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Old June 19th, 2012, 07:48 AM
althe althe is offline
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recommendations for Montreal area dog trainer

I’d appreciate 1) any recommendations for Montreal area dog trainers or, 2) what to look for in choosing a trainer or, 3) if you have had any experiences with professional trainers that you can share.

My dog was adopted 18 months ago from a local “for profit” kill shelter. She was about 1.5 years old when adopted and her past was unknown; so she’s about 3 years old now. She had numerous serious health issues that have taken us all this time to deal with, this is the main reason we didn’t start formal training/obedience earlier. I don’t have a lot of dog experience, but my guess is that she was abandoned as a puppy and was never socialized: it took about 3 months before she would even acknowledge us; she doesn’t know how to play; she’s never shown any interest in interaction with other dogs. And her prey drive is off the charts...

Belle has a dominant personality. She’s a very calm dog, she’s never shown any signs of aggression (except towards critters), but she’s very dominant, alpha, very independent. It has taken me the past 18 months to teach her that she can’t touch my cat, but she still often presents what I think is anxiety and stress if she can’t “control the situation”, in other words, if she can’t “go after the cat” or go after the squirrels she fixates on through the window. She’ll whine and pace and it all makes for an extremely stressful environment for the entire household. And tiring her out by running is not possible because she has mild patellar luxation and recently had surgery for a paw problem (that she had before adoption).

I need the help of a professional and I do want someone with a lot of experience. Thanks to everyone for your help.

This is Belle ignoring me, and this is Belle fixating on a squirrel in a tree.
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  #2  
Old June 19th, 2012, 10:42 AM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by althe View Post
I’d appreciate 1) any recommendations for Montreal area dog trainers or, 2) what to look for in choosing a trainer or, 3) if you have had any experiences with professional trainers that you can share.

My dog was adopted 18 months ago from a local “for profit” kill shelter. She was about 1.5 years old when adopted and her past was unknown; so she’s about 3 years old now. She had numerous serious health issues that have taken us all this time to deal with, this is the main reason we didn’t start formal training/obedience earlier. I don’t have a lot of dog experience, but my guess is that she was abandoned as a puppy and was never socialized: it took about 3 months before she would even acknowledge us; she doesn’t know how to play; she’s never shown any interest in interaction with other dogs. And her prey drive is off the charts...

Belle has a dominant personality. She’s a very calm dog, she’s never shown any signs of aggression (except towards critters), but she’s very dominant, alpha, very independent. It has taken me the past 18 months to teach her that she can’t touch my cat, but she still often presents what I think is anxiety and stress if she can’t “control the situation”, in other words, if she can’t “go after the cat” or go after the squirrels she fixates on through the window. She’ll whine and pace and it all makes for an extremely stressful environment for the entire household. And tiring her out by running is not possible because she has mild patellar luxation and recently had surgery for a paw problem (that she had before adoption).

I need the help of a professional and I do want someone with a lot of experience. Thanks to everyone for your help.

This is Belle ignoring me, and this is Belle fixating on a squirrel in a tree.
Belle looks like she part is Border Collie, she may be trying to 'herd' your cat.
Border Collies need to be working and running most of the day or they'll get very restless and extremely stressful . They're bred to be in control of a flock of sheep so of course she is going to be very stress out not being able to do what is her job. Is she allowed to swim , this will get a dog tried.
Have asked your vet or called a animal hospital , they may know of a good trainer. do you know anyone that has show dogs, they should know of a
professional trainer.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 01:21 PM
althe althe is offline
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Hi Barkingdog and thanks for your input.

My vet does suspect Belle has some Border Collie and it is possible that when she does go after the cat, which doesn't happen too often anymore, it's a herding reflex because it only happens if the cat makes a sudden swift move (which also doesn't happen that often, he's old). However, Belle just goes ballistic if she sees a cat outdoors, or a squirrel. She also has a tendency to walk with her nose to the ground (hunting?) which I have to be constantly correcting.

My vet wasn't able to recommend anyone. I've been given 2 names of trainers by people who've not had any personal experience with them. And the university veterinary hospital where I've been going for the past year has also not "personally recommended" any trainers.

I know swimming would be great. I've heard there's a dog pool in the city somewhere, which I'm looking for now. I've also been told that mental exercises can really tire a dog out, and Belle has shown a little bit of potential in obstacle course at the dog park so that's an eventual possibility, I just need to get basic commands down really solid first. She doesn't recall because she's too distracted by critters.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 03:56 PM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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Thank you for rescuing Belle and taking such good care of her. Just remember, no matter how much training, some dogs will never have a good recall due to their prey drive. Sorry I don't live there to help you out, but hopefully someone from Montreal will find this thread with some input. I think a good group obedience class would help you both immensely. Good luck with her health issues, and her obedience issues. Agility classes once you have some obedience would be great for her, although you would have to be cautious of the leg/knee issue.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 04:38 PM
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Loki Love Loki Love is offline
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Here's a place to start : http://www.montrealdogblog.com/trainers/

Good luck!
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Old June 19th, 2012, 05:20 PM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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Hello althe .

I sent you a lengthier message but I wanted to post here as well.

For those looking on how to choose a trainer: http://www.apdt.com/petowners/choose/default.aspx Please take the time to read all the important information contained in the links.

A wonderful Montreal trainer/behaviorist I can personally vouch for:

Emily Cooper 514 576 2667

Wishing you and Belle much luck and many years of wonderful companionship .
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Last edited by luckypenny; June 19th, 2012 at 05:33 PM.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 05:42 PM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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I can't believe I forgot to post this place as well. Belle would have a blast here as I'm sure you would too . Not sure where in Montreal you're located but Guides Canins is in St. Lazare. We traveled bi-weekly from the South Shore and it was more than worth it .

http://www.guidescanins.com/en/index.html
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Old June 19th, 2012, 09:05 PM
althe althe is offline
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As always, thoughtful and informative responses from the great members at pets.ca

DogDancer, your words remind me of my vet's words, "some dogs will never have good recall due to their prey drive" and I've met other dog owners who've said the same thing about their dogs. Maybe they all recognize something in my Belle... and maybe I'm in denial... all the more reason for me to get some help and see how far I can go with her.

Loki and Luckypenny, thank you for the links to trainer information.

Luckypenny, I'll definitely seriously consider both your recommendations.

Thanks again
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  #9  
Old June 19th, 2012, 09:18 PM
althe althe is offline
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I forgot to mention that I found this dog swimming pool on another thread in pets.ca

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=71073

It's called Spaws. I'll be checking that out as well. If my dog could enjoy going for a swim I think it would really do her a lot of good.
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  #10  
Old June 25th, 2012, 07:36 PM
kitona kitona is offline
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Althe, a friend of mine with a border collie had great success with food dispensing toys. Instead of feeding her in a bowl, put her rations in one of these things and it takes her much longer to eat and gives her something to mentally stimulate her intelligence. I have 3 Finnish Spitz that go bonkers if they can't get out to hunt mice and their food toys work wonders on boring days.
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  #11  
Old July 6th, 2012, 07:33 AM
althe althe is offline
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Kitona, this was a fantastic idea! I ran out and got one and it works wonders. She wanted to chew the toy/dispenser itself at first, I had to spend a little bit of time showing her that food comes out and now she's almost too good at it LOL. Thank you for the suggestion.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 08:24 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post
Hello althe .

I sent you a lengthier message but I wanted to post here as well.

For those looking on how to choose a trainer: http://www.apdt.com/petowners/choose/default.aspx Please take the time to read all the important information contained in the links.

A wonderful Montreal trainer/behaviorist I can personally vouch for:

Emily Cooper 514 576 2667

Wishing you and Belle much luck and many years of wonderful companionship .
Here is the Canadian version of the link above: http://www.cappdt.ca/public/jpage/1/p/Home/content.do

Unfortunately dog training is an unregulated business. There is no authority to say what credentials a person must have before hanging out a shingle. Heck, you can even get dog training "certificates" from internet courses. Be careful who you go to.

It is disappointing that your Vet could not help. Recommendations from friends are always a good idea but your friends may not know what to look for either. I myself have found people I know paying good money to a trainer who uses clickers and discovered the trainer had no idea how to use them correctly.

Some suggestions that might help: Use a facility that does competitive obedience whether that's your goal or not. These people will at least, hopefully, have advanced their own dog through to at least a CD and that reveals training results.

Another trick, applies to anything you buy, know something about it yourself. My favourite for dogs is to ask what the trainer likes for dog training theory. I ask them about operant conditioning. Obviously, for their answer to have meaning for me, I must know something about it myself. It doesn't matter if they don't espouse it, (though I prefer they do) what matters is they have studied theory and chosen one that they like. Run like mad if anyone says they use alpha and dominance techniques, outdated theories which reveal a lack of updating on the trainer's part or worse.

Good luck.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 01:11 PM
HuntleysMom HuntleysMom is offline
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You can check out the Spaw facility here: Link

I would also recommend contacting Rosie's Animal rescue and ask if they have any recommendations, I know they do great work with rescues in Montreal and probably have a huge network of contacts that could help you.

Good luck, your dog is adorable!
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