the trainer was ok, But frankly wasn't doing anything that I wasn't doing. I didn't really feel like she knew a whole lot more than I did. Although she certainly liked him. They were small classes with just a few dogs, and several of the classes it was just her and I. So I took it as an opportunity to get some individualized one-on-one training. Also, if she did things a little differently than I wanted to do with him, she didn't mind at all if I did them the way I wanted to. She was most valuable in helping me figure out my timing and seeing things from a different perspective.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:04 PM   #124 (permalink)
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Classes are an opportunity to work around distractions. They are an opportunity to be up close with people and dogs. You can make even a complete novice petsmart trainer's class work for you if you throw out what is not helpful, and use what you can, if nothing else the dogs, the people, and the environment (indoor/heated rather than muddy rainy field, or snow covered driveway).

Your right. My sister and I took an OB class just for fun. She had an older dog and I had Hondo. She hated it. She felt it wasted her time. I enjoyed it. I learned more about Hondo then Hondo learned in the class.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:29 PM   #125 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by selzer View Post
You can make even a complete novice petsmart trainer's class work for you if you throw out what is not helpful, and use what you can, if nothing else the dogs, the people, and the environment (indoor/heated rather than muddy rainy field, or snow covered driveway).
I actually often sign up for Petsmart classes with foster dogs and new dogs for this very reason--inexpensive and great for socialization plus a safe but very distracting environment! LOL

Thanks for sharing that story about the nutty trainer, btw...I definitely got a kick out of it!
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:28 PM   #126 (permalink)
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That balanced trainer thing is huge. It is kind of a code word. I look for it now.
Exactly what are you implying? That Balanced trainers are some sort of secret society? LOL

That statement is just as bad as me saying "those "all positive" trainers is kinda a code phrase for I have no clue but I want to appeal to the masses."

BALANCED means just that... Balanced enough to have the skill and knowledge to use all methods that are effective matched with the right dog. It can be a clicker/marker reward based to correction based and everywhere in between.


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Old 01-23-2013, 01:52 AM   #127 (permalink)
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Looking at a training class that I would want to attend - if i couldn't or wouldn't be engaged with what the instructor was doing, I would not continue in the class.

I have been in a few classes (beginner to UD and above level) where there were a student or two who evidently wasn't too keen on what the instructor was covering at the moment or maybe just didn't agree with the way that she/he was trying to teach it to the rest of the class. So they would tend to do their own thing.

Would have been MUCH better just for that "student and dog" to leave the class (or talk to the instructor during a break or before/after class). Their selfishness (in most cases) really disrupted the class for the rest of the students who also "paid their money" (with the hopes of learning something).

Now if the instructor is truly incompetent that is one thing, but if it is just a disagreement about approach - then be a little polite and courteus to the instructor and esp. to the other students and at least do not disrupt the class during it. And if you really think that you know more than the instructor, then either get out of the class, help with the instruction (offer to teach it?) or talk with the instructor off-line about the situation.

Just some thoughts from my experience in attending many different dog training classes (and teaching just a few) from a wide variety of instructors.

And from many, many years of presenting technical IT and project management public seminars all over the country; if I ever had anyone who clearly did not want to be in a class I was instructing, then we would have a private conversation about that behavior when it approached the extent of disrupting the class and/or impinging on other attendees ability to enjoy and learn from the class!

Wasn't ever a problem to handle such a student so as not to affect the rest of the students.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:42 PM   #128 (permalink)
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Looking at a training class that I would want to attend - if i couldn't or wouldn't be engaged with what the instructor was doing, I would not continue in the class.

I have been in a few classes (beginner to UD and above level) where there were a student or two who evidently wasn't too keen on what the instructor was covering at the moment or maybe just didn't agree with the way that she/he was trying to teach it to the rest of the class. So they would tend to do their own thing.

Would have been MUCH better just for that "student and dog" to leave the class (or talk to the instructor during a break or before/after class). Their selfishness (in most cases) really disrupted the class for the rest of the students who also "paid their money" (with the hopes of learning something).

Now if the instructor is truly incompetent that is one thing, but if it is just a disagreement about approach - then be a little polite and courteus to the instructor and esp. to the other students and at least do not disrupt the class during it. And if you really think that you know more than the instructor, then either get out of the class, help with the instruction (offer to teach it?) or talk with the instructor off-line about the situation.

Just some thoughts from my experience in attending many different dog training classes (and teaching just a few) from a wide variety of instructors.

And from many, many years of presenting technical IT and project management public seminars all over the country; if I ever had anyone who clearly did not want to be in a class I was instructing, then we would have a private conversation about that behavior when it approached the extent of disrupting the class and/or impinging on other attendees ability to enjoy and learn from the class!

Wasn't ever a problem to handle such a student so as not to affect the rest of the students.
Ah, to be coming from a place where there are plenty of dog classes and everything is right there at your finger tips. It just isn't the case all over the place.

If the instructor is working individually on recalls or heeling or anything, one student at a time, it is perfectly fine to work on stationary exercises with a dog while waiting for your turn. In fact, the instuctor has said this several times in the past few years.

Also, not every dog is at the same level. If I am working with a six month old puppy that has never been to classes before, and everyone else is working on stays from across the room, I know my dog, if I want to stay closer to the dog, or return to the dog before the instructor says to return -- that is not being selfish, that is actually allowing the rest of the class to have the full-time they need while not forcing my dog into a position where I would have to correct it.

I am a dog class veteran. I have worked my dogs through advanced titles. I have worked them in several different venues. I have worked with some awesome instructors who definitely know more than me. And I have worked with some who don't. I have never worked with any who know more about my dog than I do. And nobody should think that they should just listen to what the instructor tells them to do because they are the instructor. If they think that something is not right, they should flat out not do it, and get other opinions before going back and either trying it, or telling the instructor that they are not comfortable with that.

Again, the instructor is gearing her class to the average level of the dogs in the class, and the average level of the people in the class. It is not like I am suggesting a loud game of tug when the instructor is explaining something. I guess it is something I learned from the batty-lady who was afraid of my puppy. When there were other people in that class, she spent a lot of time individually working with one, then the next, then the next, the whole time telling them how rotten their dogs were. But the majority of the time Jenna and I were standing around doing nothing. Jenna had a ton of energy, and with this dementor making the class a very unhappy thing, it was being a negative experience. Finally, I started doing some things on my own while they were working together, fun things. to keep Jenna on, and to make it positive. I took what would have been a waste of money or a negative experience and turned it into a good thing for she and me.

Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer and sign people up for classes. Anyone. You do not need to be able to read and write. You do not have to have titled a dog in anything. You do not have to OWN a dog. There are NO rules about who can call themselves a dog trainer. You can watch a few episodes of the dog whisperer, and set up training in your back yard. You do not need to know a hound from a bird dog from a terrier. Just advertise, take the money, and go. When you suggest people just accept what a trainer is doing because they are the instructor, you are actually making a dangerous suggestion.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:58 PM   #129 (permalink)
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Ah, to be coming from a place where there are plenty of dog classes and everything is right there at your finger tips. It just isn't the case all over the place.

If the instructor is working individually on recalls or heeling or anything, one student at a time, it is perfectly fine to work on stationary exercises with a dog while waiting for your turn. In fact, the instuctor has said this several times in the past few years.

Also, not every dog is at the same level. If I am working with a six month old puppy that has never been to classes before, and everyone else is working on stays from across the room, I know my dog, if I want to stay closer to the dog, or return to the dog before the instructor says to return -- that is not being selfish, that is actually allowing the rest of the class to have the full-time they need while not forcing my dog into a position where I would have to correct it.

I am a dog class veteran. I have worked my dogs through advanced titles. I have worked them in several different venues. I have worked with some awesome instructors who definitely know more than me. And I have worked with some who don't. I have never worked with any who know more about my dog than I do. And nobody should think that they should just listen to what the instructor tells them to do because they are the instructor. If they think that something is not right, they should flat out not do it, and get other opinions before going back and either trying it, or telling the instructor that they are not comfortable with that.

Again, the instructor is gearing her class to the average level of the dogs in the class, and the average level of the people in the class. It is not like I am suggesting a loud game of tug when the instructor is explaining something. I guess it is something I learned from the batty-lady who was afraid of my puppy. When there were other people in that class, she spent a lot of time individually working with one, then the next, then the next, the whole time telling them how rotten their dogs were. But the majority of the time Jenna and I were standing around doing nothing. Jenna had a ton of energy, and with this dementor making the class a very unhappy thing, it was being a negative experience. Finally, I started doing some things on my own while they were working together, fun things. to keep Jenna on, and to make it positive. I took what would have been a waste of money or a negative experience and turned it into a good thing for she and me.

Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer and sign people up for classes. Anyone. You do not need to be able to read and write. You do not have to have titled a dog in anything. You do not have to OWN a dog. There are NO rules about who can call themselves a dog trainer. You can watch a few episodes of the dog whisperer, and set up training in your back yard. You do not need to know a hound from a bird dog from a terrier. Just advertise, take the money, and go. When you suggest people just accept what a trainer is doing because they are the instructor, you are actually making a dangerous suggestion.
I guess everyone is certainly entitled to have their own opinion of what is proper and respectful behavior in a group situation.

That is, each individual must decide what is ok in such a setting, and what may be disrespectful and rude to both the instructor and the other students who have also paid the cost of the course and invested their time.

BTW, I never said that any student in ANY class "...just accept what a trainer is doing because they are the instructor.."! (or if you may have interpreted what i said as meaning this, please let me know where).

What I would recommend to anyone who finds themselves in a class where they may be uncomfortable for any reason - stop going, and maybe try talking to the organization or to the instructor about their concerns!

Sounds like you have had a great many bad training classs experiences - more so than anyone that I have ever heard of!

That definitly is very unfortunate for you certainly.

With all of those unfortunate experiences, I could easily see where you would be much better training all by yourself.

Also, sounds like you have encountered some VERY bad dog trainers! No wonder you seem so very upset with dog trainers!

"You do not need to be able to read and write." - have you actually had some trainers who could not even read and write? Guess that they wouldn't have even been able to have any written handouts or summaries of the lessons that they covered. That would be a real problem as the class instruction summaries that we have gotten have turned out to be very useful in our training at home.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:21 PM   #130 (permalink)
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Exactly what are you implying? That Balanced trainers are some sort of secret society? LOL

That statement is just as bad as me saying "those "all positive" trainers is kinda a code phrase for I have no clue but I want to appeal to the masses."

BALANCED means just that... Balanced enough to have the skill and knowledge to use all methods that are effective matched with the right dog. It can be a clicker/marker reward based to correction based and everywhere in between.


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I want to say first that, based on your posting, I don't think that this applies to you, so please don't take it personally. I say that just because I think it's easy to feel accused if you identify with a certain label and someone uses it negatively--it happens to me all the time with "positive trainer." LOL

But I really understand what Jean is saying about code words. I know several trainers who I would consider flat-out abusive (and, contrary to what some may think, I truly, honestly have no problem with well-placed corrections, in spite of very rarely--not "never," mind you--using them myself in day-to-day training; it takes a lot for me to say someone is abusive), but who have attempted to rehabilitate their images by latching onto the "balanced" moniker. I know even more trainers who don't even seem to understand what operant conditioning is, yet condemn it, call themselves balanced because they use rewards as well as corrections...even though it is all classical conditioning.

I really do think that labels are kind of BS, and am wary of anyone who uses them...which I realize is very hypocritical. LOL I'm wary of positive trainers, as it definitely can be code for, "I have no clue but want to appeal to the masses." I'm wary of balanced trainers because IME it is usually, "I use exclusively classical conditioning but want to keep up with the times so call myself balanced." But I'll listen to anyone who catches my fancy (by coming well-recommended, being famous, or just something in their presentation/marketing catches my eye), and I can always find something of value in it...whether it is "OMG I will never ever ever do that with one of my dogs!" or "Wow, that is great!" or (often) "This isn't something that I can use right now, but I'll remember it in case I run into a dog it might help."

As I said in a previous post, I think that labels like "positive" or "balanced" are shorthand, and very inaccurate. Virtually all decent positive trainers I've met routinely use negative punishment, and at the same time, no one wants to call themselves a "corrective trainer" or something of that nature, because it sounds way too harsh! So people of either extremes (relying totally on aversives, or being a permissive treat-vending-machine) gravitate to the "positive" or "balanced" labels. But, at the same time, I'm not sure how else to say it and be understood outside of dog-nerd forums.
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