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Discussion Starter #1
Background
We have a 8.5-month old GSD pup. He has been to puppy socialization, basic obedience, reactive rover classes as well as private training with a few different trainers, and a 7-day board and train while we were on vacation when he was about 4 or 5 months. These have all been "all positive" training. Two of the trainers have told us we might need to see a vet about putting him on meds for impulse control. Those trainers classified him as hyper, impulsive, reactive, hyper vigilant. We don't want to put him on meds. We also feel there are "holes" in the positive only training, such as not jumping on the counters, not jumping on people, snatching our clothes or things in our hands to try to play tug. So we signed up with Off Leash K9 for the basic obedience package.

E-Collar Training
The skills in this program are all things he has learned already. We took him to the first lesson, which was introduction to the e-collar, Come and Sit. At first there were problems getting good connectivity on the collar because of his ultra thick fur. (I should also mention this is the first time he has worn a collar - we always have used a harness instead.) Once it was on, the trainer started trying to use it, alternating between Come and Sit. He was doing Come fine, but on Sit, he just stood there and wouldn't sit at all. The trainer kept increasing the stim but no response. She was pushing his bottom to the ground to physically get him to sit (which he still wouldn't do). She said he was being stubborn, but it seemed like he didn't get what he was supposed to do. Also during the lesson he was walking around jumping on the counter, jumping on us, jumping on a table, etc. Once she used the remote on a higher level when he jumped, and he yelped. She said it was on a lower setting than she had used on our hands, so I'm not sure if he was really being hurt or what. He is also very vocal, and whines and yelps if you step on his paw or something.

Anyway, after almost 2 hours, they were getting nowhere and she said usually by the end of the 1.5 hour lesson, she has turned the controls over to the owners to start practicing. She offered to re-do the first lesson with us, but we have mixed feelings. #1 this is the first training we have done that is anything other than all positive so we are ultra sensitive to hurting him. #2 it seemed like he wasn't getting it so will this even be effective for him? On the other hand, he won't do his commands if there are any kind of distractions or when it seems like he just wants to go do something else, so we're not sure what to do. And as far as his unwanted behaviors, No means nothing to him.

What do you guys think? Should we go back from Lesson No. 1 again, or try something else?
 

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Nothing about this sounds too great to me.

My vote is no, do not do more e collar training with this trainer.

I think you might be better served going to a decent balanced trainer who could teach you how to use a regular leash and a collar to follow through with your adolescent dog and give him some boundaries. Maybe if you post your general location someone here could recommend someone to you?
 

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Am I reading this right? You have an 8 1/2 month old puppy who doesn't know 'sit or 'no? Or did you mean that he doesn't perform whenever there is any kind of distractions?

In either case, I'm with @Thecowboysgirl on not going back to work with this particular trainer. It sounds to me like your boy needs more one-on-one work with a GSD experienced, balanced trainer first.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Am I reading this right? You have an 8 1/2 month old puppy who doesn't know 'sit or 'no? Or did you mean that he doesn't perform whenever there is any kind of distractions?

In either case, I'm with @Thecowboysgirl on not going back to work with this particular trainer. It sounds to me like your boy needs more one-on-one work with a GSD experienced, balanced trainer first.
No, He knows Sit, Down, Stay, Come, etc. etc. etc. All I meant was saying No or Off doesn't get him to stop jumping.
 

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Nothing about this sounds too great to me.

My vote is no, do not do more e collar training with this trainer.

I think you might be better served going to a decent balanced trainer who could teach you how to use a regular leash and a collar to follow through with your adolescent dog and give him some boundaries. Maybe if you post your general location someone here could recommend someone to you?
We are in Portland, Oregon. Open to suggestions. Does it sound like he is being hurt, or they are doing it wrong?
 

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No, He knows Sit, Down, Stay, Come, etc. etc. etc. All I meant was saying No or Off doesn't get him to stop jumping.
Short answer is put the e away for a while and use a leash. Electric can be confusing like you're seeing, a leash and collar are like a simple connection to you and what you're correcting him for. Off, pop. Then give him a chance to do what you want and praise/reward.
 

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My question to all you knowledgeable people is what kind of training Off Leash K9 uses. I know they use the e-collar, but is it compulsion training? Or are they using it just to correct the dog that doesn't perform a command it knows to do? Are these the same things?

I have done quite a bit of research on Off Leash K9, as they have a location really close to me, but I've never been sure about them. They train your dog for you (if you do the board and train), but if you were absolutely committed to sticking with the training so the dog didn't go back to the same behaviors, would they be a good place to go? Or is this the kind of training that can mentally change a dog like I've heard you can do with e-collars if you aren't careful?

Sorry to steal the thread, but I think that it applies here and means that I don't have to start my own thread. ;)
 

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Welcome to having an excitable pup. I have one too. I think you don't know how to handle him, and that's probably your trainers fault. At this point I can't even recommend the proper training tool because you don't know how to use it. It's not an e collar either.

I don't like a flat leash to correct jumping. A good quality prong will do the trick. But you need to find a trainer who can teach you how to fit it and how to use it so you don't hurt your dog.

A prong collar, choke chain, heck even kicking the dog - is natural to him. It's physical stimuli. Electric is not natural. It's a very unusual sensation to a dog and he'll go to great lengths to avoid it when he can. But you can also mess up a good dog because you have no clue what you're doing. When your dog is up to off leash obedience and he KNOWS what's expected of him then you can switch to an e collar.
 

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My question to all you knowledgeable people is what kind of training Off Leash K9 uses. I know they use the e-collar, but is it compulsion training? Or are they using it just to correct the dog that doesn't perform a command it knows to do? Are these the same things?

I have done quite a bit of research on Off Leash K9, as they have a location really close to me, but I've never been sure about them. They train your dog for you (if you do the board and train), but if you were absolutely committed to sticking with the training so the dog didn't go back to the same behaviors, would they be a good place to go? Or is this the kind of training that can mentally change a dog like I've heard you can do with e-collars if you aren't careful?

Sorry to steal the thread, but I think that it applies here and means that I don't have to start my own thread. ;)
As far as I am concerned all E Collar training is basically compulsion training. Either negative reinforcement or positive punishment. Work to relieve themselves of the unpleasant sensation or work to avoid it.

So I suppose this is a franchise? I have no personal experience with the franchise.

I'd think long and hard and do exhaustive research before I left a dog at an e collar board and train.

Honestly it scares me how willing people are to leave their dogs at board and trains anyway.

I like E Collars for certain things, particularly fixing recalls on dogs who are offleash a lot. Can be good for proofing a place command off leash. I'm not sure how i feel about using E Collars for everything right out of the gate. For me personally there are rare extenuating circumstances when that is the right thing to do. I guess I think that there are trainers who are really good at what they do and they can use an E Collar for everything and produce a stable, reliable dog. But there are also trainers who are going to shut the dog down and give you back a traumatized little robot. Can the average pet owner tell who is who when they drop their dog off?

I guess my preference is a trainer who uses E Collars when it's the best tool, but doesn't just do everything with an e collar just because from day 1. But that goes along with my personal philosophy which is that I want to do everything I can with reward and positive motivation and as little as I can with compulsion. So for my dogs, doing everything with an e collar doesn't even make any sense. Also, I can't think of why I would NEED an e collar to teach a dog to sit. So.....that's the best answer I can give to that question.
 

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I'm all for e-collars and other training devices.

However, I think it is infinitely unfair and cruel to correct a dog that does not have full understanding of what is expected of him and that doesn't understand the correction.

Basically, this collar was just slapped on him and then the trainer nailed him. Of course he froze up. He had no idea what was expected of him or how to proceed.

Put the e-collar away. Don't use it again until you find a trainer that can actually use it.

Put a prong on. Get a ball and a pocket full of food. Motivate him to do the right thing. Help him. Lure him. Reward him. And if you have to correct him, make sure you are rewarding as soon as he does the right thing!
 

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So, let me get this straight, when this puppy was 8 weeks old and 10 weeks old and jumped on you or up toward the counter, what did you do?
 

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Agreed with what others have said about the e-collar and the trainer. I mean, it doesn't even sound like that trainer read the little booklet that comes with the collar.

There's an entire process you have to go through to get the dog to comprehend what the stim on the collar is and what it means. That process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours or even a few days (depending on the dog). And none of that involves just slapping it on the dog and going right for it.

I'd drop that trainer like a hot potato.


Just reading what you've said, it sounds like your puppy has never really learned the meaning of the word "No". No is supposed to be an unsettling word for a dog. "No" means you screwed up, the powers that be are displeased with you, and some type of unpleasant consequence is imminent if you don't change your behavior. How unpleasant that consequence is supposed to be should be determined by how unacceptable you find that behavior.

What consequences you want to use will be something you'll have to decide for yourself. You could use time outs, leash pops, a loud and scary scolding, muzzle tap, denial of what they want, denial of something else they get as a privilege, a simple glare--anything that is generally unpleasant but not harmful or abusive, and isn't overkill for the situation. For example, you don't want to go for the jugular with a serious leash pop and a loud scolding for something like refusing to sit.

Eventually, though, you shouldn't need to do much more than say "No!", because all of those consequences were paired with the word "No!". Therefore, "No!" means something unpleasant. That's your endgame here: get to where just growling "No!" works for most mild-moderate misbehavior.

All of the above said, one of the most important things to do is to pair a consequence with a desired behavior and a reward. Correct for jumping on the table, and then reward for getting off the table. You can teach "Off" at the same time, but you have to time your reward and command for the motion and landing of getting off the table not just the state of not being on the table. You should also reward when he makes a decision NOT to misbehave. Again with jumping on the table: he looks like he's about to get on the table, you say "No!" and he does something else you deem acceptable instead, that's when you reward.

If you pair those two things together, your puppy will learn what he's supposed to do and not do twice as fast as just using one half of the equation.

And for other trainers to recommend you put your puppy on drugs because they failed in their training is nothing short of pathetic and they should rethink calling themselves trainers.
 

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I live in a country that has none of these devices, and until recently, we could hardly find a harness that fit a GSD at any of the few pet supply shops. Trainers here all use a metal choke chain, or a loop lead with the pressure point being the top of the neck / head area. That's all we have. And while I've only trained one GSD pup from scratch (I mostly work with rescue dogs), it seems to me that an electric collar is not really needed with this breed.

My "perfectally" trained pal (now passed), certainly never needed that kind of stimulation. He would sense the most subtle changes in leash pressure or direction. Or when on one of those Flexi-hub things, he would listen for the click of the lock and would know that he was free to sniff or walk ahead. All other commands were learned the hard way, with positive re-enforcement "treats" and voice.

I heard this recently about GSDs that might help, a vet here said, "Dogs are very transactional, and work for treats / love. Its like anything of high value to a GSD is currency. They do something that you want them to do, and they get paid. It's as simple as that." I don't see how an eCollar fits into that philosophy :)
 

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A lot of OLK9 trainers take a 2 week web course on how to train with the collar and then get offleashed on the world (see what I did there?)

If you cant train a sit and come in 2 hours with an e collar you should give up on training and maybe take a quick online course become an ordained minister and marry people in a Vegas drive through or something. Get the **** away from dogs.

Find real trainers. They're basically the Mcdonald's of dog training. **** tier.
 

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Background
We have a 8.5-month old GSD pup. He has been to puppy socialization, basic obedience, reactive rover classes as well as private training with a few different trainers, and a 7-day board and train while we were on vacation when he was about 4 or 5 months. These have all been "all positive" training. Two of the trainers have told us we might need to see a vet about putting him on meds for impulse control. Those trainers classified him as hyper, impulsive, reactive, hyper vigilant. We don't want to put him on meds. We also feel there are "holes" in the positive only training, such as not jumping on the counters, not jumping on people, snatching our clothes or things in our hands to try to play tug. So we signed up with Off Leash K9 for the basic obedience package.

E-Collar Training
The skills in this program are all things he has learned already. We took him to the first lesson, which was introduction to the e-collar, Come and Sit. At first there were problems getting good connectivity on the collar because of his ultra thick fur. (I should also mention this is the first time he has worn a collar - we always have used a harness instead.) Once it was on, the trainer started trying to use it, alternating between Come and Sit. He was doing Come fine, but on Sit, he just stood there and wouldn't sit at all. The trainer kept increasing the stim but no response. She was pushing his bottom to the ground to physically get him to sit (which he still wouldn't do). She said he was being stubborn, but it seemed like he didn't get what he was supposed to do. Also during the lesson he was walking around jumping on the counter, jumping on us, jumping on a table, etc. Once she used the remote on a higher level when he jumped, and he yelped. She said it was on a lower setting than she had used on our hands, so I'm not sure if he was really being hurt or what. He is also very vocal, and whines and yelps if you step on his paw or something.

Anyway, after almost 2 hours, they were getting nowhere and she said usually by the end of the 1.5 hour lesson, she has turned the controls over to the owners to start practicing. She offered to re-do the first lesson with us, but we have mixed feelings. #1 this is the first training we have done that is anything other than all positive so we are ultra sensitive to hurting him. #2 it seemed like he wasn't getting it so will this even be effective for him? On the other hand, he won't do his commands if there are any kind of distractions or when it seems like he just wants to go do something else, so we're not sure what to do. And as far as his unwanted behaviors, No means nothing to him.

What do you guys think? Should we go back from Lesson No. 1 again, or try something else?
Get a new trainer! The one you described is horrible, there are so many things wrong with what they are doing.
 
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