I know I've mentioned before how much I liked the clicker trainer who helped us with Cubbe. Out of everything she did, the thing that impressed me the most was her question when I first called. She asked what I wanted from training my dog. What did I want to teach? What did I want Cubbe to do?Thinking about the answer made me realize what a brilliant question it was. There's no sense teaching agility or herding or play dead if that's not the way I envision my life with my dog. As it is, none of my dogs have ever been a nuisance. Cubbe's not perfect, but she's darn good. She doesn't win awards, but we have a good companion, a good alert dog, someone who is clean, affectionate, fun to play with, not terribly demanding, fine when children ask if they can pet her.

I hope my trainer realizes she did a good job with us when she helped us get Cubbe to where she is today. Cubbe has never won any obedience awards, but I feel rewarded when neighbors tell us they see us in the neighborhood or see her in the yard and like her.
I'm afraid that I forgot there are trainers out there with agendas. She's a dog trainer by profession and a quilter by hobby. We met through a mutual quilting friend. I like her enormously. She's opinionated and outspoken. That goes a long way with me in this New England wasteland of people who think lying is polite.
The first time I met her, I mentioned how much I liked my first dog trainer. She knew her and didn't think much of her methods. I said how much I liked that she tailored her methods to the client, but my new friend couldn't see that. She's sure she gets better results with her methods. To hell with what the client wants.
Today I mentioned conversationally about the recent neighborhood hubbub about one dog attacking another. Even before I'd finished, she said uneqivocally that the attacking dog had to be put down. I thought the point of my story had more to do with the whole sad story and all the personalities and points of view in the neighborhood, but she stopped there. She was sure she knew what the owners had done wrong and how much was their fault, how much the dog's.
Then I told the ages-old story about the time Cubbe got so territorial when a friend visited. This is where I stepped on some toes. As far as I'm concerned, Cubbe is well enough trained for me. My new friend couldn't see it that way. She was sure she knew what I'd done wrong. She's sure I have a terribly behaved dog. The idea that Cubbe is well enough trained for me and not a nuisance in the neighborhood doesn't go anywhere with her. She went into some detail about all the things I'd done wrong before getting to that point.
The funny thing about this is that I'm sure she's right if your goal is having a dog as obedient as hers.
I hate getting off on the wrong foot with someone I like. I'm afraid I made her quite defensive. A minute later she was defensive about something else. Aauurrrgh.
Lia
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Heh, if I were you I would avoid discussing dog training and dog problems with that person. She will probably never understand that you are genuinely happy with your dog, and not just saying so to excuse the fact that you haven't trained your dog in the "perfect" way she likes.

That reminds me of the agility trainer I asked if he had a group I could take my old girl to, where we could train without jumps and the A. I told him she loved agility when she was young, and that we've done two courses and that we still had a lot to learn. He just looked at me like I was crazy and said "If she can't jump, then what would the point be?". I didn't even bother explaining to him that I wanted to do something fun with my dog that we would both enjoy, and she had loved agility more than anything else we ever tried.
Some people seem to think that everyone has the same goals as they do, and cannot understand people who have different values.

I must admit I don't understand people who treat their dogs like spoiled brats, who don't want to teach the dog anything because it will break their spirit etc. I try to accept that those people want something else from their dogs than I do. There is no point in arguing about who is wrong and who is right. As long as the dog isn't hurt it can't be that wrong.

Rosa
The funny thing about this is that I'm sure she's right if your goal is having a dog as obedient as hers.

Even when you take that into consideration, she's not right. You want something different out of your dog than she wants from hers.
As a trainer, she should know that the definition of "obedience" varies widely - and depends upon needs, demeanor, and reality. As you said, Cubbe is well enough trained for you. What could be better?

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
The funny thing about this is that I'm sure she's right if your goal is having a dog as obedient ... I like. I'm afraid I made her quite defensive. A minute later she was defensive about something else. Aauurrrgh. Lia

Lia - I know a lot of trainers like her. I'm not one of them. OTOH, I do sometimes push gently to get people to want a bit more from their dogs. Nothing dramatic, but some people have VERY low goals, which I think short-changes the dog as well as themselves. If a client can do things they want to do, the dog isn't a nuisance or burden, and everyone seems happy - there's not a thing wrong with that. Sounds like Cubbe is exactly what you want, and that you DO demand a fairly high level of behavior from her - sounds reasonable to me.
I know some (well, one in particular) local trainer, who chastises me for not pushing my students towards bedience competition. She feels they don't KNOW what they want until they're strongly encouraged to DO it. I disagree - I want to give the client what they are asking for - a well behaved household member. I talk about competition, dog sports, etc, so anyone who wants more can get that - I just don't push an agenda.
Janet Boss
Best Friends Dog Obedience
"Nice Manners for the Family Pet"
Voted "Best of Baltimore 2001" - Baltimore Magazine www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
If a client can do things they
want to do, the dog isn't a nuisance or burden, and everyone seems happy - there's not a thing wrong ... you want, and that you DO demand a fairly high level of behavior from her - sounds reasonable to me.

Thanks all for the gentle reassurance. If I hated this lady, I could blow off her remarks easily. It only became a problem because I essentially like her. With that, I need help sorting out my feelings on the subject.After I wrote here, I googled to see what I could find on her on the web. I thought it would be interesting to see if she mentioned her methods or advertised on a web page. Apparently she doesn't have one. What I did find was her name on a page saying that one of her dogs had won his Canine Good Citizen Certificate/Therapy Dog in 1999 at the same training club where we took Cubbe when we first got her. This is place where they had the teacher I hated so much I started posting to this group to figure out what was going wrong, what I was doing wrong and why I hated dog training when I'd always enjoyed it before.

It is a variation of the same theme. Everyone in that beginning class went there for help with normal first dog problems like jumping and barking and coming when called, and the teacher gave no help with that (other than give single sentence answers of the sort you'd get from a pamplet) and spent all her time on leash yanking the dog into a perfect heel.
Lia
As a trainer, she should know that the definition of "obedience" varies widely - and depends upon needs, demeanor, and reality. As you said, Cubbe is well enough trained for you. What could be better?

I'm realizing that another piece to this has to do with communication styles. It isn't unusual for me, when chatting with friends, to tell some story which has no point other than to entertain and to get to know them better. I'd been chatting about my neighborhood dog war and continued to chat about Cubbe including past problems I've had with her. I was only making an effort to be interesting.
She may have had a different take on the whole conversation. She responded with advice which involved identifying the root cause of the problem which I interpreted as accusing me of having the wrong training methods and goals. She may also have been trying to sign me up as a client. She can't do that without convincing me I have a problem. My efforts to point out that I don't have a problem, that I'm satisfied with the solutions I've found became friction, not friendship.
I have a friend this happens with all the time. I'll tell some pointless story and expect him to tell some pointless story in return. Instead, he'll give advice or wrap up everything with a short sympathy message of the "I'm sorry that happened" sort. It drives me nuts except that he's a good friend, and I realize he means no harm. I know sweeping generalizations are always dangerous, but I've started to think of his directed conversation with a point as "guy talk" and my conversation where the only point is general sharing and getting to know as "girl chat." As soon as I realize that the friction is due to differences in style, I'm fine.Let me open myself up to some criticism. You all know the story about the time several years ago Cubbe got territorial and put on a big display of barking and ferocity and got a drop of blood out of my friend's thumb. Since then, each time a friend has come to the door, we've put Cubbe on a leash, taken her outside to greet the friend where there are no territory issues and then brought everyone inside. Or else Cubbe has been on a leash when the friend comes in.

Cubbe has gotten better and better about people coming in. Her barking has lessened considerably, and there have been no displays. She's usually ready to be petted after a few minutes. I've been so pleased with the way this has worked that I'd recommend it to someone who asked. This is what I mean when I say that Cubbe is well enough behaved for us. I'm pleased with her progress, usually so pleased that I write here about how well she's doing.
I'm also aware that another solution would be a dedicated training program that involved having Cubbe under perfect voice control every second. We wouldn't need a leash because we'd be able to tell her STAY and know that we'd get instant and perfect obedience. Further, we'd practice by having friends come over and reward her for not trying to frighten off the intruder. We haven't done that because it would require time and dedication, and we're not that devoted. That's what my new friend was saying was necessary.
And now some petty gossip: I did some more web research. Apparently the highest title she's ever gotten with a dog is Caninie Good Citizen and Therapy Dog. That's more than I've gotten, but it isn't considered spectacular, is it? Everyone else has far more letters after their names.
Lia
I wouldn't put much stock in what you found online. I did some searching on myself and only about 30% of the titles I've put on dogs show up online anywhere, and those are from the last few years. Nothing shows up from previous decades.
Debbie
And now some petty gossip: I did some more web research. Apparently the highest title she's ever gotten with a dog is Caninie Good Citizen and Therapy Dog. That's more than I've gotten, but it isn't considered spectacular, is it?

The CGC isn't a very big deal- it just means your dog has basic manners- but Therapy Dog entails quite a bit.
And now some petty gossip: I did some more web ... than I've gotten, but it isn't considered spectacular, is it?

The CGC isn't a very big deal- it just means your dog has basic manners- but Therapy Dog entails quite a bit.

I'm not particularly impressed by Therapy Dog as evidence of trainer skill. A fair number of dogs can pass admirably with nothing more than good manners training and natural solid non-reactive temperament.

Diane Blackman
http://dog-play.com /
http://dog-play.com/shop2.html
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