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Hi all, new around here. This seems like a good place to get the info I am looking for. Sorry in advance for the extremely long post....


Quick summary of our issues:
Me and my fiance adopted a dog who is aggressive about 1 1/2 moths ago. He showed no signs of aggression at the animal control and when they do their "behavioral eval." if he did they would have put him down. That's their policy (real nice, huh?). He is very happy, and playful around us and most others, but he has bit and caused bruising around what looks similar to a blood blister, but no punctures. I believe it was meant more as a warning than to cause serious harm. I could be wrong though, I'm not an expert haha. It has only happened when he has been on a leash.

We signed up with a dog trainer/ behaviorist to work on this, who advertises as a positive reinforcement trainer. An hour into the first class I find out he uses pinch collars (that doesn't seem like positive reinforcement to me), which he recommended we use. I don't believe in this, but since it was his class I went along with it. I have felt bad every time I have had to make a correction, and now almost a month after starting the training I still haven't seen the slightest improvement.

Here's my serious issue.


We had only one rough class (my pooch barked and jumped once meanly at someone who was trying to see how he'd act in a certain circumstance). Now he wants to use a shock collar next time. Again, another thing I don't agree with, but I listened to what he had to say about it, instead of immediately disputing. Him and others he's trained started talking about it. He wants to turn it up to max setting and when my dog shows aggression towards another person or dog shock him on that setting, and then turn it down and use it on a lower setting. An exact quote from one of his long time students that is used as an example for everything "the dog learns after that first shock that when the collar is on that he can't misbehave." He agreed with that statement. That shot up red flags and internally my brain is screaming "GET OUT OF HERE NOW!!!"....

What happened to trying to prevent the dog from being collar smart? Aren't you supposed to let the dog wear it for a while with it off before actually using it, if you're actually going to use it? This seems more like using punishment and fear to train than positive reinforcement. I think I should eat the money I spent for these sessions and either try to find another trainer or try work with a clicker and the information I have gained from reading books written by people such as Pat Miller, Patricia Mcconnell, and their likes.

In the 1 1/2 months since we've rescued him he's learned his name, sit, down, stay, heel, come (works with distractions about 75% of the time so far), knows to wait at the door for us to walk out first, wait until I put his food in his bowl and tell him to eat before he eats, and other basic things like that. We have done this all by ourselves without the trainer. I feel like all Ive paid him for is to have him tell me to put a prong collar on our dog and yank it when he barks, and now to move to a shock collar.


Finally the question:


What do you all think I should do? Should I eat the money I paid and not go back? Should I go and not allow him to use the shock collar and while I'm at it ditch the prong? Should I find another trainer? Should I try myself for a few weeks with the clicker and see how it goes (I have done a lot of research and reading on this idea)?

Once again, sorry for the long post.

Thank you in advance!
 

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I would see if I could get some money back. I would tell him that I signed up because he billed himself as a "positive reinforcement trainer" and he really isn't. See if he will refund some of your money.

Whether or not you get money back, I would walk. You aren't likely going to get useful instructions when you are at odds with the trainer on basic principles.
 

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Get that pinch collar off the dog, please. It can make an aggressive dog way worse! Any pain the dog feels when confronted with something fearful is blamed on the object of his fear, making it worse. The shock collar is an absolute NO! Do NOT use it, refuse the shock collar, dont argue with the trainer, just tell him no. and I would switch your dog off the pinch onto a head halter so you can control the direction his muzzle goes, and be able to close his mouth quick if he does lunge at someone.

I have a seriously aggressive dog, with people and other dogs, I have way more control with the Black Dog Training Collar I use on him. Dont use a GL, use a halti, Dogmatic, Black Dog Training Collar, or any other type of head collar that will close the mouth when you pull. You get way more control of the pointy end.

I made the mistake of using a Pinch Collar on Oliver when I first got him. He was already aggressive with strange dogs, but adored people, until I corrected him for jumping on people. He must have blamed the people for "getting bit" and will now try to attack people he doesn't know. That should never have happened, he adored people, and was such a suck with everyone, until I put a pinch on him. I have since learned my lesson, but I ruined Oliver. It's been 3 years, and he hasn't gotten much better :(
 

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It definitely seems like you were working with a wanna-be trainer, a good trainer would work without aversive techniques first and most would only use them as a last resort.
I recommend you find a better trainer to work with your dog.
You'd probably make a better attempt by yourself than the trainer you hired.
 
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