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Thread: Elton Training Refusing Command/Meltdown behavior

  1. #1
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    Default Elton Training Refusing Command/Meltdown behavior

    Elton had his second private lesson and he has been doing extremely well. I do not like certain things about this trainer and would rather see someone else but I already paid for 5 lessons. She believes in corrective actions. She wanted to put a leash around his neck and give a tug for correction. This is a No No especially for cavaliers. Having something pulled on their neck when many have issues with CM and/or SM, I don't think so. I told her I believed in positive training and did not like the use of correction. She asked why Elton had a harness and I explained their health issues and I don't like anything on his neck.

    I decided that since the lessons were paid for, I would go and tell her I did not want to do certain things for correction. I tried the clicker training and it was hard for me to get timing right so we are working on praise immediately. I may still have to get the hang of the clicker. Anyway, we did the heel, sit, stay etc. and he did great and everything was positive and he did not need correction but this changed last night.

    He KNOWS the command to lay down. We have done this before training but it was always for a treat. He was doing great with heeling, sit, lay down, but we need to work on the lay down then sit and place. Everything was fine until he had a meltdown. I think he hit his wall. He went to sit and I could not get him to lay down. He was refusing and it's not that he did not know the command but he just did not want to listen. Part of me wanted to say that he has had enough because they can get tired but then that is teaching him that he can do that. I don't like the whole "pack leader" but I do not want to reinforce the behavior. A friend sent me an article about the problem of ignoring unwanted behaviors and I really liked it. The problem is that she says the trick is interrupt unwanted behaviors and reinforce what you want them to do to replace the unwanted behavior. For example, Elton barks so I have tried to get him to sit when he is barking which he will do, then once he stops I give him praise. However, that does not help in this situation.

    The trainer pulled Elton's front legs and MADE him lay down then held his back. I really didn't like this. I don't know what to do instead and I really need to know because this comes into play when I'm at home. If he doesn't want to get down or be moved, he will growl and stiffin his body. He will snap also and has a look in his eyes. The trainer told me to close his muzzle which I don't like either.

    Please help me because I don't like this.

    PS. The training and working with Elton has really helped his anxiety and excitement. I am now a STRONG believer in training because I can see a noticible difference and I know he is happier.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

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    I would dump the trainer -- don't like the sound of anything she is doing and agree with you on all your reservations -- and ask for the cost back. If she doesn't refund it, chalk it up as a learning experience. You are going to create serious problems in Elton with her approach.

    Forcing a dog when they are just not interested and pulling a dog into position to force a down is just BS and I'd have pulled her around in a few directions if I'd been there! Dogs like kids (and adults!) can get overstressed, be tired, have had a tough day, be too sore to pay attention etc. So what is the point of forcing training? That sure won't result in a happy dog that loves to go to training classes and responds well to training generally. Who gives a ?&*% if a dog won't go into a down and seems distracted? So do something that is fun instead as a break!

    Also getting a dog to reliable go into a down stay takes hours -- months of practice and positive reinforcement. He won;t have this reliably after a few classes or even a few weeks. A good trainer will explain all that. Downstays are hard to trainn and generally take long work for slowly increased periods of time, starting with just a few seconds. It won't happen any faster or without putting in the patience and time.

    Also a good positive-methods trainer will teach you how to properly use and then (mostly) discontinue food rewards. I don;t think that trainer has any idea how to properly positive-train.

    Get a CCPDT qualified trainer which will help you avoid the idiots..

    I would always advise thoroughly grilling a trainer on their methods before committing to a class or lessons. My trainer friends say any good trainer will let you come sit in (without your dog) to observe how the class is run. No decent trainer not stuck in discredited methods would require a dog to be trained on a collar and jerked on a lead, or would question using a harness for training (my trainer friends have successfully trained thousands of dogs over here in harnesses. I have never used anything else. It doesn't matter one jot what you use if a person is not jerking the dog around with those stupid so-called 'corrections').

    Anne I would advocate a group class and not home training alone. Too often, dogs can sit with no distractions at home bit then won't out in the 'real world' -- training in a group class lets the dogs socialise (and the owners), and far more important lets them learn with everyday distractions like having other dogs and people around, background noise, etc. This makes it much more like the conditions under which most people need their dogs to respond -- not in silence in a place they know, but anywhere they go.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Just use the 'search for a professional' link on the left in the menu bar:

    http://www.ccpdt.org/
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Forcing a dog when they are just not interested and pulling a dog into position to force a down is just BS and I'd have pulled her around in a few directions if I'd been there! Dogs like kids (and adults!) can get overstressed, be tired, have had a tough day, be too sore to pay attention etc. So what is the point of forcing training? That sure won't result in a happy dog that loves to go to training classes and responds well to training generally. Who gives a ?&*% if a dog won't go into a down and seems distracted? So do something that is fun instead as a break!

    Also getting a dog to reliable go into a down stay takes hours -- months of practice and positive reinforcement. He won;t have this reliably after a few classes or even a few weeks. A good trainer will explain all that. Downstays are hard to trainn and generally take long work for slowly increased periods of time, starting with just a few seconds. It won't happen any faster or without putting in the patience and time.

    Also a good positive-methods trainer will teach you how to properly use and then (mostly) discontinue food rewards. I don;t think that trainer has any idea how to properly positive-train.

    Get a CCPDT qualified trainer which will help you avoid the idiots..
    .
    Thanks and I agree. Elton was tired and needed a break. He is a fast learner but when I practice at home, it's for short periods. He loves when I stop on walks and he sits down and i give praise and when I say OKAY so he can be free to do whatever he goes crazy loving it!

    I should have trusted my gut or talked to my friend who had similar concerns about this trainer before i signed up. She pointed me to a place here that looked good after I already committed to this trainer (they do not believe in throw chains, squirt water bottles, advocate leash pops, or use verbal harshness to produce results). If I can't get a refund, I may have to wait until I have the funds. Their group classes are geared to puppy or adolescent).

    I did a search for a ccpdt dog trainer but found a CPDT-KA dog trainer. Do not know the difference. They train police dogs, instruct seminars for departments and agencies worldwide and do all sorts of training and have a dog trainer school. They do have a basic obedience group class that I called about. Don't know who the instructor is. Elton gets so excited which is why I thought private lessons would be better at first. Hopefully they will call back and can answer some questions. I will not post link because I don't want things good or bad in public.

    I think I need to do more reading, still work with Elton and hopefully get into a group class. It really will benefit a lot of his issues that I thought were medical. I've already noticed some improvements . Things that were not helped with medication.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

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    I think you are also right about asking for a refund or just ditching trainer. It probably could make things worse if he is not being trained properly. I still think no harm is done with me rewarding good behavior and reading/talking to different trainers. No need to rush.

    I think some positive changes are due to more socialization. Ive been picking him up at lunch somedays and taking him to daycare. (they play and socialize). They said he had some anxiety issues the first time but I took him back and now he is interacting and doing much better. If Elton hasn't learned anything, I know I have.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Just use the 'search for a professional' link on the left in the menu bar:

    http://www.ccpdt.org/

    Thanks Karlin! I saw this after I posted. There is no one in NC but I live close to one in SC. I wonder why the person that said CPDT-KA was not listed? Oh well. I will contact the person close to me.

    Thanks again.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

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    I agree with Karlin...dog training is an art, some get it and some are just idiots. :P

    Forcing a dog is not the answer, growling and stiffening the body is his way of saying he is uncomfortable. Down position is an intimidating place for a dog to be in.

    I would go back to basics which is treat and praise. If you think he can handle the correction at home you can do correction work at home but not in training class (unless he is being a total jerk). Personally I would leave the down command alone for a while because he now associates it with negative actions. Work on sit, stay and come then teach a trick or two then add down again as a fun command. I have taught my last three dogs down by using a toy. When the dog wants to play they naturally do a bow actions....wait long enough they will down-then I reward as I say the command down. I have super fast downs when I teach this way.

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    Wow, I think I totally agree on ditching her. What nerve she has. I don't see how most every dog couldn't benefit from a harness over a collar with leash.

    I chose not to seek the outside help of trainers in my area. I talked to a few and didn't get a warm and fuzzy. Being in the deep South in the US, I feel their approach is less like we agree with and more negative/hands-on/nearly abusive type training. Very few folks around here have smaller toy breeds, they have labs, pointers, etc...larger breeds for hunting. I have a hard time believing they would offer much training advice I would agree with.

    We have read a few books and have taken the task on ourselves and just taken it slow. It seems our patience keeps paying off more and more and the "slow method" of focusing on one thing at a time has worked well for her and for us. It may not be the best approach, but it's been the key to her success. Sometimes I think we are failing, but then I visit her cousin, my in- law's cavalier. Lady is a dream to manage compared to her (no discipline or training) and we always feel like giving ourselves a pat on the back after we leave. Elton is probably further along than you may think.

    I'm glad you said you're taking him to daycare. I started bringing Lady on days we cannot come home to play several times during the day and she loves it. I noticed she was listening better after a month of random daycare trips. She was socializing and maturing. I would definitely keep that up. Do they offer training classes at the daycare? Maybe someone there has a method you would feel more comfortable with?
    Last edited by Lady Hoop; 18th November 2012 at 04:29 PM.

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    Oh dear, sorry you've had trouble Anne. It's a shame there are trainers who still think like that isn't it? I agree that finding a new one sounds best.

    On the "lie down", Misty had an awful time with it when we first got her, she would not do it no matter how hard we coaxed, and repeated. We actually took her to a puppy class to help her socialize, as she was fearful of other people. It was the same trainer we had taken Murphy to as a puppy, and she was fine with Misty joining at three

    She tried a few different things, but in the end she showed me to sit on the floor, with one leg bent and hold a piece of cheese through it. Misty learned if she wanted the cheese she had to get down to reach through my leg. We didn't have her crawling through my leg or anything, she just had to get down to reach her head through. We worked with that saying the "lie down" command, until the day came we could do it with just the command and not the leg
    Paula - mum to Murphy(6) & Misty(7), and Jerry our cat.

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    I'd do like everyone else says, and dump that trainer. As for the other trainers, someone who is CPDT-KA should be good, but they should also let you observe their classes before you give them any money so that you know if you are comfortable with their techniques. APDT.COM is also a place where you can search for trainers.
    I'd avoid anyone advocating leash pops, especially on a cavalier, since we know they have potential issues. Luke does weight pulling, and for other breeds, the trainer will sometimes put pressure on the leash to get them to move forward. Not a pop, just steady pressure. She knows the reason why I will not use that for Luke. You can't use treats for competition, so none of the other dogs whose owners have any interest in competing at any point use treats for their dogs. Luke gets to use treats, and I might still compete with him at some point, but I know how to fade those out and keep him working. It's just going to take longer to get him there. My other dog has never seen a treat in weight pulling.
    Luke would not even go down under the legs when he was a puppy. He just did not want to go down on certain surfaces. Until he was really solid on softer surfaces like carpets, mats, grass, etc., he wouldn't do it at all on hard surfaces. Unless he was just too exhausted to stay up any more. So yes, early on, I did get him tired to make him more likely to lay down. Even yesterday, though he knows down very well, and I was asking him to do it on mats, he was refusing it. He was at a flyball tournament. His brain was probably exhausted but super excited at the same time. It did not matter what treat I put in front of him at that point in time even to try to lure him down, he just couldn't do it. When he was a puppy and in classes, he used to just go into one of the open crates and hang there for a few minutes when he needed a break. He also used to do that when I had him in agility classes. He'd just run off course and crate himself, or if he ran off course and I couldn't get him back, I could always count on him listening if I told him to go to a crate. His little brain just needs a rest sometimes.

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