So I have been working with this trainer for the past 8 weeks. Zelda is 11 months old, and before I started working with this new trainer, my training method was almost all positive reinforcement. I guess I was just surprised by his training methods. He doesn't use treats, just verbal praise and corrections with the prong collar. He seems to know what he is doing, and has been training for over 20 years, he is from Germany and has trained several and titled several schutzhund dogs.
We have been doing basic obedience, which I had already begun to teach Zelda, but she needed more work with distractions, so I wanted her to get into a group training class. But his basic obedience lessons are a prerequisite for taking his group class. Which is understandable. During our private lessons, I feel like Zelda doesn't respond well to the constant correction. She is fairly nervous, which is what I was trying to work on. He has other dogs on his property (they are kenneled) so she gets a little worked up. It seems like the more I correct her during the lesson, the more defiant she becomes. When I am home, walking to the bus stop, or out with her at tractor supply or home depot...she listens MOST of the time, shes definitely not perfect and the more stressful the situation, the less likely she is to listen.
The trainer is very strict. His big thing is she MUST do what you ask of her the first time you ask. No matter what. For example, this morning we were working on heeling, stopping, and putting her in a down. Which I do with her ALLLL the time, around kids, at the store, while were on walks. But today at his place, she was on edge because there was a guy working on the fence and she just would not relax. So when I stopped and she would go down, he told me to put my hand on her back, push her down with my hand, and pull down on the prong. Because she MUST do what I tell her to do. She got really aggressive and kept biting me when I tried to force her down. Now, just so you get a visual...I am a 95 pound female, trying to wrestle down my 70 pound puppy while she tries to bite the crap out of me
. We did this same thing over and over and I will admit by the end, she went down with me only putting slight pressure on her back. I get it, she needs to listen to me, 100% of the time. That is what I am striving for, but is this really working? He told me that if I kept doing it that way for a week she would know that I mean business and she does not have an option. If that is the case, I don't even know how I would train like that. If anywhere else I go, she goes down, how am I supposed to keep forcing her down...unless we are at his house?
Sorry I am sure this is all completely scattered and random, I guess my question is...do you think this is going to help me achieve a more solid obedience foundation? Zelda is my baby, and I feel like I am probably softer with her than I should be. So maybe I just need to man up and be harsh so she will know I mean business?