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WOW, I'm no expert, and I personally have no problem with aversives if they are used correctly if truly necessary, but a 16 week old puppy!! I'd boot that trainer out of my house personally and tell them never to come back.
That's just my opinion though....I'm sure others will chime in. I expect their opinions will be similar to mine though!
As for paying a trainer....you could probably do a lot of it on your own, at least for the first while and invest in a trainer later. There are a lot of resources here and a lot of people willing to help. I am also a big fan of the group classes since they help train your dog while there are distractions like other dogs and people (its been a big help to us anyway).
Good luck, let us know what you decide to do.
 

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A pinch collar is a correction tool. We never use a correction collar on a puppy. A correction collar is used for just what it says - corrections. A 16 week old is much too young for corrections. At this point in your pup's life, you should be training basic behavior and socializing.
 

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I paid a trainer a LOT of money to come to my house and help teach us how to train our puppy. I am admittedly a newbie when it comes to dogs, so I figures I wanted to do things right with this pup.

My puppy is 16 weeks old and she has us using a prong collar on him. I don't think it's mean or anything, but when the collar is on, the pup just lays there - he won't move, let alone do anything wrong, so there are no moments to even correct him.

Just looking for some opinions and thoughts on this method. Thanks!
I am a long time prong collar trainer and I would not put a prong on a 16 week old pup, Your trainer evidently "is not the brightest bulb in the box" How long did she read the pup before she jumped in with a prong collar.

More info, what did the trainer do when the pup would not move. One last question did you have your pup lead broke. (walking on a lead)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Please forgive me, but if a trainer put a prong on your puppy for growling, they are even more stupid than I thought.
I would love any advice you have for helping us train him not to growl or show any aggression. I realize he is a pup and is trying to assert himself and find his place in our family, I just need to make suer I do the right thing so that he realizes that while we love him, he is not on the same level - or better than - the kids. Thanks
 

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If the pup is happily laying in his bed chewing a toy and my son (I have 3 boys 11, 9 & 6) goes to pet him, sometimes he will growl - he has never snapped, just growled, but that is not acceptable. Also, he used to growl when he was sitting with me and my son would come join us - however, he hasn't done this is several days.
This sounds like resource guarding to me. There is a sticky on that plus a number of threads with tips.

You do NOT want to train the dog not to growl though. A growl is a warning sign. You want him to warn you when he is stressed or annoyed. What you are aiming for is making it so he doesn't feel the need to guard things or to be annoyed.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This sounds like resource guarding to me. There is a sticky on that plus a number of threads with tips.

You do NOT want to train the dog not to growl though. A growl is a warning sign. You want him to warn you when he is stressed or annoyed. What you are aiming for is making it so he doesn't feel the need to guard things or to be annoyed.
I agree - I will look that up. Thanks!
 

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The help you need may exceed what the forum can do for you. Your pup isn't trying to be mean or rule the world. Your puppy is communicating discomfort. Building up the pups confidence and giving your puppy a way to retreat from your kids when he wants space is what is important. Punishing the growling may force him to show no discomfort and then just bite out of total frustration. If your puppy is over-whelmed, how is he able to show it? He needs to be able to tell you.

Your puppy may be fearful. Your puppy may be bold. I can't read this in your post. We need to know so much more before we can help you. We would need to see the dog in action.

You have done several brilliant things. First, you got help. Second, you listened to your insticts about the helper being maybe incompetent. I would try another trainer. I would read Jean Donaldson's "Mine!" But really, I would try to find a new and decent trainer to help me.

Try to think of growling as your pup trying to tell you something. Try not to think of growling as a challenge of your authority. What you need to know is WHY is your pup growling. If it's fear, build his confidence. If it's resource guarding, work trades. If he wants space, learn his boundries and try to get him more comfortable with contact by pairing it with reinforcers.

This is probably too complex for a forum, but everything I have read makes me think you need someone else.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Braxton, is a sweet pup, very playful and affectionate. He has only been with us 3 weeks, and I see improvements in his behavior every day. Let me ask you this, is it unreasonable for me to think that he will never growl at my kids? I am just wondering if my expectation at this point are unrealistic.

He is fearful of people he does not know and he is very fearful of men (loves my husband, though it did take a few days). He is not fearful of loud noises, the vacuum - my household is very active and he seems very comfortable here. Again, maybe he just needs time and I am getting too nervous too soon.

Thoughts?
 

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Yes, that trainer was a very expensive mistake, and I will look into other trainers for sure.

Braxton, is a sweet pup, very playful and affectionate. He has only been with us 3 weeks, and I see improvements in his behavior every day. Let me ask you this, is it unreasonable for me to think that he will never growl at my kids? I am just wondering if my expectation at this point are unrealistic.

He is fearful of people he does not know and he is very fearful of men (loves my husband, though it did take a few days). He is not fearful of loud noises, the vacuum - my household is very active and he seems very comfortable here. Again, maybe he just needs time and I am getting too nervous too soon.

Thoughts?
3 weeks in home is not enough with many pups relax and supervise children. Definitely dump trainer. I once had a plumber that should not have been allowed near a pipe or monkey wrench. I dumped him pretty quick.
 

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Dogs communicate by growling, barking, etc. So, IMO, it is unrealistic to expect a dog never to growl, same as it would be unrealisitc to expect a dog never to bark. That would be like expecting a person to never say "hey, stop doing that/go away!" when somebody is annoying them or getting in their personal space. I think that if you work on the resource guarding, building trust that nobody will be taking his things away from him, you can get him comfortable with having the kids around his stuff so he won't feel like he has to growl about that, but there will always be something he may have to growl about.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
3 weeks in home is not enough with many pups relax and supervise children. Definitely dump trainer. I once had a plumber that should not have been allowed near a pipe or monkey wrench. I dumped him pretty quick.
Thank you! I really need the reassurance.

When I was a kid, we got a puppy and because he was never trained properly, my parents ended up getting rid of him - I was so upset by that, that I am determined to integrate this little guy into our family. I waited until by boys were old enough and I was still home FT, before getting a dog. I think I will try to relax a bit, keep up the socialization and training, and look into a new trainer.
 

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I agree that you need a new trainer, the puppy is new and likely uncomfortable and probably is resource guarding, which is really treatable. Look at it from the pup's point of view: He got dumped with no warning in this totally new environment with total strangers and he has no idea what to do. It would be like if I stuffed you in a sack and dropped you off in the middle of China (assuming you don't speak Chinese). I bet you'd be pretty confused and fearful, too.

Growling is a good thing. Growling is giving you a chance to back off before he bites. You want that warning. Growling, in and of itself, is not aggressive. It is a warning of future aggressive behavior and thus should never be punished.
 

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I think the only way you can expect your dog to never growl at your children is if your children never give him cause to growl. I agree that this sounds like resource guarding (of his toys, and previously of you). As others have said, growling is a piece of communication, not aggression. I would find a trainer who uses positive-only methods. You want him to feel comfortable and safe in your house and with your kids, not to feel like he's forbidden to communicate his discomfort. I think part of that will come with time, but I would also find a good trainer in the meantime.
 

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It was a mistake but it wasn't your fault. Do get a new behaviourist/trainer while pup is still young. Putting a prong on such young and fearful pup is like sending a 6 year old that wets his bed for some military SAS training. This pup should have no collar on him while fearful, no leash, no nothing. Socialisation process should be consisted of food, toys, play and physical interaction - no need for leashes.
 
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