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Thread: Problem with training methods in class

  1. #1
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    Default Problem with training methods in class


    This was Coco's second week of Obedience 1 training classes. I loved the trainer of her puppy classes. I stuck to the same obedience club, but we have a different trainer for this level. I'm starting to realize that her training methods aren't quite as gentle as the puppy kindergarten's trainers. It's all supposed to be positive reinforcement.
    There are 3 main issues I have concerns with. I could REALLY use some advice please!


    1) This week in Coco's training class, we were working on prevention of lead pulling. Coco was pulling a lot (there were so many treats on the mats from the earlier puppy class), so the trainer told me that she will never stop pulling while wearing a harness. She actually told me to attach the lead to her collar. I told her that she's never worn a lead on her collar and explained why. She didn't know about SM but she stopped pushing for the lead on the collar.
    Well, I don't think it's true that a puppy can't learn how to walk
    properly on a harness, is it?



    2) I was also uncomfortable with how she taught us to "correct" the dogs if they try to grab something from our hand too roughly/quickly. She said we should "whack" them (gently ) in the nose/muzzle. I can't imagine doing this to Coco. It seems too harsh, especially for such a sensitive breed as a cavalier. Am I overreacting? I am new to dogs and training, but we didn't have to do anything like this in the other class.


    3) She also taught us to correct the dog on the lead if the dog pulls by quickly snapping on the lead. Ive never done this either and I'm not crazy about it. The idea is that as the dog pulls ahead, the owner gives a sharp snap, the dog looks at the owner, and the owner smiles and praises the dog. So the dog is supposed to think the "corrections" are from his/her actions, not the owner.

    I am really perturbed after this class. This trainer is so different from the previous one. What would you all do? I know people here have more experience than me. I really value all of your advice.

  2. #2
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    I had a 50 lb lab that pulled and pushed while I am 5'2". My trainer suggested a halti for any dog that pulled, including her German Sheppards, so did my vet. He said if I ever saw an exray of the damage done, I'd never walk a dog on a collar.

    I am also reading now to refresh my puppy training methods "My Smart Puppy" by Brain Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson, and I don't see such corrections there either.

    The smacking the nose bothered me so I looked up ways to cure it and I really like this method to teach them not to snatch over smacking a puppy's nose (which teaches it to be afraid of your hand, not respect it)

    http://www.takingthelead.co.uk/1/behaviour.htm

    Dear Maureen & Family, This starts in puppy hood, before the dog learns to judge where to aim his teeth and can become a little clumsy with those sharp little teeth, making us pull our hand away when he does so. The effect of pulling our hand away, encourages him/her to start snatching food before it is pulled away and of course this is very common practice with children, as there fingers are more sensitive than that of an adults. So, we firstly have to stop moving our hand away and the best way of doing this is to hold the titbit between our finger and thumb and curl our hand round to make a fist before offering the dog the back of our hand. As the dog goes to snatch the titbit he will bump against the back of the hand and then usually take a step back or hesitate. The moment he does this uncurl your hand and give the titbit on your flat fingers, which will stop him from biting them. He will soon learn to wait until the hand is uncurled and the titbit is presented in this fashion which will have the desired effect of stopping him snatching the food reward. Incidentally, many dogs learn to snatch food from children's hand as they are walking around eating. To prevent this either make sure the children are sitting down to eat, or restrain the puppy until the food has been eaten by the child as it is not good practice to allow. Never tease a dog with food or he will start to lunge for it and could, unintentionally bite, which would not be the dog's fault at all. Gill."

    I dont know, I'd be inclined to print it out and hand it in as I requested a new training class.

  3. #3
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    Sounds like she is teaching the old school method. I wouldn't be happy either and would be inclined to find another trainer.

    For the pulling on lead I've heard this method works but you have to have a lot of patience. When she pulls... you immediately stop. They love their walks so once she pulls, the walk stops. It may take hours to get down the driveway..but if you're consistant, they get the point. Like I said, it takes tons of patience which is why my girls still pull on lead and another good reason to use a harness!

    The treat curled up in the hand is excellent. We used this with while using the "take it" command. They'll go crazy trying to get at the treat..licking, pawing, at your hand, but as soon as they stop you uncurl their hand and they get what the want. They get this one really fast

    I would never snap the lead like she says. This is very old school.

    Goodluck
    Mom to Candle and Ally

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    I agree, it sounds like old school training. BUT, if you had a 100 + pound mastiff grabbing food from your hand-- you might HAVE to use stronger training techniques. Cavaliers as a breed are "soft" and harsh corrections can be too much.
    When I have a dog that pulls-- I do 90 degree turns saying "watch". You can turn away from the dog or into the dog-- it makes them have to watch and listen for cues. I also carry treats and when they start to do what I say, we treat often and slowly just treat occasionally. Sandy

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    Good for you for holding your ground.

    I'd switch classes too.

    Any trainer who still believes you need to 'correct' a dog for not understanding what you want, rather than reward it for getting it right, is not OK in my book.

    It is easy to teach a puppy not to pull on a harness, or any dog, but sadly many trainers still subscribe to the very old training methods that involve correcting dogs rather than rewarding them (the latter, incidentally, is how expert animal trainers get such precisely trained animals for Hollywood films -- animals will not perform when they are afriad of punishment; they perform because they love it and are willing to work hard for a trainer they respect). Rewarding the puppy to walk near you rather than jerking it into position very quickly stops pulling -- but an owner must keep practising this as pulling won't stop on the basis of classwork alone.

    Dog Training Ireland recommend harnesses for many dogs -- espoecially cavaliers and small breeds -- and have trained hundreds of dogs successfully using harnesses, so it simply is not true that you need a special piece of equipment for effective training. If you REWARD rather than PUNISH, a harness or collar makes no difference. The only 'advantage' of a collar for punishment/correction-based teachers is that it allows you to more effectively jerk and startle (and hurt) a dog when it does the 'wrong' thing. Because rewards based training guides the dog to do the right thing and consistently make that choice, and because this approach doesn't require jerking the dog around, collar/harness makes little difference and a harness actually offers *more* control for many dogs. Dog Training Ireland regularly recommend harnesses for big dogs that are hard pullers and hard to control for this reason; I've seen how much easier it is for owners to work such dogs on a harness because I've sat in on many classes there.

    I think that teaching cavaliers thru a punish and correct method demolishes their self confidence. Cavaliers learn easily because they like to learn, and as long as it is fun for them and you it is rewarding. If it is distressing to them they become very unhappy. Who wants to 'teach' by frightening an animal into obedience rather than working with them towards goals?

    I'd quit the class and ask your puppy class teacher if she can recommend a class with similar methods to hers. Or ask any prospective trainer before class what his/her approach will be -- do they use choke collars, do they use corrections, do they ever use punishment -- sprays, slaps, etc? Any goodtrainer will allow you to sit in quietly on a class and watch how they train.

    Why you shouldn't punish a dog:

    http://deesdogs.com/documents/dontriskpunishing.pdf

    Great advice from rewards-bsed trainers:

    http://www.cavaliertalk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3253
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  6. #6
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    Another way to get a dog to walk without pulling, is to keep the leash relatively short and use the word..."heel".

    As the dog walks calmly beside you, reward either verbally or with treats.

    If they pull, say "turn" and go the other way....redirect, in other words.

    I've found that works....when we walk, there are two kinds of walkies, the "fun" walk when there's time to stop, sniff etc. and the more "formal" obedient walking.

    Constant verbal rewards seem to work for my dogs...we did use treats with Charley when he was a puppy.

    I'm in agreement with NOT punishing dogs....IMO, it's wrong.

    Good for you, let them know you're not happy to use their methods on Coco.

  7. #7
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    Oh my... I was shocked when I read number two!!

    You should never whack anything in the face!!! Dogs, Children, your annoying hubby (lol)... ethically, I would have had a problem with this too!

    Having my early childhood education degree... I have always been drilled on POSITIVE reinforcement! For me, this carries over to my dog too!
    [B][COLOR=yellowgreen]We[/COLOR] [COLOR=plum]Love [/COLOR][COLOR=yellowgreen]Cicero[/COLOR]![/B]
    [B][COLOR=yellowgreen]"Suum Cuique"[/COLOR][/B]
    (To Each Thier Own)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MathisGreen
    Oh my... I was shocked when I read number two!!

    You should never whack anything in the face!!! Dogs, Children, your annoying hubby (lol)... ethically, I would have had a problem with this too!

    Having my early childhood education degree... I have always been drilled on POSITIVE reinforcement! For me, this carries over to my dog too!
    99% of the time I agree-- positive reinforcement is a much better way to build a relationship. BUT will Pits, Rotties, Corsos and Mastiffs-- they have to KNOW you are alpha or someone will get hurt. This is why breed specific legislation is sweeping the country. Even with early childhood education, you must realize a child has a choice, to behave or misbehave. If you misbehave there must be consequences.

    Sandy (former licensed Daycare Director of a school with 50 children)

  9. #9
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    While I respect your opinion, hitting is NEVER an option for me, be it a child or a dog. I was abused as a child and have seen first hand the products of people's physical actions. Time-out with redirection (for kids) and positive reinforcement have always worked well for me in both situations with children and dogs.
    [B][COLOR=yellowgreen]We[/COLOR] [COLOR=plum]Love [/COLOR][COLOR=yellowgreen]Cicero[/COLOR]![/B]
    [B][COLOR=yellowgreen]"Suum Cuique"[/COLOR][/B]
    (To Each Thier Own)

  10. #10
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    I don't think showing you are alpha requires hitting a dog or jerking it around, though I do respect that some good trainers can use training collars effectively. The problem is most owners don't -- they think choke chains are literally supposed to choke the dog for being 'bad', they loop the chain together backwards and cause it to throttle and pinch rather than give a quick brief correction, and they read up on all the dominance mumbo jumbo spread around by trainers and use harsh methods on theor dogs, exacerbating existing problems anbd creating new ones in large, strong, potentially domineering dogs. I'd suspect that the fact that these methods are used so often with the 'problem' breeds may be one reason why they are so often, problem, aggressive breeds; especially because they are so often owned by a certain type of boy or man who feels he is proving he is the macho alpha.

    I've seen the convincing transformation of several aggressive dogs -- some quite scary -- using rewards based training in only two days, in one of Dee Ganley's seminars over here -- that's what really convinced me rewards based training wasn't just about nice approaches to friendly dogs and average owners, but the *right* approach for any dog and the ONLY approach for aggressive dogs that doesn't risk burying a problem that comes out in other ways.

    There have been plenty of bull breeds, mastiffs, rotties, dobes and GSDs in Dog Training Ireland classes, all trained in rewards methods, and all worked very well. Dee Ganley for that matter trains border search dogs and police protection and competitive dog teams amongst others using rewards methods only -- very macho guys handling very macho dogs and winning awards for the performance of their teams. She shows some videos of training approaches with those dogs which are fascinating, especially ways of trainign Fish and Wildlife dogs to sniff out different types of fish!

    From her biography:

    Have had an extensive back ground in teaching personal protection and working with many Police and SAR, Service Dog handlers. ( haven't done the personal protection stuff for 18+ yrs now). But still work and coach SAR Refind and relationship skills & Police dog handlers for competition type events on dog handler relationship and skill training (NO physical Corrections). But definitely time outs. The last team I worked with won the 2003 OB,scent and obstacle course events and was # one all around in Canada. With a K/9 that was very "sharp". Even had the hair on my back "Standing up" on occasion but who in the end trusting me too. But was hair raising to start with;-)
    from http://deesdogs.com/about.htm
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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