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post #1 of 132 (permalink) Old 07-13-2010, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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Question About Trainer and Methods and Corrections

Well, we went to our first puppy pre-school session. It went well. It was a lot of telling us to make sure Godric gives eye contact, and doing a distraction thing where either my husband or I holds a treat in our hand while the other one of us calls him, and when he looks at the person calling him, he gets a treat, and although we have taught him sit and lay down, he doesn't lay straight down like you need in schutzhund, so she taught us the proper way to get him to lay down.

My mother-in-law brought her GSD who is a year and a half old for novice obedience. He's never had formal training before.

Now, I have never done any sort of real training, so I'm not sure what's the norm, but I didn't feel comfortable with the way that she dealt with him. It was his first class, and his only interaction with dogs before has only been to play. He goes to the dog park, or we bring our dogs to his house. So he saw other dogs training nearby, and wanted to play, and barked a little and whined on the leash while we were standing there talking.

He was definitely not in a dangerous mindset or any such thing. He wasn't lunging or being out of control. He was sitting on the leash, whining. The trainer said, "If you don't give him a real correction, he's going to do that all day, with you trying to give him small corrections and him still doing it."

Well, she said she'd correct him, and took his leash and purposely walked him towards the other dogs to get a reaction, then made a sharp sudden turn and jerked the **** out of his choke, pulling him off his front feet, to correct him. She did this a few times. They were using the same tactic on a dog there that's dog aggressive.

Is this normal or good? I would think that before you do a harsh correction, you should teach the dog to heel first, right? Shouldn't you show him what you DO want, and then when he knows what you want and still doesn't do it, then correct him? Aren't you sorta punishing him for something he didn't even know was wrong? Am I wrong? My husband and MIL seem to think that's the way it's done. Am I just being a wuss?

I've seen a lot of things said about setting your dog up for success, and teaching him what you want him to do and preventing bad behavior rather than waiting for bad behavior and correcting it. I'm not sure how this is done, so I figured a trainer would teach us.... Umm, doesn't look like that's gonna happen here. Help?

Now I'm worried about this trainer and her methods... after we already paid for six sessions.

I'd like opinions on this trainer and ideas about ways that she could have gone about that instead. My MIL tends to latch onto anything new she learns, and preaches it to everyone, and will do it all the time, so I'd much rather she learn something positive.

The trainer did tell my husband and I that with our pup, if we're going to try schutzhund, then we go much slower, and she doesn't even expect him to have the obedience down until he's almost two, which seems a little crazy to me, when you're working with a puppy everyday and they learn so fast! But everything is so precise with schutzhund, so I don't know...? I knew to keep an eye out for anyone trying to push him too hard or too fast. Should I be keeping an eye out for someone not expecting enough of him as well? Haha. What would you say is the average or the norm?

Our pup had only been on a leash once, for a few minutes the day before we went to the class. If you walk with a treat in your hand, he walks with us, no problem. Most of the time, even without a treat, he'd walk right with us. He was generally pretty good, but every now and then, he'd be stubborn against the leash and tug backwards and stuff, like all puppies do at first. She said we should put him on a leash and tie it to something and let him fight against it until he's tired, and then we can go out and "rescue" him, and then he'll be happy to walk with us.

Why would I let him fight against the leash? He's barely fighting it now, and when he starts to, I distract him, or call him or something and he stops. If I let him start to really fight it, won't he do it that much more next time? Wouldn't that teach him not to like the leash? Why would I do that when he's already being good on it with just some treats or praise? He's walking with us because he's focused on us, not on the leash. I could see doing that if maybe you had an older dog who fights like crazy about walking on a leash, and you're trying to prove that fighting is futile, and that he won't escape, but for training a pup who has never been on one before?

I know that's not very many examples to say whether or not she's a "good" trainer, but I was only there for about an hour. I know you guys have more experience with training/trainers and training methods than I do (I have zero experience), but I want our dogs to have POSITIVE experiences.

I'm not that worried since it's only another 5 sessions, and Godric is so little, and I doubt that she's going to "correct" him, and I don't think I'd let her... if I was sure of myself. Since I'm not positive what's right and what's normal, I don't know, but I can tell you that I wasn't comfortable with it. Then again, he's a puppy, and I only have one chance to do this right, and don't want him messed up.

INPUT, PLEASE!

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post #2 of 132 (permalink) Old 07-13-2010, 12:52 PM
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I would not let anyone jerk my dog, puppy or not

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post #3 of 132 (permalink) Old 07-13-2010, 12:59 PM
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I'm also very new to this - my puppy (4.5 months old-ish) has been to 2 "beginner" classes at the local Petsmart (not the best I know, but the trainer seemed nice!). And they have been nothing like that.

My dog, and another dog that is there both just want to play ALL THE TIME. So, whenever they start whining, we're told to turn the whining dog around so his back to towards the dog, have him focus on us, and then do a command-click-treat. This usually distracts them from the dog and then we can continue our training. The trainer also showed up ways to relax our dogs (spine massages, ears, etc). When the two first got there, we let them play a bit, and then separated them and practiced the relaxation techniques first with the dogs backs to each other, then turned around so the pups were facing each other. We both had calm, happy, pups who 5 minutes before were SO EXCITED.

I would NOT be happy if a trainer was jerking my dog around at all.

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post #4 of 132 (permalink) Old 07-13-2010, 01:00 PM
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How old is Godric? Based only on what you've said here, this trainer is a little too harsh. Your MIL's dog should have been corrected for barking in appropriately but the way she did it was WAY over the top. A better way would be to teach the dog a quiet command and reward him for that! A small leash correction may have been needed but not walking back and forth and yanking him.

Also, the advice about the leash is terrible. You want Godric to view the leash as something really good (and he should be trained to be on leash). For a young dog training should be FUN FUN FUN! Minimal light corrections should be used only after the dog has shown that he really does know a command in several situations. A light correction would be a voice (eh-eh or oops) or a slight tug on the leash.

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post #5 of 132 (permalink) Old 07-13-2010, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
then made a sharp sudden turn and jerked the **** out of his choke, pulling him off his front feet, to correct him.
That is a way over correction and a great way to permanently damage his trachea. It should be enough to get his attention but no way should his front feet ever leave the ground!

I would look for a new trainer. And as young as Godric is, he should not be getting leash correction in my opinion.
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post #6 of 132 (permalink) Old 07-13-2010, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by blackviolet View Post
I know that's not very many examples to say whether or not she's a "good" trainer, but I was only there for about an hour. I know you guys have more experience with training/trainers and training methods than I do (I have zero experience), but I want our dogs to have POSITIVE experiences.
It's enough for me. This is a 10/11 week old puppy, yes? Do NOT go back to this trainer!!!! Right now, all training should be motivational and fun.

And even for your MIL's dog who has had no previous training I would not put a choke collar on and then yank the crap out of him. This is basically teaching him what to do by showing him what not to do. That make any sense to you? Wouldn't it be so much better to teach him what to do by showing him what you want and then rewarding him for it? Save the harsh corrections for willful disobedience of fully learned commands that have been generalized to a variety of situations. She's extremely old school, the kind of training that was typically done decades ago.

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post #7 of 132 (permalink) Old 07-13-2010, 01:58 PM
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If you are going to persue SchH with Godric why not start with a club now? You'll get guidence on the proper foundation for the age of the pup and the people in the club may set you in the right direction of an obedience class geared towards SchH dogs(If you still want to do a puppy type socializing class) I agree with above, new trainer asap!

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post #8 of 132 (permalink) Old 07-13-2010, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
And even for your MIL's dog who has had no previous training I would not put a choke collar on and then yank the crap out of him. This is basically teaching him what to do by showing him what not to do. That make any sense to you? Wouldn't it be so much better to teach him what to do by showing him what you want and then rewarding him for it? Save the harsh corrections for willful disobedience of fully learned commands that have been generalized to a variety of situations. She's extremely old school, the kind of training that was typically done decades ago.

That's what I thought! And although I get the idea of that, I'm not sure how to implement it. When we came back from the trainer, I told my husband and my MIL that I didn't like what she had done, and tried to explain that you're supposed to "set him up to succeed, and prevent unwanted behavior, not just correct him when he's wrong," and "teach him what you WANT him to do, not just what you don't want," but then I couldn't back it up because they asked how it should be done, and I don't know! I've never done training. I get the idea, but I don't know the methods, so they acted like I was dumb and just didn't get it, and said, "Well, that's the way it's done." I said, "She's not doing that to MY dogs."


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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
If you are going to persue SchH with Godric why not start with a club now? You'll get guidance on the proper foundation for the age of the pup and the people in the club may set you in the right direction of an obedience class geared towards SchH dogs (If you still want to do a puppy type socializing class) I agree with above, new trainer asap!

Thanks! It was only goodness and treats with Godric (except for the leash idea), and it was mainly focusing on him making eye contact, or him paying attention to us when he's distracted, and sitting and laying down. Because she's only teaching us to do positive stuff with our boy, and since I already paid for another 5 sessions, I guess I'll stick it out, but there's no way I'm letting her correct him. I felt that that was totally the wrong thing for my MIL's dog. The only reason I decided to go to her for obedience training is because SHE'S THE TRAINING DIRECTOR at the schutzhund club here!

But I've been talking wih another member on this board who lives near where I do, and has directed me to another club. I'm hoping to go visit this Saturday! As per her suggestion, I also just purchased this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Purely-Positive-Training-Companion-Competition/dp/0966302001

I just feel terrible about getting my MIL to come to this trainer, and she already paid, and the trainer is rough and terrible.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

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post #9 of 132 (permalink) Old 07-13-2010, 02:27 PM
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The book by Sheila Booth is wonderful! That will help you with foundation training your pup.
Tell MIL that she is the only one to handle her dog, just like you and your pup. Doesn't matter the age, the handler should be the one always to give a FAIR correction.

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post #10 of 132 (permalink) Old 07-13-2010, 02:36 PM
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He was sitting on the leash, whining. The trainer said, "If you don't give him a real correction, he's going to do that all day, with you trying to give him small corrections and him still doing it."
As I read it, this was in reference to the 18 month old dog. This is a school of thought (And I subscribe to this...)That one good meaningful correction is 100 times better than dozens of nagging corrections. Now what counts as a meaningful correction varies depending on the hardness of the dog. A pretty forceful correction still will not get through to some harder dogs while other dogs only need a very light touch. Without seeing the situation and without seeing the dog's reaction it's impossible to say if it was used appropriately or not. Although I may agree that it might not have been the best route to go on the first class.

If the dog is unable to focus on the handlers than you're never going to actually get any training done in a group class. That looks to be something that needs to be addressed first. I have seen this method used with dogs that are too focused on other older dogs (aggressive or otherwise) when the habit of ramping up around other dogs is pretty ingrained. Generally with puppies when they become focused on others we lure them away with treats or toys and ask them to watch of follow us to teach them to ignore other dogs. This might be something to try if your MIL's dog is able to be lured away. Unfortunately putting this lack of foundation in place with a puppy can sometime mean you have to go back and use less appealing methods.

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The trainer did tell my husband and I that with our pup, if we're going to try schutzhund, then we go much slower, and she doesn't even expect him to have the obedience down until he's almost two, which seems a little crazy to me, when you're working with a puppy everyday and they learn so fast! But everything is so precise with schutzhund, so I don't know...? I knew to keep an eye out for anyone trying to push him too hard or too fast. Should I be keeping an eye out for someone not expecting enough of him as well? Haha. What would you say is the average or the norm?
There are so many roads to Rome... But it is generally true. When you work on SchH obedience...it's not enough for the dog to sit...The dog has to sit a certain way and learn to do it quickly while in drive. (Please go find some of Jason's videos of Ike...that puppy has a great attitude) Attitude is more important than actual exercises for a SchH puppy. You won't do any stay work generally. You won't really ask them not to pull on a leash until you have taught them a command to walk beside you...which you won't really get sown until later because you don't want it to interfere with your fuss command and because at some point they are going to have to pull into a collar and you don't want them to be confused...It goes on. So no. I do lots of foundation work with my puppy but it doesn't amount to anything really in terms of "Commands that He Can Perform". At 5.5 months Tag is learning to scoot sit (pull his butt under when he sits and not rock back), PLatz only from a stand, Spin to the right and left and move his back end, give attention, Follow me as I move backwards, and follow my hand as a lure for heeling. He is still operating largely on hand signals and I am just adding in words for Sot and Platz. Now does everyone do it this way? No. Again there are some people who like to put a lot of obedience on puppies. And there are other people (mostly old Germans...) who won't touch any formal obedience at all until the dog is a year old.

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She said we should put him on a leash and tie it to something and let him fight against it until he's tired, and then we can go out and "rescue" him, and then he'll be happy to walk with us.

Why would I let him fight against the leash? He's barely fighting it now, and when he starts to, I distract him, or call him or something and he stops. If I let him start to really fight it, won't he do it that much more next time? Wouldn't that teach him not to like the leash? Why would I do that when he's already being good on it with just some treats or praise? He's walking with us because he's focused on us, not on the leash. I could see doing that if maybe you had an older dog who fights like crazy about walking on a leash, and you're trying to prove that fighting is futile, and that he won't escape, but for training a pup who has never been on one before?
Yeah I don't know. This is weird.

I would agree that this is an older style of training. There may be things you can learn that are good and effective, but if you don't know enough to tell which things to take and which things to leave behind you might be better off with another trainer.

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