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  #61  
Old December 31st, 2004, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by db7
With all this talk of conditioning a dog, love and respect I have got to say very emphatically, Dogs are INCAPABLE of love. Bonding and respect and understanding comfort zones yes but love? uh-uh.
Prepare for reaction on this one! I can't believe anyone who has ever had that special relationship with a pet could ever make this statement. If you've never had that special relationship . . . . my sympathies! But I have and I know better. I've also watched my parent's dog mourn when my Pop died and Den-Den mourn when a friend who lived with us died.
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  #62  
Old December 31st, 2004, 12:32 PM
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Ahhhhh, DB7! I KNEW you were just pulling our chains! Right?

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=7532

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  #63  
Old December 31st, 2004, 03:13 PM
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heeler's rock! heeler's rock! is offline
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I don't know about the people you know Mona, but unfortunately, a lot of people I know that have treat trained, end up with dogs that beg all the time. Sure, not everyone, but most of the people I know and who's dogs I've trained. As for the re-call thing, most people that I have met, think that because their dog listens to them within 4 walls when they have treats, that out at an offleash park, the same will happen. I have seen people at off leash parks call, and call, and call their dogs till their blue in the face with a bag of treats. Their dog comes when it feels like it, and sometimes not at all. They can never understand why their dog didn't come, since during class inside a building, the dog listened perfectly. Hmmm....

My 2 pups have never been treat trained and I managed to get my 2 month old border collie listening to me without 'em. That's just me and I still feel that even with puppies, treats are just not neccessary. They work to get your dog's attention, but they aren't the only way to work with a dog. We'll just have to disagree on this one!
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  #64  
Old December 31st, 2004, 03:37 PM
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Pami - Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope you had a wonderful Holiday and hope we can chat someday soon.

db7 - you are joking...right?
What humans determine to be love can be considered a 'survival of the species' response (mothers protect their young out of the emotion of love and pack members protect each other out of a kind of love), but it does not diminish the reality of the emotion. It exists for many creatures of this earth and humans benefit from it greatly in our relationship with our dogs.
If you see Doug or I with any of our animals there would be no doubt in your mind of the reality of love in our relationships as I am sure you feel with your dog.
I am sure that I have been hoaxed into responding to this posting - but I couldn't ignore it - sorry.
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  #65  
Old December 31st, 2004, 03:43 PM
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Well, whatever you want to call it, I certainly enjoy Missy's waggin' butt greeting me at the door like some long lost hero.
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  #66  
Old December 31st, 2004, 05:16 PM
mrmilo mrmilo is offline
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I am a big supporter of clicker training and I have been using it for about a year now with excellent results. As someone mentioned earlier the clicker is really a tool to help shape the behaviour you want. I think you have to find what motivates your dog whether it's food, praise or toys and go with it. Use can use the clicker with any motivator. When I started with the clicker I was not using it properly so I didn't get any results. I then decided I wanted to try agility. It was only after learning from my agility instructor the proper way to use a clicker that I then started to see the results I wanted.
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  #67  
Old January 2nd, 2005, 10:29 AM
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Well the people I know,family,and friends have "never" had a problem with treat training.They have taken the time to train on their own.No help from trainers.I have done all the training with my dogs on my own.Also with no help from trainers.I guess this is the reason why they know the recall so well.Because it is not done in a bulding with 4 walls.It's done outside with many distractions and it begins on a 30' training leash with time and patience.And at the leash free park which is by our SPCA,all the dogs there come when they are called.Yes,the majority have been trained with treats.And yes some still do use treats.But that's after they come when they are called.Which they do every time.

My GSD Tron is a retired Police Dog.I did all his basic training.Which I took seriously.I had too.I taught him all the basic commands.Yes,with treats.He made it on the K9 Unit with flying colours.And he never became a food stealer.

My husband had a Lab/Husky mix(before I came into the picture. )and guess what,Levon was a food stealer.And here is the kicker,he was NOT treat trained.Yes,he broke him of that habit.Took some time but it worked.So yeah,I guess we will have to disagree.
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  #68  
Old January 2nd, 2005, 05:00 PM
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I think it's great that you did your recall training outdoors! That's the one thing people need to do more. I have a lady who actually told me that her breeder told her that her dog can never be off leash, so she's never taken her! Now, her dog is 2 and she affraid that she won't come back if she's set free. It's quite a pitty. Teaching a recall within a building is useless. It's also great that you trained a K-9 dog! That's really admirable. Looks like we agree on some things!
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  #69  
Old January 2nd, 2005, 05:46 PM
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Mona B - Sounds like you are quite the trainer & have a great relationship with your dogs - congrats on all of your success!
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  #70  
Old January 2nd, 2005, 11:08 PM
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I was training Tron for my brother who is on the K9 Unit.I had him for 18 months.Then he took Tron for his on going training.He is SchH III certified.He passed that with flying colours.The fun part was training him in German...LOL...Got that help from Mom who lived in Germany for 10 years....

Not much of a breeder to tell someone their dog could never be off leash..

Yes,we can agree on that the recall should be done outdoors.They need to be in a situation with distractions.With any type of training.And I had 2-3 month old pups I was training at the same time.And Tron needed to get used to all the sites and sounds for the work he was going to get into.Even the noise of fireworks.That was fun.LOL.

You hear alot of how Huskies should not be off leash.But my sister has 3 of them along with a Border Collie.And they are on a farm.The only time they are on a leash is when they go into town and on walks.It takes time and patience when training,but it does pay off in the end.

Thank you for the comments tenderfoot and heeler's.It is a great feeling knowing I contributed to something as training a Police Dog that made it....I have had him back for a year now.He is slowly coming around since we lost his buddy in Sept.
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  #71  
Old March 7th, 2005, 08:22 PM
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Just caught this thread now... wow I am behind. We took Ozzy to the local petsmart here for training. The trainer was taught at Guelph University and was awesome. We treat trained, didnt really use the clicker and weaned Ozzy off the treats. He still lives with us and will forever, he does not bite when he takes treats or anything for that matter from anyones hand. If he is very really hyper, you show him the treat and say nice, and he takes the treat nicely. I liked my experience with petsmart, it was fun and educational. I own many "$20 training books" and I got more out of the classes then I did from those books. Its not just the training, its the experience, the socilization for the dog and the owner. It was fun for all of us.
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  #72  
Old March 7th, 2005, 08:57 PM
Lucky Rescue Lucky Rescue is offline
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Bonding and respect and understanding comfort zones yes
I think many people would say that IS the definition of love - human and animal.
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  #73  
Old June 17th, 2012, 12:17 AM
friskypuppy friskypuppy is offline
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Using treats to train a dog is the preferred method by behaviorists and educated trainers. Choke collars, prong collars and shock collars are downright dangerous (http://www.adogsview.net/Types-of-Collars.html). I personally would take my dog to Petsmart training over any other training in the area because those are the most educated trainers. Down in west Georgia my choices are Mans Best Friend (which I would never choose because they train dogs with chokers and prong collars which are dangerous) or Sit Means Sit (which I would NEVER use because they use shock collars to teach stupid things like sit or stay which not only is dangerous but psychologically damaging and raises cortical levels which can cause health problems in the future. Not to mention that they have been banned in 13 countries because they meet the physical and legal requirements for abuse!) or Bark Busters (which teaches 'dominance' or 'alpha' training, a method that has been out of favor with the general public for 20 years and was never supported by behaviorists). Petsmart has the only training program around that uses all the latest in behavioral science. Now, since it is a big company you are bound to get some idiots here or there, it is definitely worth it to do your homework. Your dogs well being is at stake.
As for treats being a 'crutch' this is true. But for every adult dog 'that should know better' still using treats I can counter with adult and even old dogs still being shocked or jerked around on a choker. At least treats are safer!
I have never used anything but treats and a clicker and I have never had a problem with any dog i've ever had. My dogs can sit/stay/come at a crowded dog park and I've even had a poodle turn mid-stride from chasing a rabbit! I had no treat on me that day and he still did it. I had a lab halt in his tracks after chasing a car, also with out treats.
I love my dogs too much to rely on any other method of training.
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  #74  
Old June 17th, 2012, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by friskypuppy View Post
Using treats to train a dog is the preferred method by behaviorists and educated trainers. Choke collars, prong collars and shock collars are downright dangerous (http://www.adogsview.net/Types-of-Collars.html). I personally would take my dog to Petsmart training over any other training in the area because those are the most educated trainers. Down in west Georgia my choices are Mans Best Friend (which I would never choose because they train dogs with chokers and prong collars which are dangerous) or Sit Means Sit (which I would NEVER use because they use shock collars to teach stupid things like sit or stay which not only is dangerous but psychologically damaging and raises cortical levels which can cause health problems in the future. Not to mention that they have been banned in 13 countries because they meet the physical and legal requirements for abuse!) or Bark Busters (which teaches 'dominance' or 'alpha' training, a method that has been out of favor with the general public for 20 years and was never supported by behaviorists). Petsmart has the only training program around that uses all the latest in behavioral science. Now, since it is a big company you are bound to get some idiots here or there, it is definitely worth it to do your homework. Your dogs well being is at stake.
As for treats being a 'crutch' this is true. But for every adult dog 'that should know better' still using treats I can counter with adult and even old dogs still being shocked or jerked around on a choker. At least treats are safer!
I have never used anything but treats and a clicker and I have never had a problem with any dog i've ever had. My dogs can sit/stay/come at a crowded dog park and I've even had a poodle turn mid-stride from chasing a rabbit! I had no treat on me that day and he still did it. I had a lab halt in his tracks after chasing a car, also with out treats.
I love my dogs too much to rely on any other method of training.
All dogs are not created equal and to think that one method of training works for all dogs is foolish and dangerous. Used properly, choke collars, e-collars and prong collars are no more dangerous than a clicker.
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  #75  
Old June 17th, 2012, 11:49 AM
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Hi. How is Petsmart for puppy classes? My vet recommended Puppy People in Vaughan. However their classes are double the cost for half the number of lessons. Any feedback is much appreciated! Thanks
I would try to find some dog trainers and see if you go and observe one of their training session . I did this and when I saw the trainer use a choke collar on one of the dog to teach it how to heel I knew I did not want to bring my dog to him. I think it really depend on how good the trainer is at Petsmart . I would try to go to Petsmart and watch the trainer and see how you feel about him/her and also watch how the dogs behave around the trainer. Dogs are very good at judging people.
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  #76  
Old June 17th, 2012, 11:54 AM
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All Petsmart classes and instructors are not equal. I've watched some that I thought were rather good and some that were down right nauseating to watch and made me want to yell to the people in the class RUN!! As such, I can't tell you either way if your local Petsmart classes are worth attending or should be avoided. I think you would be much better of looking for a trainer who teaches classes and also competes in some sort of dog sport or competitive obedience WITH GOOD RESULTS!! The fact they compete is a good sign they can be of real help, but if they're horrible at it, what are they really teaching you?
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  #77  
Old June 17th, 2012, 11:56 AM
Choochi Choochi is offline
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Originally Posted by heeler's rock! View Post
I don't know about the people you know Mona, but unfortunately, a lot of people I know that have treat trained, end up with dogs that beg all the time.
Funny cos all of the top world level competition trainers in a variety of sports who I know train with food and I would say they do so with some pretty spectacular results. I think your comment says some thing about the competency level of the people who's training you've witnessed, not the method.
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  #78  
Old June 17th, 2012, 12:02 PM
Choochi Choochi is offline
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Dogs are very good at judging people.
No they're not! lol They are horrible at making logical decisions about people! They respond to cues they're owners often don't even see.

I have seen dogs respond poorly to people who are very good to them and are very trustworthy. I have seen dogs who are in care of people who should never be caring for dogs respond extremely well to them because they are fed tons of treats and their owner mistakes that positive response for thinking the person is trustworthy and safe to take care of their dog. Dogs are no more good at predicting character flaws then children. Children are scared of the dentist and they will trust a stranger with a pretty smile and a candy. Dogs are the same. Surrendering the responsibility to make decisions regarding character to your dog is plain foolish.
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  #79  
Old June 17th, 2012, 04:03 PM
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We cannot judge all dogs as being equal in their ability to respond to the world just as you cannot judge all people to have the same abilities. Dogs are individuals just like people - we are all the same and all different. What dogs do have is a keen sense of energy. They read our energy and each others energy fairly accurately, what they don't all do well is interpret intentions. That's why chaos and confusion can ensue when WE aren't clear about how we communicate our intentions.
Hope that makes sense.
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  #80  
Old June 17th, 2012, 05:33 PM
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No they're not! lol They are horrible at making logical decisions about people! They respond to cues they're owners often don't even see.

I have seen dogs respond poorly to people who are very good to them and are very trustworthy. I have seen dogs who are in care of people who should never be caring for dogs respond extremely well to them because they are fed tons of treats and their owner mistakes that positive response for thinking the person is trustworthy and safe to take care of their dog. Dogs are no more good at predicting character flaws then children. Children are scared of the dentist and they will trust a stranger with a pretty smile and a candy. Dogs are the same. Surrendering the responsibility to make decisions regarding character to your dog is plain foolish.
I was not talking about one dog! I was talking about the dogs that are already in the training class. If I saw a group of dogs in a training class and their body language show that they're uncomfortable around the trainer I am going to listen to the dogs. And my dogs are very good at judging people.
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  #81  
Old June 17th, 2012, 05:42 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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The term "shock collar" is out of date. Today the proper term is Electronic Collar. Assuming of course it's not an old fashioned collar that does nothing but shock and has a limited range of stimulus. Modern collars use electonic stimulous but the most advanced also offer tone and page (vibrate) options.

Quote:
Safety and effectiveness of modem electronic training devices are supported by the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the International Association of Canine Professionals, among others.
From: http://www.friendsofk9.com/documents/The_Facts_About_Modern_Electronic_Training_Devices .pdf]The Facts about Modern Electronic Training Devices
Today's technology is surprisingly subtle, more effective[/url]
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  #82  
Old June 17th, 2012, 05:46 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Originally Posted by Choochi View Post
All Petsmart classes and instructors are not equal. I've watched some that I thought were rather good and some that were down right nauseating to watch and made me want to yell to the people in the class RUN!! As such, I can't tell you either way if your local Petsmart classes are worth attending or should be avoided. I think you would be much better of looking for a trainer who teaches classes and also competes in some sort of dog sport or competitive obedience WITH GOOD RESULTS!! The fact they compete is a good sign they can be of real help, but if they're horrible at it, what are they really teaching you?
Yeah , that is what I was saying , it's really hard to to past off all Petsmart classes as being bad , I know some people have good luck going to Petco for
training classes, it really depend on who is the trainer and I if my dog does not like a trainer I will not bring him to them. Some people likes the trainer that used the choke collar , so I find it hard to ask dogs owners if they know a good trainer. I feel you really should to go to a class and watch the trainer before paying $200 to them. I am glad I did. I think is great the OP is bringing their dog to a training class. I see so many dogs owners being walked around the park by their dogs. The dogs have their owners very well trained.
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  #83  
Old June 18th, 2012, 11:37 AM
Choochi Choochi is offline
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I feel you really should to go to a class and watch the trainer before paying $200 to them.
X100!

and at least with a place like Petsmart that's super easy. Heck you could actually come out and watch an entire course, and talk to the people after class before committing. You could go to a few different stores and watch a few of their trainers in action.

What could be misleading about watching a class, and watching the dog's reaction (since this was brought up) is that without the experience and knowledge of what you're looking for (which if you had you wouldn't need the classes) it's easy to be misguided. I say that because I have seen trainers with some very charismatic personalities give absolutely horrendous advice, while the dogs are acting like all is fine, and while the people in the class are so mesmerized they think Jesus himself is teaching. (e.g.. Cesar, and while you can say but in this case the dogs don't look fine, the people with not enough ability to read the dogs don't see it, or if they think they do, the charismatic trainer can explain away their worries) Has nothing to do with energy or intentions. Most trainers who give horrible advice do honestly think they are helping, very few get up in the morning and think to themselves how can I screw up another dog today.
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  #84  
Old June 19th, 2012, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by heeler's rock! View Post
Yeah, I think we will have to agree to disagree.

Meeko, you are COMPLETELY missing my point about treat training. I give my dogs treats because I feel like giving them treats, not to get them to work for me. Kids do deserve rewards for good behaviour, but parents shouldn't have to bribe their kids to get them to do something simple, like taking out the trash.

I use a maringale collar and a 6 foot leash, with a hell of a lotta praise in my training. Dogs don't need treats to learn! They need direction and a desire to work for you because they love and respect you, like you love and respect them. I am so done with this thread because it's like talking about religion when you contradict training methods. I'm not the only one who thinks treat training isn't any good, and the proof is the amount of trainers that DON'T use treats and get amazing results that last a lifetime, not the depth of your treat pouch.
Hrm, dominance/alpha bunk, 'treat' training misinformation, martingale collar. Sounds like a Brad Pattison trainer.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 09:43 PM
Digston Digston is offline
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Training method depends largely on the owner. When I was choosing a puppy class I picked one that used treats and positive reinforcement, but that isn't why I chose that particular trainer. I chose him because he also taught proper correction techniques. When I looked into PetsMart they didn't offer that information in their classes. Perhaps that has changed now.
I agree with everyone that you need to spend some time observing the trainer you are considering in action.

Don't pick a trainer for your dog. Pick a trainer for you.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 10:09 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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X100!

and at least with a place like Petsmart that's super easy. Heck you could actually come out and watch an entire course, and talk to the people after class before committing. You could go to a few different stores and watch a few of their trainers in action.

What could be misleading about watching a class, and watching the dog's reaction (since this was brought up) is that without the experience and knowledge of what you're looking for (which if you had you wouldn't need the classes) it's easy to be misguided. I say that because I have seen trainers with some very charismatic personalities give absolutely horrendous advice, while the dogs are acting like all is fine, and while the people in the class are so mesmerized they think Jesus himself is teaching. (e.g.. Cesar, and while you can say but in this case the dogs don't look fine, the people with not enough ability to read the dogs don't see it, or if they think they do, the charismatic trainer can explain away their worries) Has nothing to do with energy or intentions. Most trainers who give horrible advice do honestly think they are helping, very few get up in the morning and think to themselves how can I screw up another dog today.
The trainer I watched left the dogs owners to be on their most of the class
and he only worked with a couple of the dogs. The class was too disorganize
and noisy for me. I am hard of hearing and I had a hard time hearing the trainer. I when to one trainer and she ran her class better and people where not all talking at once. It is hard to find a class that can I hear what is being said and it cost so much for private lessons.
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  #87  
Old June 19th, 2012, 10:15 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Originally Posted by Longblades View Post
The term "shock collar" is out of date. Today the proper term is Electronic Collar. Assuming of course it's not an old fashioned collar that does nothing but shock and has a limited range of stimulus. Modern collars use electonic stimulous but the most advanced also offer tone and page (vibrate) options.

From: http://www.friendsofk9.com/documents/The_Facts_About_Modern_Electronic_Training_Devices .pdf]The Facts about Modern Electronic Training Devices
Today's technology is surprisingly subtle, more effective[/url]
I meant to say 'choke' collar not shock collar. OOPS ! That is a big difference.
I never call a Electronic Collar a shock collar.
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Old June 20th, 2012, 07:10 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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I meant to say 'choke' collar not shock collar. OOPS ! That is a big difference.
I never call a Electronic Collar a shock collar.
Sorry Barkingdog, I was responding to FriskyPuppy who said in his/her first, and still only, post here, "Choke collars, prong collars and shock collars are downright dangerous'". I think I will agree they have a higher liklihood of being miss-used than some other collars but in and of themselves are no more dangerous than the person on the other end. I would suggest the user of all three get lessons on how to properly use them. I've seen damage done by flat collars, head halters and harnesses. The harnesses present the most damage I personally have seen, with poor little doggy underarms rubbed raw to the point of bleeding. Unfortunately any device can be used improperly by someone wanting instant control and not willing to train proper leash walking without pulling.

FWIW I entirely agree with the view of PetSmart, that it depends on which trainer you get. When I went to observe I saw absolute idiocy in attempts to teach a young dog recall. Of course I did not go there but a friend did, got a different trainer and loved her.

For all of you looking for a trainer may I suggest you check out:
http://www.cappdt.ca/public/jpage/1/p/Home/content.do
You will find comparable associations for other countries in the links section.

Members have varying abitlities, strengths and methods but at least it is some assurance the trainer has some training background, is serious enough to belong to an organization with a mandate and code of ethics. The FIND a TRAINER section has some very good advice.

My own personal help in finding a trainer is to ask them what dog training theory they endorse. My favourite is Operant Conditioning. If they don't know what it is, haven't studied any dog training theory then I run the other way. The catch is, I have to know a bit about them myself. Also, if they claim to have a trainer versed in one area and a competitive background, google to see their placements in their claimed area. One international training scheme I looked into has dogs sitting on fire hydrants in their ads. The person I spoke to had never trained a dog professionally, did not know anything about theory and their trainer, claimed to be exceptionally talented and successfull in one area, had no record, let alone winnings, in any background I could dig up.

Good luck to everyone. It is hard to look for a trainer when you are a newbie and don't know what to look for. Unfortunately you must remember, it's an unregulated business and anyone can stick a shingle out and call themselves a dog trainer. On another board I go on a person took a course in how to be a dog groomer, on-line, and the lack of knowledge and wrong ideas is obvious and appalling. Now she is taking a dog training course, on-line again. Meanwhile the majority of her posts are asking for help on how to train her own dog. Caveat Emptor.
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  #89  
Old August 29th, 2012, 12:24 PM
Ann Marten Ann Marten is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Sherwood Park, Alberta
Posts: 1
Pet Smart Dog Training

The Space in Pet Smart is much to small to accommodate the puppies. The instructors typically are not adequately trained in dog and puppy behaviour
management to handle a class in that very small space. It is a very poor start for an active puppy. All the puppies in the class I attended barked and lunged or hide under the chairs and the instructor just kept on talking. I asked for a refund after 2 classes.
We are now attending a very interactive puppy class in a large space. The puppies have play breaks during class and everyone is having fun. The puppies
are learning to socialize and then come back to their owners to do some learning.
My advise: Find a reputable Dog Trainer in your area that allows the puppies to
socialize. Training should be positive with no strong verbal or physical corrections..
Don't go to Pet Stores for Dog Training!
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  #90  
Old September 17th, 2012, 02:07 AM
imhappytoo imhappytoo is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: canada
Posts: 1
Pet Smart dog training

I adopted my dog from the local pound. At the time of adoption, I was told he had behaviour issues, including not walking on a leash, not being house trained, food aggression, and that it was highly recommended to take him to dog training.

I decided to take him to Pet Smart as it was affordable to do dog training there and I couldn't afford training anywhere else. I have done the Beginner, Intermediate and Advance Classes with my dog. Albeit, my dog is not perfect but he is so much better than what he was when I first got hime. Any issues he has now is really my fault as I haven't been as consistent with training as I should be, especially since dogs need consistency and repetition in their lives.

It's interesting, about all the treat and clicker talk. I was at a dog behaviour seminar and the place I went to was not Pet Smart, but another accredited dog training facility in Calgary.

What I found interesting is that dog training is not regulated and people can be trained anywhere. That being said, I was happy with Pet Smart trainers and felt they knew what they were doing. The trainers said they had intensive training and it did show.

Like Pet Smart, the dog seminar I went to encourages food training at first, as it's an instant gratification. Like people, we want instant gratification and for dogs, it's food (and for some people it's food too - ex. potty training!).

However, the trainers do eventually ween dogs off of food and clickers. It was interesting to learn about dog behaviours and why they do what they do.

As for clicking, it's based on Pavlov's theory. Pavlov would ring a bell and then place food out for the dogs and the dogs would then salivate. Eventually, the food was removed and when he rang the bell, the dogs would automatically salivate. The clicker idea is like the bell, where a dog will automatically associate the sound of the clicker with doing something like sitting. In Pavlov's case, it was salivating.

Part of training is good socializing and manners for dogs. Pet Smart addressed this.

I do agree that larger dogs should not wear halters, as the large dogs will continue to pull and dog owners have issues controlling their dogs. I even learned that at Pet Smart and in the seminar.

What I liked about both facilities is that they encourage positive reinforcement and I think both places discourage shock collars, pinch collars and choke chains as these are negative reinforcements and could cause problematic behaviours later on.

Both facilities also combined hand motions and words when training your dog. This makes sense, and it was nice to see that an accredited training facility and Pet Smart used the same techniques. After taking the seminar, I was happy to see that the training at Pet Smart and at the facility were very similar.

I know someone commented about having the dog training in the middle of the store. I thought this was a great idea, because my dog got distracted at off leash parks and would never listen. Having the class in a distracting environment, my dog learned how to listen to me and he started to learn to ignore the distractions. After the classes, I found my dog listened more at off leash parks. However, I do think it's time for a refresher, as his listening skills are not as good as they were when he was in classes!

By no means am I a dog trainer, but I have worked with dogs and have seen the consequences of what happens when dogs are not properly trained and aggression issues can kick in - with people and/or other animals. At the end of the day, the dog gets blamed and put down but the blame should be placed on the owner for not training and controlling the dog.

I think by not training your dog with people who have experience and not socializing your dogs in a safe and controlled manner (prior to off leash parks) can create future problems.

You may be able to buy a book and train your dog by yourself, but having your dog meet new people, new dogs and have distractions causes your dog to listen and focus on you more than he/she would at home. Like I said before, training in a group also allows your dog to socialize and learn about good behaviour and manners.

To be honest, I think any dog training is better than no training (as long as it's mostly positive enforcement - there are some cases for negative enforcement, namely when dog's chew electrical cords).

At the end of the day, if you can only afford Pet Smart, do it. I enjoyed the classes, and my dog loved going. We got homework so we could practice and review the skills daily (again for repetition) and I enjoyed the different class levels. I have nothing but positive things to say about the training and I've recommended the classes to other people who wanted affordable training.

If you are not comfortable with the Pet Smart environment/trainers, I am sure there are different trainers available that are affordable. Check out your local humane society, as it may provide training classes that are affordable for dog owners. I would also check your local pound as they may have classes (Calgary's pound does not provide classes) or resources/information regarding affordable dog training classes for people.

Hope this helps and have fun training!
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