Differences with trainers - quick opinion question - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Differences with trainers - quick opinion question

With my previous GSD's, I worked with a trainer who stressed praising the command/action, i.e. Good SIT, Good STAY. Good SIT/STAY! Always worked well.

I have a new GSD pup (7 months now) and have just started working with a different trainer. This trainer disagrees with the other trainers' approach in praising the command/action. Instead, this trainer stressed using just a general praise, "Good dog!" or "Good boy!"

I'm struggling with the difference... my boy seems to respond better to "Good Sit!" but I'm being constantly corrected by the current trainer.

Just curious to the opinions on both of these approaches.


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 07:40 PM
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Re: Differences with trainers - quick opinion question

Just my opinion, but I think "good sit" is sort of a nag, saying the command twice. On the other hand, if it works very well with your dog, you may want to consider sticking with what works unless you are working through issues, then it's time to be open minded and try other things.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 08:12 PM
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Re: Differences with trainers - quick opinion question

I think whatever works for you should be the way to go.

When I give the command,,an example here,,I will say "sit",,when I release them from it,,I do praise,,by saying "good sit",,,or "good girl"...doesn't seem to confuse them,,nor I feel does it nag them,,however it's whatever works for your pooch )

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 08:12 PM
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Re: Differences with trainers - quick opinion question

If this is the only beef the trainer has....
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 08:15 PM
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Re: Differences with trainers - quick opinion question

I don't really use either. If I say something after the command it is a mark "yes" which has been "charged" so the dog understands it as affirmative. I may also then release the dog for some other game or reward. I don't start using a command until the dog can already offer the behavior, either on his own or by me luring, then one the dog will do it I say it, dog does it, I mark with "yes" and then reward with whatever I'm using to reward.

I've heard of people saying the command word again but I don't see the point. I don't think using the command again counts for either a mark OR a reward.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 08:41 PM
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Re: Differences with trainers - quick opinion question

I say 'good sit' or 'good down' ........... but this is for all the initial training. I'm trying to really get my dog to learn a new language (people language and it's in English for me). I think repetition couldn't hurt.

It's not nagging when it's a happy praiseful voice. So I can't see it hurting the training at all. And if there is a chance it may help...then why not?


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 09:14 PM
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Re: Differences with trainers - quick opinion question

I've used both ways - including the command word in the praise and praising without the command word. I don't find that it confuses the dog in any way to include the command with your praise and I think that for some dogs it clarifies what you're praising for ("good sit" confirms that the sit is what you're encouraging). As someone who trains other people, I don't worry which type of praise they use as long as they're PRAISING. So many people have a tough time praising their dogs.

Praise is really valuable to help stretch out a behavior, and it's more in the tone of voice than the actual words. If you could get your instructor to understand that and to quit nagging you about your choice of praise, then you could get on with training! It just seems like such a minor thing for the instructor to be focusing on.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 10:11 PM
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Re: Differences with trainers - quick opinion question

With puppies or dogs I'm training a new command, I always say "good sit." With my trained dogs, I usually use just "good, (Although, I'm tend to use "yea!" or even "woo-hooo!" a lot too! )

"Good" is something that I actually give meaning to, "loading" it like a clicker. At the beginning, I like to keep the words I toss at my dog minimal, so she's not trying to figure out "is this a command or not?" It's more likely that a dog will listen to you when she understands much of what you're saying. "Meri. Good sit!" My pup knows all those words. They have meaning.

Camper is an adult and I tell him he's a Good Guy all the time. But I know he doesn't know what Guy means. He really just knows what Good is, and that Good Guy is praise. It's nice. He likes praise. He's trained, so it doesn't confuse him. But with a dog that's in training, I prefer to be more explicit.

But as Melanie says, as long as you're throwing a party whenever your dog does something right, that's the main thing. And I do believe we should be throwing parties. Not just tossing out the word "good," but whooping it up. A huge party. Every time!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 01:35 PM
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Re: Differences with trainers - quick opinion question

I use "Good Sit" or "Good Down" when my dogs are doing as I asked. Not only am I praising them for the proper behavior, but I am reminding them (reinforcing) what I want them to do.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 08:09 PM
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Re: Differences with trainers - quick opinion question

I think it depends on the dog. My recent rescue, described as aggressive and mean, worked with a trainer I respect. His theory was three commands with Zoie, positive or negative, and if negative then a sharp correction. In this case it has worked wonders.

However, different strokes for different dogs. If you did this to the shy, non-aggressive dogs, the dogs will just aspent more time avoiding the owner and in my case hiding under the bed.
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