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Discussion Starter #1
Now here is my situation. I dont claim to be an expert trainer but I am not a novice either.
They way we have trained all our dogs by personal one on one training with professional trainers and then after the one on one training with the trainer is done. You can also go to group training saturday classes for free there after.
Our approach has worked for all our dogs EXCEPT for newest girl. I have met my match with her.

We have been more into training with leash corrections and rewarding with a toy.. not food .. not treats. Most of it though is in the leash corrections.


So here is the situation. Bella will be 6 months old next week. She does know some basic obedience commands that we have used since a pup. Rewarding with kibble. We feel it is ok to reward with kibble if it is a pup. However my trainer doesnt believe in using food and treats for training. Bella responds great commands with her kibble while not on a leash.

Then we put the leash on her. Which doesnt bother her. She is not afraid of the leash. BUT once we start doing any sort of training with her. We use the lightest of corrections and she cowers.. and lays down and sometimes runs and hides. Sometimes she will hide behind me if my husband is training her. I was thinking that maybe his corrections were too harsh on her. So now she is afraid of the leash corrections. She seems to have lost all confidence in training circumstances.

I thought that she was just doing this with my husband because she kept running over to me with her ears back. So then I try with even the lightest of corrections.. same thing. Ears back.. lays down and doesnt move. She gets really scared from moving from a platz to sit. She is scared to sit. I dont know why. She hasnt had bad experiences in training or leashes. So then I also tried to train her with just kibble, no leash. She responded GREAT to me. Then I put the leash on and used kibble, She did better but still has self confidence issues with platz to sit.
She seems to be very sensitive to leash correction and maybe perhaps because my husband is used to our other dogs whom need ALOT of correction, maybe he used too much and caused her to have a bad experience??? how can I fix this? Should I find a new trainer with a softer approach? She seems to all of a sudden have low self confidence in training. She seems all of a sudden fearful and it worries me because she was the most confident puppy of the litter and I keep seeing her change.

I worry that the training we are used to is not the method she needs. I will work with her because I am softer in my demeanor. She responds better to that. So I have noticed. She LOVES my husband.. until he gets out the leash for training. Then she acts like he abuses her. I do not like this reaction. We have never done anything close to abuse her but its like if she can't do something right the first time she gives up and sulks and runs away.

Any help would be appreiciated.
 

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In another thread, you said that your trainer is the breeder of Bella. Does this trainer/breeder have alot of experience with the lines or is it the first of this line that he/she has bred. After reading all the posts on the Czech lines I wonder if her maturity has something to do with it. Maybe she is being pushed too much? At 6 mos. she is just a baby and I would let her act like a puppy awhile longer. They do go thru fear stages as well, maybe she in in one now. Just my opinion.
 

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I honestly do not understand trainers who don't care to use food. If a dog is food motivated, food is AWESOME for training! We use all sorts of food and we use toys and really whatever works.


Forget what the trainer says about food. He needs to learn to adapt to all dogs and he failed with your Bella. Use positive and motivational methods and use FOOD. She's much too young to have had all this apparent compulsion training. I don't know if I'd go back to this trainer after seeing the results with Bella. Can you find a group OB class where the trainer focuses on motivation and positive methods but still uses corrections appropriate to the dog and the situations when necessary?
 

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Quote:They do go thru fear stages as well, maybe she in in one now. Just my opinion.
Good point. But if this started happening immediately after training, I'd be concerned. Since I wasn't there, I can only offer my opinions based on the post so I could be wrong.
 

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I'd have to agree with Diana. ALL dogs are DIFFERENT and the training methods that have worked with one may not work with the next. Two of my dogs are highly food motivated and if you brought out a toy at training they wouldn't look at it, where my puppy is very toy motivated and a game of tug is just as good as a treat.

A good trainer uses methods that work over and over again. A great trainer adapts and uses methods that work for each individual dog.
 

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Your heading tells me that you know what you need to do. I'd go with something along the lines of clicker training and no leash for now. Perhaps build up to walking on a lead but if your dog works without a lead, why use one?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am going to see what our trainer says when we tell him how she reacts to the leash.To give him the benefit of the doubt I have not told him about these reactions yet. I mean he is a GREAT trainer, has been doing it since the 70's. He has turned alot of dogs with no manners into fabulous campanions and pets. So he is a good trainer however possibly not the right trainer for her. I will see what he says about the situation though and go from there based on his response to me.

She is VERY food motivated. I think too that you guys are right. I need to work with just the food for rewards for now. The leash right now is a negative to her. Whenever I bring it out. like I said she is ok.. it just once she realizes she is "training" that she changes into this unconfident dog.


Another thing was the fear stage question... She never seemed to have one but just recently she seems to be scared or timid of things like new people and animals. I think the problem with that is.. we take our two GSD's everywhere together. So she is fine when her brother is with her but I noticed today she is showing some signs of fear of new situations without her brother around. Which just means I need to take her alot more places with out her brother .. I know....
 

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Remember she is only 6 mos old! I would take things a bit slower, and I agree w/ above treats are good and change it up...you talk about the leash~what collar are you using?
I adopted Kacie when Onxy was 5 mos, and her attitude was ok, I am good, Kacie has my back. Is Bella feeling the same? Is she reacting or just observing when they are together when you take them socializing? And without Kahn, she is tail tucked? Or just withdrawn, disassociated?
 

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Quote:it just once she realizes she is "training" that she changes into this unconfident dog.
What we want is a dog that thinks, "Oh man, is it training time?! REALLY?!?!? YAHOOOOOOO!!!! Hurry up, Mom! I'm ready! See- I can sit and down and spin and dance and sing and can I have treats yet?? Did I do well yet? Ohhh is that the clicker? Oh wow this is going to be FUUUUUN!"

Okay well you get the idea.
Kristin, I don't know what kind of leash you use now but if you have to use one (and I'd have one handy just in case), how about getting a new leash that looks different? It'll have a new association and may help with Bella learning that training really is awesome. Don't worry about precision, just concentrate on making training just a bunch of cool games where she wins prizes.

Quote:Which just means I need to take her alot more places with out her brother .. I know....
Play tug with her and let her win MOST of the games (with you always putting the tug away in the end). She needs confidence boosts! Agility training is GREAT for building confidence and she's certainly old enough to learn the basics and go through tunnels but she can't take jumps.... she CAN walk/run over jump bars placed on the ground, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Originally Posted By: onyx'girlIn another thread, you said that your trainer is the breeder of Bella. Does this trainer/breeder have alot of experience with the lines or is it the first of this line that he/she has bred. After reading all the posts on the Czech lines I wonder if her maturity has something to do with it. Maybe she is being pushed too much? At 6 mos. she is just a baby and I would let her act like a puppy awhile longer. They do go thru fear stages as well, maybe she in in one now. Just my opinion.
I think maturity may be the big deal here.. I do agree with this. While this IS the first time he has bred the DDR lines.. its definately not the first time has trained them. I dont know though if that does make a bit of difference or not. I do believe sometimes she is being pushed too much.. so thankfully she is my dog. I let her be a puppy still. I am softer in mannerisms too .. I take her everywhere with me when I can.
My husband... bless him is in the military and very uniformed in his odedience and is set one way of thinking when it comes to obedience. He has our male GSD that worships the ground he walks on and is very obedient which is great but.. he thinks what he did for him.. will work for her. *shrug* He is also very against using food.. but I told him to step aside.. let me work with her with kibble, She seems to react better. He agreed. So there is a start.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Originally Posted By: onyx'girlRemember she is only 6 mos old! I would take things a bit slower, and I agree w/ above treats are good and change it up...you talk about the leash~what collar are you using?
I adopted Kacie when Onxy was 5 mos, and her attitude was ok, I am good, Kacie has my back. Is Bella feeling the same? Is she reacting or just observing when they are together when you take them socializing? And without Khan, she is tail tucked? Or just withdrawn, disassociated?

Sometimes we use the martingale collar, sometimes a regular collar, sometimes a choke. Though I try not to use a choke collar at all anymore. I really like the prong collar and swear by it. We bought a small size and put it on her while walking on the leash.. so she didnt pull. It worked well. She didnt have confidence issues with that either. She just was like "oh ok.. sorry mom" when she looked back at me and continued to walk by me. We dont train her with that though.
When we take her out in public with Kahn we take them to any public place we can get away with. I noticed this this last week. We were waiting inside to get a tire patched at Discount Tire and She just sat next to Kahn anytime a new person came in.. he ignores them but she would perk up and tail starts wagging. She wants to say hello... but today for example, I took her alone to a park and anytime any person came too close her hackles raised.. tail down. She didnt get stiff.. but did whine a lil bit if we got too close to other dogs.
I know the underlying issue here is.. that Kahn is always around. Its just natural for us to take them both though... but it is something that needs to worked on. I do see this.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Originally Posted By: DianaM
Quote:it just once she realizes she is "training" that she changes into this unconfident dog.
What we want is a dog that thinks, "Oh man, is it training time?! REALLY?!?!? YAHOOOOOOO!!!! Hurry up, Mom! I'm ready! See- I can sit and down and spin and dance and sing and can I have treats yet?? Did I do well yet? Ohhh is that the clicker? Oh wow this is going to be FUUUUUN!"

Okay well you get the idea.
Kristin, I don't know what kind of leash you use now but if you have to use one (and I'd have one handy just in case), how about getting a new leash that looks different? It'll have a new association and may help with Bella learning that training really is awesome. Don't worry about precision, just concentrate on making training just a bunch of cool games where she wins prizes.

Quote:Which just means I need to take her alot more places with out her brother .. I know....
Play tug with her and let her win MOST of the games (with you always putting the tug away in the end). She needs confidence boosts! Agility training is GREAT for building confidence and she's certainly old enough to learn the basics and go through tunnels but she can't take jumps.... she CAN walk/run over jump bars placed on the ground, though.
Thanks Diana.. thats a real help!
I had looked into some agility clubs in my area but I dont know much about it all. So I wouldnt even know where to start. I would rather go with someone that is experienced also in this but dont know of anyone. I dont know the "rules" and such. Can they open up a course to newbies?? do people get annoyed?? lol... I just had saw a website for a agility club close to me and there were alot of rules. It kind of intimidated me!
 

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Quote: I mean he is a GREAT trainer, has been doing it since the 70's.
There have been a lot of positive changes in training methods since the 70s. Maybe your trainer has tried some, maybe not. It sounds like 'not' - and your dog is shutting down because harsh corrections don't work for him.

If you have already recognized that your dog responds to a softer touch, tone and method, use that!

The owner of the training school where I teach has been doing this for over 25 years. She was the first in our area to open her mind to positive training styles. We learn something new every week and don't hesitate to try something that looks interesting and turns out enthusiastic dogs.

Perhaps your trainer is stuck in the 70s?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Originally Posted By: Skye'sMom
Quote: I mean he is a GREAT trainer, has been doing it since the 70's.
There have been a lot of positive changes in training methods since the 70s. Maybe your trainer has tried some, maybe not. It sounds like 'not' - and your dog is shutting down because harsh corrections don't work for him.

If you have already recognized that your dog responds to a softer touch, tone and method, use that!

The owner of the training school where I teach has been doing this for over 25 years. She was the first in our area to open her mind to positive training styles. We learn something new every week and don't hesitate to try something that looks interesting and turns out enthusiastic dogs.

Perhaps your trainer is stuck in the 70s?
Its possible *shrug*... I need to do my homework for other trainers in my area.. I know of... Z e r o other than ours...
 

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Kristin,

I sent you a PM.
 

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Hi Kristin,

I agree with the advice above. When I adopted Basu he was TERRIFIED of the leash. He would see it and immediately roll onto his back. He had that reaction to anything having to do with commands too. I basically had to undo everything he'd learned. He was 4.5 so it took some time but your dog is still a pup and it's not to late to start over. With Basu I made everything positive. Eventually he came to love training and went all the way through Advanced Ob and got his CGC which was a really big deal considering where he started.

Before I adopted Basu I had used mainly compulsion based training. After that I switched to positive reinforcement and counter-conditioning. I tried to make everything into a game. It was apparent what a difference it made in the dogs' attitude--both Basu and Chama.

The clicker is really a great tool and Bella is the perfect age to start. One great confidence building game is 101 things to do with a box: http://www.clickertraining.com/node/167

It's something that should be fun for both of you!

I commend you for recognizing that your trainer's method isn't working and being open to trying something different!
 

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Originally Posted By: Skye'sMom
Quote: I mean he is a GREAT trainer, has been doing it since the 70's.
There have been a lot of positive changes in training methods since the 70s. Maybe your trainer has tried some, maybe not. It sounds like 'not' - and your dog is shutting down because harsh corrections don't work for him.

If you have already recognized that your dog responds to a softer touch, tone and method, use that!
I totally agree. Just because someone has been training a very long time doesn't mean that much in and of itself. Someone who has been training since the 70's and has kept up with the science of learning behavior and is willing to incorporate newer more positive training techniques is a good trainer. A trainer who has been doing things the same way for 30 or 40 years and is unwilling to change is not a good trainer, IMHO.

I'm far from a dog training expert, but I will say that THE single most important thing that would immediately turn me off to a potential trainer is an unwillingness to use food. If someone is opposed to almost anything else, I can live with that. But there's just no good reason not to use food to train a food motivated dog. None. So if they say using food is bad, it's a bribe, the dog should be working for you not a reward, as soon as the reward is not there the dog won't obey you anymore, that tells me everything I need to know about that trainer. And that's that they don't understand reward based training and how to use it properly, and not they're not someone I am willing to pay to help me train my dog. Because all that is total bunk.

Kristin, I think you need to trust your gut. What you're doing is not working for this particular dog. It might be a perfectly fine approach for another dog, but not this one. So use what works for her. I do most of my training at home off leash, so I can't rely on a training collar to keep my dog engaged and wanting to learn, I have to find ways to motivate him. It forces me to be a better trainer. I do use verbal corrections, and I have a prong for Keefer, but I only use it on leash walks, and the plan is that it's a temporary measure, not to replace training.

Personally, I hate leash corrections. Simple logic tells you that when you want a particular behavior from your dog there are many wrong answers, many things she could do other than what you asked her to do. But there's only ONE right answer. So telling her "no, not that" over and over and over again is not teaching her what you want, it's only teaching her what you don't want. But if you mark and reward when she's doing good, she's learning, and she's also more willing to keep trying because there is no punishment for failing, there's just nothing. Nothing good, but nothing bad either. A dog who gets it wrong a lot and gets corrected for it is much less wiling to keep trying and can shut down. It really sounds like that's what's happening here.
 
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