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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I am researching trainers for Lucy so she can start in 4 weeks when she hits 16 weeks and has all her shots.

I have been reading a lot but it is quite overwhleming and confusing. As I see it there is quite a divide in theories ie dominance/alpha theory, postive reinforcement only, corrections vs not, collars, treats vs no treats, clickers vs not....

Please help me figure out what I should do to best help Lucy and myself.

Advice from you guys is very much appreciated. Thank you!
 

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With a puppy you'll want to begin with positive only training methods. If you do this and do it correctly it's highly unlikely that you'll need to use more coercive techniques for the typical family dog.
 

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What breed is Lucy (Pix?) and what would you like her to do? Simple family pet, Obedience competitions, Agility, Protection...?

1. Dominance/Alpha for training is an older method that most modern trainers no longer use.
2. Positive reinforcement and clicker training provide the best long term payback in a calm, intelligent dog, for most people.
3. Lure/Reward training is one specific method related to Positive reinforcement. See: http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads
4. For the most part, don't use pinch collars or choke chains.... ever!
5. Treats are good, but you also want to learn how to phase out the treats during training.

In general, I think that Clicker Training provides you with the most options. The people that use it can do amazing things. I recommend that you look for experienced, patient folks who can train you to use it.

Disclaimer: I do not use Clicker training, b/c I don't have the timing... and couldn't find experienced folks who could train me :)
[However, that's OK, b/c my dog knows how to read and do arithmetic. He can't write or spel, tho :) ]
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Lucy is the most gorgeous, wonderful, amazing, loving, incredible toy schnoodle to ever grace the planet. Yes, I am a goner. LOL

I want her to be a well behaved family pet: no biting and chewing up stuff, listening to commands, not jumping on people and play biting (tame the over-excitedness), not bark at people and stuff, go for walks properly. That kind of thing. Am not going to breed, show or do agility stuff. Just want a well trained family dog. Ain't she the cutest thing?
 

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That is some nuclear level cute!

Positive reinforcement, particularly clicker training, is the way to go. It's scientifically proven, works well and there's no potential for fallout. Here's the worst that happens with clicker training: I accidentally taught my dog to jump and bark when teaching "speak". Oops. I'm fixing that now. That's really it. The worst that can happen with punishment based training? A shut down, fearful mess of a dog who bites with no warning. You probably don't want that.

I love kikopup on youtube. She teaches the basics of clicker training and has videos for virtually every "problem" (you know, normal doggy stuff like mouthing and stealing dinner). She's what you want in a trainer. If you can't find a clicker trainer, I'd do my training by watching her videos instead of exposing my dog to choke chains and such.

You may also want to consider a harness over a collar. Collars can potentially cause thyroid/trachea damage long term, particularly with small dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you. I found a trainer who uses mostly praise and treats but will say verbal cues like uh uh and may go get dog by collar if needed. Not sure if she uses clicker or not. Does that sound appropriate to you guys?

About clicker training. Doesn't that cause the dog to consume a huge amount of treats?
 

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About clicker training. Doesn't that cause the dog to consume a huge amount of treats?
Any form of positive reinforcement training is going to use treats (or other rewards like play or attention or whatever your dog finds reinforcing), not just clicker training. You can use a portion of your dog's regular meal as reward during training (this may not work in class or highly distracting environments - for those situations, you might need super high value treats). Also, you eventually move to a variable interval reinforcement schedule so that the dog isn't rewarded every time he performs.

For example, when we're training in a relatively distraction-free environment (e.g., living room, back yard, neighborhood with no other people or dogs around), I use a portion of Katie's kibble (sometimes mixed with "treats") as her reward. Once she has learned a cue and can perform it reliably in a variety of environments, she only gets a treat occasionally. Also, some cues and situations lend themselves to using play as reinforcement. We've used fetch as a reward when practicing sit, down, and touch in the back yard and at the park.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all. I am really trying to get a jump start on her play biting before we can start training. Here is what I am doing and please tell me if this right.

I sit with her to play and if she pounces me and or bites me I say leave it. Note: we have practiced the leave it command by offering her a treat in one hand and throwing her a small treat when she leaves the one in my hand offered to her alone. So after a bit of that I have tried to transfer it to the biting. So if she is biting and I say leave it and she backs off I give her a small and treat and praise. I try to have sessions where we play and work on this for bits of time at a time. I am also trying to use this for her biting my pAnts and socks when we play in the yard.

Am I doing it right at this stage of the game? Thanks.
 

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About clicker training. Doesn't that cause the dog to consume a huge amount of treats?
You should only use a small bit of a treat. My Chi mix (8.5 lbs) gets about a 1/16 to 1/8 inch chip off a treat per performance. Even larger dogs should get a tiny bite, not a full size treat like you'll find in typical packaged treats. You can also use cheese shreds, tiny squirts of squeeze cheez, real bacon bits, tiny bits of lunch meats, etc. Anything that your dog places a high value on.

Also, while you use treats a lot at first you taper off so that the behavior becomes reflexive and not entirely reward driven.
 

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Hi, positive methods is not just about treats, it's about finding the right motivators (treats, play, and so on), management, and so on.

For example, with the puppy biting, the positive ways to deal with the common issue are:
- avoid playing with your body parts;
- play always with toys;
- give your dog chew toys and bones so that she can properly redirect her need to chew;
- show how much you like gentler interactions and licks;
- teach "leave it" and improve impulse control.

With all these, you are teaching your pup to get interested in playing with toys and chewing appropriate stuffs, not letting bad habits like biting people or chewing inappropriate stuffs to develop, and have a good impulse control so that she won't get crazy. And when you show her the way you like the most (licks), she will eventually do that all the time instead.

Positive methods are also about changing behavior patterns in a positive way.

IMO, corrections are not really necessary, but if you really must have her stop going crazy in certain situations and she wouldn't listen, you can hold her by scruff to immobilize and distance her from your arms and release her when she calms down. All done in a calm manner and not hurting (it should be neutral not negative experience for your pup). But well, for that, time out to a boring room can also help too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the advice and links. I am working on leave it for my hands and clothes. Not sure if I am doing it right or not. I wonder if I am reinforcing nip then stop and then I get a treat rather than reinforcing not nipping at all.
 

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With all these, you are teaching your pup to get interested in playing with toys and chewing appropriate stuffs, not letting bad habits like biting people or chewing inappropriate stuffs to develop, and have a good impulse control so that she won't get crazy. And when you show her the way you like the most (licks), she will eventually do that all the time instead.

Positive methods are also about changing behavior patterns in a positive way.

IMO, corrections are not really necessary, but if you really must have her stop going crazy in certain situations and she wouldn't listen, you can hold her by scruff to immobilize and distance her from your arms and release her when she calms down. All done in a calm manner and not hurting (it should be neutral not negative experience for your pup). But well, for that, time out to a boring room can also help too.
I'll admit, when I was younger and much more naive when it came to dog training, I was always of the thought "smack 'em when they're bad, reward 'em when they're good" and in time it will work itself out. I've changed that school of thought after more research/reading and truly looking into how to properly train a dog. With that said, the bolded portion from what Sheep posted, IMHO, can not be more true. When Andy is absolutely uncontrollable, nothing works better than holding him down (gently of course, he only weighs 11 pounds!) just around his shoulders. Almost like a "forced, but gentle" lay down. He's not allowed up until he calms down. The first few times I tried this he went right back into spaz mode, but after a few times of immediately being put into a down position he figured out "Oh! Hey! If I jump around the room nipping at people, I get put in time out". He's now much better about it.

It definitely doesn't have to be rough at all, but needs to be firm enough to 1. keep them in place until they calm down and 2. let them know that it's time to calm down now. Granted, now he's starting to listen much better and knows when we lay or sit down, it's time for him to do the same. Training a puppy is definitely a great test of your patience! Just keep at it and you'll see wonderful results.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'll admit, when I was younger and much more naive when it came to dog training, I was always of the thought "smack 'em when they're bad, reward 'em when they're good" and in time it will work itself out. I've changed that school of thought after more research/reading and truly looking into how to properly train a dog. With that said, the bolded portion from what Sheep posted, IMHO, can not be more true. When Andy is absolutely uncontrollable, nothing works better than holding him down (gently of course, he only weighs 11 pounds!) just around his shoulders. Almost like a "forced, but gentle" lay down. He's not allowed up until he calms down. The first few times I tried this he went right back into spaz mode, but after a few times of immediately being put into a down position he figured out "Oh! Hey! If I jump around the room nipping at people, I get put in time out". He's now much better about it.

It definitely doesn't have to be rough at all, but needs to be firm enough to 1. keep them in place until they calm down and 2. let them know that it's time to calm down now. Granted, now he's starting to listen much better and knows when we lay or sit down, it's time for him to do the same. Training a puppy is definitely a great test of your patience! Just keep at it and you'll see wonderful results.
Is this what they call the alpha roll?
 

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Hi all,

I am researching trainers for Lucy so she can start in 4 weeks when she hits 16 weeks and has all her shots.

I have been reading a lot but it is quite overwhleming and confusing. As I see it there is quite a divide in theories ie dominance/alpha theory, postive reinforcement only, corrections vs not, collars, treats vs no treats, clickers vs not....

Please help me figure out what I should do to best help Lucy and myself.

Advice from you guys is very much appreciated. Thank you!
You've already gotten some pretty good advice, but here is just my $0.02.

Main rule is to avoid "one-size-fits-all" trainers. The ones who 'know' what is right for every dog and handler and aren't open to other methods, the ones who try to brow-beat you into doing things their way, the ones who won't offer an explanation of what they think is going on. A good trainer is a guide, not a dictator.

Clickers: A clicker is an excellent tool for marking behavior, because it's sound is fast rise and short duration. There are good reasons to use it. But you can teach a dog quite effectively without one. Don't feel inferior if you want to try something different.

Corrections: Beware of trainers who claim to never correct an unwanted behavior. Ask them how, for example, they would teach a highly food-motivated dog to stop stealing food without using a correction. However, corrections should NEVER be abusive and must never be used in anger. So stay away from the 'yank-and-crank' types.

Training with treats: A very effective tool with a highly food motivated dog, or even in some circumstances a moderately food motivated one. Unless your dog is highly food motivated, though, you will have to bring him/her into the training sessions a bit hungry to make them work. Some dogs are actually poorly motivated by food, and if your dog is one of those, you'll have to come up with a different reward. If you decide to use them, adjust your dog's diet accordingly.

Good luck.
 

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Is this what they call the alpha roll?
No, alpha roll is forcing submission in a more intimidating way, and you force the dog down and showing his belly. But for scruff holding, you have to do it with a neutral stance, coz what you intend is to show him that his teeth can't reach you when you don't want to, and not for intimidating. It's like a pup getting away from mom and then mom goes to him and pick him up to take him right back to bed.
It's also a kind of time out, just as jbuck92 said. :)
 

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IMO, I wouldn't do the scruff or roll thing or advise anyone else to do it. It's too easy to mess up and can have undesirable consequences. If the timing or manner is even a little off it is hard for the dog to understand why. It would be easier to leave the room for 15 seconds or crate till the dog calms down and then continue playing. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Thank you. I found a trainer who uses mostly praise and treats but will say verbal cues like uh uh and may go get dog by collar if needed. Not sure if she uses clicker or not. Does that sound appropriate to you guys?

About clicker training. Doesn't that cause the dog to consume a huge amount of treats?
What do you mean by go get the dog by collar? And no, clicker training does not cause the dog to consume a huge amount of treats. Treats can be very small, and when you are practicing at home, you can use her regular dog food (unless you are feeding raw) and simply feed less at the evening meal.
 

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No, alpha roll is forcing submission in a more intimidating way, and you force the dog down and showing his belly. But for scruff holding, you have to do it with a neutral stance, coz what you intend is to show him that his teeth can't reach you when you don't want to, and not for intimidating. It's like a pup getting away from mom and then mom goes to him and pick him up to take him right back to bed.
It's also a kind of time out, just as jbuck92 said. :)
Neither of which is particularly good training.
 

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Neither of which is particularly good training.
The immobilizing and distancing by scruff holding is good for showing the dog that attempts of mouthing a human leads to nowhere. It's similar to walking away from a room and your pup not being able to reach you. And when pup calms down, you resume play with toys or redirect him.
 
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