I'm currently reading Family Friendly Dog Training by Patricia B. McConnell and Aimee M. Moore, and it's great! I really appreciate how they broke the training down by the week, and it's all positive reinforcement. There are a couple of questions I have about it, though. For example: They suggest training my dog to turn away from the window when there's a sight it wants to bark at (if it has a habit of barking out the window). I don't want my dog to turn away from the window; I just want it to not bark at every sight. Does positive reinforcement allow that kind of training?
Recently, I found a trainer who has a facility about 15 minutes from my house. She uses positive reinforcement and she's actively involved in herding dog rescue, so she has lots of experience with my type of dog! I haven't met her in person yet, but I like the "vibe" I get when I talk to her online and she's agreed to let me attend a class to see how she works. She's certified by the Animal Behavior College, but I really only care about how she does in person with the dogs and people and how willing she is to answer questions that aren't related to the current program (like, "my pup won't stop chasing cars, do you have any suggestions on how to solve it?"). If all goes well, she also offers more advanced obedience classes and I definitely intend to sign up. She even offers agility, which I might join as well.
dogkahuna: In order for a puppy to work for my family, we need to crate train it. I have a basic understanding on how to crate train, but that is one of the questions I plan to ask the trainer when I meet her, hopefully this Monday. The last thing I want is for my dog to be afraid of crates! I'll socialize my pup as much as possible, but I really don't know a lot of people, and only one family with dogs--and the dogs are a little too rowdy to introduce to a pup. That's one of the biggest reasons I want to find a group puppy class, so that I can socialize my pup. I live out in the country, so my dog won't exactly get socialization during walks.
Please don't worry about me taking the wrong advise. I'm always open to hearing others' opinions, and I take those opinions with research and common sense to form my own idea. I respect Cesar Millan, but I don't plan to use his methods. The advice I've gotten on this thread has been terrific. If it's not too much trouble, I'd like to know what you specifically disagree with, and to hear your opinion on the matter(s). The more opinions and advise I hear, the better!
I've decided clicker training isn't for me. When training a dog I tend to need both hands, and in my case I also have to train my mentally impaired sister how to use hand signals. I really need three hands free! Thank you for suggesting it, though, as it prompted me to really think about it!
I really hope the trainer I found works out, as it'll make things so much easier. If she doesn't work out, there's another potential trainer within a 20 minute drive. I'll take your advice and look at certificates with a grain of salt. I really hope I don't have to keep looking!
EDIT to add: I do have one big problem with my book--no pictures! It's very difficult for me to picture the hand signals the authors describe. Most of the time, I really have no idea what they're talking about. For example, when they describe the BODY BLOCK for when I'm teaching my dog stay, this is what the book says: "rock your body forward like a traffic cop stopping an oncoming car." Rock my body forward? Do they mean step forward, or lean forward? I thought I wasn't supposed to lean towards my dog during training? Can anyone tell me what the heck this means? I really wish she had included some pictures. I also don't understand the signal for LAY DOWN, and my best guess for SIT is what Victoria Stilwell used, which I have discovered is not natural for me at all (and thus I mess it up and don't use it). The only books I can find that have good pictures are those that teach the "old methods", not positive reinforcement. Any suggestions on positive reinforcement books with pictures?
Edited by la dee da - 11/28/15 at 2:00pm