Bad night at advanced traing class - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Bad night at advanced traing class

Bad night at dog training

A young beefy girl had a GSD about a year old. The dog was pretty nicely put together. Definitely not an American show dog but more on working dog lines. Still an American dog however.

Anyway the dog is reactive to other dogs. He growled and barked at another close by dog and the girl severely yanked the dog down by the prong collar and literally smothered the dog. He was crying and squealing terribly. She held him down for about a minute all the while the dog was just screaming. This happened at least half a dozen times during the evening class. Once right in front of my dog and me. My dog did not like this at all. Interesting. She barked hard like she was telling the handler to stop hurting my friend. I simply redirected her and offered some calming pets and reward as she looked up to me.

I'm very surprised the trainer didn't do something. They generally don't permit any abusive tactics. I've seen all the trainers there work with reactive dogs and they surely handle this better. I don't think I've ever heard even a Yelp out of dogs they worked directly.

I just don't understand why GSD owners seem to think that extreme punishment with the prong is necessary with these dogs. Rottys, Dobes, Mals and other big dogs all seem to get this harsh treatment out of course. It's like they have Koehler and Cesar methods imbedded in their brains. It just isn't necessary.

In this case the dog is already exhibiting shyness toward the handler. Obviously she has done this before. All this does is teach the dog to fear the handler. All the pain came directly from the handler not the event. The dog forgot the event the instant he felt the first pinch of the prong. From there on the dog was focused on the handler hurting him. This young girl needs some one on one instruction. I would have taken her aside after class and had a serious discussion with her.

This dog needs to just be around the other dogs for awhile. At some distance. They could easily have been directed to keep their distance and just permitted to walk around especially during the down times. They could even be excused from various training events we do. It's hard to do close quarters work with a dog aggressive dog, but not impossible.

The classroom is open the hour before our class so I usually come early and do some practice and some of our more complicated events. I'd recommend this team come early and get comfortable. She has come late to the last couple of classes.

This dog is not a super high drive hard nerves dog like my Aussie. It could be a sweet gentle dog with a better approach to the problem.

I just had to write about this as I felt sorry for the dog. I hope the handler gets some training help. She obviously has done some training but needs redirection.

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post #2 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 11:17 AM
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If that kind of behavior/abuse is condoned by the facility, I think I'd be looking for somewhere else to train with my dog.
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post #3 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 11:29 AM
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This is hard just to read- upsetting. Did you talk to the instructor after class. I am surprised that the instructor let this go on -it is not right.
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post #4 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 12:04 PM
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I'd have found this upsetting as well and agree that it's an excellent idea to speak to the instructor directly. Before the next class would be best, I think. S/he would (should?) benefit from knowing how the incident impacted other students and their dogs. At best, you may find that the instructor has already taken steps to address the issue; at worst, you may gain add'l information to help in your decision to stay or go.

Regarding your comment on harsh methods (can't call it training) used with certain breeds. Some of it, I believe, is simple ignorance of better/more productive approaches or misunderstanding/misapplication of the Koehler method. In recent years, I've come to suspect that many of the people using these methods are actually afraid of the dogs that they purport to "handle;" even if it's their own dog. I've seen it (in formal training sessions as well as day to day incidents) and it doesn't just happen with GSDs, as you note, but also with numerous large breed/mixes which (I suspect) were selected largely based on uninformed ASSumptions about how hard/dangerous the breed is.

Lots of compensation going on that's not, as you saw, gender-specific.

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Last edited by Aly; 09-15-2017 at 12:19 PM. Reason: randomosity
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post #5 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 12:34 PM
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There is nothing wrong with correcting a GSD with a prong collar for reactivity or dog aggression, if the correction is applied properly. However, this method is completely wrong, useless and counterproductive:

"Anyway the dog is reactive to other dogs. He growled and barked at another close by dog and the girl severely yanked the dog down by the prong collar and literally smothered the dog. He was crying and squealing terribly. She held him down for about a minute all the while the dog was just screaming. "

Alpha rolls have gone the way of the Dodo bird. Holding a dog down is just poor handling, an obviously ineffective technique and a good way to get bit in the face. This is a good example of exactly what not to do. If the trainers did not step in and stop the idiotic stuff the handler did, well you need to find better trainers. I would have stepped in, taken the leash and walked away with the dog. I then would have walked the dog right by the dog he barked at. As a trainer I often take the leash and show the handler how to handle their dog. Demonstrating the correct way to handle dogs is big part of dog training. Explaining things only go so far, IMO. When I take someone dog and show them how easy it is to handle dog aggression or reactivity, it goes a long way to making a point.

If that happened a half dozen times during your class, obviously this technique wasn't working. Again, after the first time the trainer should have stepped in and made a point to the class. The point would be, this is exactly what you do not do. If the trainer is afraid to take this dog's leash and demonstrate how to handle the dog, find a new trainer.

One dimensional trainers that can only work with clickers and treats are about as useful as trainers that only only know how to yank and crank a dog. The style may work with easy dogs, but more challenging dogs need a more balanced approach. As a trainer, if your afraid of dogs or getting bit by dogs, you need a new profession. You need to be able to step in and correct the handler and the dog simultaneously. Both need a stern correction for their poor behavior. If one of the K-9 handlers in my unit did this, I would give them a harsher correction than I would give the dog.

There is nothing wrong with making a dog aggressive dog yelp from a correction, that is kinda the point. To stop the behavior immediately, instantly and ensure it doesn't happen again.

I agree with your point that this handler needs one on one help and to be taught how to properly handle, train and own a dog. After a correction, praise and reward bus the offered at a higher level than the correction.

I'm not sure I understand this:

I just don't understand why GSD owners seem to think that extreme punishment with the prong is necessary with these dogs. Rottys, Dobes, Mals and other big dogs all seem to get this harsh treatment out of course.

I own a GSD that is tougher and harder than most Rotty's, Dobes and Malinois I have seen. I do not see why one would think the dog's breed determines what type of correction it gets or can handle. Corrections are based on the individual dog's temperament, hardness and behavior. While my GSD, Boomer is a fairly hard dog he rarely needs needs corrections. When he does, it is effective and over quickly. My Malinois / Dutch Shepherd handles corrections entirely differently. He is a somewhat handler sensitive dog, highly reactive to prong corrections and very hard when in drive. Two dogs that need to be handled and worked differently. A prong works perfectly with the GSD; and will get you a dog working his way up the leash with the Mal X Dutch Shepherd.
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post #6 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 01:36 PM
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Im glad and I can see it is important that slamdunc clarified the need for harsher correction with a prong collar depending on the dog and action of the dog. My dog is dog reactive and a use the prong for a correction and now mostly light reminder to behave. Correction has to be fast, clear and be strong as the dogs action. I did take the "Extreme correction" in this thread to mean where the dog got the message and the correction continues on for a minute is what I considered "extreme correction". poor dog not have the instructor give guidance to the handler - not sure what that was about.


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post #7 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 01:56 PM
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Last time I gave an extreme correction was to a dog-aggressive dog lunging at another as it walked past.

The dog yelped. One of the bystanders thought I was being cruel, but our trainer corrected her. This dog already had a couple of bites to its credit, so the correction was necessary!

No over the top yelling, screaming or alpha rolling, just a good, hard correction and a sharp "NO!"
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post #8 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 04:47 PM
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Just like Jenny720, it was hard to read. Last year when we were in class for dog aggression, there were hard corrections but nothing like that. Our trainer would not have tolerated it.

The hardest thing, for myself, about handling an aggressive event that required a hard correction was mastering a neutral attitude then leaving it behind so that we could carry on as normal. Really mastering it so that the correction became impersonal and not an emotionally charged event that I was having to deal with.

I wonder if that girl even knows how she looked during the episode. I bet she would be pretty upset had it been recorded and played back so she could actually see what it was doing to her pup. Upset in a way that she just didn't realize the overall negative impact.
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post #9 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny720 View Post
Im glad and I can see it is important that slamdunc clarified the need for harsher correction with a prong collar depending on the dog and action of the dog. My dog is dog reactive and a use the prong for a correction and now mostly light reminder to behave. Correction has to be fast, clear and be strong as the dogs action. I did take the "Extreme correction" in this thread to mean where the dog got the message and the correction continues on for a minute is what I considered "extreme correction". poor dog not have the instructor give guidance to the handler - not sure what that was about.
Agree with the above. At the very least the trainer should have stepped in and told the handler what they were doing wrong. The training class I go to is about training dogs and their handlers. Forget what my girl has learnt, i have learnt a lot more
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post #10 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 08:42 PM
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Well that story kinda sucks for the dog and the owner although pretty sure she does not know it yet. I walked a dog like for a client's on my job (I'm PCA) and he was a well trained (former) E -Collar dog. The training stuck ... but something was just off with him?? He never had the sparkle in his eyes that may Struddell did (white Boxer) I just use her because a very happy easy going dog was readily apparent! Rocky my GSD had that "aloof' thing going on ... But my point is with the Westie, ... much as I tried, I just could not him to show joy/zest ...just being a dog?? It was like he was waiting for a shoe to drop on him??? He was a great dog but that was kinda sad ... I just got the "impression" that he got hammered hard during E-Collar Training?? I'm not down on E-Collars but I don't feel it was used properly on that dog.
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Last edited by Chip18; 09-15-2017 at 08:44 PM.
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