Modifying a Trainers Methods?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 11:58am PST 
There is a woman in the neighborhood who I would consider to help me with training. She regularly walks her two dogs who seem super well behaved...compared to Sophie when she's full speed ahead.

The only problem is that she mentioned using a prong collar. I know for some way stubborn dogs prong collars might have their place. But I know my Sophie, she's a strong girl but fearful of her own shadow.

Is there a way to tell this woman I would like her to work with us but not using a prong collar?
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 12:20pm PST 
You can ask if prongs are integral to her results. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't. Good trainers can adapt to an owner's methods, but it sounds to me like she isn't a trainer per se....just one who does really good work with her dogs? There's nothing wrong with that, by the way. Some people have an aptitude, and given how little credentials it takes to be a trainer these days, there may be little difference from her and a "pro" if that's the case.

Some trainers are very tool dependent. Others may stick with a tool because it works but can easily go outside their box. I have all my dogs on a choke once they are finished. It's what I've always done, but don't do that with fosters....we have a Pit in foster right now I do have on a correction collar, but only because he has extreme prey drive against cats and we have a large feral population where we live, so I need that added control to keep the cats safe - this dog is a built like a bull (the one with horns, lol) and is really strong.......and when I am doing my coaching work for people with their teenage dogs always adapt to whatever the use, unless I find it to be the cause of their problems, in which case we discuss what other options they are comfortable with. And then I'll work with that.

That's as it should be, but some are tool dependent. Just speak honestly. If YOU are not comfortable, say that, as sensitive dogs often do fine on a prong, so she may debate you. You really only have to bring up that you don't want to use that collar respectfully (i.e., "it's just not a collar for you," rather than questioning her own ethic, as off what you have to say her dogs go fine with one, so no need to abrade) and see if she can work with that. That's totally in line, as long as presented respectfully should not pose a problem.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 5:59pm PST 
I would just say you are not comfortable with that particular tool and ask to train in flat collar or whatever you prefer.

If she is just relying on a prong for results without any other work that's not exactly training, that's just letting the dog correct itself on the tool, which actually often doesn't work too great with most dogs anyway. All the prong techniques I've seen should work on a flat collar with correct leash technique and leash pressure anyway.


Woo-woo- whineybutt
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 8:14pm PST 
I'd ask her what the prong is for, tbh.
My trainer requires dogs on prongs, but I've never corrected Nare. It's just a back up for the case that it is ever needed.

They look scary and have a bad rep, but they're a tool that when used properly, are a great aid.

But yes, it is definitely plausible to modify their method. I also suggest checking out the video on Asher's page about LLW.

Edited by author Mon Oct 29, '12 8:16pm PST


"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 8:33pm PST 
Explain to her that you don't want to use a prong for your dog. Sophie is your dog, not hers. You know her best. Positive punishment and Negative Reinforcement have their place in training, and they're not for fearful dogs in my opinion. If she keeps trying to push the issue, drop her.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 8:48pm PST 
Everyone has their thing but if she can't adapt she isn't a trainer. Keep in mind that someones personal dogs may not be a good indicator of what they can do with yours. I have found often people are drawn to dogs that have personalities that work with their own. And honestly with few exceptions, I do better work with other peoples dogs then my own. I love my wingnuts just as they are. However I have met several 'trainers' for who the exact opposite is true.

"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 8:55pm PST 
^ Agree with Sabi.

Although Lobes is awesome and Poppy's recall is becoming lightning fast, neither are what others consider "perfect" and honestly, they both have their own major social faults(Poppy with his reactivity and Lobo with his dog-bullying). But I've managed to work through other dogs' reactivity issues in under a week - one of which (Zoe, a Basenji/Heeler mix) bit her humans. Like Sabi, I do better with others' dogs than my own.

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Tue Oct 30, '12 6:13pm PST 
Ophelia, if you want to train your dog to walk nicely and not use aversive tools, I would suggest you find someone who knows how to do so without the use of aversive tools. The fact that this person falls back on a prong for any dog tells me she does not have the skillset to work with any dog without the use of aversives.

We get ALL kinds of dogs and have yet to need a correction based device to teach loose leash walking. We may use management tools, like a Newtrix or a sensation, to give the owners the ability to control the force of pulling, but we don't use aversives to teach the skill or to proof it.

It is up to you what you want with your dog. I know I do not need a prong to teach loose leash walking.

Barked: Wed Oct 31, '12 9:55am PST 
If I were set on training with her I'd ask what she uses them for and would it be an issue if I refused to use one. If yes, question answered. If she used them for what I thought was a stupid reason, question answered. If she had reasonable expectations... not really an issue.

You don't have to agree with every single thing someone does to learn from them good and bad. One of my favorite OB club instructors force fetches her dogs. I wouldn't force fetch Zephyr so we approached it a different way. No feelings were hurt and it's undeniable that my way worked. Conversely Mo had been force fetched before I got him and has no issues with fetching either. I won't force-fetch a dog but I'm not going to say it's not effective. You can. Learn why she uses the collars without actually needing to try them yourself and make up your mind from there.

I'm king of the- world!
Barked: Fri Nov 2, '12 4:22pm PST 
What Asher said.

I would find a positive-reinforcement training facility and learn from them. Anyone who uses an aversive does not have a fundamental understanding of canine learning theory. R+ training allows you and your dog to work together as a team, and have fun doing it! The dog *wants* to do the behavior because he has been conditioned to love it...not because you have scared him into doing it. LLW is a piece of cake once you see how easily it can be done with positive reinforcement.

Maybe ask this woman where she trains with her dogs? Then check the place out...if they use positive techniques, then great, give it a shot. If not, I would keep looking.

I just don't trust anyone who uses aversives, regardless of their good intentions.
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