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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Pressure Training?

I am looking at different training facilities for puppy classes and one of them says they are not a positive only training facility. I asked what that means and they said they use pressure training with a prong or martingale (if I prefer) collar. Upward pressure means sit etc. They said they do use corrections and I asked what kind and he said they use no as well as pressure. I'm okay with no and use no already for things. Fortunately not often. They focus on leadership and communicating with your dog and teaching him behavior, not just obedience.

They also focus on behavior no matter the distraction. Such as teaching your dog to be able to go anywhere with lots of people and not needing to be petted, played with, or acknowledged by every person or dog he sees. This is what my pup thinks now. They do start puppies on treats but the goal is to quickly move to pressure and not rely on treats, then to not needing any tools because you have taught the behavior.

They also offer board and train and have groups for fearful or reactive dogs with good results. I am only interested in their group classes as I have a confident, gregarious puppy and prefer to train him myself and build my relationship with him. They do teach CGC class and have a tester on staff which I am also interested in. They have pack walks where you can practice your skills and puppy supervised play groups after a month of basic puppy classes.

Everything I've read says goldens only respond to positive (treat) training so I am not sure if this approach is appropriate for my puppy. From the videos I've seen from them and talking to them, correction really does mean just letting them know what is not acceptable and focusing on clearly communicating what is acceptable. They say if you aren't saying yes a lot more often than no, you are doing something wrong.

Any thoughts on this? Anyone familiar with pressure training? I have no experience dog training and the other classes I am looking at are all lure and treat which is what I have been doing and what I have mostly read is how you should train goldens.

The place I am looking at is Enzo's Acres just in case anyone asks.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 05:13 PM
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Honestly, at first glance, this does not appear to be where I would start puppy classes with a Golden puppy. They may be very successful handling behavior issues, rescue seems to be a primary focus for them, so it's hard to say. I would not suggest this place to a friend or family member with a new puppy.

I personally would start with an obedience training club like this one: Our Instructors where people all compete in a sport of some kind with their companion dogs and you will likely have some people who can get you off to a good start with treat/reward training to teach your dog. Generally a Golden retriever puppy who is given a strong and consistent foundation in obedience from the beginning of life will not require a lot of force to get good behavior out of him. Prong collars are an excellent tool in the hands of an expert who is trying to correct a dog that has been taught what is expected of him and refuses to listen for some reason. It would not be how you would teach skills and reinforce good behavior. You can keep this trainer in your back pocket in case 18-24 months of consistent, daily obedience work hasn't produced a dog who will walk on leash etc. This would be more a last resort resource.

Seriously, contact your local Golden Retriever Club for a referral or reach out to Vancouver Dog Obedience Club - Golden puppies are the star of the class if you just practice what you learn in class. At this point, there is no need to resort to pressure. Please consider starting somewhere else.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 09:59 PM
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Honestly, if you start your puppies training the day you get them so they don't develop bad behaviors that you would need to break and retrain then you generally won't ever need a corrective collar. If that is the case and you need to break some bad behaviors then a prong collar is fine. I have used a prong collar on dogs I was training but never before 4-5 months of age and never to correct with pops or anything but if a dog is pulling just stand still and let the pup feel the cinch of the prongs and the pup corrects themselves. 2 or 3 sessions of 10 min each usually "explains" to the pup what the unwanted behavior is and what is expected. There is never a reason to ever have to use a prong collar for general and all training and after those 2-3 sessions I go right back to a regular collar.



A trainer using a prong collar to rely on training the dog isn't worth anything. Anyone can put on a training device and force a dog to do something. The point is to make the dog want to do things the right way. If you train only using the prong collar, the dog will not know how to act without it. It makes a regular collar feel like a day and grandma's house where there are no rules and can be knuckleheads.


Not to mention if you give your dog to a place like this to train your dog, when you get it back it likely won't listen to you like it did them since that type of corrective training is really a fear based training system and they won't fear you (nor should they ever) so they won't listen the same to you as they do those trainers. When you train the right way with positive reinforcement. they will generally listen to other people as well and not just the trainer.


Edit:
The big thing to remember with training, is everyone in the house has to use the same commands. You need to sit down as a family and agree and decide on things like down is for lay down and off is when they put there paws on things they shouldn't like jumping up on you. You can't have all but one saying off for jumping up and one person saying down for the same thing. That extends your training time and confuses the pup. Just be consistent and never say a command and not make them do it. That turns commands into suggestions. So if you say sit they don't and are all excited, pull them aside and get their attention and tell them to sit and once they do, then they get the praise and attention.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I had a gut feeling this wasn't what I wanted. I was uneasy with the term pressure training despite the positive spin they put on it. I want my puppy to trust me and only know good things from me. I have decided to pass on this facility.

We have been working a lot with just treats and praise and he's learned sit, down, belly-up, and here fairly reliably. We are working on leave it, drop it, and following all commands while distracted. His nose in the yard seems to be his biggest distraction. He gets lots of treats for looking at me, following me, and offering good behavior also.

He is an angel in the crate for 8-9 hours at night without a peep and is pretty much potty trained already but I still keep him confined to two rooms and watch him constantly because I am trying to avoid any accidents and to let him know I'll always take him out.

This is all progress I have made without ever raising my voice or doing any correcting and I have zero experience training dogs. With some help from a positive trainer, I think we can do very well with an all positive approach.

There are two places in town that have positive only classes. Both were recommended by people here. One won't respond to messages and the other I have signed up for.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 10:32 PM
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SDTC Classes & Lessons

^^^ This has a list of training locations in your area, I think...

My thoughts/questions when looking for a training location...

1. What is the highest level class offered by the location

- Even if you do not plan on continued dog training after CGC level, it's still helpful if a training location offers regular competition level classes in rally, regular obedience, agility, and whatever else. Why? Because they will do a better job at teaching pups for long term results. They want to get you hooked on training so you will be a long term student who enjoys training your dog.

Locations where they are just shuffling dogs in for early socialization and organized playtime, they are more likely to bring out the harnesses and other controlling devices because if the owners and dogs get stuck using those devices on a permanent basis, it's not their problem.

Other thing though is if you are interested in continuing classes, you can work your way up through the levels at the location - and with a well trained dog who already knows all the foundation skills he needs for those higher levels.

Training at home is very important! But you still need guidance and direction that comes from attending classes once a week. People training alone or at home get "blind" to their mistakes. And their dogs simply learn how to excel at a very low degree of distraction (at home).

2. What is the experience level of the trainer?

- I don't give a darn about education, believe it or not. A lot of young people are trying to take college courses in dog training because they believe this is all they need to get a job in dog training. But understanding dogs comes from working with dogs. It comes from working with a variety of dogs. And it's not stuff you can learn online.

^ I took a handling class yesterday and another today. And both days I was working on different issues. Yesterday it was figuring out leashwork with a dog so he wasn't looking up at me or gaiting with his head too high. Today it was problem solving him being spooked by a bull terrier. Both times the gal teaching the classes knew how to handle and teach me how to handle. This is experience. It's not handling problems by avoidance or by correction even. Neither situation would have been helped by correction. Nor would they have been helped by rewards. Handling skills are learned by hands on experience. This is what you get when you take classes from somebody who learned how to work with dogs by working with MANY dogs.

3. What is the facility like?

- this is of lesser importance, but truly - I generally like taking classes in clean places that are similar to where we would compete.

I watched a youtube video not long ago and it was so bizarre. These were classes given in a garage type place and I can't describe how unlikely the setup was and how it was pointless and I could only imagine it being MISERABLE for people taking the classes.

When I clicked on the Enzo's training pages and saw what the fido walk thing was like - that picture on instagram was pretty similar to what I saw with that youtube video - except it was outside and the dogs were not in a dimly lit garage and climbing over or weaving around obstacles when not waiting in line (and I mean a 2x2 line).

With a good facility, I'd like a lot of space to work my dog - especially if it's group class. I'd like room to keep a bubble around my dog. I'd also like room to MOVE out with my dog.

Ages ago, I took classes with somebody who always separated the large dogs from the little dogs. Little dogs worked in a smaller ring in the center while the larger dogs worked in a big ring on the outside of that smaller ring. <= This was ideal, because little dogs are not going to move out. And if you are in a group class with a big dog, it's miserable taking half steps because there's a little dog waddling in front of you! LOL.

4. Descriptions of training - positive only or pressure based or ?

- Sometimes when a location advertises that they are positive only, I think that's nice... but... sometimes those trainers can be pretty depressing and negative to train with. I've trained with (meaning we take classes together) various people who follow different methods and ideas for training. And there's 1-2 people who advertise as positive only, but ohgosh. I'd hate taking classes from them. It's taking dog training and making it super difficult when you can take a more direct and simpler route to teaching something. I take lessons from somebody who is primarily positive handling and I enjoy those classes. Another person I had no idea she was positive only until I was chatting with her. She's somebody who is very pleasant and low-key and has fun with her dogs. She doesn't make dog training a chore for herself or for them - and does take simpler routes to teaching them. Her dogs all wear buckle collars for training - it was something I never noticed because she doesn't make a big deal about it. Taking classes form her would be very pleasant I think.

Any training location with K9 in the name or clear signs of being "that" type of training (police dog based, lot of corrections and heavy handed, etc) - I avoid like the plague.

Pressure training - this is the first time I've heard that tag and probably depends on what exactly they mean by pressure. If this is "sit means sit" type training... that would be a huge and rapid skip for me. I never "force" my dogs to do something. And I don't handle my dogs roughly.

Balanced trainer - is a tag that's used by a variety of trainers. I would use it myself, but balanced for me means 99% positive only and 1% corrections. I do know of people out there who call themselves balanced trainers, but they use ecollars on their dogs in obedience - and they are out there zapping the dogs to force them to do stuff and they are pinching and twisting dog ears to again force them to do stuff. That's a kind of thing that makes me cringe (and a lot of other people as well).

^ My point is tags are not helpful as sitting and watching classes and seeing what goes on. Watching different people and learning their different training styles means more than a simplistic tag that they might use to describe their training style.


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Maggie'sVoice View Post
The big thing to remember with training, is everyone in the house has to use the same commands. You need to sit down as a family and agree and decide on things like down is for lay down and off is when they put there paws on things they shouldn't like jumping up on you. You can't have all but one saying off for jumping up and one person saying down for the same thing. That extends your training time and confuses the pup. Just be consistent and never say a command and not make them do it. That turns commands into suggestions. So if you say sit they don't and are all excited, pull them aside and get their attention and tell them to sit and once they do, then they get the praise and attention.
This is an issue. My husband and I agreed that I would choose the commands since I am the one home all day working with him and the one who did lots of reading on positive training. However, he forgets what I've told him sometimes and gives different commands. He is really bad about repeating a command several times instead of waiting or luring him after saying it once. Fortunately, he doesn't mind me correcting him. Despite this, Butters is still learning. We are working on it. I keep reminding him.

On the other hand, both my son and husband are doing great at having him sit before they greet and play with them upon coming home every day. So far he doesn't jump on visitors or us when greeting.

We won't be perfect but we got a golden so I don't think we have to be. It just might take a little longer than if we knew what we were doing ;-)

Your suggestion to take them aside is a good one and I will definitely try that. So far, when he doesn't listen outside, we quit playing and come in even if I have to pick him up and bring him in. Next time, I will bring him in and have him do the commands he didn't listen to with praise and treats.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 11:06 PM
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Your suggestion to take them aside is a good one and I will definitely try that. So far, when he doesn't listen outside, we quit playing and come in even if I have to pick him up and bring him in. Next time, I will bring him in and have him do the commands he didn't listen to with praise and treats.

Yeah, don't do that, don't take them in and play time is over. That situation is the most ideal time to get the most out of your training. When you have a Golden pup, they are the ADD poster children at it's finest. You have to teach the look or look at me command. So when you get a time like this pull them to the side and lure them to look at you with a treat if you have too. Once they make eye contact release a treat and praise. The more you do this in crazy hyper times is when you get the most out of it. Your pup will always be excited to meet other people and dogs so you know that in those situations if you can get their attention and listen to a command, your pup has arrived and honing that is what's next. It won't be prefect for a while but being able to get their attention is such a huge win in any puppies training.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 11:25 PM
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I agree with looking for a training club in your area. Never correct a puppy while youíre teaching something new. Mine do get corrected when they donít do something....but they have also been taught what is expected.


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, don't do that, don't take them in and play time is over. That situation is the most ideal time to get the most out of your training. When you have a Golden pup, they are the ADD poster children at it's finest. You have to teach the look or look at me command. So when you get a time like this pull them to the side and lure them to look at you with a treat if you have too. Once they make eye contact release a treat and praise. The more you do this in crazy hyper times is when you get the most out of it. Your pup will always be excited to meet other people and dogs so you know that in those situations if you can get their attention and listen to a command, your pup has arrived and honing that is what's next. It won't be prefect for a while but being able to get their attention is such a huge win in any puppies training.
My backyard is an acre and a half and sometimes he just won't listen at all. Won't look, won't come, and nothing I do can distract him. I don't want to chase him as that would just be a game to him that he's leading and I will lose. How do I deal with this? I work a lot on treating him whenever he looks at me or responds to his name. He knows his name well and knows he is ignoring me. I usually go stand just inside the garage door and wait if he's not doing anything dangerous or destructive. Eventually he'll look at me and then I'll call him and he'll come. It doesn't happen often, usually zoomie time.

Sometimes it's really hard to know what I should be doing!
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SDTC Classes & Lessons

^^^ This has a list of training locations in your area, I think...

The place I decided to go with is on this list and is close to me. I talked to the trainer and she was really nice and helpful. I haven't seen the facility but it is close to me and worth a try. Most of the others on the list are at least an hour's drive from me and involve heavy traffic through Portland.

Dog Days Training in Vancouver is the one I signed up for. I feel much better about this place than I did the others.
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