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Old 03-14-2014, 03:12 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Think of it this way. You probably hated to do reports in school and if you're like me you waited to the last second to do them until the pressure mounted to get it done or fail and have to deal with the fallout. As soon as you were done that weight was off your shoulders. Felt good right? Same kind of concept with the training. Doing it relieves pressure.
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Old 03-14-2014, 03:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I would have pulled my dog out too. Immediately.

I am really, really not a fan of blanket applications of force to soft dogs.
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Old 03-14-2014, 03:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Was it a prong collar or a choke collar? Choke collar are unsafe and most trainers do not use! I go to two different training facilities. When my dogs are puppies it is all positive reinforcement, as my dogs enter into the teenage faze I go to a trainer here in Indiana that has years of experience with German shepherds. At first glance his methods seems harsh because the prong looks scary and some dogs do not respond to prong right away. My trainer runs his obedience class like boot camp. He teaches you hands on how to use the prong properly. He is very firm but his dogs are amazing! They are balanced and beautiful specimens.
I would not ever go to a facility that used choke chains. But don't be thrown by the use of + & - reinforcement. Athena is a wonderful balanced dog and handle most situations I throw at her. Good luck with training!
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Old 03-14-2014, 03:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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There are ways to train that make the dog happy when a correction is given but it takes a long time and is relatively complex. Regular training establishments do not use these methods due to limited knowledge and time constraints. Typically these classes are for several weeks and at the end of those 6, 8 or 10 sessions the dog has to graduate so shortcut ways are preferred by clients and trainers. They do work but most dogs develop a sad demeanor when going through the exercises. It is not possible to get the end result described below in a 6-8 week class.

If the trainer has the knowledge and the client is willing to put in the time, then they can train using the long road. The dog is prepared with drive building games and introduced to markers in the way of play (about 100 sessions). Then stim is used in timing with release marker so dog associates a collar correction with reward and perks up rather than shut down (another 100 sessions or so).

I am making it very simple but want to describe the main differences/reasoning between a 6 week training class and a 2 year class. The end result is very different and the means/time/resources required are also very different. Some people go through the long journey but still do it in a way to make the dog appear flat, some people do it right. At the same time some people want the dog to know a set number of commands in a couple of the 6-8 week classes, all is ok but best to understand then make choice. It is not easy but the first step is to understand the differences then if interested seek out the resources needed to help teach you.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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As Merciel notes - would you use a prong on a soft dog though?

The reason I ask... I used a prong and with proper guidance from a trainer who did exactly what you describe layering over known commands and my german shepherds did not shut down, got great results.

BUT, our little Aussie who has the temperament of silly putty shuts down sometimes with even a strong verbal correction. I get the same consistency, same layering but corrections are very mild and no prong needed with her.



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It's a misconception that the tool is for difficult to train dogs. The malinois here learn very quickly and are very easy to treat train. Negative reinforcement through collar pressure is layered over preexisting known commands to strengthen the behavior that's why it's called negative REINFORCEMENT. If you want reliability without resorting to more extreme positive reinforcement tactics it's a good way to go. Again though I'd use prongs. Chokers are silly.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Great responses here. I had never thought of the choke as being worse than the prong, I always thought of the prong as an escalation of the choke. That could be due to lack of knowledge on the prong collars though. I understand the basic idea behind them but not their impact on the dog compared to a choker.

I also agree on the longer term training, but it seems like a lot of these classes don't expect perfect behavior at the end of six weeks, but give you the tools for life-long training. Previous classes have usually said they like to see the basics of the behavior but it will take a lot of work over a much longer period to get consistent results. Having said that, I really want my next trainer to be one I can work with for a long period of time. It is part of why I did not continue the PetsMart classes. Beyond the Intermediate course, there is advanced, and that is basically it. And even the advanced is more about doing the intermediate but with more distractions.

Anyway, thank you all again, this thread has helped me feel better about taking Archer out of that class but also given me some hope for finding something better going forward.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:18 PM   #17 (permalink)
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No, the prong is a different type of collar.

I don't use prong collars, but that is because I don't need them. I do use a choke on occasion, but only on trained dogs. Normally, I use a martingale which has a strip of leather or nylon around the dog's neck and tightens with a small section of chain, like a prong collar, but no prongs. It is not a correction collar, but the little bit of chain does let the dog know it is getting too far away when chinks. And a dog trained with a martingale will act the same way with a choke chain used the same way. At least mine do.

I would have taken my dog out of that class too.

You have a puppy that will do what you want if you show him what that is. work with that. It sounds like you are doing great. Find another class because a good class will give you some things you can't get on your own: other dogs and dog owner distractions around, and a set of eyes that can watch you interact with your dog, and offer suggestions from what they see of BOTH of your body language. It can be excellent, when the trainer is good.

Training should be fun for you and your dog.

You can only train to high levels if you and the dog are engaged and enthusiastic about training. You cannot get there by beating a dog down.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:40 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwenhwyfair View Post
As Merciel notes - would you use a prong on a soft dog though?

The reason I ask... I used a prong and with proper guidance from a trainer who did exactly what you describe layering over known commands and my german shepherds did not shut down, got great results.

BUT, our little Aussie who has the temperament of silly putty shuts down sometimes with even a strong verbal correction. I get the same consistency, same layering but corrections are very mild and no prong needed with her.
I use them on soft dogs all the time. Just not with the same intensity as I use on harder dogs. I hate the word correction. I hate it I hate it I hate it. I'm not married to prongs but I do date them on a regular basis.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:44 PM   #19 (permalink)
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LOL! Ok ok....

I recall you posting that you adjust the training to the individual dog, so you're using the same tools but toning down the ummm .. Well the other word for the word you hate...


And theoretically speaking if you could train a dog effectively without the use of a prong, why not forgo it?



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I use them on soft dogs all the time. Just not with the same intensity as I use on harder dogs. I hate the word correction. I hate it I hate it I hate it. I'm not married to prongs but I do date them on a regular basis.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:51 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena'sMom View Post
Was it a prong collar or a choke collar? Choke collar are unsafe and most trainers do not use! I go to two different training facilities. When my dogs are puppies it is all positive reinforcement, as my dogs enter into the teenage faze I go to a trainer here in Indiana that has years of experience with German shepherds. At first glance his methods seems harsh because the prong looks scary and some dogs do not respond to prong right away. My trainer runs his obedience class like boot camp. He teaches you hands on how to use the prong properly. He is very firm but his dogs are amazing! They are balanced and beautiful specimens.
I would not ever go to a facility that used choke chains. But don't be thrown by the use of + & - reinforcement. Athena is a wonderful balanced dog and handle most situations I throw at her. Good luck with training!
I agree with this post, and I'd like to add we used the prong for heel, down and stay but not for sit, we also incorporated hand signals, treats and petting, use of positive rewards too. As Baillif pointed out it does not take long to train this way and basically stopped using the prong once my dog matured, about 2.5 yrs old.
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