I think I found a trainer for us - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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I think I found a trainer for us

I've been looking for a qualified, good trainer for us for a while. With Bella in the house, all our dynamics have shifted. Plus she has a problem with barking at other dogs and strange people. And Tucker is showing signs of resource guarding. Tess is just Tess but she's getting fragile and I want to be sure she is respected. DD gets impatient with all the dogs and I want someone to train HER a bit.

So I researched training societies and certifications and found a good candidate in SF. I had a good talk with her yesterday. She's not able to help us because of the distance (I was worried about that), but recommended someone highly who is nearby. It's the same person who was recommended highly by the behaviorist at my local SPCA. So I'm going to go with her. I had originally not called her b/c we'd met her a couple times before and my DD found her sort of off-putting. But I told my DD she needed to bite the bullet and work with her.

But the woman I spoke with yesterday said something that really made my day. I described to her some of the issues we were facing and mentioned some of the training I've been doing at home and elsewhere with them, and she said she wished she could work with me because she could tell I'd be a great client, that I was thoughtful about my dogs, and was already doing good things for them! Really made my day.
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 04:10 PM
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I am so glad to see that you have found a trainer that will work for you. In addition to classes, I am seeking personal help from a trainer. My last private trainer was not a good fit for me and Mercy. I asked my friend from church if there was somebody who could help me with Mercy's manners and she referred me to a trainer that I drive to starting this Saturday morning. Pray that it works out!

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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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I hope she works out for you. It's important to find a good fit, which is why I had originally passed by the initial recommendation to this woman (since my DD didn't take to her).

After I typed up the above post, it hit me how discouraged I've been feeling lately. When the dogs started having persistent issues, I think I started feeling like a failure as a dog mommy...
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Our first session today

Martina, our trainer, came today for our first session. I think she's going to work out very well. She seems very knowledgeable and insightful about our situation. It turns out she does behavior assessments for our local GR rescue group.

Her assessment was sobering however. She agrees that Bella is fearful and under socialized. In fact Bella reacted aggressively and barked at her when she moved around. So we have a lot of work to do with Tucker and Bella. Tess has been deemed quite adorable with no issues at all. LOL.

So we're starting with barking at the door when the doorbell goes off. (They did a demonstration of the necessity for that when Martina arrived. ) In a few weeks, we're going over to her place. She has five dogs, and we're going to test the reactivity of both Tucker and Bella. I think we've got a lot of work to do.
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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 09:10 PM
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"After I typed up the above post, it hit me how discouraged I've been feeling lately. When the dogs started having persistent issues, I think I started feeling like a failure as a dog mommy... "

I am so sorry you were feeling discouraged. I think you are a great dog mommy. I think every one of us at some point or another get stuck some where and need someone else to evaluate things. Most of the time those new eyes will just spot little things that we can do (small adjustments) or help us to break things down into smaller pieces to make some things work a little easier. No matter how wonderful each dog is as an individual making it all work and run smoothly as a family is not easy.
I do hope that your family and the trainer end up being a good fit.

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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 09:18 PM
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I just saw your post on the first session. I am glad you do like your trainer. It sounds like she has a plan. That will give you something to work toward. Again, don't get discouraged. Reward yourself for each and every baby step toward your goal. Each of those steps are as important as the end result.

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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 08:25 AM
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Good luck with your trainer. Honestly, I find that unless you've got your head stuck in the sand and think your dog is perfect, there is always some issue to be working on.

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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jessie'sGirl View Post
Good luck with your trainer. Honestly, I find that unless you've got your head stuck in the sand and think your dog is perfect, there is always some issue to be working on.
Yes, if for no other reason than they always need reinforcement. What I find discouraging is that although Bella has settled into our home quite well and gets along with all of us, she's so fearful of everyone else that Martina said "she's a bite waiting to happen." So until (if we can) help her gain more confidence, she's just going to have to watched very carefully, and not put into situations that would stress her out. She was completely stressed out with the trainer in the house and exhausted after she left.

Martina said she could very well end up being the alpha of the dogs once she and Tucker are fully adult, at around two years of age. Although that is sort of funny--I don't think Tucker gets it--I want to make sure she's a more confident, easy-going dog before that happens.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Today we started with Bella's security conditioning

I took her for a neighborhood walk. I worked with her on loose leash walking but was really working on letting her explore her surroundings to learn that the world is not a scary dangerous place. She did very well. I pulled off the sidewalk a couple times when there were people and/or dogs coming at us, and fed her a stream of treats. She started to lunge once and barked once, but mostly was distracted by taking the treats. We're going to keep that up for a long while I think. She was clearly stressed by it all, although she seemed very trusting of my being on the other end of the leash.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:25 AM
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It is great to have a good trainer to rely on. I know that having a fear reactive dog is stressful for you and the dog but hang in there it does get better.


'Don't pity the rescue dog. Adopt one. And be proud to have their greatness by your side.'
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