Join Date: May 2014
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Not sure what they mean by pressure-its not necessarily a bad thing. I train horses and use a pressure and release method of training. Which at the basics means that when I pick up the right rein and take out all the slack (putting light pressure on the horse's mouth) I keep that pressure there until the horse even slightly moves his nose to the right, then I drop that rein to give him a release. The release is his reward-horses don't like the pressure so will move around til they find the release; eventually they learn that moving their nose to the right was what gave the release-which is why giving the release at the exact right moment is so important; if you release before the horse moves his nose, you will teach him that pulling against the rein is what you want and you will have a very poorly trained horse. <- That's very basic first step type stuff that you do with a young horse even before you get in the saddle, but an example of pressure and release training.
With dogs, I apply similar principles. For instance, teaching sit, I push gently on the puppy's rear while gently pulling up on the leash. When he sits, he is immediately rewarded. For goldens, I actually typically don't use treats. I find that they are often too food oriented and focus too much on the food rather than what they are being taught and end up not really learning it. I find that goldens are such people pleasers that an exuberant "Good dog!" and petting are perfectly acceptable rewards for them. I might give treats at the very beginning of learning something, but that's about it.
I'm also hesitant to recommend "positive only" trainers. It sounds like a good thing, but too many of them have you rewarding your dog for bad behavior because, hey we're all about positive. You can absolutely tell your dog no when his behavior is not acceptable. But many positive trainers would tell you to never correct your dog, just shove treats at them instead. (thereby effectively teaching them to continue that bad behavior since they got food for it.) I agree with others about finding a trainer who actually competes and has titles in AKC obedience or agility or what ever.
And prong collars can be a wonderful thing for a stubborn dog when fitted and used correctly. My sister, dad, and mom got a husky/lab mix puppy who just turned 1. My sister does the training and she listens very well to her-she walks her with just a flat buckle collar and she doesn't pull (or if she does, my sister just gives her a pop on the leash and tells her to heel and she's back to paying attention). She listens to my dad too. My mom, however, has never been much of a trainer. All of our dogs have always known that she will let them get away with more stuff. She doesn't want to let them get by with stuff, and tries to correct them, but she just isn't very authoritative I guess. Anyway, she's in her 60's and was getting to the point where she was afraid to take the puppy on a walk because they live on top of a hill so have to go downhill to walk and mom was afraid she would get pulled over by the puppy, especially when they would scare up a rabbit or something. So I bought a prong collar and got it fitted to the puppy and showed my mom how to use it. Its been a lifesaver for my mom as she can now enjoy her walks with the puppy. We never had to use a prong on our goldens though, so it really depends on the dog. Our goldens we had from breeders at 8 weeks old though, and the husky/lab they didn't get til she was like 4 months or so (craigslist rescue), so that could make a difference too since we always start training our puppies right away.
Autumn Harvest Moon II (aka Autumn) born March 2000 Crossed the Bridge August 2015 My 1st Golden and 4-H obedience champion who taught me so much about training and showing. You're the one who made me realize Goldens were the only breed for me! You are missed, my sweet girl. Seraphim's April Love CD (aka April) born April 2011 My sweet little cuddle bug/lap dog golden who loves obedience and frisbee!