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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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Ok, well I said "upward tug" but I guess it was more to the side if I think about where they were positioning my arms.

There aren't many different trainer options where I live so it's either them or I try to do it myself.
After reading a bunch of stuff online, I think I'm going to go ahead with another lesson with them but if it's not any better then quit. I feel like it's been 50/50 since we both seemed to have fun with the first lesson but not so much with lesson #2. Maybe there was something else going on with her that day that made her mopey...or maybe she doesn't like that kind of training. She's doesn't seem like a "soft" dog at all.

I will hate to have to stop. I really want her to be well trained. I know that I could do it myself but it's been years since I really trained (more than just sit and down) a dog. I don't feel like I have the time to do it all myself anymore. Plus, I wanted to do agility classes in the Fall (actually with the same trainers).

Oh well. We'll see how it goes. I'll just keep an eye on her signals because I really don't want her stressed and hating training.
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 they 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.
No, they haven't competed. They have only "dabbled" in teaching their own dogs some agility at home. That's why they are taking classes with other agility instructors to learn how to teach it. They are going to St Louis for some sort of agility competition with their agility mentor this weekend.
The more I hear about these people the less I like them. Blech.
This makes me feel bad because I promise they are really nice people and they love dogs... They hold free puppy socialization clubs on the weekends and they both have 20 years of experience. I just think their methods are outdated unfortunately. Hopefully they will update themselves soon.
It's really disappointing because I've been talking to them over email for weeks now and I was really excited to get started.

Also, they are not pretending to be experienced in agility training. They are openly telling me that they are learning themselves (from experienced agility trainers). That's why they were offering the agility classes for free in the Fall, as kind of a practice for them.
We don't have a session scheduled this weekend because they will be in St Louis at an agility competition. I think I'm going to work my butt off training her myself these two weeks in a more postitive manner and then explain that she seems to respond better that way. They did tell me that different dogs need different methods and that some dogs are more sensitive....so if they stand by that, they should understand that she's not doing well with the harsher corrections.
The trainers don't sound horrible. This is a common method, but there are better ways. Talk to them about it. Explain you want to attend, but you don't want to give corrections.
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. :(
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