Obedience Class

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eddy
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Obedience Class

Post by eddy » Tue May 31, 2011 4:48 pm

Hey guys, took Riley to his 1st obedience class tonight, was a bit of an eye opener to myself, Riley and Sophie.....

It was very hands on to say the least, and not what i expected and nearly got me banned from going back.

The trainer (will not mention names) was contacted 2 weeks ago, the 1st thing i asked was 'what methods do you use' with the reply 'positive reinforcement' GREAT i thought! :)
To get the dogs to walk to heel, (1 condition of going was COLLAR only, no harness) was a tug on the lead, with the attached word 'HEEL'. Dogs were tugged, tugged and tugged some more, until they got the 'heel' thing going, kind of. This to me was not only distressing but quite upsetting. Also, the use of 'PET CORRECTOR' the loud, harsh air spray to keep dogs quiet, again, not something i expected.

Now, am i over reacting, or do these methods not seem like positive reinforcement to me? I am feeling a little reluctant to go again, but after paying my 6 weeks upfront im a little hesitant to NOT go, although for the sake of losing my temper and the money, Riley's interests are my main concern.

At 11 weeks, and amongst other dogs, he was 1 of the best and most behaved dogs, sat/waited upon command, although his walking wasnt upto scratch, but with 10 other dogs/puppies + owners i was NOT surprised.
Just want some thoughts and advice here really, do i continue on my own doing clicker training and teaching him my way (which is working well so far) or do i continue to go back and risk it?

Thanks guys

Eddy

PS > I Know its a sensitive and subjective subject but i really need advice! :)

**EDIT** Forgot to add, there were electric, hissing correction collars on sale....again, another red flag for me!

chay
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Re: Obedience Class

Post by chay » Tue May 31, 2011 6:06 pm

eddy wrote:
Now, am i over reacting, or do these methods not seem like positive reinforcement to me?
you are not overreacting, and no this is not positive reinforcement. these are "aversives" (i.e. making the dog uncomfortable to make them stop something, instead of making it rewarding for them to do something else) which are completely unnecessary, sometimes counter productive (can you imagine what an airhorn could do to a fear reactive dog's progress?) and sometimes harmful (tugging on a dogs collar can seriously damage thier neck - no matter how gently it is done)

your instincts are right, and in the words of monty python...RUN AWAY! this is why the clever folk on here always advocate going along to watch a class WITHOUT your dog first - anyone can say they use positive training but as you've seen, this is not always the case. i think its tragic that many of those dog owners who aren't as clued up as you will go away thinking that is positive training just because they haven't hit or alpha rolled thier dog :roll:
Just want some thoughts and advice here really, do i continue on my own doing clicker training and teaching him my way (which is working well so far) or do i continue to go back and risk it?
i personally would not take my own dog back to a class like that, but it is obviously up to you. you said yourself you are getting great results yourself with the clicker and positive training - i would chalk up the cost of the course as "experience money" and continue building a positive relationship with your dog yourself :)
PS > I Know its a sensitive and subjective subject but i really need advice! :)
the semantics can be argued that there is no such thing as "purely positive" training (a 10 second time out can be classed as an aversive, etc etc) - but at the end of the day its what YOU feel comfortable with with YOUR dog, you don't sound like you're comfortable with this teachers approach
**EDIT** Forgot to add, there were electric, hissing correction collars on sale....again, another red flag for me!
*monthy python* RUN AWAY!! RUN AWAAAAYYY!

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Re: Obedience Class

Post by Sarah83 » Tue May 31, 2011 6:30 pm

This is not a positive class and if they're going to insist on you using those methods then I'd stop going. This is why you should really go and watch a class before deciding you'll attend with your dog. Sadly a lot of trainers seem to describe their methods as positive reinforcement when in reality it's anything but positive for the poor dogs. Obviously finding a good, positive class would be the best thing but personally I think you'd be better off watching videos and reading books and just clicker training than carrying on going to this class and confusing your dog. The 2 methods are, in my opinion, in direct conflict as clicker training generally has the dog offering behaviours whereas traditional training the dog is not expected to think for itself, just to follow orders.

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Re: Obedience Class

Post by emmabeth » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:11 am

I think (agreeing with the others, this ISNT positive training!!!), I would phone the trainer and request a refund for the next five classes on the grounds it is NOT what was advertised.

If that fails then go - but refuse point blank to do what shes telling you and just use it as a socialisation exercise where you and your dog work around the crazyness thats going on and do it your way, with food rewards, no jerking or whatever.

If you are a strong enough person, and you feel you cant or wont get your money back then i would do the latter - if you feel you might be co-erced into doing something you dont want to do then money back or not, I would walk away.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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eddy
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Re: Obedience Class

Post by eddy » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:45 am

It was kinda funny watching everyones faces in the class.

It was amazing, a pulling dog quickly turned into a nice walker with a few TUGS on the lead, it was amazing to these people, to me...it was a quick, cruel fix which wasnt what i wanted at all. I am NOT putting my 12 week old pup through that, although she did say 'we are more gentle with pups because of their size' well im sorry, big or small dog, you dont yank them around. And as for the Pet Corrector air spray, well i was VERY prepared to take it off her and give her a blast in the face and see how she reacted, hence the reason why i could/would get banned.

She took Riley off me as a demo, and i looked at her in a manner to say 'Dont you DARE hurt my dog' and she was very gentle with him, but for the others it was a different story (im 5'11 and 14stone) bit of a big bloke, but always always ALWAYS soft at heart where animals are concerned. I am the voice of Riley in the sense of, he cant say 'please dont pull me, i dont know any better yet' where as i have to say it at the moment.

I dont think ill be going again, and she can keep the money as far as im concerned, its not a problem and id rather avoid confrontation at all costs if i can.
Riley is doing well with Myself and Sophie, and is being a dog, and VERY good considering his age.

I do have a question though, for the last 3 days ive been working on 'DOWN' and he still isnt quite there on a regular basis, and still needs luring, is this normal? What is the average time scale for learning a behaviour? Am i doing something wrong? Or is it normal to take some time to crack a behaviour?

Thanks for all the feedback, glad i wasnt the only shocked!

Eddy :D

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Nettle
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Re: Obedience Class

Post by Nettle » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:57 am

Kudos to you for seeing that it was wrong. Please don't take Eddy back - you can train him far better exactly as you have been doing. I think you have a good case for getting your money back, but if they won't then you can either go along without Eddy, just sit and watch because you learn as much from a bad trainer as a good one, just different things. You have a perfect opportunity to study dog body language, setting the dog up to fail, and the escalating reactions of fearful dogs (and humans). Or else you can write it off as an expensive experience in people not saying what they mean.

With the 'down' - go away from it for a few days, then revisit. The brain is still developing at Eddy's age, and progress is not always smooth. Teach static things like 'down' when you have a tired puppy, and lively things like 'fetch' when you have an energetic one.

Eddy is at the age now where he is co-operative and eager to do as you say. This will change as he hits adolescence, and somebody steals your lovely obedient puppy and leaves a hooligan it his place. Don't fret or panic when this happens - they all do it, come out the other side and go back to being lovely.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

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Mattie
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Re: Obedience Class

Post by Mattie » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:47 am

eddy wrote:Hey guys, took Riley to his 1st obedience class tonight, was a bit of an eye opener to myself, Riley and Sophie.....

It was very hands on to say the least, and not what i expected and nearly got me banned from going back.

The trainer (will not mention names) was contacted 2 weeks ago, the 1st thing i asked was 'what methods do you use' with the reply 'positive reinforcement' GREAT i thought! :)
Many trainers who say they use positive methods don't understand positive training, they seem to think you just stuff the dogs with treats, we know differently, rewards are not just treats, the dog has to think what they are getting is a reward not us, Emmabeth has a dog whose idea of a reward is to steel the treats from her pocket, it worked. :lol:
To get the dogs to walk to heel, (1 condition of going was COLLAR only, no harness) was a tug on the lead, with the attached word 'HEEL'. Dogs were tugged, tugged and tugged some more, until they got the 'heel' thing going, kind of. This to me was not only distressing but quite upsetting. Also, the use of 'PET CORRECTOR' the loud, harsh air spray to keep dogs quiet, again, not something i expected.
Lets put it this way, if someone put a collar on you and tugged and tugged saying "Heel", what would you think the word "Heel" meant? To me it would mean I am getting seriously hurt in the neck when someone says "heel". Have a look at http://tracheotomy-in-dogs.yolasite.com/ a dog trained like that can end up with a damaged trachea or colapsed larynx, both are life threatening as it was with my Ellie.
Now, am i over reacting, or do these methods not seem like positive reinforcement to me? I am feeling a little reluctant to go again, but after paying my 6 weeks upfront im a little hesitant to NOT go, although for the sake of losing my temper and the money, Riley's interests are my main concern.
I would put the first one down to experience and forget the money paid out, I wouldn't take my dog back there. This is why we always tell people to go and watch a class before joining them so we can see what is happening before we pay any money.

I am so bl**** minded that I would go just to contradict the trainer every time they were not using positive methods. :lol:
At 11 weeks, and amongst other dogs, he was 1 of the best and most behaved dogs, sat/waited upon command, although his walking wasnt upto scratch, but with 10 other dogs/puppies + owners i was NOT surprised.
Just want some thoughts and advice here really, do i continue on my own doing clicker training and teaching him my way (which is working well so far) or do i continue to go back and risk it?

Thanks guys

Eddy
Definately work on your own, maybe you could get some of the other owners to join you so you can show them how you are training him, they may also start to train their own dogs the same way. :D
PS > I Know its a sensitive and subjective subject but i really need advice! :)

**EDIT** Forgot to add, there were electric, hissing correction collars on sale....again, another red flag for me!
If they are on sale they will use them, these are not positive trainers, I think a letter to them telling them that you were lied to over their training methods and you want your money back.
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Re: Obedience Class

Post by ladybug1802 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:10 am

As has already been said - dont go back! And I would agree with the suggestion of asking for a refund as she told you she was positive based, and she very clearly isnt! I would definitwely run a mile, especially if she is using Pet Corrector and seeling electric collars!

To give you an idea, I took Dylan to a so called positive based tyrainer near me when i got him....to teach 'heel', she got us to have a handful of yummy treats in our hand and walk aloing with the dog.....in a nutshell you treated the dog a lot when it walked next to you. No tugging required! Now admittedly this method didnt miracuklously make him walk to heel prefectly, but it helped at the time......and more to the point did no damage!

I would definitely be speaking to her and telling her how disappointed you are and how she shouldnt be calling herself a positive reinforcement trainer. But then that is me....and I would be so mad and wouldnt mind the confrontation...in fact I may have a chat with her after one of her classes when other people are around and see her squirm!! Evil...me??!

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eddy
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Re: Obedience Class

Post by eddy » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:52 am

ladybug > Awfully temping, and i to contemplated pulling her aside and having a chat with, like i said, im really no expert, but i know how i want to train my dog. With walking to heel, my idea was (in the 1st stages) lots and lots of treats/praise and just positives really, if that fails, fallen tree! lol

Mattie > I will be working alone for a while, after all i guess people value 'Certificates, Associate member of British professional dog trainers, and other WICKED COOL words and names' and see them as professional, un-beknown to them knowing any different, he/shes professional, wont hurt my dog! (yeah....right)

Riley is in a harness for a reason, to take pressure off his neck. Sophie is a trained pharmaceutical dispenser (currently training for Drug Technician) with a good background in human anatomy (not canine) but the principles regarding a rope/lead around the neck are the same. I have a history of psychology and neurology so again, anatomy isnt far from reach, so i refuse to have him on a collar, well aware that dogs do like to pull (at times or in the 1st instance) and 2, necks are VERY VERY sensitive. I know for fact i wouldnt like to be 1) yanked or 2) prodded in the neck on a regular basis...

As soon as we got Riley i was in 'learn' mode, i booked out 10 books from the Library, done SOOOOO Much research on the net and downloaded ebooks to get some good knowledge behind me (having a bit of human psychology knowledge anyways has helped with various theories and methods as they can be attributed to canine theory) Its just a shame that not a lot of people know 1) how much work and knowledge you should have and 2) not willing to learn.

Its easy people say, it'll be no problem, look at how good he is etc etc and so forth, but people are unaware of what comes after a cute little puppy, and in most cases, either a scared fragile, VOLATILE dog, or a well behaved dog, if the work goes in before hand.

As soon as the word 'ELECTRIC COLLAR' came up, my face must have been a picture, lol i was mortified thinking "hang on, positive....electric....shocks....sprays and noises" something wasnt adding up, Sophie felt the same as i have been training Sophie along with Riley so she knows the ins and outs of what/why/how i do what i do, ive had dogs ALL my life (since i was 5 at least) i am now 28. I had 2 Lakeland Patterdale terriers who were great with decoys and lure coursing, so i have a bit of experience. Anyways, Riley is a new dog, and we'll be doing things my way! :) Happily......no hands on.....no leads (its a relief to know im not going again and as for the money, bah its nothing, she can have it for her hard work that she put in cleaning Riley's wee wee up!)

THanks again folks, really really appreciated! :)

Thanks - Eddy & Riley :D

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Re: Obedience Class

Post by ladybug1802 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:55 am

Riley is very lucky to have you guys!! :D

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eddy
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Re: Obedience Class

Post by eddy » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:06 am

Aww thanks! I like to think that we're doing the right things with him! :)

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Re: Obedience Class

Post by Mattie » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:06 am

eddy wrote: Riley is in a harness for a reason, to take pressure off his neck. Sophie is a trained pharmaceutical dispenser (currently training for Drug Technician) with a good background in human anatomy (not canine) but the principles regarding a rope/lead around the neck are the same. I have a history of psychology and neurology so again, anatomy isnt far from reach, so i refuse to have him on a collar, well aware that dogs do like to pull (at times or in the 1st instance) and 2, necks are VERY VERY sensitive. I know for fact i wouldnt like to be 1) yanked or 2) prodded in the neck on a regular basis...
Sometimes things can be explained better by using us humans, for some reason many owners don't see the connection with pulling on the dog's neck to the damage that can be caused.
As soon as we got Riley i was in 'learn' mode, i booked out 10 books from the Library, done SOOOOO Much research on the net and downloaded ebooks to get some good knowledge behind me (having a bit of human psychology knowledge anyways has helped with various theories and methods as they can be attributed to canine theory) Its just a shame that not a lot of people know 1) how much work and knowledge you should have and 2) not willing to learn.
It is amazing just how similar humans and dogs can be, same with horses, positive training works for all species of animals not just dogs. This includes hubbies and children. :lol:
Its easy people say, it'll be no problem, look at how good he is etc etc and so forth, but people are unaware of what comes after a cute little puppy, and in most cases, either a scared fragile, VOLATILE dog, or a well behaved dog, if the work goes in before hand.
Many people see a well trained dog and think the dog trains itself :shock:
As soon as the word 'ELECTRIC COLLAR' came up, my face must have been a picture, lol i was mortified thinking "hang on, positive....electric....shocks....sprays and noises" something wasnt adding up, Sophie felt the same as i have been training Sophie along with Riley so she knows the ins and outs of what/why/how i do what i do, ive had dogs ALL my life (since i was 5 at least) i am now 28. I had 2 Lakeland Patterdale terriers who were great with decoys and lure coursing, so i have a bit of experience. Anyways, Riley is a new dog, and we'll be doing things my way! :) Happily......no hands on.....no leads (its a relief to know im not going again and as for the money, bah its nothing, she can have it for her hard work that she put in cleaning Riley's wee wee up!)

THanks again folks, really really appreciated! :)

Thanks - Eddy & Riley :D
You have trained Patterdales, you should be telling us how to train our dogs, they are not the easiest dogs to train. :lol:

Riley is very lucky to have come to you, I suspect that soon you will be able to have your own classes to train dogs, you seem to have a lot of knowledge already. There are lots of courses were you can learn by distance, they will expand your knowledge so you can pass on positive training. :D
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eddy
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Re: Obedience Class

Post by eddy » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:22 am

Mattie > Funny, Sophie said the same thing! Ive been looking into doing some training/creditation/certification etc etc and following it all up, as to be honest its a great interest and love. Patterdales - Nightmare in all fairness, although same situation i had the time/effort and motivation to achieve it. I spent 24/7 with Riley as i work from home i have that ability (but, on the weekends i go fishing on a sunday, so thats the 1 day i have off) Mon through Saturday its me and Riley, 7am until 10pm.....lol its great fun! It has its moments, and im sure it'll get better/worse sooner than i realise, but its that, thats driving me to do more with him!

At the moment, im having a great time, we walk/train in the morning, he sleeps 2 hrs, gets up, play/train, sleeps 2 hrs, eats/walks, sleeps 2 hrs etc etc and its great! But i know that those 2 hrs sleeping wont last forever! lol But im looking forward having more time with him! :)
Many people see a well trained dog and think the dog trains itself :)
^^^ Very true, and some people think its easy to train a dog to high standards, its great having a dog who sits and waits for a fuss in the house, but get him doing that in a field with 10 other people and kids playing football not a chance unless you really train them well. Me and Riley have that problem at the moment, and something ill be working on is stimulus control, but for the time being hes doing well and dont want to bore him with that stuff just yet. Its amazing watching owners with dogs, its only really been since the arrival of Riley (i had a period of 2 years where i was homeless and dogless) that i lost interest in dogs (after the patterdales went) and now, Riley has sparked it all off and im in head first again after vowing to never have another dog lol (like that was going to happen!)

Sophie is a horse person, and not having used a clicker herself, does know people who have used them with horses so knows a bit about how and why which is good! :)
It is amazing how people dont see the connection between human/dog, its funny because anatomically we need/use the same things. Air, Food, Water, Lungs, Brains, Hearts, Throats, necks, Legs etc etc and although a dogs perception of pain is far far FAR lower than that of a human, it still have an emotional attatchment to the stimulus of pain. Where a dog knows what pain is, and its very subjective (like in humans) it still makes the association between pain and emotion. Where humans cry at pain, dogs turn that to fear which usually gets vented as aggression in a hope of self preservation and survival. That to me is not only basic, but should be pretty obvious. If you kept hitting a human, it would get conditioned to it, but from time to time the human would crack and lash out in fear/rage in a hope of stopping the thing thats causing pain. Same with dogs IMO.

Thanks - Eddy :D

horza
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Re: Obedience Class

Post by horza » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:03 am

It is amazing how people dont see the connection between human/dog, its funny because anatomically we need/use the same things. Air, Food, Water, Lungs, Brains, Hearts, Throats, necks, Legs etc etc and although a dogs perception of pain is far far FAR lower than that of a human, it still have an emotional attatchment to the stimulus of pain. Where a dog knows what pain is, and its very subjective (like in humans) it still makes the association between pain and emotion. Where humans cry at pain, dogs turn that to fear which usually gets vented as aggression in a hope of self preservation and survival. That to me is not only basic, but should be pretty obvious. If you kept hitting a human, it would get conditioned to it, but from time to time the human would crack and lash out in fear/rage in a hope of stopping the thing thats causing pain. Same with dogs IMO.
i think this should be quote should be given to everyone who has/had/will have a dog, maybe then there won't be as many "aggressive" dogs.

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Re: Obedience Class

Post by ladybug1802 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:12 am

That is very true! My dog can be aggressive to strangers if they stare or try to lean over him.....in the 'wrong' hands he would have been punished for being 'aggressive' and would have become far worse. People just dont seem to associate aggression in dogs with them being scared for some reason....people often label them as being 'naughty' or 'bad' when in fact they are just trying to deal with their fear.

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