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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-24-2013, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Started Training With New Trainer.

Well we tried the Petco trainer route and it actually wasn't too bad. This was several months ago. But Cruz regressed and regressed bad. He really got out of control bad lately. We decided to look for a new trainer. There is a training group thats been around for quite a few years so we decided to check it out. We talked to one of the owners and happens he owns two GSD's. This made us confident after our meeting so we decided to sign up. We of course are going through the first steps of obedience again per the owners suggestion. We were kind of reluctant being we already went through it once and Cruz knows the commands well. But went ahead with it.

I'm glad we did. The difference in teaching styles, methods and attention to detail was so much better. First, the class is held in a good size building. The training area in the Petco class was too small really. The instructor we have now seems to take the time with each pupil to understand and help with any problems. One of the biggest problems with Cruz I've been having is pulling like a frieght train on the leash. I couldn't get him to ease up. But the instructor brought out a gentle leader for the muzzle and we put it on in class and it worked like a charm. It's things like that is what we were looking for instead of beating our head against the wall with a single method. But this is only the second session, so I'm excited to get back and do some more. Cruz is responding well also.

So I guess if your dog is responding well to your current trainer, then go with it. But if you seem to not feel comfortable and your dog doesn't seem to be responding well, don't be affraid to explore other options or talk to other trainers. She (the trainer) was excited to have Cruz in her class. She told us today she would rather see a GSD like Cruz who is robust and energetic than some she's had that are fear aggressive and skidish. That made us feel alot better too.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-24-2013, 03:51 PM
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Great advice - happy you found a trainer that is working out so well for you and your gsd.


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-24-2013, 03:59 PM
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The gentle leader isn't really teaching him not to pull, he's not pulling because it is very uncomfortable on his muzzle, but when that is removed, he'll go back to pulling. Just like a prong or other tool....I'd much rather use a prong collar vs a gentle leader, and I know my dog would rather wear a prong than a head halter too.
Are you working on focus, engagement and rewarding when Cruz is doing the right thing?
Glad you found a good training group! Training never ends, IMO!

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-24-2013, 04:18 PM
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Well, I would much rather use a front-ring harness And my dog would much rather wear that than a prong collar. But if the gentle leader head halter is working out well for your dog - great. And since you are working with a trainer - I am sure you will learn all about focus and so on and pass on those tips to the rest of us.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-24-2013, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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The gentle leader isn't really teaching him not to pull, he's not pulling because it is very uncomfortable on his muzzle, but when that is removed, he'll go back to pulling. Just like a prong or other tool....I'd much rather use a prong collar vs a gentle leader, and I know my dog would rather wear a prong than a head halter too.
Are you working on focus, engagement and rewarding when Cruz is doing the right thing?
Glad you found a good training group! Training never ends, IMO!

Never said the gentle leader alone would teach him not to pull. What I said was he was pulling hard during class and the instructor took it on herself to show me this leader to help with his pulling, which worked great. We could focus on training instead of being pulled almost to the ground. It also settled him down abit so that we could focus on what the instructor was telling us and the class. I also thought about a prong but this training group doesn't really endorse the prong. Believe me I asked. But with a prong just like a gentle leader, you have to train along with it for it to work, which is what I am doing. I can tell you it has taken an effect on him during walks as he understands the consequences of lunging at cars and he does not pull on walks which makes a walk with him much easier and enjoyable. First time he lunged, I basically had to do almost nothing. The leader did what it was designed to do. It only took one time. He ceased lunging at cars after that. So to me, it works. Of course you have to praise and treat when he does the desired behaviour. It just takes time. I understand how the gentle leader works.

This isn't our first rodeo with GSD's or training. Thats the point of the thread. The first trainer, though dog savy, had her hands full in a small venue and it took away from one on one interactions with the trainer. Most of the time it was after class if you weren't 4th in line. This current trainer has a helper and makes her rounds and interacts with each owner. She also does not idley stand by and watch people struggle. She gives what the owners are paying for.......training.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-24-2013, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I would much rather use a front-ring harness And my dog would much rather wear that than a prong collar. But if the gentle leader head halter is working out well for your dog - great. And since you are working with a trainer - I am sure you will learn all about focus and so on and pass on those tips to the rest of us.
The gentle leader works as advertised. The best thing about it was he is figuring out he's not running the show. It's put the control back into my hands. I have worked with Cruz alot on walking loose leash for some time now. He was doing fine with it until about a month ago. He's 11 months now and strong as an ox. He knows this and couple that with being stubborn. It spells disaster on walks. If I fall, or he lunges and I'm not ready, it can be bad. I've seen it scare drivers going by cause they think the dog is jumping in front of them. I've seen them swerve. It scares me to think maybe some old lady may over correct and crash and it would be because I couldn't control my dog. This leader has put and abrupt stop to all of that. It's effortless. The leader does most of the work. As soon as he feels the leader, he corrects himself.

I've worked on focus and all the usual obedience stuff. He knows the stuff. I get a piece of turkey dog in my hand he will practically do hand (paw) stands to get it. He knows the stuff, just a matter of him wanting to do it.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-24-2013, 05:59 PM
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Just be careful with the GL....it can damage the tissue on the muzzle and possibly give the dog some neck injury if they jerk hard. I have a reactive dog and the GL was recommended to use on her.
I didn't just put it on her...but got her use to it per the instructions from the DVD that came with it. When it came time to put her on it when I knew she'd react, it was a bit easier on her, but she still had welts on her nose and at 90# wasn't right for her. I went back to a flat collar and redirected her when ever she reacted. A prong just ramped up the reactivity so I didn't use that during our training either.

Maybe a class just with the instructor for a couple sessions would help, along with the group class.
I really don't think dogs are 'stubborn' but need us to engage them so they are more willing to do our bidding. Obedience can be very boring for some dogs. It's more fun for all when you can make a game of it(this goes for reactive behavior training as well!)

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-24-2013, 10:53 PM
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So I guess if your dog is responding well to your current trainer, then go with it. But if you seem to not feel comfortable and your dog doesn't seem to be responding well, don't be affraid to explore other options or talk to other trainers. She (the trainer) was excited to have Cruz in her class. She told us today she would rather see a GSD like Cruz who is robust and energetic than some she's had that are fear aggressive and skidish. That made us feel alot better too.
Love that advice!




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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
Just be careful with the GL....it can damage the tissue on the muzzle and possibly give the dog some neck injury if they jerk hard. I have a reactive dog and the GL was recommended to use on her.
I didn't just put it on her...but got her use to it per the instructions from the DVD that came with it. When it came time to put her on it when I knew she'd react, it was a bit easier on her, but she still had welts on her nose and at 90# wasn't right for her. I went back to a flat collar and redirected her when ever she reacted. A prong just ramped up the reactivity so I didn't use that during our training either.

Maybe a class just with the instructor for a couple sessions would help, along with the group class.
I really don't think dogs are 'stubborn' but need us to engage them so they are more willing to do our bidding. Obedience can be very boring for some dogs. It's more fun for all when you can make a game of it(this goes for reactive behavior training as well!)


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Great advice. Will follow.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 07:35 AM Thread Starter
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Well since work eequired me to be there on our scheduled training day, guess what? We had to switch days and switch trainers once again. We're still with the same place, just different trainer. This ia out third trainer. We went lastnight.

All I can say is what was said before. If your dog doesn't respond with a method switch trainers if possible. Don't give up on the dog.

This trainer is the one we talked with when we first inquired in the school. He is the one with the GSD's. This guy is sharp. He knows exactly what to do with high drive GSD's and other dogs. It's the class he teaches. All the dogs in this class are high strung bundles of energy. We stayed after and he gave us some training methods to try at home. He also was really pushing us to look into SAR training for Cruz which they also have a class for that also. I wouldn't mind getting into after we iron out a few training issues first.

But now on third trainer and keeps getting better. Unbelievable the difference in methods between trainers.
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