suggestions/advice from trainers

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Jynx, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. Jynx

    Jynx New Member

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    I apologize in advance if I get lengthy, want to paint the whole picture. I am looking for advice/suggestions/input regarding my 5mth old gsd /training.

    Ok, Masi is 5mths old, she is out of an imported slovakian narcotics dog(all pohracini (sp) lines x a ddr /czech Sar certified and a ton of other titles male)
    I have had her since 8 wks old, she has been socialized to "death",,I take her everywhere, she is great offleash anywhere, very obedient, smart, social , willing, eager and a ball of fire. Atleast UP until I started a puppy class..

    We began puppy classes 7 weeks ago. it is a PURELY POSITIVE class, (clicker) flat buckle collar only. This class I must say, had alot of idiots in it.
    Masi would mind her own business but every single class she would get "jumped" by an uruly dog who's owner would slack off. Sometimes they were nasty to her, other times it was rambunctious puppies who wanted to play. At the end of each class, puppies were let offleash for 15 minutes of interaction. Masi wanted nothing to do with them, content to sit/lay at my feet and watch the exchanges. (This is FINE by me),,however, it never failed that she would again get jumped on/I don't want to say "attacked" because most of the behaviors of the other dogs were just unruly ill mannered dog stuff.

    Anyhow,,this has made her in my opinion, defensive, each class she would get a little worse,,dogs staring at her she'd bark and hackle, dogs in her "space", same thing, if they came charging up to her,,she'd go ballistic RA RAing in their face (she has not "bit" YET, but has snapped at them),,

    What I have done,,and the trainers instruct,,move out of the area,,work on refocusing, yada yada,,first I can't move or remove her from the "area" as this is a small room, and there just is no place to remove her to! Refocusing her attention is like talking to a brick wall when she has a dog on top of her, she is to much in 'defense' mode. This class is making her WORSE.

    Ok,,we are done with puppy class, I move up to a Basic's class, thinking this may be a more controlled setting, better mannered dogs, people who respect other peoples/dogs space..Not so,,tho we are now only 5 in the class, we still have some ill mannered very reactive dogs,,once one starts, they all start in, the positive approach is NOT working. She has now transferred that "defensive" mode, to "some" people. IF a person charges up to her, she will bark and lunge 'a little',,not a full out LUNGE,,but something I definately do NOT want, We cannot do ANY corrections at ALL in this class,

    There's alot more to this, but I don't want to write a novel..I have talked to the trainer, and tho she agrees with me, (there isn't enough room in the room we have class in, there are ill mannered dogs/people, ) she STILL wants me to keep masi in this setting AND let her loose with these unruly dogs.

    I honestly don't see this as a "positive" thing, especially for a GSD who comes from lines with a high defense drive to begin with. I also do not see this dog benefiting from "purely positive" training.. She needs clear direction and needs to know the difference between good behavior and unacceptable behavior.

    I kinda feel like I've let her down, as I should be the one protecting her from getting "jumped" constantly, I am seriously thinking of pulling her from this class and starting over with a different approach. For example,,today she lunged at a moving car,,I put a prong collar on her, corrected her once, and she didn't do it again,,it was like "oh ok, I'm not supposed to do that". In fact, she then sat by the side of the road watching cars "whiz" by without an incident. (and believe me a correction didn't hurt her one bit)

    For those that have "hard" dogs, may know what I speak of, I guess I'm just looking for some ideas, suggestions, advice.. Ask away, I can provide more details if needed.
    Diane
     
  2. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I say this as a clicker trainer who used to teach positive reinforcement-based training classes: If you don't believe that the method is going to work for your dog, it won't. It's not your dog's fault, it's not the method's fault, it's your fault. No matter what method you use - positive reinforcement, prong collars, electronic collars, negative reinforcement, whatever - you have to really believe in it or you won't get the results you're looking for. If you believe that a prong collar is the answer to your training problems, then find a trainer who TRUELY knows how to use them, and then go to that trainer.

    If you really want to solve the reactivity issues with positive methods, though, read "Click to Calm" or "Control Unleashed," and follow their training protocols. If that doesn't work, find a trainer who's well educated in these procedures, and have him/her help you.

    It does sound like this class you're in is not the right fit. Since you now know that your dog is showing reactive tendencies, make sure you talk to your future trainer about classroom management and boundaries with dog-to-dog interractions.
     
  3. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    DUMP this trainer. While it's nice that she is doing positive training, she is over loading the capacity of her workspace with too many students, and creating a terrible environment for your puppy.

    Essentially, she is setting your dog up for failure, and is asking you to keep bringing her back and setting her up for failure. Follow your instincts and do not bring you dog back.

    Our training facility is positive, but any physical contact between the dogs, ESPECIALLY nose to nose is strictly forbidden. And any owners who allow their dogs to approach someone else's dog gets completely reamed by the trainer. It is so rude, and I can't believe she's allowing her students to do it. It creates/exacerbates so many behavior problems. You don't need to correct a puppy for jumping on another dog, just keep a short leash and redirect them when they are getting excited.

    Also, is she allowing the puppies to play in the training center? The same are that you are working in? If so, this is another thing that worries and and would send me running. The facility we go to has a separate playing area for the "players" to go running in before and after class. Again, no contact and no playing in the "work" area.

    1. Not all dogs are players. Your dog does not sound like one. That is totally fine, but she shouldn't be put in a position where she's being jumped by rude playful little puppies. As you are finding out, this will make her DR.

    2. Working areas are for working. There should be a separate play area for before and after class, NOT the area you guys are training in.

    The fact that she thinks it's ok for students to let their dogs jump all over someone else's dog in a class, period, tells me something is not right. And that she expects you and your dog to learn to "deal with it" is also not right. GSDs are notorious for their various fear periods as puppies, I would keep her far away from this kind of environment, especially at her age. Try to find another trainer who has higher expectations of their students ability to control their puppies, so that she can be around other dogs who are under control, so that she learns that she does not need to be reactive.
     
  4. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    agreed x 1000. this pup sounds scared/overwhelmed and you need to work on that from the ground up, not just change the behavior that occurs on the outside. you can use corrections to stop the lunging without stopping the dog's discomfort, and that's just counter-productive imo.

    just because you landed yourself with a trainer who doesn't know how to manage a class environment doesn't mean that clicker/positive-based training isn't going to work for your dog. clicker classes can be run poorly just as any other method classes can be run poorly. that doesn't make the method ineffective. just the trainer.
     
  5. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Just want to clarify that I agree with Lizzy and elegy on this. I would still look for a different trainer though, as you and her being on edge about getting jumped in class and then to actually have it happen over and over is going to send her backwards while you are working to overcome this.
     
  6. Jynx

    Jynx New Member

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    lizzybeth, thank you for your insite,,I have actually used purely positive (clicker) training on both my aussies, with excellent results..My gsd's are a totally different breed of dog, and the ones I've had, while clicker works with alot of things,,it also doesn't work with alot of things ,,So with the gsd's I've found what works is a combination.

    Romy, thank you as well, and I believe you are totally correct.

    And yes, this facility is used as a daycare, puppy/dog play group area as well,,what I think stemmed from the huge problem in our puppy class, is 90% of the puppies were in the previous doggie play group and then go right into training class,,(same room) I think they were having a hard time switching from "play to train"..

    And your right,,it IS rude, and I am setting her up, as well as the trainer for failure. The trainer doesn't think it's ok for other dogs to be "jumping" others in class, but doesn't seem to prevent it from happening,,when it does happen, they seem to be of the mind of let em work it out ??? I have told her over and over,,I don't care if Masi does not want to play with other dogs,,however, I want her to be able to "exist" with other dogs, she doesn't have to love em, just tolerate dogs in general in her area.

    this certainly is not my first gsd, and not my first puppy/ob class either,,however, it is the first I've done using these methods totally...My previous trainer (unfortunately retired), and while we did alot of positive/motivational training,,it was just that TRAINING, dogs had their own "space",,they were not allowed to socialize within class, and everyone had to respect everyone else..Masi is absolutely fine with this approach.

    In the beginning I did take her to their "doggie social",,(never again:)) ,,oh my god, the room was sectioned off, we had masi in with small dogs,,(she wasn't small by any means but new to this),,and it worked fine,,the small dogs were actually very respectful, more checking things out vs jumping on each other,,the BIG dogs,,it was a free for all, fights breaking out, very very ill mannered dogs ,,and there was no way I was going into THAT.

    ok,,thanks,,keep the ideas coming.
     
  7. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    Hi, welcome to the forum!

    I don't do corrections, I don't like scaring a dog into listening, so I agree with not using (positive) punishment. BUT I don't think you should stay in this class. I think you should either do private lessons or find a class where dogs must not be able to reach each other (watch a class with the trainer first so you know that this rule is enforced).

    I DO think your dog still needs to socialize or things won't get better, do you know anyone who has nice dogs that yours can have play dates with? Go to (human) parks where there may be a few dogs and let her meet and play with them, if the dog is rude then you can always just remove yourself and your dog.

    I think the worst thing you could do is correct a dog for showing aggression. Your taking a dog who is afraid of another dog and hurting him when the dog comes close. in the end maybe he'll stop reacting but he will probably continue being frightened of other dogs, his fear will probably increase (oh no a dog is coming I might get choked/pinched/whatever, I want this dog to stay AWAY so that does not happen) and he may become so anti-social that he never learns how to properly interact with other dogs. Treating fear with aggression is never a good idea.

    what you SHOULD do is just reverse what has happened. he's learned *dog comes near, I get jumped* you need to teach him the opposite *dog comes near, something good happens, nothing bad happens* which will require help from a friend with a dog. Do you think your trainer and her dog (if she has one) would be willing to help you on this? I guess what you would do is have her and her dog walk towards you and your dog, as she walks give your dog treats and have the trainer stop before your dog reacts, then have her turn and walk away (no treats while the other dog leaves, we don't want her to learn to make dogs go away). Slowly bring the dog closer until they can gently meet and the other dog can leave. nothing bad happens, only good. That way your dog looses the fear she has of approaching dogs.

    If it didn't hurt why would it work? (not meaning that in a mean way, I've just never understood how people can say that, if it didn't hurt, why would the dog stop doing what he wanted?)
     
  8. Jynx

    Jynx New Member

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    ahh I was posting while others were posting :))

    Elegy, I agree as well, not only has it put her on the defensive, most of these incidents seem to have happened from behind her as well, she doesn't see it coming and yes, it scared the crap out of her, which now has put her on the defensive..for example, she will be sitting facing me, while we are working on focus/whatever, and all of a sudden a dog lunges and jumps on top of her,,(as i said before, not attacking, but unruly play, ill manners)

    And I totally agree it doesn't make the method ineffective, I have used purely positive training with my aussies and it worked very well..
    thanks for the suggestions
    diane
     
  9. Jynx

    Jynx New Member

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    erin, I have loads of friends with 'nice' dogs, and she gets along fine with all of them, she is socialized on a daily basis and introduced into all kinds of new settings, I don't have problems with her at all..It is basically this "class" that seems to be a BIG problem.

    And I don't mind you asking about the corrections, it worked because on a flat collar it did not work. On a flat collar she was lunging and I could tell, just dying to give chase to moving cars,,on a prong, she got one correction, we continued on for a nice long walk on a main road on a loose leash with no other incidents.

    I guess I would ask you what positive method you would use if this dog decided she was going to bite someone? And I don't mean to sound sarcastic (it's not meant to be)..While it may be the same thing basically (as reintro-ing her to nice dogs), (people mean good things) I am certainly not about to ignore it, should it transfer, if she chose to snap/nip at someone, that is totally unacceptable to me and she is going to get a correction for it.

    I have had gsd's for more than 20 years, and have never had a dog that bit anyone and I'm not about to start, I certainly don't want this 'dog thing' to transfer to humans.
     
  10. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    If she's literally JUST ABOUT to bite someone, I'd do whatever I had to do to get my dog away from that person. Before it got to that point, though, unless something was serioulsy wrong with my training methods or with my dog (genetic problems, health, etc.), I'd probably have had months of warning that she was uncomfortable around people and would eventually turn aggressive.

    That said, most dog aggression does not relate nor turn into human aggression.

    If she did start reacting to humans, I'd start desensetizing her to humans the same way I'd do it with dogs - by using the methods in the books I mentioned earlier. I think that "Click to Calm" has a chapter or two on human aggression, but even if it doesn't, the method works with anything the dog is afraid of - I've used it with dogs that are scared of all sorts of things.
     
  11. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    but if she's nipping/biting/threatening out of FEAR, correcting her is just going to make it worse. she's scared, she's telling everybody she's scared, and you're going to show her that yes, indeedy, she has plenty of reason to be scared.

    i think the books that were recommended earlier on- click to calm and control unleashed- will address this very very well. this is something that needs to be dealt with now, not wait until she starts snapping at people. she's already showing that she's uncomfortable. teaching her to reorient to you when she sees something that upsets her, teaching her to relax on cue, teaching her to trust you to protect her- all of those things will help.
     
  12. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Wow, your trainer needs to smarten up and fast, its not the method but the out of control situation. Your poor pup. This actually REALLY pisses me off, because I went through the same thing years go with one of my dogs. Being jumped on from behind, out of control dogs in classes etc.
    The advice of those books is excellent, they are great books. Personally if possible I would change trainers but not the method, go to a trainer that has control of their classes and doesn't allow such dangerous and foolish things to happen.
    Positive isn't permissive and it shouldn't be developing rude dogs and people who don't know the difference.
    I also agree that corrections with a dog that is fearful is not a good idea, nor is it fair.
     
  13. fillyone

    fillyone But please, call me Barb

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    In the class now is it is some kind of free time or during class?
    If it's free time, I'd just leave before it started since she has so many other dogs to socialize with.
    If it's not in free time I'd look for another class.

    In one of Dante's more advanced classes (he was a year old) there was a leash reactive Dobie. The instructor told all of us at the first class and those that chose not to take the series could get their money back or move to a different group. One person left and the rest of us stayed. We all knew, we all acted accordingly and it worked out great.
    That is the way I want all my classes to be - it sounds like you have some folks not on the same page as you :(
    And in payment for my .02¢ we need a picture :lol-sign:
    Oh wait, I'm not a trainer so I get no payment :(
     
  14. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Some great advice so far.

    I would like to make a point though. DA in NO WAY makes your dog at anymore of a risk of HA than any other dog. I know some pretty DA dogs that are great with people, and some HA dogs who love every dog. The two are not correlated.

    I do have a reactive dog. I train my dog to focus on me. I do not scare my dog into obedience. If ONE correction with a prong stopped a serious issue, then that correction must have been pretty horrible to the dog-but was actually a 'proper correction' (a correction if used should be harsh enough to stop the behaviour with one use, if not you are merely abusing) The problem is your dog may learn that this only happens with the prong collar on. The dog may learn to respect the prong collar and not you. Its pretty obvious to the dog if they are wearing it or not. I know of a few people who slapped a prong collar on and now have to stay with it. Some people train the issues and use prong collars as backups (just in case the dog sees a prey animal and the person isn't paying attention at that moment) I personally wouldn't but that isn't the issue :)

    We have a very 'herdy' young BC. He is learning to curb his desire to chase things inappropriately. Lots of positive reinforcement and redirection. He is a BIG BC and my son is only just turned 8 (its his agility dog) He started off with a halti (not that I am a huge fan of those, just child is small and dog is big) and is now transitioning to a flat collar.
     
  15. Boemy

    Boemy New Member

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    About halfway through the original post she mentioned her dog was now lunging at some people, I think that's where her concern about HA is stemming from.

    Edit: Also, I agree with everyone else about not going back to this particular trainer. Sounds like she does not have control of the class.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2008
  16. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    I know I wouldn't be going back to that class again
     
  17. borzoimom

    borzoimom Couch Pototoe City

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    Sounds like to me the trainer does not have control of the class and not aware of the levels of the dogs to intermix. YOu need a new trainer.
     
  18. Falconara

    Falconara Gene Junkie

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    :confused: I dont know how that is quite related to this thread...but OK. I thought Release the Hounds and BM's advice were generally what the poster was asking for

    Here's my two cents...the trainer probably went about the puppy play time incorrectly. My boss is a PPM Trainer....but the way our classes are structured the pups only have 30seconds to a minute to play with each other, and only two at a time. If we start to see problems we work on distanct and desensitization...and as soon as we see a problem we pull the puppies....no questions asked. And the out of control thing kind of makes me skeevy...we keep our dogs on a leasg or tether to prevent problems like that...the result is I've seen two dogs accidentally get loose in 6 months of training (something like 11-15 lessons a week). In this case I think the traininer needs a little work.

    However :

    The human aggression probably wouldnt have come from this class as the dog aggression shouldnt translate...its a different folder in the dogs mind.

    I have a HUGE amount of reservations about using a prong collar on a pup...and I have reservations about using them on any dog. They can be a great tool in the right hands with the right dog...otherwise they are a disaster. For example...you might have corrected your dog for barking and lunging at a car, but they might have seen a human at the moment of correction....which means they associate human with bad thing...which can lead to human aggression. You just have to be very exact and very aware when using them. Additionally...probably not a good idea to use a correction collar on a dog with fear issues....because your going to make the fear issues worse.

    Whats more...when you are using a correction collar on a dog for barking and lunging at another dog you also have to be very careful...because it is likely that you will train the dog to hide the aggressive warning signs and go straight for the attack....causing you to have a dangerous and unpredictable dog....very bad in a shepherd from those lines...I've been bit like a dog like that at traininig....no warning, just bite.

    Positive methods generally are better in my mind for fixing these issues....you use distance and basically reward whenever the dog is being good, decreasing the distance as you get closer...as soon as you see a hint of a problem increase the distance and begin again.

    I will say that drivey dogs are a dream with the positve methods training...especially in the beginning....my female has lower drives and is harder to train...while my male is all drives and comes to class (when I take him) as the star....because he'll do anything for food or a Cuz ball or a Tug (albiet I might loose some fingers in the process).

    We tend towards positive methods initially in my Club...and then when the dog has the idea (also depending on the dog) we might add in a correction collar to clean up the routine...but this usually isnt until the dog is a bit older, and already knows what they are supposed to do.

    ~Cate
     
  19. borzoimom

    borzoimom Couch Pototoe City

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    Thanks Cate.. I was drying Zubin.. lol. With a full mature coat it takes awhile.
     
  20. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    dropping the class was already suggested numerous times as was dropping that particular trainer. I think Red was saying we need some 'new' imput not just rehashing what has already been said.
     

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