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hi guys,

well last night i went along to a puppy training class in my area to observe a class before i join for 6 sessions.

the first disaster was when 2 kids were constantly fussing dixie and holding her on their knee. wasnt too worried at this stage they seemed sensible and mum was right near. the next thing i know the kid stands up, i say be very careful or stay on floor and she dropped dixie whilst passing her to her friend.

i was so bloody mad, the mum said NOTHING to this child and dixie was left wheezing and nervous but was ok. i was so mad they didn't even apologise. i know they are children but i think its cheeky and the mum was out of order.

well when i got chance to observe the class, the trainer had a black lab on the lead in the middle. the dog seemed abit out of control. he said its name and if it ignored him then he snatched the lead really hard and dragged the dog to him. this he called, teaching the dog that he must respond straight away to his name and not in his own time.

now, the thought of him doing that to a tiny maltese makes me real nervous. obviously he wouldn't be as rough but god, i'm now so confused!

i can't find any other classes in the area. i wasn't expecting that sort of training, it seemed harsh or i am i just too darned protective of my little one?

has any of you trained your dog yourself? she is 4 months and sits, gives a paw, comes to name and is learning stay. she is also house trained thanks to the crate.

she walks on the lead right next to my side, but she's still a little nervous outside yet so that may be why!!

any help on this subject because i was so looking forward to my ideal thought of what puppy class would be and now am disheartened

thanks

bec & dixie
 

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Hmmm, if you dont trust them, maybe go get a book that teaches you how to train a pup. That is if you have the patience to.
 

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aaaw. I hope she is ok....
Good luck! Maybe you can get what you need from a book or some videos...
 

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Bec, I suggest you drop that training class and find another one or, as BCN and Tlunn suggest, get a good training book.

I also suggest not letting kids pick Dixie up. Don't let them bully you or guilt you into allowing them to hold her. I only let kids pet Sylphide if I am holding her.

On training classes: Training methods differ and you only want a trainer who uses gentle, positive reinforcement methods.

You don't want a trainer to treat Dixie the way you describe the lab being treated. Maltese have a tendency towards collapsing trachea. If a Maltese-ignorant trainer pulls across her neck it could collapse the trachea and she'll have problems for the rest of her life--if she lives through it (of course, she should be wearing a harness and not a collar, but most trainers don't know that).

Most trainers have large breed experience and are not familiar with the psychology of the small breed and the right methods for small breed training. Research trainers in your area and ask them if they have personally raised small breeds. Sylphide's agility trainer owns small breeds and her family owns a nationally ranking top agility Boston Terrier. She's wonderful with Sylphide, and uses very different methods to train her than she uses with the larger breeds. I'm sure you'll find someone like that in your area. Good Luck!
 

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I agree with everyone else...if you don't have a good feeling about this trainer and his class don't attend. I also don't let children pick up Lacey. I have had many a parent give me a dirty look when I won't let their little "angel" pick up Lacey. Lacey and all other maltese are little dogs and can be dropped and hurt. It is my job to protect her and I am sure that if one of these little ones was to drop Lacey and hurt her their parents wouldn't be willing to pay the vet bills. I haven't found a class near me either that I want to enroll Lacey in so I found a trainer that comes to the house and works with her. He is not badly priced. He is also going to start taking Lacey once a week to his playgroup. Lacey needs some socialization...she hasn't been around many dogs, just 2 cats.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Originally posted by SylphidesMom@Jan 14 2005, 05:53 PM
On training classes:  Training methods differ and you only want a trainer who uses gentle, positive reinforcement methods.   

You don't want a trainer to treat Dixie the way you describe the lab being treated. Maltese have a tendency towards collapsing trachea.  If a Maltese-ignorant trainer pulls across her neck it could collapse the trachea and she'll have problems for the rest of her life--if she lives through it (of course, she should be wearing a harness and not a collar, but most trainers don't know that).

Most trainers have large breed experience and are not familiar with the psychology of the small breed and the right methods for small breed training. Research trainers in your area and ask them if they have personally raised small breeds.  Sylphide's agility trainer owns small breeds and her family owns a nationally ranking top agility Boston Terrier.  She's wonderful with Sylphide, and uses very different methods to train her than she uses with the larger breeds.  I'm sure you'll find someone like that in your area.  Good Luck!
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yes that was my feeling about him, his dogs where sheepdog types and it un nerved me abit seeing that happen with lab and i wouldnt want him dragging dixie anywhere by her harness.

my bf thinks i should give it a try and that he just thought that must be how they r trained but i don't agree.

thanks for your advice, i'll have to look for another and start reading my books on training.
 

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I would go to a different class. How to find a class in your area? Well, it sounds like your pup needs a class not so you can learn how to train her, but to give her experience in different settings and socialize her in the class situation. A petsmart class would be fine for this.

Call your local dog club (or even one a few hours away, they likely have a member in your area) and ask for a reference. Call local groomers and vets and ask for a reference. Try this link:

http://www.apdt.com/trainers-and-owners/tr...iner-search.php
 

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JMM, that's great advice. Now that I think about it, the facility I go to (a kennel club in a nearby town) doesn't even advertize their fantastic facilities and classes--it's all done by word of mouth. One of my co-workers is heavily involved in the kennel club, and she referred me after I was asking around. So calling the local kennel clubs is a great idea.

Another thought, there are excellent facilities in my town, but they are primarily large dog driven--so I drive to a nearby town (25 minutes away) for Sylphide's training. If you expand your search you may get lucky!
 

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My previous trainer had Aussies and BCs but was fantastic with little dogs. My current trainer has Bernese Mountain Dogs and BCs and is also great with little dogs. More than what they own, it depends on their training experience and their ability to troubleshoot for dogs as individuals. Just ask straight out how much experience they have with toy breeds. No harm in that and they should be honest with you. I had one trainer tell me I should see somebody else as she could not meet my needs.

I drive an hour and pay $2 in tolls each way to go to our trainer.
 

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you cant trust any trainer. even if they're on the apdt list---check them out. i've only been dog training for a year...and i'm on that list. lol. i got a call from a lady yesterday and she's going to be meeting Cesar Millan in april. i was telling her about how i've met a bunch of different trainers---and every time i would meet a new trainer...my dogs would learn a new BAD behavior and their old bad behaviors worsen.


definitely get a book and you could sooo train by yourself or with a friend. and you can also get training videos to see how they handle the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
i got on the pet trainer association website for england last night and found a lady that is half an hour away, i am going to ring her and see what i think today.

defo not going back to that other class though.

thanks for advice

Bec
 

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Originally posted by doctorcathy@Jan 15 2005, 12:26 AM
you cant trust any trainer.  even if they're on the apdt list---check them out.  i've only been dog training for a year...and i'm on that list.  lol.  i got a call from a lady yesterday and she's going to be meeting Cesar Millan in april.  i was telling her about how i've met a bunch of different trainers---and every time i would meet a new trainer...my dogs would learn a new BAD behavior and their old bad behaviors worsen. 
 

definitely get a book and you could sooo train by yourself or with a friend.  and you can also get training videos to see how they handle the dog.
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Instead of you can't trust any trainer, I think it is more appropriate to say that you should interview every trainer despite their credentials and/or experience. Every person has a different style. One of the most crucial parts is how they interact with the owner. Essentially, a good trainer teaches you how to help your dog learn the behaviors you want and extinguish those you don't want. The fact that these trainers you met were not helpful means that they were not working effectively with not only your dog, but with you as well.

I've been going to obedience classes for about 9 years, conformation classes for about 5 years, and agility for about 3 years. I've been involved in competitive obedience, conformation, and agility. I've been to a number of training facilities and have worked with various trainers who use a variety of techniques. In general, the trainers who used positive reinforcement based on learning theory as well as motivational methods were not only the most helpful, but the most skilled in helping me learn how to teach my dog. When I first began taking on clients of my own, I quickly learned that how I interacted with them was more important than my interactions with the dog. I also found that watching them interact with the dog told much more of the story than their initial complaint or goals. A good trainer listens, watches, and problem solves for the specific situation.

My other suggestion is to read books and articles by behaviorists and trainers who are well-known in their fields. Karen Pryor, Susan Garrett, Gary Wilkes, Jean Donaldson, Patricia McConnell, Shirley Chong...to name a few.

I would start with Jean Donaldson's The Culture Clash and probably follow it up with Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot the Dog for starters.
 

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she is 4 months and sits, gives a paw, comes to name and is learning stay. she is also house trained thanks to the crate.

Why would you want to go to a training class if she does all that ? If it's mostly for socializing I think a playground thing with small dogs would be better.
I went to an obedience class (for beginner) with Alex, also thinking about socializing. It did not help in that area. On the contrary. He was more aggressive there then he usually is. Almost all of the dogs there were puppies and all of them were bigger then he is. He was always watching his back. The trainer (a lady) used positive reinforcement. She did not treat the big dogs the way you describe what that trainer did. And she worked with the client, training the client in the same time as the dog. I did not have an obedience problem with Alex, he does pretty much what I am asking him to do. We wanted socializing and in that area the class failed us. It was funny, the first day we went to the class, Alex was sitting in front of me, and at one point he turned his head and looked at me with the expression : Mom, what on earth are we doing here ?
 

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yeah jmm, you're right. it just sucks because 3 out of the 5 dog trainers that i have met have been on apdt...AND they've been training for at least 10 yrs.

the first trainer said my dog was "soft", but needed hard corrections


the second trainer had been a petco trainer and thought gruffi was aggressive and had to be 20 feet away from the class.....and she wouldnt touch him.


the third trainer put ALL her dogs on gentle leaders and did corrections while the dogs wore them.


the forth trainer had been the first trainer that i ever had. all the other trainers that i had met knew this trainer....and called her the "nazi trainer". she's the one that made sprite aggressive.




what i advertised on apdt is that i can do basic puppy training and give housebreaking tips(since my dogs know all of that stuff). i'm still trying to get sprite relaxed. i guess i should make a new thread to ask for more advice. i've tried everything i know
 

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Cathy, I would suggest you find somebody who uses positive methods but also has a firm grasp of learning theory, which those trainers apparently did not have. Take some classes, not so much for your dog, but to have the experience of a good trainer working with you.

Places that do agility with positive, motivational methods (clicker particularly) are a good place to find an obedience trainer who will be insightful and inventive.
 

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JMM so you use clicker?

i tried uncle matty---but this lady came. i just really want the dogs to learn how to do stuff without treats, you know? like seeing eye dogs. lol. my hopes are obviously really high for my dogs.


whats really weird is that off-leash...they're good. when they were at the dog park they were all angels.

and then the other day when we were at petsmart, i had dropped their leashes when they were getting their nails cut (we were in an enclosed grooming section), and this guy with his dog came and they were right outside of the door and all three of my dogs were TOTALLY fine. when i grabbed their leashes and pulled back...they went hysterical trying to 'attack'. which i'm not sure what they'd do, i dont THINK they'd bite. but i've never tested it.

i have a bunch of training books. by mcconnel, bash, margolis, the list goes on and on. which book do you TOTALLY recommend and i'll re-read it and do it exactly and be consistant.

thanks!
 

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Originally posted by doctorcathy@Jan 16 2005, 03:47 PM
JMM so you use clicker? 

i tried uncle matty---but this lady came.    i just really want the dogs to learn how to do stuff without treats, you know?  like seeing eye dogs.  lol.  my hopes are obviously really high for my dogs.


whats really weird is that off-leash...they're good.  when they were at the dog park they were all angels.



i have a bunch of training books.  by mcconnel, bash, margolis, the list goes on and on.  which book do you TOTALLY recommend and i'll re-read it and do it exactly and be consistant. 

thanks!
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I use the clicker or a verbal marker. The idea of the clicker is to mark the behavior and then reward it.

Check out this link:
http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/2001/primer.htm

On leash aggression is very common because the dog is constrained and "cornered". Mikey is obnoxious with it, so I taught him to ignore other dogs and focus on me. I used a gentle leader in the beginning to give me a little edge. Now a simple leave it is enough. A loose leash is often more effective than a tight leash, so teaching your dogs to walk on a loose leash can be a great skill to have. This is one of the reasons using a gentle leader gave me an edge with Mikey - no tension.

I was originally taught the old choke chain and dogs do things to please you ideas. However, I have found that learning theory and canine behavior studies offered me not only a more pleasant training experience, but a very well behaved dog. Dogs do not do things purely to please us, they do things because there is something in it for them. Treats are one way to reinforce a behavior. They are so widely used because most dogs are highly motivated by them. Tug toys or a tennis ball can be used in the same way if the dog is motivated by them. The last Malt puppy I had was not food motivated, so we used a tug toy. I still used the clicker, but instead of click and treat it was click and tug. Each dog is different.

Once I understood that treats are used first to build a behavior and get it consistent, I learned the power of variable schedule reinforcement. Basically, it means that sometimes there is a treat and sometimes now. Playing that game of chance is highly motivating (look at a slot machine or the lottery and how many people play). Once my dog has learned the behavior and I have generalized it to the situations I want, the clicker and treats disappear. I still toss out the occasional treat or ask for the behaviors while we're playing fetch (throwing the toy is the reward). But, if I ask my dog to stop when we're off on a walk and I have no treats, my dog does it because there is always a chance.

Would you do a job if you didn't get a paycheck? Paying off your dog is reinforcing for them, speeds up learning, and will make training a lot more fun.

I still would recommend Jean Donaldson's The Culture Clash as the ideal book for you to read. She writes very well and explains learning theory, but is still easy to understand.
 

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You cannot motivate Alex with a treat, he does not care about food. He does not even care about a toy. If he does something, it's because he want's to or to please you.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
i am going to check out the puppy class of the lady i rung the other day on thursday, she is registered for all sorts of classes and clicker training and sounds very nice, she has worked with small breeds and has fit me in to her class starting 27th jan. it runs for 8 weeks and u have homework each week. this is nice because she has a waiting list (good sign).

i am also doing little training sessions with dixie in the house, on walks and wherever we go to reinforce the basics. i've been following the advice of the Bobbie Lindon book in the training section which is very simple and easy to understand.

the reason i want to go to classes despite her grasping a few things already is because i want to make sure i'm handling her right and i want her used to listening to me despite lots of noise, other puppies having fun around her and treats everywhere. also to reinforce all the basic stuff that she does for me when i ask but doesn't when she's jumping at and biting my bf's mums poor yorkies every week; thats more fun then listening to poor old mum telling her to sit!!!

she's only a pup but i want her to be trained so that i can take her with me to friends homes and she is obedient because it makes them so much more of a pleasure to have and take anywhere, and also for when we go on holiday and she stays with my aunty and her sister chip. people want to mind a dog that does as it is told.

anyway, thanks for all help guys xxx
 

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Let us know how the new class goes! Sounds like this one might be the winner. I start taking my pups along to my other dogs' classes as soon as they are old enough for the same reason as you want to go to a class. I want them to learn to behave in all sorts of situations. With Mikey, that ended up being priceless. He can go in for an ultrasound or bloodwork at the specialist and he'll offer a paw or lay on his back when asked without a problem. We actually clicker trained him to sit for a blood draw from his neck. That has been priceless when sometimes he needs blood drawn once a week and I'm not the one doing it.
 
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