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Hello, I'm new to the forums. I came looking for some advice about this.
My partner and I adopted a shelter dog 3 months ago that was estimated to be around 6-8 months old. Before the adoption, my partner agreed to positive reinforcement and clicker training. We even watched a bunch of videos and later signed up for zoom training from a highly regarded trainer.
However, we have both not been consistent with the training or reinforcement throughout the day. I always basically have to throw the clicker at them to use it, but that's only when taking the dog outside. My partner is very quick to yell "NO" instead of figuring out a solution, putting the dog outside on the aerial tether if she whines to go out (instead of on the leash, seeing if she goes potty, and then coming back in so she doesn't continue whine to go out whenever), and stuff like that.
Now they keep saying that "positive reinforcement training doesn't work" for our dog and that we will need to use discipline to get her to learn "no". They are expecting a quick stop to the "problem" behaviors. They insist we don't have the time or energy, as two mentally ill people, to do positive training. I disagree. It is worse on my mental health to have to fight this. I'm getting tired. I feel as though I will need to just keep the dog tethered to me and do all training alone.
Our dog is a cat chaser and we have 2 indoor cats. The place isn't big enough to keep them separate. I've found that she's better around the cats when my partner isn't home and I keep a chill attitude about it, most of the time. If she can't be chill, I separate them or find a better distraction.
I'm just at a loss. I don't want this disagreement to come between us but I absolutely do not want to discipline our dog because I don't see any reputable research about that. I do not wish to hear reasons why it's okay to discipline, unless you have reputable science-backed research to support you.
Thank you in advance for reading all this.

tl;dr my partner agreed to positive reinforcement training, but won't give it a try for more than a couple days at a time maybe at most, and then claims it doesn't work. I've tried citing reputable sources and it doesn't work. I'm a research evidence-based person and they are a word-of-mouth "my friend said" person, even if those friends dogs are not well trained.
 

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It sounds like you've done everything you can to convince your partner, and it certainly was not kind of them to agree to one method and then go back not their word. Unfortunately, people who refuse to accept evidence based research won't ever accept evidence based research.

Your options are training the dog yourself, returning the dog to the shelter, or returning your partner. It's a very difficult decision, and unfortunately you're the only one who can decide. Things get a bit tricky when the human is the problem.
 

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R+ is never reliable anyways.

I am a balanced trainer, who uses all four quadrants of training, with a reactive and sensitive dog. Its not always E- collars and prongs. Its more than that. Its telling the dog no, or walking the dog away from something that stimulates it, as a punishment. Its rewarding a dog for behavior you like, or letting your dog play with its favorite toy when it comes when called. or Giving a dog a pop on the collar for not listening to you. the dog understands this language much better than "i ignore you when your bad, treat you when your good" .. what if running away from you is a million times better than any amount of food, praise, or treats? Then what... well if your a R+ trainer good luck... if your balanced then click the button on the E-collar , and heavily praise when your dog comes (happily) bounding back to you.. it makes more sense.
 

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OP, if I were in your shoes I'd be considering what this situation is telling me about this partner as a viable LTR, particularly if you intend to someday have children.

That said, unless this is a small dog (i.e. about the same size as the cats or smaller) it may be necessary to rehome anyway, for the cats' safety. If the cats are at risk, it'd be better to rehome the dog sooner rather than later, as you're only going to get more attached with time.

R+ is never reliable anyways.

I am a balanced trainer, who uses all four quadrants of training, with a reactive and sensitive dog. Its not always E- collars and prongs. Its more than that. Its telling the dog no, or walking the dog away from something that stimulates it, as a punishment. Its rewarding a dog for behavior you like, or letting your dog play with its favorite toy when it comes when called. or Giving a dog a pop on the collar for not listening to you. the dog understands this language much better than "i ignore you when your bad, treat you when your good" .. what if running away from you is a million times better than any amount of food, praise, or treats? Then what... well if your a R+ trainer good luck... if your balanced then click the button on the E-collar , and heavily praise when your dog comes (happily) bounding back to you.. it makes more sense.
If you can't train something as basic as recall without using an electric shock collar, you shouldn't call yourself a trainer.
 

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what if running away from you is a million times better than any amount of food, praise, or treats? Then what... well if your a R+ trainer good luck... if your balanced then click the button on the E-collar , and heavily praise when your dog comes (happily) bounding back to you.. it makes more sense.
I'm not against an occasional collar pop when called for myself, and my dogs definitely no what "no" means. However, in my experience, a dog is as capable of ignoring the possibility of punishment as he is the possibility of reward in circumstances where what he wants to do is a basic instinct or highly self-rewarding. In the case of reward-based training, what makes it work in highly distracting circumstances is repeating the behavior over and over in one distracting environment after another until its reflexive. And no one who knows what they're doing hands out a treat for every single sit or recall for the dog's life.

Also anyone who plans to do competitive dog sports sponsored by associations such as AKC better get over the idea of relying on things like e-collars, as they aren't allowed on show grounds, much less to be used in competition. We've also had posts in these forums from people who live in places where such devices are against the law.
 

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E-collars and prong collars are against the law here as is cropping docking and other un-civilised methods.

Im sure if you were tasered evereytime you did something wrong you would soon learn to comply not because you wanted to but because the results if you didnt were un-pleasent.
Say what you like the use of an e-collar in the hands of a sadistic or angry owner is a powerful weapon. IF their use cannot be 100% controled then they should be banned..

With the OP in mind if her partner is angry and shouty preferring to tether the dog rather than walk it can you imgaine the resuts of an e-collar....

Poor dog.

with this in mind either find a good trainer who will work with your partner or re-home and your partner should seriously think of anger management classes before you have any children...
 

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I'm going to answer this as someone also struggling with mental illness/neurodivergence, with a partner who also has some struggles.

I think this is going to warrant a serious sit-down talk with your partner. I'd spell out very clearly that this conflict is impacting your own mental health, and try to figure out where the resistance is coming from on their end re: the training methods. Are there specific behaviors stressing them out? Are there challenges they didn't anticipate that they're finding difficult to live with? I know that personally, as an anxious person/sensitive person, yelling can really upset me including harsh verbal corrections towards my dogs. I've had to have conversations with my own wife (who is largely on board with force-free training, but still grew up in a household where telling dogs off was the norm) about alternatives to yelling, and that generally included asking specific things like what she wanted to happen when we were seeing these behaviors, what management we could do to reduce the behaviors, and what were solutions we could both agree on.

Our younger puppy is a very busy dog who is still learning how to settle in the house and has to get into everything. We adore him, but he is A Lot, especially in a small apartment when I'm studying and my wife is still working from home most of the time. I have had to actively take the lead in teaching him house skills and committing more time to walks and training to help him be a dog we both can live with more happily. We do still both use 'no' out of habit, but it winds up looking like "no (stop putting your paws on the dining table). No (stop putting your paws on the desk). No (stop trying to steal napkins). No (get off the coffee table). No (stop stealing the knitting project from the drying rack). No (stop humping your brother)" etc. When we more actively engage him - "No, you can't do XYZ, instead... (go to your bed, have a chew for a while, go get an appropriate toy and we'll play), we get better results. You can try talking to your partner like this, how 'no' might interrupt one 'bad' behavior, but doesn't teach the dog what an appropriate alternative is, nor does it make her more motivated to want to do an appropriate behavior instead of the obnoxious one.

Also consider crate or pen training as a management tool. When both of you are too busy or too stressed to appropriately handle the dog, or you need to give the cats a break but can't fully supervise the dog, then you can use a contained, dog-safe area where she CAN'T make poor choices, and you can all get a break.

As for the tethering, you may have to pick your battles for now. I'd start with finding alternatives to the kinds of corrections your partner wants to use (maybe a positive interrupter instead of a verbal correction, for example), and go from there. If you can, find a force-free trainer to take classes with (many are offering digital lessons right now, given the situation), to help your partner see quick results and hear from an 'authority' why we work with dogs this way.

I do agree with the others that this dog may not be the best fit for your family right now, particularly with the cat thing. And that may be something you also want to discuss with your partner. I know there's a lot of 'never rehome an animal ever' culture out there, but there's no shame in doing so if you're genuinely in a position where it's dangerous for other animals in your house and making everyone miserable trying to manage it.

It sucks that your partner is going back on your agreement, and I hope you can work things out. Bringing a new pet into a household is huge and often stressful and difficult to adjust to, even for neurotypical people. Only you know if this is part of a pattern of behavior for your partner or more of a reaction to dealing with a lot of stress and change, and I wish you luck working through it.
 

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Lol, My dog is realible off leash without a e-collar now.. it should be a crutch when first training something, not an always thing lol.
 

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Concerning the cats... after waiting forty years before adopting my dream dog from the city shelter, I had him a little over two weeks before he went to a breed specific rescue. He was fixated on my cats and bird, and was getting more intense in his desire to get to them with each passing day. I realized that his prey drive was beyond my abilities as a trainer to work with, and living in a small house with three dogs, three cats, a bird, and an autistic teenager who didn't understand WHY he couldn't open my bedroom door and let the cats out, there was simply no way I could guarantee their safety. I broke my heart, but the bird was 26, the cats were 11 and 7 at the time, and they had lived their entire lives knowing that they were safe around my dogs. Keeping Drake simply wasn't an option.
 

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R+ is never reliable anyways.

I am a balanced trainer, who uses all four quadrants of training, with a reactive and sensitive dog. Its not always E- collars and prongs. Its more than that. Its telling the dog no, or walking the dog away from something that stimulates it, as a punishment. Its rewarding a dog for behavior you like, or letting your dog play with its favorite toy when it comes when called. or Giving a dog a pop on the collar for not listening to you. the dog understands this language much better than "i ignore you when your bad, treat you when your good" .. what if running away from you is a million times better than any amount of food, praise, or treats? Then what... well if your a R+ trainer good luck... if your balanced then click the button on the E-collar , and heavily praise when your dog comes (happily) bounding back to you.. it makes more sense.
This entire post just exemplifies how little you know & understand about R+ dog training. Perhaps your application of positive reinforcement wasn't reliable, but that is the fault of the trainer (YOU) not the dog being trained. It's like saying "gravity isn't reliable".

If running away from you is a million times better than anything you could offer the dog... well, I seriously doubt that a click from a shock collar will make the dog "happy" to come bounding back. Well, not happy to come to you necessarily, but perhaps just happy to get the shock/stimulus to stop. How sad is that?

Nothing about using a shock collar makes 'more sense'. Unless you're a trainer with a very small bag of tricks as well as limited skills & you need to use pain/force & intimidation to get the dog to respond. Again. How sad is that?

And, trust me, I'm not someone who never tells my dogs "No", but to purposely create a training plan that sets them up to fail & then punish them via electric shock for not doing what I think they should be doing? Yeah, not happenin' here & nothing I will ever recommend.
 

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Lol, My dog is realible off leash without a e-collar now.. it should be a crutch when first training something, not an always thing lol.
Is this the same dog that has to wear a muzzle in public?

How many dogs have you trained?
 

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Getting just a tad off topic here.

Stop it.
 
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tl;dr my partner agreed to positive reinforcement training, but won't give it a try for more than a couple days at a time maybe at most, and then claims it doesn't work.

Have you tried making training "fun" ... for your partner ?

Sometimes, 'regular' or 'basic' training such as come, lay down, quiet, off, loose leash walking etc can seem like absolute drudgery for both the dog and human. To an inexperienced or first-time clicker trainer, it can often seem like it's just not working.

If this is the case, my suggestion would be to condition your partner to the virtues of clicker / R+ training, by laying off on the drudgery for a short while, say a week or two, and just concentrate on fun little parlour tricks such as shake a paw, wave, flip a biscuit off their nose, chase yer tail etc. That should help to show them that clicker training really does work. And you can 'secretly' continue to work on basic training by yourself at the same time, aside from the fun stuff. There are many books, websites, and videos out there that can help get you started and guide you through the multitude of available tricks to try.

Once your partner is on board with the clicker concept, and can see its success in plain view, everyone can happily return to sharing the duties of basic training with the clicker.

It might also help to begin to utilize a marker word like "yes" or "good" rather than the clicker. Sometimes clickers can become somewhat cumbersome, and a poor excuse not to capitalize on wonderful training opportunities in real-time, if the person doesn't happen to have a clicker in their possession at that exact moment. Using marker words instead can help to alleviate this.
 

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First of all —you adopted the dog.. if you Love the dog it shouldn’t matter if your partner doesn’t help.... if you want the dog seriously then the best way to train a dog is with LOVE. I adopted a dog that was not in a good situation and are her poop and licked her pee every time because the people who had her in a cage which they thought was good for the dog. Now I wouldn’t want to be in a cage and I certainly would reaction if someone put a shock collar on me. Animals have souls like humans although they are not blessed to speak like us . I believe lots of love and praise and Patience is needed . It seems like your partner has other issues and the dog is just a add on now. Train the dog your way.. I have cats too. She used chased the cats and now sleeps with them. Just say no when they do it. You could put the dog on a leach and have the cats walk around. Everything is new to the new doggie so patience and love will conquer ignore your partner sorry.. do what you want. If you can’t handle the doggie then maybe find a friend who can. Don’t let it be the dogs fault . Sorry to be so upfront but these animals are so precious to me i don’t know what I will do when I lose my dogs I will be devastated my dogs can do absolutely anything and if it’s wrong it’s ok with me I love them so much and if you love the dog you should feel the same but your issue is not the dog it’s your 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐧𝐞𝐫 and I don’t think their is much you can do when the other half doesn’t participate. Sorry but love the dog and be patient everything takes time. Personally for get this clicker shock collar it’s mean to the animal. I am not on board with that stuff I feel it’s cruel. But if things are too much for you then maybe someone else can give him a better home. Best of luck to the dog and you.
 

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As someone who lost a cat to a rescue dog, I don't think you can cavalierly assume all dogs can be taught to get along with cats. Starting with a puppy, probably yes, but with an adult, it depends a lot on the dog's prior experience (and you most often can't know if any particular dog was allowed or encouraged to kill cats or other smaller animals) and how high its prey drive is. The person who has the dog needs to judge how intense the dog is when going after the cats, how responsive the dog is to correction, individual circumstances (getting a dog to leave house cats alone is a much easier proposition than if the cats go outside), and how much time and effort the owner is willing to put into the project.
 
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