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Old 02-09-2013, 12:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Does your trainer only use one method of training a behavior for all dogs? I don't believe in 'cookie cutter' training.

I read a lot of training books and watch a lot of training videos and I have always just taken things that I liked and gave them a try. I use what works for me and my dog.

I work with a trainer who shows me how she teaches a behavior. I may train it her way or I might find something that works better for me and my dog.

My trainer doesn't believe in using clickers. I do! So, with any behavior I taught my dog, I did with the use of a clicker. It's a valuable tool and works well, but I keep that a secret. (Hummmm, a closet clicker?)

Anyway, I had been training the go outs with a treat on the target method. While he had nice go out with a primary reinforcer, I found him doing more of a search than a go out.

I didn't like that, so I tried a clicker training method. This was basically sending him to a visual target. I liked the fact that they had you send the dog to the target without a treat and that he had to do the behavior to get the click. It got rid of the searching behavior.

As a Michael Ellis fan, I decided to get his DVD, "Training the Send Away." His method was similar to what I was doing with the clicker method, but he was using a touch pad vs. a vertical target. In his video, he explains why. He also talks about dogs searching instead of going. It made good sense to me and I gave his method a try and it's working well.

My trainer can't understand why I don't trust in her method........after all, her mentor and many others have been successful with it. Of course, she also had to remind me that she has years of experience.

She then went on to tell me that if my new method isn't working, she won't be able to help me because she doesn't know that method. (Her loss.)

I might be new to this, but I really feel a good trainer has many ways of doing things. What works for one dog, may not work for another. They should have many "tools" to work with.

I'm always looking to gain more knowledge. I always wonder about her other clients.........do they just do things her way? I need my trainer to show me how she trains a behavior and then I modify it to what works for us. If I get the goal accomplished, does it really matter how I get there?

I need her to make sure we are doing things properly. I guess it's a little insulting to her when I don't trust her methods. What really irked me was her question, "How many UD titles do you have?" I may not have one yet, but I'm working hard to get there.

Sorry, this is more of a rant that a discussion. Just wanted to know your thoughts. I'm independent. I like doing things my way. I think I'm smart enough to see if I'm liking the results or not and when I don't like something, I find ways to improve it.

Last edited by Karla; 02-09-2013 at 12:15 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Karla View Post
My trainer can't understand why I don't trust in her method........after all, her mentor and many others have been successful with it. Of course, she also had to remind me that she has years of experience.
So what? Years of experience doesn't necessarily mean someone is a great trainer. And since she's inflexible about trying other methods, it sounds like she's been doing the same thing all those years, without learning anything new.

I'm not a dog trainer, I just own dogs, but I've been training my dogs since I got my first GSD in 1986, and I can't tell you how much I've learned in all that time. And I'm STILL learning! I don't expect to ever get to the point that I know everything I need to know about dog training and it's sad that someone who calls themselves a dog trainer thinks they have nothing to learn.

Quote:
She then went on to tell me that if my new method isn't working, she won't be able to help me because she doesn't know that method. (Her loss.)
Oh, well - good thing your method is working better for you than hers did. Maybe if she would let her ego get out of the way she'd notice that.

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Sorry, this is more of a rant that a discussion. Just wanted to know your thoughts. I'm independent. I like doing things my way. I think I'm smart enough to see if I'm liking the results or not and when I don't like something, I find ways to improve it.
Me too. I'm not one for leaving well enough alone, and anything that I don't think would be harmful to my dog or to our relationship I'm usually willing to try. Trust your instincts.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, I can't speak from experience because I have always trained my own dogs as the nearest trainer is over 100 miles away. I do know that the same method does not work with every dog. So I can understand what you are saying, and you bring up the good point that I have also wondered about, what if the training method the trainer uses isn't right for my dog? Do I then find a different trainer or train the dog myself? From your trainer's reaction, I get the impression she feels threatened - she likes her methods and doesn't want to change. So, I guess, if I were you, I would either find a different trainer that uses the methods I use or since you are really training your dog, I would save on the training fees and train the dog myself.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've only had one trainer who used one method,but was willing to venture out if a dog really needed it. They prefer to use choker collars versus prong collars because they feel that prong collars don't work and are 'barbaric'. However in a demonstration, I saw them helicopter a Rottweiler who came up on the leash at them. I went with someone else because it was a little contradicting for them to say that using a prong collar was barbaric,when they had to use 3 times the force by using a choker. I prefer to use a variety of tools and like a trainer who does the same.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I will say that I have no problem with a trainer that doesn't use aversives - that would not deter me from taking the class, and in fact I've taken many classes that would fit that description. I do use aversives as I deem necessary, but it wouldn't bother me to avoid doing so in a class environment, which should be about teaching how TO rather than how NOT to anyway.

But if a trainer was opposed to using clickers, or to motivational training using food or toys, (especially if they referred to them as "bribes" or spouted some hooey about working for you and not the reward, or said they didn't like clickers because you had to have it on you all the time), or required that the dogs wore choke or prongs in class, that would be a deal breaker for me because it would mean that our training philosophies were so fundamentally different that I wouldn't be getting anything worthwhile out of the class.
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for your input!

Debbie, like you, I'm always studying and learning. It was my fearful German Shepherd, Sadie, that taught me so much more about dogs. I read and studied dog behavior so that I was able to help her.

She does use food and toys in training, but thinks clickers are for dolphins.

Gharrissc, I'm glad you trusted your instincts and found another trainer.

I do need someone with a trained eye to watch me work with my dog and she is great in that aspect. She can show me how she trains a behavior and I may or may not do it her way. You're right about her not learning anything new. Just because that's the way she always did it, doesn't mean it's the best way.

I had a problem with Timber whining through a practice one time. It was after I had left my hubby home with the dogs while I went back east to visit family for 2 weeks. It's about an hour drive to practice and my husband drives up with us and waits in the car. I could see Timber was more anxious than I ever saw him. I just didn't know what his problem was. She would have had me squirt something bad tasting in his mouth or use a citronella collar.

I did some thinking and figured Timber was having a case of separation anxiety after being my husbands constant companion while I was gone.

My game plan was to address Tim's anxiety and if I could help him be less anxious, the whining would go away too.

I had a lesson with my trainer a few days after that and the first thing she asked me was, "Did you bring a squirt bottle?" I said, "No, and I'll tell you why." I explained what I was doing and her answer was that a lot of dogs get anxious and they have to learn to be quiet.

I left hubby home when I went to practice the next few weeks and guess what????? No anxious whining. He does ok if he knows hubby is home, but worries about him if he's anywhere in the area.

Hubby has been banned from fun matches and shows because Timber can't focus on me when he worries about him. Now, he's banned from coming to practice too. (I will try to work through this problem.)

Anyway, I just go with my instincts and it seems to be working!
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I work with someone weekly for my obedience and handling skills that is very experienced and has competed often in several venues.
She was known in many circles for being compulsion based in her methods.

When I began with her 2 yrs ago, she was very compulsion based. I knew going in that I'd take some and let her know what I wouldn't be doing if it wasn't fit for my dog.
I showed her how I train(build drive/enthusiasm and then cap it) and the methods we use in IPO training. She decided that she would also start doing more of the enthusiasm/engagement instead of trying to make her dogs comply with compusive methods. One of her dogs was shutting down before every session because of previous training with her.

She trains now regularly with Bridget Carlsen and brings back what she's learned to her clients and it has been showing in the competition placements. Her dogs are showing happy happy joy joy and really have changed for the better.

Recently we decided to work on Karlo's issue with not wanting his feet touched...she suggested using pressure to work him through it, and I didn't want to go that route.
We ended up using canned squirt cheeze to distract him and he is now doing much better(will pick up a paw on command~before he growled and tried to get away if I even touched a paw).
Had I gone with the pressure methods, I don't think we'd have progressed much.
Gut feeling/instincts are best....after all we know our dogs better than anyone else!
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks Onyx'girl!

Sounds like your trainer was interested in learning something new. Seeing such good results is a sure way to make a converter out of her.

Leerburg has a good article on marker training.
Leerburg Dog Training | The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

I know my dogs all love training. It should be fun for both of us. I've watched a lot of dogs at shows and some look like they are just going through the motions. I always wondered if it was because of the training methods.

I'm with you on the foot issue! I used treats when I was working on handling his feet too. I always work on things in a positive way.

I know people who battle clipping the nails because they never took the time to teach the dog. They get someone to hold on to the dog and they have to work with a dog who is struggling to get away.

Yes, we know our dogs better than anyone else!
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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To answer your title, no

We have gotten lucky and then made sure that our trainers were able to tell us different ways to teach a command. I don't believe all people or dogs learn the same way so I want a trainer that is able to teach more than one way of doing something.

Our trainers have the added challenge of teaching a 13 yr old and the rest of the family, in addition to our dogs
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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i agree what someone below said, that she feels threaten. And that whole experience crap, that was rude as a trainer to say to a student who is pay out of their pocket for them to help the student.
For example im a up and coming trainer, and i have helped train AKC judges and lots of older people who are use to the old yank and crank method, to a more motivational training system(Michael Ellis)
So that whole o how many UD's do you have is a really dumb thing to say. I met many of people who have way more year experience then me and trial way more then me, but when i trial the 2-4 times a year in AKC(which isn't a lot) and i come and score high or my dog looks really great, maybe in his heeling . i have people come to ask for help or tips.
Listen as a trainer you should never be stuck to one method, you should always know more then one method of dog training. I know methods from back in the 1960's the old harsh way to Full positive.
But maybe you should try and find another trainer


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