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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am sitting here munching on some chocolate and feeling guiltier by the second. Eating the chocolate is bad enough, but the real issue is Cara who is badly in need of some professional training. Her needs have contributed to my guilt and that's where the chocolate comes in. However, the tasty tidbits will not solve the problem at hand.

She's 3-1/2 and has a couple of glaring problems we need to have help with. The worst is her fear of other dogs and a close second is her tendency to pull on leash too often than not, and if she doesn't then a dog in the distance is all that is needed to break the momentum.

My son and I have been spending the day looking up local trainers online. Some advocate clickers, others food, still others, clickers and food. Some advocate prong collars (I don't like those), and one was pushing the "Triple Crown Collar" available at EntirelyPets.com, item TCLC. Sorry, I am unable to link. It looks horrible to me. Is anyone familiar with it?

We want kind but firm training in the home and neighboring streets. She is good inside and is friendly and gentle towards adults and children. But we've got to solve the outside issues. Help please!!!
 

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I took a look at the collar, and that thing looks painful to me. My Duke is also a puller, but I don't think I'd subject him to this collar. I've heard tell in this forum that the easy harness makes walking easier, although I've not used it. We have a martingale which is like a gentle choke collar, but it doesn't seem to do much good on Duke. He seems to like the pressure of the pull.

I'm looking into the Cesar Millan Collar. It seems to look like a gentler guiding collar in my opinion.

http://www.cesarsway.com/shop/Illusion-Dog-Collar-Leash-System

It looks like it would help the dog's head stay in position because of the second part of the collar being on the upper part of the neck... much like when show dogs get handled.
 

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The Triple Crown collar is basically just a plastic version of the prong collar.

IMO, it's not the tool itself that matters, it's how the tool is used. Any training tool can be misused. But pretty much any tool can also be used appropriately in order to communicate effectively with a dog. I wouldn't base a trainer so much on what tools they want to use. I think it is much more beneficial to be able to observe the trainer and see how they use those tools.
 

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The Triple Crown collar is basically just a plastic version of the prong collar.
Was just going to post this.

Since your dog has a fear of other dogs I would look for a positive reinforcement trainer (clicker training). Anything negative in this situation would probably just hurt things.
 

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Was just going to post this.

Since your dog has a fear of other dogs I would look for a positive reinforcement trainer (clicker training). Anything negative in this situation would probably just hurt things.
A more balanced trainer would still approach working with a fear in a positive way if they are a good trainer. Just because they use corrections in some aspects of training doesn't mean they are going to give a correction to a dog for being scared.

I have a dog that is terrified of balloons. I occassionally put out balloons when we are training. I never correct him for making a mistake because he is trying to avoid the balloons. Instead I help him out and show him he can still work with the balloons there.

I try to train with this theory: If the dog is wrong because he is scared or doesn't understand, help him be right. If the dog is wrong but he is trying to be right, help him be right. If the dog is wrong and not making an effort to be right, that is the time to correct him to be right. Often called a "lack of effort" correction.

My point is, there are good and bad trainers of any kind, and one shouldn't dismiss someone because of a label or tool without having further knowledge of how they train. I think it's very important to go watch a trainer in action before you hire them.
 

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Yes, it is very hard hard to figure out what to do. IMHO, do not look for a trainer with a perspective that you want only positive, or firm, or whatever. Instead, look to see if they are a good trainer with well-behaved dogs and happy clients. Does what they do work? Are their own dogs well behaved?
 

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If they give group lessons, perhaps you can observe for free?

If they're not giving any lessons that you can observe, well, I think you can weed them out--at least I would.
 

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The Illusion collar (mentioned above, marketed by cesar millan) is nothing but a dressed up choke chain. It would be completely inappropriate for use in this particular situation. In an attempt not to derail this thread (which I am admittedly good at with training threads :doh:) I'll leave it at that.

As some others have said here... any trainer worth their salt, regardless of philosophy, should recommend the same general course of action with this dog. That is, a systematic desensitization protocol to redefine your girl's associations to other dogs. This cannot be done with leash corrections and should in no way include use of any corrective collar (prong/choke/whatever). If any trainer offers these punitive methods for your dog's current situation, run - don't walk- in the other direction.

So, what does that mean for picking a trainer/behaviorist? It could mean a couple of things. For the short term, the most important thing is to find someone who is well qualified. If you strongly adhere to a "positive" training philosophy, try to find someone whose ideals match yours. However, if you're in an area where access to positive trainers with appropriate depth of experience is limited, you may have to overlook some philosophical differences for the sake of your dog's immediate well-being. In that case, set your boundaries... and don't let anyone cause you to overstep them.

If you're unsure of which philosophy is right for you... don't worry too much about figuring that out this instant. Find someone first... someone with experience with situations like yours, who is offering an appropriate protocol. Then hit the library/bookstore and read up on the different theories. That way, when this issue is managed and under better control, you can continue with training firmly comfortable in your own philosophical stance.

Best of luck... keep us updated on your progress!! And of course, feel free to toss out any questions that may come up as you go along.

Julie and Jersey

PS~ I tried really hard to post this without putting in my philosophical 2 cents.... but I can't do it. I strongly recommend positive/clicker/marker/whatever you want to call it training. (I personally dislike the name "positive training," because it leads to some misunderstandings.... hence my /-/-/ all the time... LOL). Not only for this particular issue, but in general training as well. Okay, I feel better now.... <<post>>
 

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A more balanced trainer would still approach working with a fear in a positive way if they are a good trainer. Just because they use corrections in some aspects of training doesn't mean they are going to give a correction to a dog for being scared.

I have a dog that is terrified of balloons. I occassionally put out balloons when we are training. I never correct him for making a mistake because he is trying to avoid the balloons. Instead I help him out and show him he can still work with the balloons there.

I try to train with this theory: If the dog is wrong because he is scared or doesn't understand, help him be right. If the dog is wrong but he is trying to be right, help him be right. If the dog is wrong and not making an effort to be right, that is the time to correct him to be right. Often called a "lack of effort" correction.

My point is, there are good and bad trainers of any kind, and one shouldn't dismiss someone because of a label or tool without having further knowledge of how they train. I think it's very important to go watch a trainer in action before you hire them.
Well let me rephrase then...for this particular issue (fearful of other dogs) I would look for a trainer who would want to tackle this issue using positive methods such as clicker training.


Fair???
 

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While people may dispute the value of corrections in dog training, I hope we can all agree that for a dog who is afraid of other dogs, positive methods (or methods that do not use corrections, or prong type collars) are appropriate. I would also be concerned with a training program that relies on prong type collars, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Visit the trainers, ask them questions, see who you are comfortable with, both personally and in terms of training philosophy.
 

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First of all, take a deep breath and step away from the chocolate :)

I have no experience with helping a dog get over a fear of other dogs so I will let the experts give some suggestions. As for pulling on leash, many dogs do as you can read by searching the subject on this forum.

My Maggie was a "puller" her whole life, we used a prong collar for her. That was the method of the time back when she went through obedience class. It worked pretty well. I did try a Gentle Leader without much success.

Hank is also a "puller", walking using just a flat collar is impossible.I tried an Ez no-pull harness and the Gentle Leader without much success. We finally settled on the Sporn no-pull hardness and he's a breeze to walk. It's comfortable for him to wear, ez-on/ez-off, inexpensive and easy to wash.

Obedience training is a great idea, and by all means continue your search for the best fit for you and your dog, but in the mean time one of these training tools may help. It seems large, exuberant dogs like goldens & labs seem to be a problem pullers.
 

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My first trainer was friendly, but she liked Sully so much that she would forget and let Sully jump on her. Next I went to a local kennel/training center and had an individualized instruction from the owner. She recommended a Halti (works for me) and showed me a few tricks to get Sully to focus on her walks instead of getting anxious. Next the woman invited us to come back and work with a group of anti-social dogs. You would never have guessed that these dogs had ever had an aggressive problem. All were on the Halti and walked in harmony together. Keep looking until you find the right match for your dog.
P.S. My little Sadie Mae (years ago) was anti-social except with her brother, basset, and the Samoyed up the street. I took her to obedience and it didn't help. Next I called a dog trainer who said that maybe I had to put her down. Right, quack. She got over it with a lot of work and love.
 

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I definitely come from a defined school of thought that embraces positive reinforcement. For example, I think teaching Cara to target your hand and then to heel with games like Choose To Heel are more effective in making her your partner than choke collars. I have trained goldens both ways. I think finding a trainer who is a CPDT and a member of APDT is a good idea.
 

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I highly recommend the sensation harness if you are having issues with pulling. We have been using one with Eleanor since she was a puppy. We started it because she used to try and back out of her collar and even slipped it once. The trainer we worked with recommended this so she could not slip her collar- stopping pulling is just another benefit. It is gentle, and definitely helps with the pulling. Eleanor see me pick it up and she gets incredibly excited. I think there is some carry over when I just take her out for a quick p and p walk with her collar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank to all those who responded to this posting. I read all of the comments. We found whom we believe to be a good trainer and I posted about our experience today.
 
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