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Obedience School...I need advice


JenJ
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Hi all,

I should have asked this question BEFOREhand, but I thought I'd done my research and was comfortable with my decision.

There are a few board-and-train programs in the area I live; some have great reputations, others are known to be intimidating. We were going out of town for the holidays, and I had been talking with friends for several months about these programs. I decided that, since Cassie would have to be boarded, might as well let her have some training, too, since she could certainly use it.

I made sure I had good references (from folks I trusted) and picked a place to take her to. I discussed methods with the place, toured it, etc.

Okay, so I got her yesterday, and the guy who trained her (supposedly) gave me an hour long speech on "dog psychology." He basically said Cassie goes in her crate, then I bring her out to "work on ABCS" meaning, train her, then back to her crate she goes. She's supposed to stay in her crate WITH the door open, and live with a leash on her all the time during the day. Then he put a slip collar on her (nylon) and showed me how you put her back in the crate, basically snapping that leash over and over again until she was COMPELLED to go back in there.

And do you think my munchkin stayed in there? No , of course not, and so he repeated the process over and over again while I was getting progressively more upset. Upset that he was using that collar, upset that she clearly didn't listen to him, and upset that I was expected to do this over and over during the day.

Is this proper training? Cassie seems to be her same self, she clearly wasn't "damaged" there or anything. But I don't think she learned jack, and if she did, I don't know if I'm capable of implementing it because I just can't do that collar.

Am I crazy? Has anyone ever done one of these programs? I get unlimited private lessons to go back and learn more, but I'm not sure if I want to go back. All I wanted was help with housebreaking and help with "come" command; she does seem to do better with that, I will say.

If you have any experiences or advice, I'm most open to it. Thank you!

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I find that to be negative training. Puddles works best with positive training and reinforcing her with treats. I dont think snapping the lead is doing her any good. Terriers have that instinct to set things right as far as they are concerned its a wonder she didnt snap him with that leash. Going into the crate should be a positive experience for her..How I trained puddles to love her crate is to feed her in there in the beginning and always have a nice treat in there for her now, that is her number one place to be at night.Frozen kongs are her favorite.

Out of all the dogs I have trained in my lifetime.. Puddles is by far the hardest, yet...the easiest and fastest learner. She is food and toy motivated..the best treats I have found are natural balance rolls. She is 8 months..she rings a bell to go potty, she sits, lays and "bang" your dead..Her leave it command is almost perfect and her recall is just about perfect.. Cairns thrive off of praise too.

There is no need to put fear in your girl for her to follow a command...It only reinforces the negative in her.

Good luck to you.

I LOVE MY CAIRNS PUDDLES AND IRIS!

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That doesn't sound right! Why would he want Cassie to stay sitting in the crate all day with the door open and never come out? Was he just showing you how to make Cassie "crate-up and stay" or some other commands?

Although I'm tempted to say forget about that place, you did get good references from folks you trust, so I think I would give it one more shot - and then if you don't agree with the teaching methodology, definately don't go back. Mabey the guy was having a bad day or just not communicating effectively.

I took Bruski to obedience training 2x and the first instructor I had was military-trained and very harsh - he basically told the class that if your dog slept in the bed with you, the dog will never ever respect you. Although I didn't agree with a lot of his teachings, he was good at training and Bruski really learned a lot in his class. So I decided to take the 'good with the bad'.

One more thought - the same instructor also had me use a pinch collar (which is REALLY scary looking!). I almost cried as he put it on Bruski... but we used it as a training tool and it worked wonders. It didn't hurt Bruski and enabled me to train him to walk right next to me - Bruski gets so excited now when he sees the collar because it means he's going to "work" at heeling with me. It was actually a bonding experience even though I originally thought the collar was really cruel - he doesn't seem to mind it at all.

Lastly, let me add that there should be positive reinforcement - not just negative reinforcement in the training. If you see none, then its definately not the right place for a Cairn to be trained. They are eager to please and training with positive reinforcement works best.

Edited by ckthomas00
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Ive had Skipper in puppy school and intermediate training, both were positive reinforcement, lots of praise and treats and a lot of very important socialization with his classmates. Skipper learned all of the basic commands without negative. No mention was made of crate or not too crate. I learned how to train Skipper myself on a ongoing basis. One thing stood out though maybe a Carin trait, he was class clown and did not seem to get lesson of the day, but what he learned was flawless the next lesson. The only thing I used was the gentle leader for loose leash and heel.

I don't think Skipper would learn anything from a harsh training session beside rebellion.

Skipper is ready for advanced training all postive reinforcement in his training.

So I would go with a more positive approach in a trainer

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In my experience, most dogs respond better to positive reinforcement not from force, intimidation or from drills.

Since owning Cricket, my first Cairn, and learning everything I could about the breed and their temperment, the last thing I would ever do to train Cricket would be the methods being imposed on your Cairn by this trainer.

Anyone can slap a "trainer" title to their name without really knowing a heck of alot about dog behaviour and the difference in breeds.

Personally, I would not go back to that trainer. To me, the risk is too great of losing trust and cooperation of your Cairn.

Cricket responds to rewards. That includes encourgement(vocal and affection) and treats.

The only thing that harsh treatment and force creates is tension, rebellion and worse a fight.

Please, find someone else, or get a really good dog training book that focuses on positive methods.

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The collar really was not the problem. As a matter of fact, we use that collar when we are obedience/agility training. The collar you mention is only to get the dogs attention, and that is it. As for the crate....that is their HOME. They should want to be there for sleep, getting away to rest, etc. The "trainer" is a GOOF!! For someone to really be a "trainer" they SHOULD know about the BREED! Every breed is different and should be handled in such a way.

As for housebreaking....well that can always be a challenge. Patience has to be your best friend!! These guys/gals are pretty stubborn!! Find what you want them to do. How you want them to tell you that they need to go out. Then of course you should be taking them out anywhere from every 1-4 hours. I know this sounds like a lot of going out...it really is just a reminder that outside is where we do our business.

Search around on this forum...there are many of us that have discussed housebreaking and training. We support you in your decision and are always here to help.

Good days are ahead.

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I am so sorry about your horrible experience. If you are in a situation where you do not feel comfortable, then do not go back. If you really want a well behavied dog, then yes training is necessary...but not for your dog....but for you. Ask around, and find out if there is a local dog training club that you can go to. Most local AKC groups have an assosciated Obedience club and in some area's there are independant AKC member dog training clubs. In my opinion, boarding training rarely has a long term effect, because the owner is not an active particpant in the training.

I agree with Shergry. A slip collar is a great tool WHEN USED PROPERLY (and from your description I don't think it was). I use a metal snake style slip collar (choke chain, training collar whatever you want to call it) with my girl. And I will use a leash pop when necessary....but not repeatedly, and only enough to get her to stop the unwanted behavior...and as soon as the desired behavior occurs praise is liberaly given.

Raise your expectations for what your Cairn can do....and try very hard to meet your Cairn's expectations of you.
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I've never heard of that kind of training - but I'm sure trainers come up with all sorts of new things - mine were never trained on anything regarding their crates. They learned to go in there when they felt like it, when they were tired etc. Or sometimes they were put there if they were naughty for an intentional time out (which they did recognize as a time out when they were younger) - I'm all for good training, a lot is common sense and a lot of time and energy being consistent -I'm not a big fan of these trainers who seem to think you have to hold your dog down on the floor for it to be submissive or these new age techniques... many of the things we were able to do on our own without help from a trainer. We used a can of pennies to shake when we needed their attention when they were 6 months and younger and a squirt bottle with water when the pennies quit working. And you'll get to learn your dog's own triggers. Every dog will respond to different techniques. Don't be affraid to follow your instincts if some trainers seem off base -

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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Yea..Alot of trainers want to teach how to become Alpha in the household by holding a pet or rolling it...That is really gross and dispicable. They say it is because we want to gain alpha status and pack leader...one thing they are missing is that WE ARE NOT DOGS. We are humans that should teach OUR way of training rather than as if we belong to a primitive wolf pack. Its too much TV in my opinion.

Puddles was the class clown too.. Her trainer told me once that she dont think it will be easy to train her becasue of her love for getting a laugh... I went to class for me really..to learn what I need as tools for her training. She does wonderfully for me and my immediate family...and trys to make an ass out of me in front of anyone else...but I love her for that. She is soo much fun..

The clicker training is something I forgot to mention too.. It worked wonders! especailly when it was loaded with a treat. It gave instant praise for a command followed. It never seemed that I was quick enough to praise her with a treat. As soon as we used loaded clickers it went great from there on out.

I LOVE MY CAIRNS PUDDLES AND IRIS!

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Wow, what a great response! I went to take my daughter to preschool and go for a run to "process" all that went on with my dog and I came back to find all your thoughts, which I so appreciate!

I do need to clarify: this training program did use treats and praise for rewards for good behavior, but stuff like the choke collar and loud noise (pennies in a can was an example he gave) to stop negative behavior. All of it sounded really good when we talked before, but when I saw all this "training" in action, I got queasy. He was wanting her to go in her crate and NOT come out until he said it was okay. I asked about the whole "crate being their haven" thing and he agreed with that, but for some reason thought it was also okay to put the dog in time out there or to essential "force" the dog to stay in the crate.

Here's an example: he brings Cassie in (whom I haven't seen in over a week!) and I'm not allowed to pay any attention to her. Okay, fine. He opens the crate and puts this leash on, then calls her over and gives her a treat for coming. Then he tells her to go back in the crate, and starts snapping the leash (repetitively) and, in essence, drags her back to the crate. Then leaves it open. Naturally, she's going to come right back out, and here's the same process over again. At one point she GAGGED and I jumped up off the couch and said, "Hey! You're choking her!" Okay, so he was pleasant during all this, never yelled at her, whatever, and I know some folks really like the slip/choke collars, so I tried to calm down. He then said you can throw something to get their attention, and then chucks a HUGE kong at her (misses intentionally, but it slammed into the crate next to her and scared us both!). Is this okay?!?

This process went over about, oh, ten times, and my eyes were getting wider. He then said, "I can tell she's really been spoiled...you've had her for four or five months, right?" At that statement/question, I'm thinking, "Well, what in the h*** have you been doing with her for 10 days, if you are just now observing this? And NO, we've had her about three months, thank you very much!" Then he said, "Well, you know, this breed is very tenacious and independent, sometimes too smart for their own good." Here I have to mention that at our first meeting, he insisted that "all dogs brains are the same," which I questioned, obviously, but at that point I had paid for it and was dropping her off.

Sigh. At any rate, I don't think they were cruel, just too unrelenting, maybe? And not well-suited for my breed. I will say the guy did use a clicker, too, to "mark" good behavior, and I found she's doing pretty well with that in terms of sitting, and some on the heeling. She doesn't get stay at all, though. Plus she came home yesterday and peed on the floor. :innocent: But she seems to have learned a few things, so maybe it wasn't a total loss.

Anyhow, I agree with ALL of you, and I'm not doing the nonsense about making her stay in her crate with the door open. I did like the idea of keeping her leash on her, but I'm not planning on using the slip collar, mostly because I don't think I know how to use it well, I have kids running around this house, and I don't want to choke her!

Thanks so much for just letting me VENT and giving me FEEDBACK. I honestly think having a puppy is so much more challenging than having a child right now. I have no clue what I'm doing, and I'm breaking the bank in the process of finding out. I do hold out hope that will all change in a year! :) At any rate, I'm so glad to have Miss Cass back, safe and sound.

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WOW - after reading your most recent post...

I'd ditch this trainer (I know that everyone's got different techniques.... but sounds extreme for my kind of training). You know even with trainers - the puppy stage with a Cairn is just plain hard. Yes, they can be independent and stubborn, but that doesn't mean a trainer should break their little spirit in the process - or choke them to pieces! I had two puppies at the same time - same age - and I thought I was going to go crazy between the potty training and teaching them to walk, not jump on people etc. and one of mine I even had to break of bone agression which took about 2 months - (and we worked on the agression on our own without a trainer) - this forum is the very very best at finding some incredible answers and help and most importantly support when you think you've taken in a furry puppy devil. The older the Cairn gets the more it understands. Our very best success came around the 8-9 month old range. And there were still things we worked on beyond that - like eating our kitchen cupboards and walls... :nono: You'll do fine, and the advice here is free! :)

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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I don't see the need for choke collar all the time either, and it really depends on the dog. My female has never worn one. I do use one on my youngest male, but only for formal obedience training and heeling. For general everyday life and agility practice, it's a nylon flat collar. There is a book called "crate games" written by an agility competitor. I don't have it, but from what I read, the end result is a dog who will go to the crate and stay there with the door open until released. BUT, it is all done with positive reinforcement and each step is made into a game. You can find it on cleanrun.com

Let me tell you about a thing that happened last night at agility class. After my turn, my overfriendly youngest ran up to another student and jumped in her lap, kissing her. I went and retrieved him and put his leash on to give him his treat. After my next turn, he did the same thing. This is not a good thing to do, it could get him in real trouble if that persons dog takes offense to a dog charging up and jumping on their mom. I went up picked him off her lap, yelled "no" and promptly took him to the other end of the room and put him in a crate, for a time out. After my next turn he stayed with me and got his treats from me.

There is another program & book called Ruff Love, while I don't agree with all of it, there are parts that really work for cairns. That is they have to work for any treats. Say your dog is standing there looking cute, so you want to give them a treat, or they bring you a toy to throw, make them do something first, sit, down, get in their crate, etc., then give them what they want.

Linda
MACH3 Red Lion Springin Miss Macho CDX RAE OF ME
Marquee Cairnoch Glintofmacho CD RE MX MXJ OF ME

Glenmore Hjour Summer Sun

 

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I agree with that idea that doggies should work for treats. We try to implement this at home, although I do have some youngsters who just live to give Cass a treat! :)

On the choke collar...I've been growing more concerned the past couple of days because Cassie is doing this weird sneeze thing ever since she came home from that training place. Could the choke collar have caused this??? I will say I have not put it on her since she's been home, first, because I don't know I can use it properly and second, the demonstration I got appalled me. The trainer choked her tell she gagged in her crate. I thought it was a simple pop/release. His was repetitive pop releases as he was trying to get her back into the crate. I'm just worried if this was the case for 10 days, she might have some injury. It's not all the time, and it could just be a cold or something, but of course I'm leery right now.

I know she needs some kind of correction for disobedience, but this is not the one I'm wanting to use. I feel even MORE confused and helpless now after this experience, rather than empowered.

She does seem herself, though...went into the yard today and when I went to pick her up to bring her in, she headed into the ol' chase game. :)

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does this guy train a lot of terriers? sounds like the perfect scientific approach for producing a defiant, angry, or passive-aggressive terrier. these breeds do not like bullying. i wouldn't bribe them, myself, but i find they do respond to people they respect. surprising the dog, outwitting it, or amusing it are all good ways of getting cooperation.

there may be dogs (maybe biggish working or guns dogs) who respond well to that training, but i can't imagine a terrier coming out of it better than she went in.

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If I am understanding this thread right...you boarded her at that place? If so, was she given the shot for kennel cough? They are supposed to do this every time a dog is boarded with other dogs (those that are new friends). If she is coughing now as uposed to before the boarding, I would take her to the vet....could be she picked up something from another dog. I don't think the collar would make her cough this long after the session. When he first did the NO, NO to her; then I get it that she would gag or cough. But that she is still doing it, I would take her to the vet to be checked out. As far as the chase game....run the other way...you would be surprised how she thinks you have something better and comes a running. We do this all the time....stomp the ground and ask "Where is the mouse?" They always come look.

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She is up-to-date with the shots; she gets groomed so she's had a recent kennel cough booster. She's not coughing, it's more of a sneeze. Though I did think 'kennel cough' right at the first, but it's really a funny sound out of her nose, like she's got something in it she has to clear out. It may just be random, and I'm just associating it with her last activity (this training program).

pk--I think you are right; this training seems to be better suited to a larger, working class dog (which my three friends have...duh, and hello, JEN!). My terrier does have a mind of her own, which I'm actually proud of. I'm going to look into some other training classes that incorporate different methods of training.

And, I will try that turn and chase me idea, shergry! I love that "where's that mouse?" :)

Thanks, all. I am feeling better and certainly glad to have my dog back (and not giving up hope that there's a great training program out there for us!).

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