View Full Version : Good trainer?

29th September 2006, 08:04 PM
I have recently spoken with a trainer in the area who said he likes to work with pups about 10 - 12 weeks to begin training. I had wanted to take Ella to a group class but there aren't any that are convenient - that's how I got to this guy. He does not come recommended to me by anyone but he sounds nice enough on the phone - kinda.

My question is, how do you know if the guy is a good trainer having nothing in the past from which to judge. He is coming tomorrow and he told me some things that I need including, small treats that she likes, a colar and a short lead. I said I had them all but I prefered to use her harness. He said that I needed to use the colar. I let him know that I will not be keeping her on a colar as I hear harnesses are best for cavaliers and he said we will use a colar and he'll explain why when we meet. :? I didn't really like that - I am worried he is going to jerk her around - is this normal?

Thanks in advance guys!!! :flwr:

29th September 2006, 08:27 PM
All my pups have been trained with a harness.

There is NEVER any reason to jerk a pup by the neck. Perhaps you could explain your concerns about SM in cavaliers as to the reason why you like to use a harness. Educate the trainer as well!!!
You will need good quality treats and a lead, and a trainer that you feel comfortable with.
A good trainer teaches you how to teach your puppy, you then practice at home what you learn in the class. Practice little and often, before a feed is good when a puppy is hungry and will work for his rewards.
Lots of praise and kindness will get you good results, be firm, patient and take your time. Enjoy it!

Ask others from the same classes how they get on with your new trainer, and judge yourself how you feel after a few classes. Your instinct will tell you if you are comfortable with him.

Vet surgerys and grooming parlours sometimes have training school numbers and you could also try rescue centres as well if you need to shop around for another school if this one isn't right for you both.

Good luck,

Alison, Wilts, U.k.

29th September 2006, 08:33 PM
should have also added......

10-12 wks is a nice age to start training, a good time to learn socialisation skills, are you going into a class? or having a private training session at home? a class would be much, much better.

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

29th September 2006, 08:50 PM
Darn ... he is coming to my house as the group classes are pretty far away. Oh well, I guess it would be worth the drive it if it makes a big difference.

I plan on socializing her with my friends and neighbors pets - is it better in class?

29th September 2006, 08:57 PM
I'd find it a problem to deal with a trainer who was so sure that a collar must be used. In rewards based training, using a harness makes no difference at all in the training process as there is never any need to manipulate the dog around by jerking a collar or correcting on a collar.

Our board-member trainers, Lisa and Tara, who are both APDT certified, recommend harnesses for many dogs including cavaliers, for many reasons. Some are that they feel harnesses are better for small dogs as their neck and trachea are not pulled around. In other cases as with some big dogs, they feel a harness gives more control rather than less. They automatically recommend a harness for every single cavalier that arrives for their classes, as some here will know! :) The only reason you need to use a collar is to jerk the dog into place and I don't think this is the best type of training to use full stop, but especially not with a cavalier.

I'd be inclined to cnacel with this fellow and look for puppy socialisation/fun training class class (12 weeks is really too young for a formal training class) and then talk to the trainer and ask if they will come out to do personal sessions. Both Lisa and Tara do this for example and many if not most trainers will be willing to do this. I'd want to view the trainer's methods first before asking them to come work with my own dog. I'd want to know they don't use corrective methods, no chokes or prong collars, and that they are happy for me to train on a harness. Also that they use rewards, and that the whole tone of their class is fun and happy with lots of wagging tails, not anxious and angry with dogs and owners looking nervous or tired.

amanda L
29th September 2006, 09:05 PM
Yep, I agree completely with Karlin on using a harness. When I first brought Elliot to training (I won't say where), they used jerking by the collar until the dog made a choking sound, it was so stressful and all the little dogs were being reefed around by their necks. Needless to say, I never went back, and left during the class. I then found Tara and Lisas dog training group, which as Karlin says uses harnesses and rewards and the dogs are so much happier. I would definitely think of going elsewhere and finding a trainer that uses reward-based training.

29th September 2006, 09:37 PM
I know some trainers shy away from using a harness because they feel that it can cause the dog to pull more on the lead. Of course, if you train your dog not to pull from the time it is as young as yours, you probably wont have a problem like that. Plus, there are some no-pull harnesses available to help reduce the problem if you end up with a naturally wanna-pull dog.

If you still have the meeting with the trainer, it might be helpful to print some of the documentation about SM from the site. So that, when he explains to you why you need to use a collar, you can explain why you need to use a harness. If the trainer is unpersuaded by your scientific reasoning, you can let the trainer know that this is a make or break issue in hiring him, thank him for his time, and that you will find a different way.

The puppy trainer I assist in my club advises against harnesses, and then after the class I quietly make may way over to the small dog owner whose dog is in a harness and tell them that, if they want to use a harness, I've done it and can lend advice. It's doable, and if you go to the expense of hiring a private trainer, they should be able to accomodate.

Coco's mom
29th September 2006, 09:55 PM
Hi Kdemars,
I just took Coco to her first puppy kindergarten class on Tuesday. I made sure the trainer uses gentle, positive reinforcement methods and before I committed, I made sure she was okay with using a harness. If she wasn't, I wouldn't have stayed. Just like everyone else said, go with your gut feeling. :flwr:
Coco was, however, the only puppy there wearing a harness. Before the class began, a couple of ladies approached me to meet Coco. One was another trainer (not of puppy kindergarten) and one was a friend of the trainer. They had heard that a Cavalier would be in the class, so they came just to see Coco. One of them had a 3-4 year old Cavalier (not in the class). They made a point to tell me that Coco will be fine with a regular collar. :? Not wanting to argue, I simply explained she pulls a lot and is just learning to walk on a leash. They brushed it off, and said Coco is also wearing a regular collar (with her ID tag), so just attach the lead to that. :bang: So, getting a little frustrated, I told them that neurologists suggest harnesses because of the prevalence of SM in this breed. (of course, Ive read that here!) Still, the lady (who owned a Cavalier) looked at me like I was crazy, and told me that dogs have very strong necks. :? Ive always heard that puppies have very delicate necks, so I didn't know what to say!
Anyway, sorry to go on a tangent! I guess I needed to get that out of my system. :x I'm glad Coco's trainer is fine with a harness. When calling around different training schools, perhaps you can ask what kinds of methods they use to train. I don't know many people with dogs, so that's how I found the school Coco is going to.
Good luck! :flwr:

Cathy T
29th September 2006, 11:14 PM
Coco's mom - I had to laugh at your emoticon about banging your head into a wall. Sometimes it feels that way doesn't it?! Not much you can do. If they don't get your position...oh well. You know what you're talking about and that's ultimately what matters.

We had a wonderful speaker at our club who is a trainer. I just loved her methods and outlook on training. She did a demonstration of a harsh loud correction (on a club member!) and then showed a gentle guiding correction. The member told me that her feelings were really hurt and she was really taken aback by the correction...now we know how our dogs feel!! Who wants to be talked to like that??!! I've signed Jake up for training and have inquired about a personal session for both together. I was just so impressed by her demeanor.

29th September 2006, 11:33 PM
When I went to class the trainer told me to bring a "collar and a leash" but I showed up the first day with a harness on. She didn't say a thing. I have also referred a few other dogs to her who all came in wearing harnesses as well. Last week when Kos got attacked I picked him up by his harness and she said "see that's why those are always a good thing to have on them." I couldn't agree with her more. Never know what kind of crazy dogs are lurking in the shadows. . . :yikes

Cathy Moon
30th September 2006, 03:27 PM
Wow, the whole idea for training a young puppy is getting into the puppy kindergarten group. Usually part of the class time is for letting the pups mingle and socialize, then part for puppy care (nail trimming, tooth brushing, etc.), then some light, fun lead and obedience training.

If the trainer comes to your house, you'll miss out on all the good parts!

1st October 2006, 12:28 PM
My pup has worn a harness to obedience school since Day 1. The trainers never said a word. Puppies are naturally going to pull on their leads while training, especially when learning loose-leash walking. A harness is absolutely the way to go. Put your foot down with this guy, and if he still insists on a collar then look for someone else. He obviously doesn't have much experience with Cavaliers.

I like my group training class because the puppies are able to learn commands amidst multiple distractions. It's good for dogs to learn to obey even when there is activity going on around them.

Good luck with training!

2nd October 2006, 06:03 PM
THANKS GUYS for all your advice! I called the trainer and told him that I wanted to use a harness and told him why and he said that was absolutely fine and was pleased that I had done my research and even thanked me for the information.

He was wonderful - he stayed for 3 hours and only cost $50 which I will gladly pay for that much one on one time. I asked where he thought a good socialization kindergarten would be and he said that he taught one not too far away and it would be free for me because he teaches me privately (That's great!!!) :D

Much to my surprise after our initial conversation - this guy is very much against any punishment. He only does reward based training and does not jerk them around like I thought he would. On the contrary, he does a lot of pro-bono work in bad neighborhoods with underprivileged family's trying to teach them how to train dogs without beating them (which apparently is a problem in certain areas in my city) :(

Guess I shouldn't have judged this guy - oops!!! icon_blshing

Anyway thank you all again for your help - I just love this board!!!

2nd October 2006, 07:57 PM
Wow!!! :w*w:

I'm so happy for you that you had a great training experience!!!

Cathy Moon
3rd October 2006, 03:27 AM
:thmbsup: That's wonderful that it worked out for you! How soon can you take your puppy to kindergarten? :)

3rd October 2006, 05:45 AM
I am so happy that you have found a good trainer. My feeling is go with your gut feeling. If you are not comfortable with a training procedure, don't do it. I once took my dog (not my current cavaliers) to a trainer who literally pulled him off the ground by his collar and leash...He did what she told him to do, but his poor little tail was tucked so tightly between his legs, it was total fear. I never went back again. I train my dogs with collars (not choke...just regular buckles) but I use 100% positive reinforcement. Never any jerking, just lots of praise and yummies. Enjoy the training sessions, my dogs love going to doggie classes.

3rd October 2006, 02:18 PM
I'm with you on the gut feeling thing Jay - at the end of the day that is what makes me feel good.

Cathy - I can take her to his next session which is in a couple weeks - plus by that time, her vaccines will surely have taken effect (just in case).

I am so excited - we were doing okay on "sit" and "down" so far but this morning she was just a little star and showing off. I got so excited when she did really well and that made her so excited and then we woke up my Dad because we were making so much noise. :sl*p: Oh well, the whole thing was pretty amusing. :D