Thoughts on sending a dog away for training.... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on sending a dog away for training....

I never thought I would even think about this. But I am getting very discouraged about my training abilities. I have heard of places you can send your dog to get trained. I don't know anyone who has done this and really don't know much about it. What I do know is that I am not getting anywhere with Stella as far as recall and every time I think her reactivity is improving, she proves me wrong. She is a very sweet dog and I am sure she is capable of so much. I feel like I am short changing her abilities. I have really tried very hard to socialize her, take her to obedience classes and worked with private trainer. I don't know what I am doing wrong. So maybe someone else can train her and then I can do the maintenance. Of course, I don't even know if I can afford it. But honestly, private training is pretty darn expensive too.
Any thoughts on sending a dog away for training?
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 07:24 PM
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I would never personally send any of my dogs away, but that is a personal choice. Training is part of the bonding experience and I wouldn't want my dog to bond with someone else. I also couldn't be without my dog for that long...one day is to long for me How old is your dog? What do the trainers suggest you do? Have you talked to any of the trainers about your feelings?

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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Like I said, I never thought I would ever consider this. I love being with my dogs and doing things together. But I am just worn out. I can't take a walk without being on red alert for other dogs. Can't let her off leash because her recall is optional to her. If she is in the yard, she is constantly barking at stuff. Stella is almost 14 months. I really thought by now her reactivity and recall would be better. I have not voiced this to her trainer yet....just started thinking about it today. The thing of it is... she is wonderful with the trainer. Even in class, she will eat the string cheese from the trainer like it is filet mignon. and turn her nose up at mine. And it is the same exact thing. And she listens to the trainer like she is her best friend in the world. I feel like such a dope. So I have to conclude that I am doing something wrong.....
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 07:40 PM
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I made the mistake of sending my first GSD, Kaiya, away for 4 week boarded training. She is also a reactive dog, and I felt much the same way you are feeling now, that I didn't have enough experience to train her the way she needed. I would never do it again.

When I picked her up, the spark was gone in her eyes. Her coat was dull and dirty looking, her gums were bleeding and she had green gook all over her teeth. I could tell they didn't feed the food I sent with her because she was covered in large patches of hotspots. I'd explained to the trainer that she was allergic to grains and had to be kept on what I sent her. It was obvious they fed her whatever was on hand.

Her reactiveness did not change at all, and even when I arrived, the trainer had a hard time getting her into a sit and down. She tried to explain it away by saying it was because the dog was happy to see me and needed time to settle.

Reactive behavior and training is not really something that someone else can do for you, despite what many trainers will have you believe. Dogs feed off of us, and unless you yourself learn how to work through your strengths and weaknesses in training, it's not going to do any good to send them off to someone else. They could perform perfect obedience for them, and come home to the same behavior with you.

It takes time to build a good working relationship with your dog, learn to read them, and understand their behaviors. I can now with Kaiya, at almost 3 yrs old, walk down the street without any outbursts on leash because of how much training we've done together. But my husband? If he tries to walk her, he will get the same behavior I used to get. Because she is bonded and trained to me and what I expect. With reactive dogs, it can seem like a slow, forever process. But the more you work with her, the more you will learn, and the better off you BOTH will be because of it. Find a trainer that can work with you and your dog. Good Luck!
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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 07:45 PM
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If I felt that I needed to send a dog away to train, I would be very careful about who I sent them to for the reasons Lakl stated above. However, remember that dogs will act differently with different people. So you would still need to work with that trainer with your dog. I think you would end up with the same problem as you have now...she would listen to the trainer and not to you.

What does this trainer have you doing to build a relationship with your dog? My trainer will not train my dog or work with her when we are there. She teaches me. She won't even take the frisbee if Jax brings it to her. Why is your trainer taking her and working with her?




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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 07:50 PM
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I have sent dogs away for training and it was very beneficial.I do prefer for a trainer to come out to my home to work with both of us at the same time. I don't think there is anything wrong with in board training though. Just do your research before sending your dog there!
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 08:07 PM
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This is just my opinion and I'm not saying there aren't good trainers out there.
I know that there are some very good one out there...but, for ME,
I personally would not send my dog away for training.

I have known many people that do this...some to get their dogs trained or titled ( or both), either here or overseas.
I have seen some good results and some bad.

For me, my dog is my companion and a family member. I dont want anyone else handling my dog out of my sight. (I've seen enough enough bad things happen with trainers in the presence of dog owners.)

I would prefer to find a trainer to help ME be a better trainer. ...or fork out the $ to have them come to my home to train my dog and me. JMO.

Last edited by KatsMuse; 08-11-2012 at 08:12 PM.
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 08:10 PM
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Training a dog with reactive behavior is touchy. Training the handler to manage and work with their reactive dog is important. So send away only works for half the equation.

I'd pay for private training and not send a dog away ever.

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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 08:12 PM
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So the private trainer you worked with hasn't been able to help with this issue?

And you've been training/socializing on your own, correct? Is reactivity the only issue... ie is she nervous, fearful in general? How is she at home when it's just you and your family? Is she obedient to you, (other than the reactivity)?

Before shelling out thousands on sending your dog to a board-and-train facility, I would ask you what your dog NEEDS to be doing. Since reactivity is an issue, I imagine neighborhood walks are very stressful. Does she need to go everywhere with you and be polite and social? If not, and if she is generally fearful and nervous, consider whether you can create an easier life for the both of you, and not ask her to go out of her safe zone, as much as is reasonably possible. Of course, if you don't have a yard or a place to exercise her, you'll need to go for walks. Is there a place you can walk where there aren't other people and dogs around?

Some dogs are not comfortable out of their safe zone, and never will be. It's just the temperament God gave them, and that is not the owner's fault, nor is it due to a lack of training. In this case, sending the dog out to a trainer may not help much.

If your dog is generally confident and outgoing, and just gets overstimulated when she sees a stranger or strange dog, that is something that a trainer probably can help with, and it might be worth your while to look into it.
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freestep View Post
So the private trainer you worked with hasn't been able to help with this issue?

And you've been training/socializing on your own, correct? Is reactivity the only issue... ie is she nervous, fearful in general? How is she at home when it's just you and your family? Is she obedient to you, (other than the reactivity)?

Before shelling out thousands on sending your dog to a board-and-train facility, I would ask you what your dog NEEDS to be doing. Since reactivity is an issue, I imagine neighborhood walks are very stressful. Does she need to go everywhere with you and be polite and social? If not, and if she is generally fearful and nervous, consider whether you can create an easier life for the both of you, and not ask her to go out of her safe zone, as much as is reasonably possible. Of course, if you don't have a yard or a place to exercise her, you'll need to go for walks. Is there a place you can walk where there aren't other people and dogs around?

Some dogs are not comfortable out of their safe zone, and never will be. It's just the temperament God gave them, and that is not the owner's fault, nor is it due to a lack of training. In this case, sending the dog out to a trainer may not help much.

If your dog is generally confident and outgoing, and just gets overstimulated when she sees a stranger or strange dog, that is something that a trainer probably can help with, and it might be worth your while to look into it.
This is something I had to come to terms with with Kaiya. Despite all of our hard work, she will never be a "go anywhere" type dog, and I now only take her places where she can be managed and in her comfort zone. My other 2 dogs I can take to the beach, park, store, whatever. But for her, it would not be fun, because she is hardwired to fear the unknown and cannot relax in these type places. She is happy in the confines of our home and yard and walks through the neighborhood, and I have just learned to let it be.
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