Private Lesson Yesterday
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Thread: Private Lesson Yesterday

  1. #1
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultPrivate Lesson Yesterday

    It was a dog kind of weekend. Agility with Simon on Saturday, a private lesson with Angus on Sunday. Both are an hour's drive. Needless to say, very little was accomplished around the house this weekend.

    OK. This is going to be very long. I apologize in advance.

    Not sure where to start...

    Well, the guy we are training with, as you might remember, just got an OTCH on one of his dogs. Clearly he is a good trainer. He has some great ideas, and I respect his opinion a lot.

    But...we are like night and day in our training styles.

    As you know, I am all about YES YES YES GOOD JOB I LOVE YOU YOU ARE AWESOME! Admittedly, Angus does not get a lot of corrections. If he does something wrong or doesn't show a lot of attention, I tend to blame myself, and ask myself what I did wrong or what I could do differently.

    Our trainer, on the other hand, puts a lot of responsibility on the dog to do it, do it right, and do it fast. If not, they get a correction. A harsh correction.

    So, night and day, the two of us.

    It was never more apparent than yesterday, though. I won't bore you to tears with the blow-by-blow from the entire session, but here's how I felt in a nutshell: I felt like we spent the entire time focusing on what Angus was doing wrong, and precious little time focusing on what he was doing RIGHT. He took Angus a few times and demonstrated how I should be correcting. Angus' ears went back and his eyes looked confused and hurt.

    :'(

    The trainer swears to me that he would never do anything to make my dog love or trust me less. Finally, about an hour and a half into this, Angus was getting slower and slower and looking less and less like this was something he wanted any part of. I said, "You know what? He's done. That's enough. We're finished."

    Trainer said, "Oh, no no! We don't want to end on a bad note! We need to play!'

    I said, "Yes, absolutely, I was not suggesting that we end on a bad note. I think he needs some fun too!" So I threw a tennis ball for him. That cheered him up. The trainer started showing me how he plays with his dogs while training.

    I did get an email from him later, a long one...and this from a guy who does not write long emails. I guess I must have shown how I was feeling, as he was very nice and apologetic and said he really didn't mean to push us too hard, that he had just come off a two hour session with someone at utility level and he was afraid he had brought some of that to our session, etc. He said that he loves Angus and thinks he's awesome, and that we're a great team. He swore he would never ask me to do anything that would hurt my dog or make him love me less. That he used to worry about the same thing, and he promises the "tough love" method works.

    I am not so sure. All I know that I do NOT want a dog who is responding to me out of fear. Period. I will happily sacrifice perfection in favor of a dog who enjoys what he is doing.

    I am having a really, really hard time deciding how to respond to this email from him. Fortunately my keyboard at home is not working, so that forced me to just think about it last night before knee-jerking. And today, I am finding myself at kind of a loss for how I want to express my feelings.

    Let me reiterate: I do have a lot of respect for him as a trainer, and when he does provide training advice , it is truly brilliant and inspired. He showed me a way to work on Moving Down that I am totally going to use, and it's going to work and work fast. I wish there was a way that I could convey to him that I think he is a great trainer, but IMO just a little heavy-handed, and that I would love to get advice from him without the harsh corrections. :-[

    Well, it was a really tough day for us, and I really just needed to talk to someone who would understand. We took Angus and Simon to the lake last night, so his day had a happy ending


    Connie and "The Boys":
    Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
    Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD

    Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
    Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever

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  3. #2
    imported_Belles mom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Private Lesson Yesterday :(

    Of course you should do what you feel is right for Angus, but I'd give the guy another chance and see how things go. Hopefully the guy will lighten up some and things will go more smoothly. If he is just as uptight nest time, then look elswhere for private lessons.
    Karen and<br />UAG1 SHR UCDX GRCH Tracker Belle of Bedford RAE JH CDX TT WCX WC CGC (Belle)<br /><br />UCD SHR GRCH BIMBS BBI Belle&#39;s Kodiak Dreamweaver JH UD RAE TT WC CGC (Kodi)<br /><br />SHR UCH BBI Ponderosa&#39;s Big Blond Guy JH RE TT WC CGC (Hoss)

  4. #3
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    SamIAm is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Private Lesson Yesterday :(

    I'm not anywhere near the level where you and Angus are and so I have no advice! But I DO believe that your gut instincts are usually the good ones. YOU are the one who knows your dog, and YOU are the one who knows what works the best with him and YOU are the one who knows what you ultimately hope to accomplish. I personally vote for "happy"! ;D
    Maybe you could express to the trainer pretty much what you said in your email and just see if he can tone it down some? I think a really good trainer would be like a really good teacher, and able to adapt her/his lessons to the way the student learns best!

    Frances



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  6. #4
    ObedienceLabs4Me is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Private Lesson Yesterday :(

    My first question is what breed did he take to an OTCh? There are breeds who can take a lot of correction and some that cannot. Just because someone has taken a dog to an OTCh does not make them a good instructor. I don't know where you live but I know when I was looking for someone after my trainer retired and we bought his business for me to continue in my growth as a trainer of my dog, I looked for someone who not only has achieved more than I have but also is able to teach. Example, many many people from all over the country come to this couple for private lessons. Most of the top teams in the nation have worked with them at some point in time.

    Second--recently there have been some newer people who have gotten OTCh's for the first time using some very old training methods. It has worked for that dog but might not for the next one. They are going around the country giving seminars, etc. Remember, just like us,what works for one dog might not work for another which is why good trainers have lots of "tools in their tool belt."

    Third, I might try one more lesson with him. I had a couple lessons from another OTCh handler in my area who is very good and does well with her dogs but we just did not click per say. I did go back, did not burn any bridges behind me. Now, I can go out to their place just to have another place to work Caleb and they often don't charge me for the time! After the second lesson, you might want to look for another. Remember we all have bad days and we would all hate to be judged on our bad day!
    Susan
    UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
    FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN

    www.labmed.org


  7. #5
    rottnlabs is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Private Lesson Yesterday :(

    My best advice to you is to NEVER let anyone else correct your dog. I did that once with a well known trainer who proceeded to hang my Rottie off the ground by a choke chain until he passed out. I will NEVER allow anyone else to correct my dog on leash (I do allow them to correct him for sits/downs though but that is not on leash).

    Training has to be fun for both you and Angus. There are lots of ways to incorporate play into training and it certainly isn't something you should reserve for the end of the session. I have a friend training a Dobie for Utility. I swear this dog has ADD. He has the attention span of a gnat. She was really getting down on him. I told her to use play instead. I had her hold a tennis ball in her hand while giving the signals. At first, she'd give the down signal then toss the ball for him. Then the down and sit, then toss the ball, etc. Bingo. The dog never takes his eyes off of her now. I use a tennis ball under my arm for attention heeling. We heel a few steps then I toss the ball. Since it is under my arm, Murray never knows if I have it or not. I use the ball to get quick finishes. Murray knows once he gets around me and sits in heel I will throw the ball so he's very quick to finish...none of this lolly gagging around behind me. I taught the broadjump by using a ball. I taught the retrieves using a training dummy (instead of a dumbbell).

    If the dog is confused and stressing, correcting him is going to make it worse. That's when you need to break off and do something fun and holding a ball is not fun. There is nothing wrong with giving a correction as long as it is fair. That means the dog KNOWS what is expected and is CHOOSING not to perform. I do not correct a dog that is learning. That's how you ruin a good dog.

    I think it is hard for trainers who have been competing for a long time with the same dog to remember that a green dog does not KNOW these exercises yet. I know it's tough for me and I haven't been competing all that long. I've caught myself being tough on Essy quicker than I should mostly out of frustration with my daughter for letting her continue to make the same mistake over and over and over so by the time I step in, I want it fixed now. That's the wrong time to step in.

    The next time you meet with the trainer, explain to him just what I explained to you. It isn't fair to correct a dog that is just learning. I'd also let him know that you will be the one corercting Angus for things he does know (and stick to your guns. Don't let him show you "just once"). Remind him that both of you are very new to all of this and that you really want to learn.

    <br /><br />Lydia, Murray &amp; Essy in AZ<br /><br />Clear Creek&#39;s Mad About You CDX RE NJP OAP OFP ASCA CDX GSN RSN NGC TGO TNO OAC NJC HPN PS1 JHE<br /><br />Larkspur&#39;s Essence RE NAC TNN JHE

  8. #6
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Private Lesson Yesterday :(

    I love you guys. I really do. Thank you so much.

    This is a mixed breed he took to OTCH, and she is his first dog to OTCH.

    But I also think it's fair to give him another chance. This was not our first lesson together, but it was the toughest yet. He was very nice in his email, and I forgot to include the part where he said he needed to learn more about me and my training style and not try to "impose his methods on me." That was good.

    I think it was a really off day for him. I do think he likes us. But it might be time for me to draw my line in the sand. If I don't do it now, it will be impossibly awkward later. :-\ So, I'm just trying to figure out how to put it.

    I, too, really don't want to burn any bridges. He is very good, and he holds monthly Show n Gos. We're going to one next weekend.

    Also, he did have one positive thing to say about Angus yesterday. He said, "I've never seen a dog heel on his tippy-toes the way Angus does." I wasn't sure if this was a compliment or not , especially since compliments were few and far between. So I just said, "Oh?" And he said, "Oh yeah, it's just AWESOME! He heels like a ballerina! Really, you've got to see it. You have to bring your video camera to the Show n Go and let me film it. I really want you to see how it looks."



    Connie and "The Boys":
    Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
    Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD

    Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
    Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever

  9. #7
    ObedienceLabs4Me is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Private Lesson Yesterday :(

    I do agree with Lydia that I don't let anyone else correct my dog. In fact the only time I correct one of my students' dogs is when it trys to bite me and they don't do anything and that is usually out of reflex but is not the same level of correction that I would do for, let say if Caleb decided to growl or bite at me. Or if the dog goes after another student's dog and again, the owner does not do anything. I had a man who was in class this past session and, mind you this is week 4, half way through and we are doing the sit for exam when the dog lunged at me and had my face in its mouth and he just stood there! I just grabbed the checks and told it that was unacceptable behavior. THEN he decided to tell me they were having a problem with aggression! Anway, if there are other trainers in your area, check them out, too. I always encourage people to come in and observe one of my classes especially the competition level.
    Susan
    UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
    FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN

    www.labmed.org


  10. #8
    Canyon Labradors's Avatar
    Canyon Labradors is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Private Lesson Yesterday :(

    My old trainer back in CA that I loved corrected harshly too, but I didn't mind. I am not a softie and I have no problem with tough corrections when they are due. My old trainer had labs that she did all sorts of events with, so I knew her methods worked with labs. But she also did not inflict her views on those who weren't ready to accept them. She has her preferred collars and tools, but if you aren't comfortable with them, she'll show you how to train on a flat buckle. When we were ready to go to electricity, she was there and taught us how to do it.

    I had no problems with her correcting my dogs either. But most of the time it was her telling us what to do during our privates...

    I think there is a place for TOTAL positive reinforcement, and there is a time when TOUGH LOVE is needed. I don't think I would have ever gotten Maddy over the hump for competition if we didn't take the tough route. She doesn't "love" me any less and she knows it's time for serious work when the collar comes out. It's also my chosen method when I have to teach something she is balking on and is making it more difficult...like when I am teaching her Down on Recall. I don't need to use the collar anymore, but it helped immensely when I was initially teaching it. As it is helpful when teaching the broad jump.

    I am not advocating the use of the e-collar for you, but hoping you see the correlation with the tougher training. Some dogs just get stubborn and a little aversion to get them to realize you mean business sometimes gets them over the hump.

    But if your trainer will not compromise on training methods and you feel uncomfortable with his use of force then he's not the trainer for you. But that's something you need to figure out.

  11. #9
    debjen is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Private Lesson Yesterday :(

    I think you should talk to the trainer and explain your concerns and see if he is willing to work with you..I used alot of the tough love on Riley (my first dog I ever trained) and also alot of praise and encouragement..probably not so much tough love with Robbie but each dog is different in what they are able to handle so you need to do what is right for you and your dog.

  12. #10
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    patm is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Private Lesson Yesterday :(

    Connnie - you guys always sound so much like Emilu and me (well maybe just a little more so!) I have had problems off and on with my advanced obedience instructor, first a bad day with me in tears on the way home, then a good day. I think she is a good instructor too, but just a little hard to take sometimes. She did correct Emilu too much during the early dumbbell days, with a result that Emilu was scared to death of her. Several weeks later she said that she wasn't going to correct anyones dog again, just show us how. But I have noticed that whenever she takes any of the other dogs to show something, they all act scared and keep looking at their owners, like "come get me - please!" Dogs know that she can be harsh by just watching her with other dogs. She has trained labs, and I must say that they are very good, and seem like happy dogs. It's funny, how much Angus reminds me of Emilu. The one thing that people always say to me too is that she "sure is a happy dog!" It does sound like the instructor realized that he came across too hard for you guys, and would be more than willing to tone it down for you. I'd try it again, and even if you decide not to go back after that, you can end on friendly terms.

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