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Is this type of training ok?

1759 Views 22 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  hanksimon
First off let me say that I know there are a lot of different opinions on the best training methods. I just want to make sure that the method that is being used with my dog is ok. I've never used a professional trainer before so I'm new to this.

Buttercup started her obedience training this weekend. She had two lessons, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. From now on it will be once a week (with me working with her through the week).
The trainers had choke collars that they brought and also a martingale with a chain loop. They brought all of them just to see what fit her and they used the martingale because they said they liked it better because it's easier to show people how to use the correct way. They demonstrated "corrections" with it and one trainer made me practice on a bucket filled with weights while the other trainer worked with Buttercup. They said that for every one correction you give, you want to give even more praises when the dog gets it right.

She actually did really good the first day. She learned heel and auto sit. They hardly gave her any corrections the first day, mostly just lots of praise and showing her what they wanted. When they did correct her, she didn't seem to mind it and bounced right back.
The second day was tougher.... It was just a follow up on the day before but with less room for error. There were more corrections this time (a hard upward tug on the leash). Buttercup didn't like it. She was ducking her head a little bit in a heartbreaking way. She started to "burn out" a lot quicker than the day before. They said that it was normal and that later on she won't have to be corrected hardly at all.

As soon as it looked like she was getting tired they stopped and took a fun break, running around and letting her play. She went right back to loving them.

Does this sound ok? I really liked it the first day but the second day it was almost like watching someone spank your kid.... I wanted to cuddle her. It's not like they were really being mean to her or anything, but it still made me hurt to see her kind of pouty.

They are really nice people (husband and wife) and their two dogs are really sweet and well behaved.

I just need some 2nd opinions!
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These trainers have experience in obedience and problem solving training but they are just now getting into agility. They are actually in the process of taking agility classes themselves to learn how to teach it. The classes that they are offering me in the Fall are free of charge because they would be just starting out and trying to build up a client base.... So I don't know what their methods will be for that.
Have they successfully competed in Agility? It doesn't sound like they have. Honestly, I teach an intro class, but if students are serious, I send them to someone who has proven herself to be very successful (MACH 4) in motivating, training AND handling dogs in Agility. I at least have some titles, but am more comfortable teaching the areas where I have been highly successful. And I don't teach anything based on collar corrections. I say go with your gut, and remember that you are your dog's advocate. If you don't speak up for her, nobody will.
Thank you for this! I think I'm going to try that. They really aren't bad people and they do have many years of experience and graduated from a dog training program years ago. They just seem to be outdated. This is private lessons, not a class so I should have some say in what's going on.

Also, I do know that everyone is right and I can't let them keep training her this way. I hated seeing her look sad and confused. I think I was sort of in denial and hoping that you all would say "that's normal, don't worry" because I was so excited to do this. I really wanted a well trained dog. My old dog who I trained myself, knew everything! I would never consider him to be "well trained" though because he only listened to commands if I had a treat.

This also means that there will be no agility training in our future. We live in a small town surrounded by other small towns. I thought I was super lucky to find these trainers. :(
You can always make you own equipment and train on your own. And find someone at a greater distance who knows more about agility (these folks sound like the blind leading the blind) and make the drive once a month for a private lesson. Or, I don't know if Helix Fairweather still has her cyber agility class, but look into it. If she does, I suspect you would learn far more on line from someone who knows what they are doing.
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