Finding a responsible trainer - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Finding a responsible trainer

MaggieRoseLee with input from others on this board put together an awsome sticky on Finding a Responsible Breeder. I am hoping some of the more knowledgeable members could put together something similar for finding a responsible trainer. I know you can ask for input about a particular trainer or help in finding a trainer in a specific area but what if you aren't far enough along in research to narrow it down to one particular trainer?

Things have certainly evolved since I last used a trainer. Most say they use only positive reinforcement but some think using treats is food bribery and shun it. Some prefer clicker method while others avoid it wanting you to use only voice commands. Some use only one on one training while others prefer group training getting dogs to obey commands while distracted. And what about travel? I don't mean for specialized training, but it seems to me traveling 2-3 hours round trip for 45-60 minutes of basic training is counter productive. Oh and some use only off leash training while others prefer using a lead rope. Yeah I know there are preferences and it depends a lot on the individual dog but there must be some place where these topics are discussed and presented so people can determine what is best for them and their dog(s).

Thanks.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Oh I forgot and what is a reasonable price for training? Is $800 for a 6 week class normal? Are the structured "packages" worth it? I wonder if taking a puppy from puppy kindergarten straight through to advanced training is the right way to go. Shouldn't I wait until the dog is ready for the next step rather than having him go from one class to another if he is not ready?
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 11:43 AM
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I think with so many different training methods and opinions, it would be a challenge to put together a training sticky.
Basic pet obedience training is different than sport training.
Goal setting is all over the place too. Costs range due to location.
That quote: "The only thing dog trainers agree on is that the other one is doing it all wrong!"
is sadly true.

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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palydyn View Post
Is $800 for a 6 week class normal?
ummmm....wow. That is high.




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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 02:44 PM
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I still maintain that the most comprehensive, affordable way to learn about dog training irrelevant of location is here:
The courses are very in-depth.. A lot of information... that adresses most needs... plus feedback on all your questions.

Some courses even have video analysis of your own dog training and feedback..

https://leerburgonlineuniversity.com

Find a course that suites your needs:
Once you understand some basics, its easier to objectively find a trainer that can work with your own established philosophy... i.e. you will be naturally drawn to people who share your point of view...

I reccomend:
1)Basic Dog Obedience
&
2)Teaching Engagement Skills

This will give you an idea of what to look for a trainer...
Some people may have a problem with 1 style over the other... But the cumulation of experience from many dog trainers like the list below you cant go wrong...

Also its very affordable...
I strongly believe that basic training is about training the handler to train the dog and not the trainer teaching the dog...
Once you understand the basic concepts, you can formulate your own opinions on who to trust to train your dog...
Again Trainers always disagree with each other... So its always refreshing to see such a long list of succesfull trainers having a shared vision an co-operating, from each others experience.

Reputable instructors for leerburg online courses include:
Ed Frawley
Mark Keating
Forrest Micke
Gary Cassera
Jef Frawley
Michael Ellis
Cindy Rhodes
Kevin Shillah

Last edited by Lykoz; 01-03-2015 at 02:49 PM.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 02:56 PM
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I dont like the idea of getting in bed with a trainer in an industry that is unregulated and trusting them vehemently...

Each trainer is different... So you could be very lucky... Or go completely wrong...

Its nice to have a lot of information about different training philosophies.. I like trainers who clearly state what they believe in and why... Leerburg has thousands of free articles/videos material explaining what they believe...

Read systematically and find your best fit...

This is leerburgs training philosophy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZUdxbE19oU

Getting hands on experience is invaluable I wont disagree there...
But the choice of trainer, and finidng a good one, is not an easy task...

You need some basic information before making such decisions.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 03:01 PM
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If you are interested in the online route,
Denise Fenzi has a great online school with instructors such as Shade Whitesel.
Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - Denise Fenzi

Personally, I think you miss out on so much by limiting to online courses. You can not replace immediate interaction between student and teacher.

How you train is up to you. It's really about your goals. I'm not a person who is 100% but I want clicker training and shaping to be 98% of what I'm doing.




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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 03:07 PM
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My personal philosophy is find a trainer that has successfully trained and achieved what You want to achieve with multiple dogs.

You want to train in IPO, find someone that has titled multiple dogs. You want to train for SAR, pick a trainer that has certified multiple dogs.

I am not going to go to an English professor to learn calculus.

Then watch them, watch their dogs, watch their interaction with client dogs. Are the dogs happy? Are the clients happy? Is the method something you are comfortable with and able to do on your own?

Not every trainer or method is right for every dog and owner. The best trainer is the one that can help you achieve your goals in a manner you are comfortable with.

"So that others may live"

Hannah vom Steffenhaus, BH, Wilderness SAR
Eisenhower v.d Polizei "Ike" Wilderness SAR, CGC
B'Lena z. Treuenhanden
Nixon vom Banach, RATN
Phoster, FEMA USAR(Labrador)
Ch. Pennywise Sticky Wicket(Dandie Dinmont Terrier)
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 03:14 PM
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I really wish this forum had a "like" button!




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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 03:41 PM
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Here is what I would add.

1.Go watch the trainer train. Echoing above... do the dogs the trainer works with seem to be enjoying themselves. Are they bright, alert and engaged.
2.IMHO, Trainers that have worked with protection breeds tend to be a bit more versatile with their bag of training tools. Being a "positive only" without taking into account the individual dog is silly. Look for someone who is well able to use several tools based on the dog.
3.Trainers that own or work extensively with the breed I have matters to me. I went through several trainers and then specifically sought out and trained with someone whose personal dogs were malinois and GSD. It was like finding a pot of gold.
4. I prefer training one on one as so much of working with the protection breeds or a dog with issues is timing. You will only get consistent training on this when the trainer is focused on you. My experience is that one hour of one on one was equal to 5-6 group classes. This is where online or videos will fail you.
5. Think of training as investment with many years of return. Working with someone good can cost a pretty penny. But to me it is SOOOOOOOO worth the investment in terms of years of enjoyment with my dog because he is well behaved and trustworthy. I don't think you can get a good idea on prices. My trainer quotes a price for a set of training goals no matter how many sessions it takes. We have classes around here with so so trainers at $160 or so for a 6 week group course. One on one ranges from $50 to $100 an hour. I don't know the prices for something like an IPO training club. I don't have experience there but think these might hold good training opportunities too.
6. I think it is useless to go to training for "socialization". Maybe for ideas to socialize your pup around. But a room full of puppies flailing about doesn't serve any purpose for me or my dogs.

So my two cents.

IT IS A GREAT INVESTMENT! that is my main message.

Karin
Dutch Shepherd - Ptygo (Tee-Go) de las Flores
Rescue GSD - Freyja (Husband's Dog)

Last edited by DutchKarin; 01-03-2015 at 03:43 PM.
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