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Old 04-17-2012, 09:49 AM   #1
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Default Obedience Class

We have just signed up our two new adopted dogs, Kash and Lucy, for obedience classes. I have wanted to put them in classes since we adopted them 4 months ago because I think training does amazing things for both the owner and the dog. I took Layla to training when she was younger and even though she wasn't a bad dog to begin with, the change was amazing. It was so cool to see her WANT to WORK towards something and be so eager to please me!

Anyways, since then we moved out of the city and to a small town. We work in the city so it's tough to get home and drive back in to the city again with the dogs if we want to take them to classes. Luckily, I found out that a trainer from the city (from a different facility than where I took Layla previously) was coming out to our small town one day a week to offer obedience classes in the evenings. So we signed right up.

Last night was our first class, with just us and no dogs. We found out we are not using treats or toys to train, as I did previously with Layla in her classes. The trainer said the only way to train a dog is by using a choke collar Everyone else is going out to buy them (the next smallest dog is a beagle, the others are large breeds... and there are only 5 dogs in our time slot including our two).

After the class was over I went up to the trainer and said my dogs are NOT using choke collars. We have a maltese cross and a yorkie cross and according to the rescue, Lucy has had issues with collapsing trachea. Our other dog at home has spinal issues and paralysis... there's no way I'm going to yank any of these little guys around by their necks!

So the trainer said if we refuse to use the choke collars, we can look at corrective harnesses such as the gentle leader to discourage pulling on the leash. Have any of you guys used this harness and what do you think of it?

I am feeling a little discouraged and I'm not sure how far we will get in these classes by not following his directions. We discussed just not going last night, but we've already paid $320 for both dogs to go and we'll lose that if we just don't go anymore. I guess we'll just give it a try and see how far they get. I'm regretting not looking into it further, but there was no information I could find on his website about this kind of training.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:17 AM   #2
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I'm so sorry you are in this predicament! I wouldn't be comfortable with a trainer that believes that choke collars are the only way to train. Personally I believe that positive reinforcement encourages a positive bond and lets a dog use their brain to figure out what we want - not what we don't want. I use an easy walk harness made by the same maker as the gentle lead. I love the easy walk because it hooks in the front and doesn't encourage sled dog pulling like a regular harness but still fastens across their chest and doesn't put pressure on the trachea. The gentle leader is a head harness. I'm not sure how the fitting would be on such a small dog with a small nose. Here's an article on fitting one.

http://www.gentleleader.com/App_Cont...structions.pdf

My bigger concern would be what the trainer is going to expect you to do in training. I think I would talk to them and see if you can't get your money back. Tell them that this isn't a training method you believe in and you can't do it with your dogs. This really concerns me!
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:39 AM   #3
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What really confused me is that he kept saying "positive reinforcement" which is what I believe is the best way to train a dog. Praise, treats, play, whatever works to motivate and reward. But then he says a dog needs correction by using a choke collar. Well, I am not going to punish my dogs if they don't do exactly what I ask! I will have them keep trying and then give them big praise when they do!

You're right, the easy walk is the one I'm thinking of using. The gentle leader I think would also be problematic for us. He did talk about a nose harness with me after class last night, but even he said you need to be even more gentle because if you pull back too hard you'll hurt their necks! Plus, Lucy has such a short little muzzle I don't think it would be comfortable or stay on for very long. The regular harness with the leash clip in front is the one I am thinking of trying.

I think we will go to the classes and learn the hand signals and positive techniques, and then we'll go home and work on them for a week to suit what we think will work with our dogs.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:11 AM   #4
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I agree with you. What about a choke collar is positive?? Also, if you aren't using toys or treats for positive training - what are you using??? I hope that he isn't just throwing out the "positive training" language because it's popular.

What you are planning sounds good. I teach at a truly positive training facility. If you have any questions about what you are learning and how to make it more in line with what you want, feel free to ask and I'll try to help!

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Old 04-17-2012, 11:41 AM   #5
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Thanks a lot, I'll keep you in mind for any questions!!! The place I took Layla was all positive reinforcement as well. We were told from the start to not even THINK about bringing or using a choke collar ever. They taught us to not do anything if the dog is doing something wrong, but give them rewards when they're doing something right! It worked well with Layla.

We don't know where our new dogs came from because they were just abandoned, but Lucy has high anxiety and is scared of almost everything and everyone (although she has come out of her shell a lot in the past few months!), and Kash is pretty happy-go-lucky but there are a few things he is scared of, like brooms and tv remotes! I wouldn't even think of trying to hurt or physically correct them. They have been through enough.
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by linz06 View Post
we have just signed up our two new adopted dogs, kash and lucy, for obedience classes. I have wanted to put them in classes since we adopted them 4 months ago because i think training does amazing things for both the owner and the dog. I took layla to training when she was younger and even though she wasn't a bad dog to begin with, the change was amazing. It was so cool to see her want to work towards something and be so eager to please me!

Anyways, since then we moved out of the city and to a small town. We work in the city so it's tough to get home and drive back in to the city again with the dogs if we want to take them to classes. Luckily, i found out that a trainer from the city (from a different facility than where i took layla previously) was coming out to our small town one day a week to offer obedience classes in the evenings. So we signed right up.

Last night was our first class, with just us and no dogs. We found out we are not using treats or toys to train, as i did previously with layla in her classes. The trainer said the only way to train a dog is by using a choke collar everyone else is going out to buy them (the next smallest dog is a beagle, the others are large breeds... And there are only 5 dogs in our time slot including our two).

After the class was over i went up to the trainer and said my dogs are not using choke collars. We have a maltese cross and a yorkie cross and according to the rescue, lucy has had issues with collapsing trachea. Our other dog at home has spinal issues and paralysis... There's no way i'm going to yank any of these little guys around by their necks!

So the trainer said if we refuse to use the choke collars, we can look at corrective harnesses such as the gentle leader to discourage pulling on the leash. Have any of you guys used this harness and what do you think of it?

I am feeling a little discouraged and i'm not sure how far we will get in these classes by not following his directions. We discussed just not going last night, but we've already paid $320 for both dogs to go and we'll lose that if we just don't go anymore. I guess we'll just give it a try and see how far they get. I'm regretting not looking into it further, but there was no information i could find on his website about this kind of training.

you are right to refuse to use choke collars.
Oscar just graduated obedience school at petsmart and he just wore a regular vest harness.
I am sorry you are in this situation.
Hope the class works out for you.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:16 AM   #7
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We tell people that choke collars are great - they are perfect for hanging on a hook in the ceiling and attaching a hanging plant to - but that's all!
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:01 AM   #8
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Update:

We took Kash and Lucy for the first time last night and they did very well! On our way there, I couldn't even put Lucy on the ground because she was screaming and crying! I could barely hear the instructions in class because she was crying so much. The trainer came by to meet each dog and my fiance let him know that we are more comfortable just using harnesses - we were the only ones without choke collars

Anyways, we went through heel, and sit and stay. Kash caught on pretty quickly, except sitting at heel. He would stand beside me but didn't want to sit until I pushed his little bum to the floor! Lucy eventually got the hang of it but it took awhile! By the end of class, Kash would even stay while I walked to the end of the leash, and then did a circle around him back to heel position. I know he was getting pretty tired though because every once in awhile he'd lay on his back for a tummy scratch!

Walking them back home after the class was the difference between night and day. Lucy walked right beside me the whole way!

The trainer used both of them in demonstrations, and he also used the little beagle in class who did have a choke collar. He would yank up on the collar when she wasn't performing and her little neck would stretch right up I couldn't even watch.
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:05 AM   #9
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update:

We took kash and lucy for the first time last night and they did very well! On our way there, i couldn't even put lucy on the ground because she was screaming and crying! I could barely hear the instructions in class because she was crying so much. The trainer came by to meet each dog and my fiance let him know that we are more comfortable just using harnesses - we were the only ones without choke collars

anyways, we went through heel, and sit and stay. Kash caught on pretty quickly, except sitting at heel. He would stand beside me but didn't want to sit until i pushed his little bum to the floor! Lucy eventually got the hang of it but it took awhile! By the end of class, kash would even stay while i walked to the end of the leash, and then did a circle around him back to heel position. I know he was getting pretty tired though because every once in awhile he'd lay on his back for a tummy scratch!

Walking them back home after the class was the difference between night and day. Lucy walked right beside me the whole way!

The trainer used both of them in demonstrations, and he also used the little beagle in class who did have a choke collar. He would yank up on the collar when she wasn't performing and her little neck would stretch right up i couldn't even watch.
i am sorry but i would not let that person put his hands on my dog. Yanking up on a puppy/dogs neck is very dangerous.
It could cause serious injury.
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:10 AM   #10
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Yes, we were totally against using choke collars so we are using just harnesses. He didn't pull on our dogs because it wouldn't do anything. They just walked beside him on their harnesses like they should. I hope the other owners see that we are getting results without resorting to choking our dogs

I know the owners of the beagle asked about using a harness and the trainer said it wouldn't work. Well, we are using harnesses and it's working!!! Dogs aren't stupid. We don't need to hurt them to make them do what we want. They will learn without being choked
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:18 AM   #11
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yes, we were totally against using choke collars so we are using just harnesses. He didn't pull on our dogs because it wouldn't do anything. They just walked beside him on their harnesses like they should. I hope the other owners see that we are getting results without resorting to choking our dogs

i know the owners of the beagle asked about using a harness and the trainer said it wouldn't work. Well, we are using harnesses and it's working!!! Dogs aren't stupid. We don't need to hurt them to make them do what we want. They will learn without being choked
that is good news. I am glad you are using the harness.
Hopefully the others in the class will try it too..
You are right , dogs are not stupid and they do not learn by force . That only makes them fearful.
I am glad the class is working out for you...
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:26 AM   #12
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We were on the fence still even before going to the class last night. We have already paid the money so we thought we'd still just go and do it our way. If we get nothing out of it, at least we tried! But we are learning the hand signals and getting the doggies to heel and I think seeing the other dogs doing it helps them know what to do as well. And maybe going is a good thing - it might even open the trainer's eyes to NOT using a choke collar. We can show him it's not the ONLY way!
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:28 AM   #13
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We were on the fence still even before going to the class last night. We have already paid the money so we thought we'd still just go and do it our way. If we get nothing out of it, at least we tried! But we are learning the hand signals and getting the doggies to heel and I think seeing the other dogs doing it helps them know what to do as well. And maybe going is a good thing - it might even open the trainer's eyes to NOT using a choke collar. We can show him it's not the ONLY way!

GOOD FOR YOU....
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:34 AM   #14
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I have just completed a training class with Quincy we used the easy walk harness and He wore a buckle coller I would hook the easy walk for some training and other training I had to remove it mostly on the come recall. It worked great I still use it today on walks with him. Good luck!
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:36 AM   #15
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I have just completed a training class with Quincy we used the easy walk harness and He wore a buckle coller I would hook the easy walk for some training and other training I had to remove it mostly on the come recall. It worked great I still use it today on walks with him. Good luck!

We actually bought the easy walk for Lucy and just started using it a few days ago. We used it in training last night too. She does not like the leash sitting there in front of her but she's getting used to it!
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