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aqueous18 02-26-2014 01:28 PM

Training Orientation...unsure
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]

Mary Beth 02-26-2014 09:41 PM

I can sure understand why you would be confused. First off, I don't think gsds need a certain type of training. It depends on the dog not the breed in my opinion. It also has a lot to do with what method not only is effective with the dog but is one that you are comfortable with. From your post, I get the impression that if there were more trainers in your area, than you would not go to this trainer. I can also give you some encouragement based on my own experience. It is possible to train your own dog - I had to do it as the nearest trainer is 200 miles away. And when I talked to another lady who also trained her gsd, she commented "we were able to train our dogs in our own way".

Cassidy's Mom 02-26-2014 09:58 PM


Originally Posted by aqueous18 (Post 5094986)
Now, this company's philosophy is focused on discipline and a lot of dominance type training. They don't use treats, only praise....(snip)

(snip)Also, the class recommends a choke chain....

For those reasons alone, I would personally pass. Oh, and the alpha rolls too. :) This sounds like very "old school" training to me. For one thing, when people talk about positive reinforcement that generally means motivational training, which at least in the beginning stages, is not about corrections. Later, for proofing? Sure. But you said this is a beginning class. So the whole discipline and dominance thing usually is more about correcting for mistakes than it is about setting the dog up to succeed. To me, that is not positive reinforcement. I actually find it rather amusing when a trainer talks about their methods being "positive reinforcement" when they insist that the dog works for praise only, and refuses to use food.

While some dogs might work well for praise alone, praise is not a primary reinforcer like food is. I would rather use what the dog finds reinforcing, not what I think the dog should find reinforcing. A trainer who tosses out the use of food routinely, without considering the individual dog, is someone I would have no interest in working with.

How old is Kain? Hardly anyone uses choke chains anymore. If you're going to use a training collar, I'd much rather it be a prong, BUT - before I use any special collar, I've spent a lot of time training my dogs motivationally, so they WANT to work with me. I want a dog who happily engages with me, who loves training. I don't see how a bunch of dominance training is going to create that kind of bond and relationship.

aqueous18 02-27-2014 08:50 AM

Kain is coming up on 10 months old. From the research I've done on here, I figured prong was the way to go. I was hoping this trainer would be able to show me how to use it. I feel confident in my ability to train him at home using the methods I am familiar with, but I don't know squat about correction type training or how to properly use a prong collar. This training class does focus on teaching your dog using corrections. There is a Schutzhund club in Buffalo, but I didn't want to take him there until he had some Basic Obedience under his belt so as not to be embarrassed by his naughtiness lol

The lack of treats does concern me. And you have a huge point with it. When I trained with PetSmart, I had one Pomeranian named Lovie that was not food motivated at all. She was only praise motivated. She was the exception though. Almost all of my trainees were very food motivated. And why not? The trainer's reasoning behind it is that dogs shouldn't get treats for things they should be doing all along. I get that your dog maybe shouldn't get a treat every time he sits on command for the rest of his life, but why not when training the behavior in the first place?

I've seen a lot of members on these forums from my neck of the woods. I'm wondering if someone would be willing to help me learn how to use the prong? Or suggest some good literature or videos? I've seriously lost sleep over this training class the past 2 days. I'm really disappointed by it -_-

Sri 02-27-2014 10:16 AM

Aqueous, I remember you said you live in Buffalo. There is a trainer there who seems to be well regarded in the forums here. Tyler Muto. If I had the chance to take my dog to him for training, I would!

This is the first of 3 videos on how to use a prong by Tyler Muto:

Im learning from this myself right now.

Kaimeju 02-27-2014 10:46 AM

This sounds like a trainer I would pass on. The thing about using praise only is really off-putting to me. I feel like top tier trainers are all about motivation using treats and toys so why would you settle for anything less? Also I am suspicious of someone who uses choke chains liberally but can't show you how to use a prong collar safely and humanely. Lots of questions....

Tyler Muto's videos on prong collars are good. Can't speak to his dog training business because I've never been there.

One other question: what methods have you used to try and find a trainer? I'm from a small town myself, and the people I ended up working with the most do not advertise at all. I had to just talk to anyone and everyone who was serious about dogs to find them.

Baillif 02-27-2014 11:03 AM

Theyre not tyler mutos methods he passes all that stuff off as his own its basically all crap from ellis and others

aqueous18 02-27-2014 12:46 PM

Training Orientation...unsure
Sri, I actually live in a suburb of Buffalo called Batavia which nobody knows about lol so I say Buffalo to sound cool/have people know what Im talking about. I actually live about an hour from downtown Buffalo. I wouldn't mind driving but between the weather and lack of free time I don't know if we could commit to a class so far.

I originally was searching in Buffalo and outlying areas because there wasn't anything available in Batavia. I was over the moon when I found out about this class. I didn't find Tyler Muto on my search, but will look into him. Thank you for the videos!

There is a Petco in town but I worked there as their Salon Manager and they haven't had a reliable trainer in years. I tried to network with a friend of mine whose father in law trains, but the schedule never worked for me. This class was recommended to me by two friends who are also taking the class. They share the same concerns as I do.

I don't know if I'm being snobby by knocking another training method without trying it. I just feel like with the things I've done with Kain at home, he is much more focused with treats. With how hyper he is, focus is a necessity lol

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middleofnowhere 02-27-2014 12:51 PM

If you can talk to the trainer, explain the way you want to work and s/he is OK with that, then go. Otherwise with the dominance crap, I'd head the other direction.

Sri 02-27-2014 03:20 PM


Originally Posted by Baillif (Post 5101498)
Theyre not tyler mutos methods he passes all that stuff off as his own its basically all crap from ellis and others

:confused: Are you saying the method doesnt work, or did you mean its just stuff from ellis and others?

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