Roxy is signed up for her first formal training class. Two, in fact, and then we'll be going for her CGC. I got a referral to a PR trainer from the behaviorist and we have exchanged a few emails. I also plan to go observe one of her classes. I've never been to this type of trainer, though I have taken my Shelties through basic formal training. I'm pretty excited, even though we don't start until the end of next month.

Here is what she wrote to me in response to my questions:

"It's great to see that you're so interested in what type of training methods we use. I wish that more people would ask this question. It shows a concern for your animals. We use ALL positive reinforcement. We don't use clickers, but we use something similar. Instead of a clicker, we use a marker word. We find that it's much easier this way since with clicker training, you always have to have a clicker handy so using a word is much more convenient. We do NOT use leash corrections, shock collars, or any other form of punishment. They only punishment that they would receive would be ignoring, no treat, or a slight verbal correction ("ah ah").
We don't require the use of any special collars. We do not allow choke chains, pinch, or prong collars. You have the option of using a gentle leader, which we sell in class."
I think Roxy will respond really well to this approach to training. (I won't be using the GL, though.) I mostly only use praise with her, sometimes rewards, definitely ignoring, and verbal as well as leash corrections. She's not overly sensitive like one of my Shelties, but I'm very interested in seeing how she comes along using the methods that will be taught in this class. I've hit a wall with what I can do with her on my own, but only because of my limited knowlege and skills, not her ability. I have nothing at all against other forms of training, by the way, I'm just excited about this approach.

Lynne
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"First get your facts; then you may distort them at your leisure." Mark Twain
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We use ALL positive reinforcement. We
don't use clickers, but we use something similar. Instead of a clicker, we use a marker word. We find that ... punishment. They only punishment that they would receive would be ignoring, no treat, or a slight verbal correction ("ah ah").[/nq]Occasionally, I get a student who would rather use a word than a click. And I let them. Usually by the second week, when they see how much quicker the clicker dogs are progressing they change their minds. I don't think a clicker is absolutely necessary for pet skills, but dogs are used to not listening to our voice, and most people have very bad habits about how they ask things from their dogs. I like to offer new habits all the way around.

Thing is, by the time the behavior is on cue (anywhere from a day or so to a week, you can start switching to a verbal marker anyway. When the dog understands what you want, you don't need as precise a tool. I'm also slightly suspicious of people who claim to use ALL positive reinforcement. There may be a few, but they are rare. Even ignoring a dog is negative punishment.
We don't require the use of any special collars. We do not allow choke chains, pinch, or prong collars. You have the option of using a gentle leader, which we sell in class."

I don't know why so many "positive trainers" are so fond of a tool that so many dogs find aversive. Overall doesn't sound like a bad class tho
We use ALL positive reinforcement. We don't use clickers, but we use something similar. Instead of a clicker, we use ... since with clicker training, you always have to have a clicker handy so using a word is much more convenient.

Verbal praise - what a novel idea! ;-D
We do NOT use leash corrections, shock collars, or any other form of punishment. They only punishment that they would receive would be ignoring, no treat, or a slight verbal correction ("ah ah").

I'm always curious to know what they would do with a dog who was aggressing,
We don't require the use of any special collars. We do not allow choke chains, pinch, or prong collars. You have the option of using a gentle leader, which we sell in class."

Only a GL? No martingale? Since she said chains, will she allow nylon slip collars (I'm a stickler for detail)?
I have nothing at all against other forms of training, by the way, I'm just excited about this approach.

I hope you enjoy the class! Setting aside time for just you and your dog is always a very good thing.

Janet Boss
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
Verbal praise - what a novel idea! ;-D

Tee hee.
I'm always curious to know what they would do with a dog who was aggressing,

I'm hopeing that they recommend private lessons and ask them to leave group...
Only a GL? No martingale? Since she said chains, will she allow nylon slip collars (I'm a stickler for detail)?

It's funny, I asked the question because I found some classes in my search that require the GL and I wanted no part of them. I can't imagine a martingale or nylon slip would be prohibited, but you never know.
I hope you enjoy the class! Setting aside time for just you and your dog is always a very good thing.

Thanks, Janet. I agree! Roxy is always so much happier when she gets focused brain time.

Lynne
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"First get your facts; then you may distort them at your leisure." Mark Twain
I'm always curious to know what they would do with a dog who was aggressing,

Umn, maybe work with the dog in a situation where the dog can have some distance, and you can work with them with a stable dog who is under control? Desensitize? Teach the dog to check in, teach the owner what the dog's "tells" are so you can redirect him before he aggresses. Set up situations where the dog can learn? The one thing I WOULDN'T do is leave a seriously dog aggressive dog in a group class. Not fair to anyone.
The one thing I WOULDN'T do is leave a seriously dog aggressive dog in a group class. Not fair to anyone.

"Dog who was aggressing" != "seriously dog aggressive" HTH!

Shelly (Warning: see label for details)
http://www.cat-sidh.net (the Mother Ship)
http://esther.cat-sidh.net (Letters to Esther)
The one thing I WOULDN'T do is leave a seriously dog aggressive dog in a group class. Not fair to anyone.

"Dog who was aggressing" != "seriously dog aggressive" HTH!

I don't consider every barky, reactive dog to be "aggressing." If the dog is all noise, he'll be moved away from the other dogs, turned away, put behind a barrier so he can't see the other dogs. And, if he was unable to calm down enough to learn, and allow the other dogs to learn, we would be doing non-group classes and helping the dog to cope before mainstreaming. Unless I wanted to make Mr. Barkey Dog into Mr. Seriously Aggressive Dog, I wouldn't be punishing him for it though. Which seemed to be where Janet was having trouble understanding what someone would do if they didn't use aversives in class.
"Dog who was aggressing" != "seriously dog aggressive" HTH!

I don't consider every barky, reactive dog to be "aggressing." If the dog is all noise, he'll be moved away ... I wanted to make Mr. Barkey Dog into Mr. Seriously Aggressive Dog, I wouldn't be punishing him for it though.

I'm sorry. Barking?
Which seemed to be where Janet was having trouble understanding what someone would do if they didn't use aversives in class.

Hm. I think you must have read a different post than the one I did. The post I read did not involve any sort of complicated scenarios.

Shelly (Warning: see label for details)
http://www.cat-sidh.net (the Mother Ship)
http://esther.cat-sidh.net (Letters to Esther)
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