Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Middletown, Ohio
New training club
Okay it's been years since I was a member at Gem City Dog Obedience Club and we have since moved father south near Cincinnati so I figured I'd find a class there for Nyxie that would allow for competitive obedience training. I found one and their website looked nice. They asked that I bring a pinch collar as they find that gets the best results - okay, I have one so I'll try it. Nyxie went through Petsmarts puppy kindergarten class and she did well there. Seemed to train happily and I had a loose lead 95% of the time. She trained very well with the food. They used clicker in class but I didn't follow up with that at home because although I know it works well I just prefer not to. I trained her there on a flat collar and planned to keep using that as it was working okay - I haven't had to give her much correction - just a leash pop and an "eh, eh" noise does the trick for her. By the end of that class she was pretty good with sit, down and watch me.
Tonight was the first night at this new place and she is now just 6 months old. She accepted the pinch collar just on trial at home - I didn't give any corrections on it. Immediately after getting there one of the owners comes up to check her collar and he says all GSDs are fear biters and she will likely be one too. Huh? She just was sitting in front of me placidly while he's checking her collar and he's saying that crap. Then he goes on to tell the class about how we talk to our dogs too much since they can't understand us anyway - why bother talking to them as if they could. I talk to my dogs all day every day - why bother having them as pets if you aren't going to interact with them other than to make them do what you want. It got worse, he said all of our dogs were in control of us and he could tell just from how we walked in - Nyxie walked by my side the entire time (she never drags me or pulls).
Now I'm getting uncomfortable. Got a bad feeling. They go on to say how you are not allowed to use treats (their site had said they did use treats, you just had to bring them). And they strictly train via leash pops with the pinch collar. No rewards. Only corrections. Praise for when the lead is loose. So they start us on heeling which Nyxie is good with - well at least she walks mostly by my side, not in perfect heel position. They had me popping her leash to get her in the right place and her ears went back and tail went under. Once I saw that reaction I stopped popping and just used my voice and patting my side to keep her nearer to me. Then I put the lead on the dead ring when we had stopped. But Nyxie was freaked out. Her ears stayed back the entire rest of the class, her tail came untucked but she was not happy. Not the happy little learner she had been in kindergarten. She would not watch me and just stayed unhappy. I think she was picking up on all the stress in the room from the other dogs - a couple of whom were screaming while their owners were told to pop them harder. One had rolled onto his back all 4 legs waving in the air and the trainer came over and popped the crap out of him until he went back upright - said he was being dominant (looked more like submission and fear if you asked me).
I am so used to positive training that this place unnerved me - I didn't realize places still used these methods. My plan is to compete with Nyxie and make this all fun for her so that she is happy to learn and work. I don't want her to be terrified of me. The other trainer had a Malinois whose ears were seemingly permanently flattened and she did as she was told but had no heart in it - to me it looked like that.
They advocate hitting/bopping your dog in the nose and grabbing them by their lower jaw as forms of correction too.
Unfortunately I paid alot of money for 32 weeks of classes with this place. I don't think they do refunds but I will ask. Otherwise I will just train her on a flat collar and not do any of their methods and just attend class - if they have an issue they can just give me my money back.
I was so excited about this place. I might just go back to Gem City or check out Queen City. If anyone knows any good places to go near Cincinnati, Ohio please let me know!
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IntCH Blackthorn's Onyx RN RA BN CGC TDI ~ Nyxie (LC GSD)
Int JuA Spirited Glory of Brick Chapel ~ Glory (Shiloh Shepherd)
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