Want opinions, dog trainers!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Brindlebtch, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. Brindlebtch

    Brindlebtch Songster

    Apr 15, 2009
    I just started going to a new place that is near me and has obedience classes and other dog related things like 'day care'. They consider themselves bull breed training specialists, and the owner's kid does have a rescue pit doing very well at obedience shows. I had paid for time by myself and it was $45/hr. Not too dear, but enough that I can't do it 3 times a week, more like once, and hubby still complains.

    SO, there is a 'masters' class on Saturday, that I could attend and it is only $10 for a drop-in. Sounded ideal.

    I got there, and the only 2 dogs in class are the owner's kid's dog w/ kid (I mean like 25 yrs old). I will call her dog V. And another young lady with another dog that I will call M. Both of these are rescue pit bull females. Today the 'class' happened to be concentrating on distractions. OK fine. I brought in Bill, the dog in my avatar, and started to work on heeling. One reason I wanted to work Bill there, is he finds female bull breeds VERY distracting. M is barking.

    The facility owner was rolling a noisy cart around as a distraction. OK fine. V is starting to stress and become very scared and M is out on the end of her leash barking. M's owner is just hanging on with a hand signal stuck out - and this went on for MINUTES.

    The owner starts throwing a ball around. OK fine. Bill was a little distracted by the ball, but I just worked through it with treats and small corrections and he resumed working. We were just working through novice exercises for his upcoming first time in the obedience ring. M is still barking at the end of her leash. V's behavior is becoming more stressed. M downs for a second and gets a treat and pops back up and resumes barking at end of leash. M's owner starts giving different hand signal.

    Facility owner starts throwing a soft frisbee. Manages to to hit Bill in his front legs while we were heeling and he just kind of stumbled and kept heeling, bless him. Facility owner apologises. I work a couple of recalls. Stand for exam. One quick off leash heel. Figure 8 around cones. M is still barking and V is starting to crawl on the floor because she is afraid of the frisbee flying around.

    I ask what M's owner is trying to do. Facility owner says she is waiting for the dog to sit. She throws the frisbee over V's head and V starts crawling to the kid during a recall. I mean slinking along. It was awful. Facility owner says they expect V to work even if she is stressed. OK.

    I was there a total of 15 minutes. I was very pleased with what Bill had done and figured there was no further reason to subject him to such a stressful environment. Pay my 10 bucks and leave.

    In the 15 minutes I was there, a dog that is taking first place in novice obedience- V -starts crawling on the floor from stress, and the other dog, M, downed for a few seconds and never stopped barking, loudly.

    Now, these folks don't approve of the way I train. I don't beat my dogs, or anything, but I do give corrections and will use a pinch collar if I feel I need to. But WTH? I was totally surprised by what I saw compared to what they told me about how they train. Does this sound right to ya'll? Obviously I'm missing something.
  2. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Neither of those dogs were ready for what was going on. They need far more obedience work before even one of those distractions was introduced. It's as simple as that. There is nothing really good that could have been done with either of those dogs except to not put them in that situation yet.
  3. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    I don't know as I don't know those dog's backgrounds and history, or their owners history.

    It didn't sound like the owners were very alert and oriented, and sometimes owner/trainers kind of give up on certain people, or know them well enough that they know they can't really convince them to do something different than what they want to do. But trainers don't usually go over to someone else and say, 'What can I say, the dog's owner is an idiot and won't listen to me, this is what they wanted to do'.

    Stressing a dog is not always bad. It may seem so to you, but it is not always bad. IF the dog is the one that's stressed!

    With our fearful dog, one trainer said, 'He's doing super, now whatever you do, don't push him'. I said, 'that's all we DO, is push him', and the trainer said, 'Well...uh...uh....that appears to be working, so keep it up'.


    And keep in mind as I suggested, quite often it is far more the dog owner that is stressed than the dog. Dogs look to their owners for cues. If the owner is freaked the dog is freaked, sometimes you just have to go ahead and do it and let the owners calm down and get used to new things.

    Sometimes there has been months and months and years of 'foundation work' and one has to just go ahead and try the next step, because everything that can be done already has been done.

    And sometimes...the trainer's job is to convince the owner that the dog is NOT suitable for obedience competition. A trainer friend of mine had one student who took her dog to almost NINETY obedience trials just to get her CD. As the trainer put it, 'What can I say, I told her not to go to the FIRST one'. Yep. NINETY tries to get that dog its CD. The dog was a mess.

    Sometimes dog owners don't listen.

    So I would not make any conclusions without seeing the trainer work more, with dogs I was more familiar with.

    Too...with ANY trainer of your animals, you can EXPECT to get mad at them or not like what they do from time to time. Horses, dogs, you aren't going to always agree with what the person does with other dogs or even with yours. Sometimes that negative feeling is about resisting new ideas, new methods...sometimes it is because the trainer thinks of the dog as a dog, and I think of it as MY BABY.

    And sometimes it is right to move on. 'If we followed our feelings all the time we'd be like cat's chasing our tails' (Atticus Finch, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee).
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  4. apbgv

    apbgv Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    Check out http://www.dogstardaily.com/ has blogs and information from what I consider the great dog trainers and behaviorist of the day. No animal should be forced into situations that they are not mentally ready to handle and if the trainer is getting frustrated then it is time to stop. I stopped competing in agility with my BC for 6 years because we were not communicating as a team, very frustrating, so I worked on this and now we are competing and qualifying.

    I have also worked with some horses who were not treated right or exposed to stuff guess what I got them to where they were more trusting of humans.

    I quit taking my dogs to the local kennel club classes because their trainers were stuck in the old choke chain and dominance theroy, I would rather have fun training my dogs and they have fun and trust me than that.
  5. hunterjumper999

    hunterjumper999 Songster

    Dec 26, 2008
    Box Springs
    I would save your money and run. Are you near any other clubs? sounds like Bill has his stuff together mostly and you could save that 10.00 and go to a public place. Just my .02. I'm sorry that your hopes did not line up. I had a similar experience with a breeder/trainer in my area. was the kids mother trying to act as trainer and assist the other two handlers ? or was it just a 1-1 open thing for handler and your dog? Because if she feels that repeated hand signals over and over are working then you need to run not walk in the other direction. thats the one thing I've learned with dogs, if you give a signal and they don't get it its usually because they dont understand what you want, not because they simply don't want to comply.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I wonder if they are maybe basically-clicker-training (positive only) type people by philosophy, but just with insufficient experience/judgement to do it constructively?

    It is not too uncommon, at least in the horse world and I assume with dog trainers too, to run into people so stuck on the CONCEPT of their training approach that they forget to look at the DOG and use common sense about what to be doing/trying.

    I agree it doesn't sound like you're likely to learn huge amounts from them. Well except maybe "what not to do" [​IMG]

  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    There is a big difference between distractions and the manner in which they are delivered. Distractions should not be causing stress. It is also necessary to "read" the dogs as the process is ongoing. Save your money.
  8. ()relics

    ()relics horse/dog shrink

    Jan 4, 2009
    the only question that comes to mind is: Were the other dogs part of the class or were they supposed to be part of the distraction? I'm sure you know this but anyway....You simply can't use one training method for all dogs...and you shouldn't try to "make" a dog fit into your training schedule. Bull breeds can't/shouldn't be trained like you would train a bird dog or a toy breed or a working dog or...... I'm sure you know better what your dog responds to than a trainer as it appears that you had the only dog that seemed "in control" as the others, maybe including the trainers, were involved in pure chaos....Waiting for a dog to sit??? Tell Him...if he doesn't listen right away I would doubt you need to wait for him to change his mind, because he isn't going to do it. If the dog won't obey a simple "sit" command he shouldn't be in an advanced class but rather in a beginners on-leash obedience group. Sounds more like the class was set-up to try and make your dog FAIL...I wouldn't want any part of that for any of my dogs....The trainers maybe need training themselves as it sounds like they were leading your dog into misbehaving, or more simply Not Listening To You, by throwing things that actually hit him. Physical contact would set any dog off especially if he percieved it as a threat, and bull breeds don't need that type of stimulation..... I would NEVER go back to that place and buy your dog a big steak with the money you save and for the job well done....JMO...dog trainers
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010

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