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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone!

I was wondering, of all the people who post on dog training forum, who is a trainer? I am looking into becoming a trainer and would love some feedback on becoming one or even things I should or should not do from the owners perspective.

Thanks!
~John

PS Im trying to find the right breed for myself so any thoughts are great!
 

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I've been training dogs for 30+ years. Have been training professionally (not volunteer) for about 10. The first thing you need is experience with a wide variety of dogs. If you haven't experienced it, you can't give advice, you can't answer owners questions thoroughly, and you can't help the dog. Find seminars in your area. Attend them. Apprentace under an experienced trainer, volunteer at your local shelter, and get that dog and start training it to do things. Pet manners are great, and that's probably what most of your clients are going to want. BUT your level of skill needs to be deeper if you are going to train. Pick a challenging sport and train for it. Training difficult behaviors in difficult situations gives you a reality check on how you're really doing. Oh - and from your other thread? You cannot be the dominant dog. You are the wrong species, and dogs know it. Generally people who concentrate on being dominant over dogs just end up looking silly or like bullies. There are much better ways to communicate what you want to a dog (and make it worth their effort to comply
 

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WOW!
Now thats what I call advice. Thanks Pawsk9! So long story story short; practice, read and learn as much as possible? An if reading is one of them, any suggested reads or videos to watch?

Thanks!
~John
 

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WOW!
Now thats what I call advice. Thanks Pawsk9! So long story story short; practice, read and learn as much as possible? An if reading is one of them, any suggested reads or videos to watch?

Thanks!
~John
Kikopup.com is excellent. Sue Ailsby and Leslie McDevitt also have some nice videos. The training levels yahoo list is very useful. For books - lots out there - for understanding basic theory - Reaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pryor. Aggression in Dogs and Canine Body Language by Brenda Aloff are good.Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. My current favorite is Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt.
 

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Kikopup.com is excellent. Sue Ailsby and Leslie McDevitt also have some nice videos. The training levels yahoo list is very useful. For books - lots out there - for understanding basic theory - Reaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pryor. Aggression in Dogs and Canine Body Language by Brenda Aloff are good.Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. My current favorite is Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt.
Thanks yet again!

From a trainers perspective, and I know this may be a loaded question, but what do you think of spiked or choke collars? Personally I don't like them but I know some people who do just because they have a hard time controlling their dog.

~John
 

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Thanks yet again!

From a trainers perspective, and I know this may be a loaded question, but what do you think of spiked or choke collars? Personally I don't like them but I know some people who do just because they have a hard time controlling their dog.

~John
Since I've started 95% of dogs trained with a prong collar I have no problem with-em. I'm the oldest trainer here probably not the smartest but that's open for discussion. Old school was, you train a dog and then you train a second dog and so and so forth. Nowadays the starting is more youtube/books etc.
 

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I have just recently started working as a trainer (in the last year and a bit), and in training to become a behaviourist.
I have been working with dogs (in a large boarding kennels) for about 7 years, which has lead me to meeting a LOT of dogs and learning a LOT about dog behaviour and dog body language. I have also been involved in agility, rally and obedience since I was 12. I studied vet nursing and canine behaviour out of interest (still wasn't sure what I wanted to do at that point) and decided behaviour was where I wanted to go. I am studying animal behaviour at university (in my final year now), and got myself a job with one of the top behaviourist's in my country running obedience classes and doing in-home private obedience work. When difficult cases (aggression, separation anxiety etc.) pop up, my boss will give us all the assistance we need to work on these cases and make sure everything works out, so we get to learn and work at the same time. I am hoping next year to either start a part-time masters degree in behaviour, or do a diploma in advanced canine behaviour. I also teach agility classes and am on the committee for my agility club, as well as help out a breeder friend with raising/socializing her litters and do a little show ring stuff... and currently training my own puppy for agility and working trials. My whole live is ruled by dogs!!

Advice: read anything and everything you can about dog training, old books, new books, good books, bad books, watch videos, attend seminars, volunteer at a dog club, get a job working with dogs so you can be around lots of dogs (day care or boarding kennel) and see how you feel about it then.
 

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Thanks yet again!

From a trainers perspective, and I know this may be a loaded question, but what do you think of spiked or choke collars? Personally I don't like them but I know some people who do just because they have a hard time controlling their dog.

~John
Personally, and the way I train. I have no use for them. I can see maybe if it is an 80 year old 95 lb. woman with a 150 lb. Great Dane. but then, I've seen dogs who pull through a prong collar (and any dog can ignore a choke chain - they just weeze a lot while they are pulling) I'm a big believer in teaching the dog that next to you is the happiest place to be. And how it is their responsiblity not to pull. If they pull, we aren't going that direction.
 

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Since I've started 95% of dogs trained with a prong collar I have no problem with-em. I'm the oldest trainer here probably not the smartest but that's open for discussion. Old school was, you train a dog and then you train a second dog and so and so forth. Nowadays the starting is more youtube/books etc.
We have a lot of resources on line, that we didn't used to. But the most important stuff is still getting your hands on a lot of different dogs, and getting real life (and sport) experience. Perhaps I should sign my posts Wooly Mammoth trainer since I'm not quite old enough to have trained dinosaurs.
 

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We have a lot of resources on line, that we didn't used to. But the most important stuff is still getting your hands on a lot of different dogs, and getting real life (and sport) experience. Perhaps I should sign my posts Wooly Mammoth trainer since I'm not quite old enough to have trained dinosaurs.
Love it, from now on in my mind you will be "The W-M t" .
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Why Thank You Crimson!

Do you have any comments or experiences with dog trainers or dog training yourself, you thinking or going into the field yourself?

~John
 

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If owning a dog and teaching them basic manners/commands counts, then yes. But I'd say I have a lot more experience to rack up before I went around giving other people advice lol. I don't see myself as being a dog trainer; I'm looking into journalism, but it would be cool to cover animals (dogs in particular!). I do want to get involved with volunteer work in a rescue/shelter, but nothing professional. What made you decide dog training is the career for you? (Open question to all those that have replied/will reply.)
 

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I'll add that you should learn as much as you can about learning theory (read about Pavlov, Skinner, Thorndike, Guthrie, Hull, Bandura, etc.). Once you are familiar with the general principles of conditioning and learning, you can adapt and apply them to meet the needs of specific situations. If you only learn the step-by-step instructions, you'll be much less flexible in your approach.

As Pawz, wvasko, and other said, practice, practice, practice. Reading books can't replace actual time with dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If owning a dog and teaching them basic manners/commands counts, then yes. But I'd say I have a lot more experience to rack up before I went around giving other people advice lol. I don't see myself as being a dog trainer; I'm looking into journalism, but it would be cool to cover animals (dogs in particular!). I do want to get involved with volunteer work in a rescue/shelter, but nothing professional. What made you decide dog training is the career for you? (Open question to all those that have replied/will reply.)
Crimson,

Well I actually have another post, Forum Thread, because I find both fields interseting. The reason I find dog training appealing is because, well, I've always loved training my dogs. Then I went on to helping my neighbors and even cured some friends of their dog fears from when they were children or older. The most recent training that I have done is for my parents. This past summer they went into a fostering bonanza, which I was fine with, and helped train and get adopted 6-8 pairs of puppies in about 8 weeks. The training that I did is what greatly helped the dogs adopted which felt great! The connection my parents built helped them do great write ups so adoptees knew the dog they would be adopting.

~John

PS Crimson, know any good reads or even YouTube channels to check about about dog training?
 

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I'll add that you should learn as much as you can about learning theory (read about Pavlov, Skinner, Thorndike, Guthrie, Hull, Bandura, etc.). Once you are familiar with the general principles of conditioning and learning, you can adapt and apply them to meet the needs of specific situations. If you only learn the step-by-step instructions, you'll be much less flexible in your approach.

As Pawz, wvasko, and other said, practice, practice, practice. Reading books can't replace actual time with dogs.
Cookieface or anyone else who would want to respond to this,

For the forums, would you mind explaining learning theory a little bit? If its too hard to put on the forum maybe a link would be best. I could put a link up myself, but you posted it so I figured that you might be the better person to give a more in depth post about it.

~John
 

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Some basics

We can add something that the dog likes when he does what we want.
We can remove something the dog likes when he doesn't do what we want.
WE can add something the dog doesn't like when he does what we don't want.
We can remove something the dog doesn't like when he does what we want.

The consequences have to meaningful to the dog and they have to be timely. If I give him food for sitting and he is not hungry it is not meaningful. If I take him in the house after training and give a hungry dog a steak, even though meaningful it is not timely.

 

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Crimson,

Well I actually have another post, Forum Thread, because I find both fields interseting. The reason I find dog training appealing is because, well, I've always loved training my dogs. Then I went on to helping my neighbors and even cured some friends of their dog fears from when they were children or older. The most recent training that I have done is for my parents. This past summer they went into a fostering bonanza, which I was fine with, and helped train and get adopted 6-8 pairs of puppies in about 8 weeks. The training that I did is what greatly helped the dogs adopted which felt great! The connection my parents built helped them do great write ups so adoptees knew the dog they would be adopting.

~John

PS Crimson, know any good reads or even YouTube channels to check about about dog training?
Sounds like you have some good grounding with that fostering bonanza ;) Unfortunately, you'd be better off asking Google (or the other members) for what to read/watch. I'm sure you've done this, but I made sure to check out all the stickies.

Also quick question on the chart jiml: could you (or another member) provide an example of composite operant conditioning and how it differs from classical conditioning and operant conditioning? Maybe it's just because I'm back from school but my brain isn't cooperating right now :)
 

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My uncle is a dog trainer and I have to say that you must really like dogs if you want to go forward with this. You need a lot patience and understanding of a dog's behavior. You must know why a dog reacts in certain ways and what you can do to correct that. It is a lot of hard work and you must really dedicate yourself to the job.
 

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My uncle is a dog trainer and I have to say that you must really like dogs if you want to go forward with this. You need a lot patience and understanding of a dog's behavior. You must know why a dog reacts in certain ways and what you can do to correct that. It is a lot of hard work and you must really dedicate yourself to the job.
Yeah I know that for sure. I just love working with dogs. They Are not objective of your looks and they accept you for who you are in a sense. I am also looking into dog grooming as well and was directed to a school I can attend to get the experience needed. By may i will already have a degree with Land Surveying which I greatly enjoy. But, if i can work with dogs which I love, i would much prefer to do that.

~John

PS Leahwyatt- do you think you could get in touch with your uncle for possible reads or advice for this thread? or maybe even get him to join and post himself!?!
 
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