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I'd move on.

Yes, it's nice to proof in crazy environments, but if (when) he makes a bad choice, you need to be able to correct him. Otherwise all of your careful work can unravel.

And that is not a criticism of Finn. All of my dogs have gone through phases of experimenting with poor choices. Some more than others (ha!). If you think the trainers have a good eye for detail and spotting, ask if they're willing to do one-on-one private lessons. Better to get a half hour of excellent training once a month than an hour every week of circus party.
 

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It sounds to me that you know more about training dogs than the cookie trainers you went to. It is always easier to prevent unwanted behaviors than it is to stop them. The idea that they want your dog to do all of these undesirable things only so you can reward them when they do something else is ridiculous.
If any trainer told me that I couldn't use a slip lead, I would have put the slip lead on and walked out.
Why anyone would ever want to let the dog decide when the "sniff" is over on a walk is beyond me.

If I am unsure about something in training I as myself, "what would Bart/Ivan/Stonnie/Tyler/Larry /Michael do?"
 

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You will also find positive-only trained dogs who are remarkably well-trained, doing agility and other feats the average pet owner could only dream of. There is an agility club around here where you aren't even allowed to say "No" (I'm not kidding), but their dogs can do amazing feats.

Be careful of making such strong judgments from a first impression. We tend to really like the ones that agree with our pre-existing beliefs. Authoritarian "hardasses" love dominance theory and yank-n-crank. Beat your kid, beat your dog, it was good enough for grandpa wasn't it?

That being said, it would take a far better or more committed trainer than me to control Jupiter with positive-only training. The prong collar, that is illegal in much of Europe, and a treat bag allow me to take him on daily walks with very little friction. It takes a pretty ferocious yank to even get his attention.

Whereas I've seen sweet little labs who shut down for the whole session if you bark "No" at them.

A lot depends on the dog... although probably more depends on the owner!
 

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Thanks- Bart Bellon is new to me and for some reason when I see the name "Michael Ellis", I picture Ed Frawly's mug, so the name never sticks...
 

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That being said, it would take a far better or more committed trainer than me to control Jupiter with positive-only training. The prong collar, that is illegal in much of Europe, and a treat bag allow me to take him on daily walks with very little friction. It takes a pretty ferocious yank to even get his attention.

Whereas I've seen sweet little labs who shut down for the whole session if you bark "No" at them.
SO true! My second German shepherd was one of those ones who needed a smack upside the head with a 2x4 to even get her attention!!

Of course...I'm exaggerating...but OOOH, did she test the limits!! My previous GSD was a SNAP to train compared to her!

I eventually got her to the point where she would walk at heel off leash, and a gentle Tashaaa! or an 'uh- uhh' was all it took to get her back to my side if she tried to stray!.
 

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@chuckd
Yes Bart Bellon and Michael Ellis.... Bart is a machine and one of the very best out there. He was a champion in belgian ring.
Here is a video of him working his dog Thor.

 

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true! My second German shepherd was one of those ones who needed a smack upside the head with a 2x4 to even get her attention!!
I used to refer to Bud as my 2x4 dog! Lol. Of course it's a joke but that dog was a block head in more ways then one.
 

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There are tons of degrees of training styles between purely positive and using the four quadrants of operant learning other than yank and crank. To me, there is something neurotic about a training approach that doesn’t allow any verbal or physical corrections or that tells a handler how he has to train his dog.
 

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Any method can be misapplied. Evaluating where you are and what you think of the situation is, unfortunately, particularly important for your relationship with your dog. My thoughts are (and I didn't get through but half the replies) that the trainer was trying to distract Flynn, seeing what it would take - a proofing if you will -- Not so much (OK I"m being generous here) to ruin things for the OP but to see how far along Flynn was and how that was going to work in this setting. (OK OK I"m cutting a lot of slack here. I'm not noted for that so that probably took a week's worth of it)

It sounds to me from the original post that the Finn & family were doing mostly if not purely positive on their own.
 

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You don't know what happens at home when the positive only dogs/trainer leave the class (behind-the-scenes training techniques)
 

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Our positive class was nothing at all like OP’s....Went in, there were five other dogs sitting on their mats spaced 10 feet apart. Dogs and owners practiced in different areas of the room. Dogs were not allowed to play or greet, but were trained to ignore each other. By the last class, all six dogs could Sit near each other and walk looseleash around cones passing each other closely. There were a lot of demos and explanation ( my dog was famous for falling asleep in dead dog position during these! )

The class did not practically solve all of our issues, but was useful for learning how to motivate and teach your dog.

( I loved that when Rumo saw all the other furry students sitting on their mats, he went and sat on his! So cute that dogs learn that way.)
 

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I used to refer to Bud as my 2x4 dog! Lol. Of course it's a joke but that dog was a block head in more ways then one.
Jupiter is like that--his head feels like a solid block of bone. Occasionally when he's excited and lets his feet do his thinking, he'll smash into something, making a huge knocking sound, and doesn't even seem to notice.
 

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There are tons of degrees of training styles between purely positive and using the four quadrants of operant learning other than yank and crank. To me, there is something neurotic about a training approach that doesn’t allow any verbal or physical corrections or that tells a handler how he has to train his dog.
It is an overreaction, but honestly I can see the motivation. The majority of pet owners substitute force for teaching. They mistake lack of understanding for defiance. A significant chunk of them use force to essentially beat the dog into a state of learned helplessness. Or if the dog has spirit, there's a never-ending low-level war of leash-yanking and choking whenever there's a bit of friction.

I see it on a daily basis on walks. I saw it at obedience yesterday.

"Do no harm" is not an insane way to operate if someone has no clue how to train.
 

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It is always unfair to the dog to punish him for a behavior he does not understand. I am a big advocate of a very positive reinforcement based foundation with use of self discovery where the dog simply doesn't get a reinforcer if he doesn't display the correct behavior and nothing happens if he doesn't. And I believe there needs to be a long duration building that foundation and different behaviors will require longer foundation training than others and different behaviors will be taught later than others. Usually, when a dog has this type of foundation and has good temperament and drives, there is not a great need for punishment, except to refine behaviors such as in sport training. I agree that trainers whose knowledge is limited often use punishment when it is not warranted. There is also negative reinforcement and negative punishment which generally do not involve a lot of physical aversion directed toward the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Our positive class was nothing at all like OP’s....Went in, there were five other dogs sitting on their mats spaced 10 feet apart. Dogs and owners practiced in different areas of the room. Dogs were not allowed to play or greet, but were trained to ignore each other. By the last class, all six dogs could Sit near each other and walk looseleash around cones passing each other closely. There were a lot of demos and explanation ( my dog was famous for falling asleep in dead dog position during these! )

The class did not practically solve all of our issues, but was useful for learning how to motivate and teach your dog.

( I loved that when Rumo saw all the other furry students sitting on their mats, he went and sat on his! So cute that dogs learn that way.)

I would have been very happy if the class was like that. I'm all for the positive class.

What I didn't like is I felt like I was pressured into letting Finn greet every dog they came upto him, sniff whatever he liked and let him jump of trainers.
 

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I would have walked out. Part of training is to teach your dog to ignore other dogs and not to jump on people. Why the heck are they ENCOURAGING this??
 

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Discussion Starter #39
It is always unfair to the dog to punish him for a behavior he does not understand. I am a big advocate of a very positive reinforcement based foundation with use of self discovery where the dog simply doesn't get a reinforcer if he doesn't display the correct behavior and nothing happens if he doesn't. And I believe there needs to be a long duration building that foundation and different behaviors will require longer foundation training than others and different behaviors will be taught later than others. Usually, when a dog has this type of foundation and has good temperament and drives, there is not a great need for punishment, except to refine behaviors such as in sport training. I agree that trainers whose knowledge is limited often use punishment when it is not warranted. There is also negative reinforcement and negative punishment which generally do not involve a lot of physical aversion directed toward the dog.

I agree with you.

He's already learned not to jump on people and not to greet other dogs on leash unless he's calm and given permission. He's only 8 months and he can only take so much tempting/pressure until he gives in and excitement takes over. In normal day to day life he's pretty much got what's expected of him down.


What I found that was really annoying and unfair for Finn is he was being purposely being set up for failure by the trainer's the whole time .

It wasn't even about proofing or testing him . For example a few times Finn was in a sit or walking to heel.

The helpers/trainer's were making kissy noises and calling him . Finn wasn't reacting and being good , I swear saw absolute disappointment in the trainer's faces when they failed to get a reaction from Finn. They then upper their game , started to touch him , done everything in their power to get him excited.

Once they were able to put Finn over the threshold and he couldn't contain his excitement. They lavished praise and effection onto Finn whilst he was jumping up and acting obnoxious.

The kept repeating the world's "it's okay, let him do it ".



I didn't find the other dogs as annoying. The owners were too busy trying to control their crazy dogs and didn't pay us much attention as a result. I was able to calmly weave between the chaos.

A few times a dog managed to pull their owner to Finn . Finn would be calm and polity until another dog would jump on his back and intiate a play wrestle. Obviously this is the point my 8 month Finn would break and decide to oblige.

Wrestling on the lead was a breaking point for me. I was definitely not going to allow wrestling on leash , regardless if trainer's wanted to see it or not.

I called Finn off the dog , with single "come" (I impressed myself how effortlessly I came ), walked to the very front and just walked beside, the only sane trainer that was there .


To be honest him and the head trainer that joined us later were the only two I had faith in .
 

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
I would have walked out. Part of training is to teach your dog to ignore other dogs and not to jump on people. Why the heck are they ENCOURAGING this??

I have no idea. It definitely wasn't for proofing. A few times when Finn was being good he was purposely given too much to handle to make him excited.

The question , "Why the heck are they ENCOURAGING this??" Is partly why I made this thread .

I was wondering if I am missing something?


For what purpose would you allow your
young dog to jump on people , intact with other dogs while on leash and to stop an sniff everything they pleased ?

I can't see them randomly allowing this, there must be a purpose.
 
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