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Is this training class even going to help?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by pupperino123, Jan 18, 2018.


  1. pupperino123

    pupperino123 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all. I recently enrolled my puppy in a training class.

    At home, he is good as gold. Sit, stay, down, paw, play dead, speak, and roll over. Out and about, he can be more hit and miss. So we wanted to work on obedience around distractions.
    When I am working with him at home or on walks, I reward good behaviour with treats and do not use it as bribery.

    At the class we have started, the trainer laughed when I mentioned giving him a treat and said that they don't do treats at their classes. He is a young puppy and was in a room full of dogs he didn't know, so you can imagine how that went. Generally pretty good, but unfocused when it came to commands.
    When he wouldn't sit because he was too distracted (directly next to strange dogs), I was advised to 'put him' in to a sit position.
    I'm not sure if I am being overly critical of a qualified trainer, but this goes against absolutely everything I have read and researched (no forcing them in to positions, reward in a way that motivates them). I was told to make a fuss of him as a reward, but doing that actually makes him a bit startled - unless you're already at his level, which I was also asked not to go down to.

    My gut is telling me that this isn't going to help my boy, but sadly I have block booked the classes and there was so option for tasters before doing so...although if this isn't going to work out at all then I will speak to the trainer.

    What does everyone think? Am I just being a softy and will this be good for him? If nothing else, at least it is more socialising.
     
  2. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    Exit. Stage Left. Puppy in tow.

    Personally I would explain to the trainer that you are in favour of reward based training which will involve using treats as a primary reinforcer. If this is not acceptable to this trainers way of training (and forcing a dog into position would suggest it isn't) I would politely ask for my money back and find a new class.

    J
     
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  3. Teddy-dog

    Teddy-dog PetForums VIP

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    I don't think it'll work. I think it sounds like a very old-fashioned trainer. I would go and look for a new training class that using positive reinforcement and reward based training.

    Everything I've read too, states you don't force the dog into positions. It takes longer for them to learn that way and it also makes the experience unpleasant, which isn't what you want when you're trying to teach a command.

    I can't imagine training a dog without using treats. I know you can reward with praise but, especially in a training class where there are lots of distractions, you need a high value reward too. I guess some dogs might be more motivated by toys but if we'd taken Teds to a class where we weren't allowed to use treats to reward then he wouldn't have paid any attention to us at all and we would have had very little success (sometimes it was hard to get his attention even with treats!).
     
  4. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Personally I wouldn't continue with them, what is the refund policy? It might be worth seeing if you can get your money back or at least some. And what 'qualifications' does the trainer have? There are so many organisations set up & the criteria for gaining these 'qualifications' can differ immensely.

    Whereabouts are you? Maybe someone can recommend a good training centre that you could contact
     
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  5. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    I would be taking my puppy elsewhere if it was me...refund or no refund.
    Any trainer that won't let you audit their class before committing to a block of lessons is a trainer to walk away from IMHO.

    If you give us your rough location then we may be able to send you in the right direction :)
     
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  6. danielled

    danielled PetForums VIP

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    Agree. OP run away from this trainer with your puppy.
     
  7. pupperino123

    pupperino123 PetForums Newbie

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    There is no mention f a refund policy on their website or the booking form. Which to me, means I would be entitled to one as they haven't said otherwise.
    I am tempted to email them and ask if we can use a reward based approach with him next week to see if she is open to it, rather than what is currently being advised. And if the answer is no, then I can say I tried.

    I live in South Devon. There are some Kennel Club classes about 30 mins from me, but they are quite early in the evening (5.30) which won't work, and rush hour traffic turns the 30 min drive in to an hour. She does look to be qualified on her website, and only in the last 10 years, so the lack of reward based approach really surprises me.
     
  8. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Sounds like the dark ages and training methods have moved on since then....!! Personally I wouldn't go back but I suppose you could try using treats next week. Simply say that you intend to use food and if the trainer doesn't like it you can always walk out.
     
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  9. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    I agree with the others. But perhaps go along next week and say that you will be using treats and the luring method. If that isn't acceptable then you won't be participating and want a refund. Be polite but firm. The worst that will happen is they refuse to give the refund.
     
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  10. pupperino123

    pupperino123 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks, I will have a word with them. If I can do this then I will be much happier. I have a feeling it won't be well received, but here's hoping.
     
  11. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Trust your instincts and walk away.

    Ask for a refund but tbh the cost of a good behaviourist to correct all the bad training if you stay will far outweigh that loss

    I went along and observed a number of classes before joining and discounted most of them. Even one I bailed out after a few sessions as Jack just wouldn’t settle as a couple of dogs were just too much ;)
     
  12. pupperino123

    pupperino123 PetForums Newbie

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    Good point about a behaviourist. I'm going to see how the trainer takes me saying I would like to use treats to reward/lure if needed and if it's a firm no then I think we will ask for a refund on the remainder. Right now we have a lovely happy dog and I don't want that to change due to a stubborn trainer.
     
  13. JRB123

    JRB123 PetForums Member

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    Hope it gets sorted!
    I'm in exactly the same situation - shih tzu very good at home- all the tricks - follows me everywhere! But put in the park it's like I don't exist or he's gone deaf!! Lol! I'm starting an 8 week course tomorrow called 'recall under distraction'
    I hope it's positive based training too! I will let you know if I learn any tips! If they make me force my dog into a position I've got a feeling I won't go back. But fingers crossed.
    Hope you get a refund or partial refund.
    Your dog sounds lovely and maybe keep doing what you're doing and you'll get there! Lots of repetition, time and patience x
     
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  14. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    In my view one of the most important (if not THE most important) things when doing any kind of training is motivating your dog. If your dog is not motivated then it will just become a case of you nagging and the dog being bored/confused/stressed etc. Now, there are various ways to motivate a dog (e.g. treats, a toy, play, praise etc.) but treats are probably the most useful, at least initially when you are teaching a command as they can serve as a lure to get the dog in position and also as a reward once they have completed the behaviour.

    If you want to go back then I would make it clear that you want to use treats to train. This is your decision and providing you are careful not to drop them on the floor or have them too near the other dogs then I honestly don't see how it would affect anyone else.

    As an aside, my dog is two years old and I still take a handful of treats and a toy on every walk because if she does something good then I want to be able to reward her for it.
     
  15. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Excellent response Sairy and totally agree.
     
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  16. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    Thanks :)
     
  17. Sarah H

    Sarah H Grand Empress of the Universe

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    If you can't get a refund then I'd just go and do your own thing (as long as you aren't disrupting the class). The other owners will see your progress and wonder why they aren't allowed treats! The trainers might ask you to not use them, but just say that you can reward your pup in a way that you know he responds better! And that if they don't like it you'll leave if they give you a refund ;)

    There is a similar training class round here. They aren't allowed to use treats and the puppy class is 2hrs of just basic commands and obedience stuff - very boring!
     
  18. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    Good grief! 2 hours!? And no use of treats either? :Yawn

    I encourage people in my classes to use treats, toys etc. - whatever works. After all, it's our choice to do the classes, not the dog's, so the least we can do is make it worthwhile and enjoyable for them.
     
  19. danielled

    danielled PetForums VIP

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    The trainers at the classes I took Buddy too encouraged us to use treats. One of the first things they told is use treats toys etc and forget dominance theory it is a load of outdated rubbish. As soon as the trainer said that I thought I lije these trainers.
     
  20. Jemymah

    Jemymah PetForums Member

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    Hi Pupperino,

    Just a potential word of warning about the Kennel Club ones, we went to one because I thought it might be nice to do the Good Citizen. (We'd already done a 6 week class with a positive trainer elsewhere.)

    The Kennel Club one we went to was lots of 'NO' then pat on head for walking past other dogs, pushing dogs into positions if necessary or standing on the lead to get them into a down, giving them a jerk before telling them to 'come'. We ignored all these things and just did things the way our previous trainer had taught us (reason being I thought Casey would just sail through Bronze, but I wanted to see what they would ask of her so we were prepared).

    Casey can be a bit of a barker and was having a woof at the start of a class but she was settling, the trainer took her off me to demonstrate and 'walked' her in a circle. Casey actually stopped and lay down and he pulled her around the floor by the neck (we weren't allowed to keep her on her harness). I stepped out to take her back and he ignored me.

    Like an idiot I stayed at the class another few weeks with the intention of just staying under the radar but in the last class we attended Casey started trying to climb up my legs during the class, she looked distressed and I thought that's enough. I'm just sorry I put her through any of it, she must've been super stressed the whole time.

    I should have walked out in the first week when at the end of the class one of the trainers lifted a small dog and advised that this particular dog could be snappy when the owner was holding it and that she was holding it wrong. He held it in both arms like the owner, then under one arm like a rugby ball. He asked us to tell us which way was best. Noone answered so I said that if you had to lift her then under the arm didn't look safe to me, she should be supported with both arms. He advised the class that I was wrong and to hold a dog up in both arms is to 'promote' her, and that's why this dog was snappy. Nothing to do with people getting in the dog's face and her not having any other options.

    Anytime we lift Casey (so she can have a better look at something usually) we now address her as Captain Casey.

    We did a dogs trust training class recently and the difference was amazing. In Kennel Club Casey's recall was one of the fastest in class, the trainer would be holding her lead and she would be on her hind legs straining to get to me before he released her. At Dog's Trust, she sat quite happily beside the trainer - they weren't even holding her lead - and although her recall was still great and at speed I had my doubts that she would leave the trainer to come to me!

    I'm sorry, that was a bit of a rant. I'm sure all Kennel Club training classes aren't the same.
     
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