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I Art Therefore I Am
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We have decided that it is time to take a new approach and elicit the help of a private (positive reinforcement) behaviorist/trainer to help Nike with insecurity/fear of dogs and certain strangers. It's no surprise that she is especially bad on leash (esp the closer the dog is).

We have had a few issues in the past with her and have since instituded the NILIF program (and she is not allowed on furniture) and she has improved in the house 100%.

She has been in obedience classes from the get go (and has learned many good things) but I am conflicted/uncomfortable with the use of what seems like harsh negative corrections (and I'm no pansy, you can ask my kids!).

I know that obedience is a good thing, certainly, but I am unsure if a dog like Nike is benefitting from being forced to be in such close proximity to dogs that make her nervous/uncomfortable. The instructor offers Nike no comfort zone at all and wants her to "deal with it". When a dog comes too close to her, she, of course freaks out (on or off leash). She (the instructor) has pulled the lead away from me several times to (RE)instruct me on how to punish her and I have to say, I wasn't nuts about what I saw. The instructor believes that Nike is just 'being a brat'/'playing me' (with her yelps and protests) and should not be allowed to get away with lunging/snapping at the dogs. This partly makes sense as I understand that not correcting her only reinforces her coping method of 'fight' (I am not totally opposed to mild corrections) but I guess I wonder if she should be put in that situation in the first place. It's clear that Nike is now afraid of the instructor and stressed in class. She hunches up and gets shifty eyed and practically shuts down for the remainder of class. She'll sometimes climb all over me in an attempt to ask me for forgiveness.

I honestly don't know if the instructor is being too harsh.. I've never done obedience classes in the past, never owned a dobe and have never had an insecure dog.

All I know is that she seems to be getting worse, not better, so we've decided to get a behaviorist in the home that works strictly with positive reinforcement. We desperately want to help Nike and trying a different approach seems logical. I only hope we picked a good one.

I can agree and disagree, to a certain extent, with both methods of reinforcement but I have to admit, being inexperienced, I'm also a bit confused (as I imagine Nike must be) and wouldn't want to complicate the matter further.

I know that was long.. thanks for reading.
 

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I know that obedience is a good thing, certainly, but I am unsure if a dog like Nike is benefitting from being forced to be in such close proximity to dogs that make her nervous/uncomfortable. The instructor offers Nike no comfort zone at all and wants her to "deal with it". When a dog comes too close to her, she, of course freaks out (on or off leash). She (the instructor) has pulled the lead away from me several times to (RE)instruct me on how to punish her and I have to say, I wasn't nuts about what I saw. The instructor believes that Nike is just 'being a brat'/'playing me' (with her yelps and protests) and should not be allowed to get away with lunging/snapping at the dogs. This partly makes sense as I understand that not correcting her only reinforces her coping method of 'fight' (I am not totally opposed to mild corrections) but I guess I wonder if she should be put in that situation in the first place.
It sounds like what's happening isn't really too fair to the other dogs in the class as well, who wants another dog lunging after their dog?

I spent a fair number of years helping teach group obedience classes. When we had a dog come through the class with issues similiar to what Nike's sound like, we found the comfort zone for that dog, and that's where the dog was initially placed. They were brought closer to the rest of the dogs on a gradual basis. Sometimes it took more than one series of class before the dog was comfortable enough to be right in the midst of the other dogs in extreme cases, but most were able to be gradually introduced within the framework of one 10 week course.

You just can't lay more on a dog than it can handle at any one time, and if the situation seems to be getting worse rather than better, I think you definitely need to find another way to handle it.

Is the answer a private trainer? I dunno, I think a good group class with a different trainer that doesn't expect so much so soon might be a better option. She needs the exposure to lots of other dogs, and you won't get that exposure with a private trainer.
 

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Good for you to decide to take another approach and recognizing this one isn't working. I can't remember if your in NJ or not, for some reason I kept thinking this. If you are in NJ, I would recommend checking out St. Huberts training programs. They are in Madison, NJ. www.sthuberts.org They have quite a few classes that a geered towards, what they call "fiesty fidos" They are also all about positive reinforcement approaches. I have observed quite a few of these classes and it was quite interesting on how they can dogs with issues all training in the same area and work on these behaviors. Good Luck and pulling for you.
 

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...I am conflicted/uncomfortable with the use of what seems like harsh negative corrections...

Nike is...being forced to be in such close proximity to dogs that make her nervous/uncomfortable. The instructor offers Nike no comfort zone at all and wants her to "deal with it". When a dog comes too close to her, she, of course freaks out (on or off leash). She (the instructor) has pulled the lead away from me several times to (RE)instruct me on how to punish her and I have to say, I wasn't nuts about what I saw. The instructor believes that Nike is just 'being a brat'/'playing me' (with her yelps and protests) and should not be allowed to get away with lunging/snapping at the dogs.
What credentials does your "trainer" have that qualifies her to train? Because based on what you wrote above, she sounds like a moron. Also, I have to say that NO ONE should ever pull the lead away from you in this type of training.

I've seen dobies like this...most recently in particular, a dobie girl at my training club. She was great with her family but snappy at other dogs that invaded her personal space. (I don't blame her!) The simple reason was because she was basically unsocialized around strangers and their strange dogs. She saw every non-family dog as a potential threat. The remedy is a slow confidence-building and socializing regime that would allow Nike not to be fearful and defensive at the approach of other dogs. This snapping/lunging in basic OB class is absolutely NOT a behavior that is dealt with by force. You cannot punish the non-socialization out of a dog!

Good luck with your new approach and new trainer. You are right to listen to your gut and dump the Hitler approach. Schnell! Schnell! (fast, fast!)
 

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good luck with the new approach. There is a yellow lab in class that will randomly lunge/snap/and bark at dogs...but doesnt appear to be "fearful" cause its sooo random. The owner got frustrated and walked out last week....but we really don't mind having the dog in class....duchess is a sensitive girl so its good that she has been able to continue training while that is happening.

I agree that you should get some special attention with nike...we found out making coco go to class and MAKING him go through the motions of obedience was just making him overwhelmed and stressed...and your right those kind of trainers with the "deal with it" attitude are the right fit for a fearful dog in my opinion. Maybe for an aggressive dog that has no fearful nature and is just down right mean but again not for a fearful or shy dog. :)

let us know how it goes...etc...
 

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What credentials does your "trainer" have that qualifies her to train? Because based on what you wrote above, she sounds like a moron. Also, I have to say that NO ONE should ever pull the lead away from you in this type of training.

I've seen dobies like this...most recently in particular, a dobie girl at my training club. She was great with her family but snappy at other dogs that invaded her personal space. (I don't blame her!) The simple reason was because she was basically unsocialized around strangers and their strange dogs. She saw every non-family dog as a potential threat. The remedy is a slow confidence-building and socializing regime that would allow Nike not to be fearful and defensive at the approach of other dogs. This snapping/lunging in basic OB class is absolutely NOT a behavior that is dealt with by force. You cannot punish the non-socialization out of a dog!

Good luck with your new approach and new trainer. You are right to listen to your gut and dump the Hitler approach. Schnell! Schnell! (fast, fast!)
You know, SOoz - I'm going to step in here. Do I think Nike and Lyn are in over their head? Yes - but that isn't necessarily the trainers fault. You're way over the line, and this time I am going to say something to you - you have no real basis to sit here and call someone a Nazi just because they chose to correct a dog. This trainer is not abusive, she utilizes food often, but she WILl correct a dog when need be.

I know this trainer and I personally DO train with her - she's a licensed judge, taught multiple classes, her mom and her sister are also trainers for one of the biggest clubs in the area, and she is perfectly fine with rewarding - she lures and is completely fine with many of us using a clicker in her class (though she doesn't teach clicker style, she encourages others to use it if they do).

The problem is NIke doesn't understand, and she is actually getting worse. Nike has been pushed because the trainer has assumed that Nike DOES understand something, when it was not clear - that isn't Lyn's fault necessarily, but Nike clearly needs more time, and more confidence boosting. That doesn't make the trainer a "moron". I was one of the people pushing Lyn to this trainer, and she did great with the first session ( beginners) - what I do not think, is that Nike is necessarily ready for the advanced class she is in - perhaps repeating beginners would have been more appropriate (hindsight is 20/20) than moving her up. I was also the one to loan Lyn my clicker and a book, encouraging her to build NIke's confidence and reward her more for what she is doing right - not just correct her for what she is doing wrong.

Part of it is, Nike IS a brat. When she doesn't want to do it, she fights tooth and nail (not necessarily something bad, but even if she doesn't want to sit, she swings around, she jumps up on Lyn, she will not stay put). BUt she is also fear aggressive and her position is that a best defense is a hella-big offense. She's even snapped at my own dog (that she LOVES - you have seen the pics) at this class, because she is just on edge with all the other dogs. I think the deciding factor with this is actually that there is another dog very similar to Nike in behavior that has an owner who does not admit at ALL that her dog has an issue, and the owner allows that dog to react with every other dog, making the rest of us have to watch for this dog.

I think privates will be beneficial, to at least boost Lyn's handling confidence, and lay a foundation in positive reinforcement for Nike. What I have mentioned to Lyn that she is working on, is attention work - the problem is NIke has no skills to do instead of reacting to a dog - so if she works attention, she is able to GIVE attention rather than focus on another dog. I think clicker training will also reinforce the bond between them.

Nike isn't bad - she has rock solid stays, she is doing well with LLW, and she will get there - it will just be a process and I think unfortunately, Nike needs more time in that process than anyone had thought (not that she is slow - she is a very cautious dog and petrified of being wrong no matter what). She needs a lot more confidence boosting, but that cheerleading also has to be tempered with the fact that she IS a very reactive dog when on leash, and that behavior cannot be allowed to continue. Part of it is going to be watching her and what situations she is put into - part of it is going to be confident handling and not letting anxiety travel down the leash - and part of it is going to be tempering praise with well timed correction.

I think the corrections last week were over the top for NIKE - but the other dogs in the class are perfectly ok with the level of correction, if needed. Nike is confused and doesn't know what to do, and unfortunately correcting her isn't going to make that better, which is what Lyn has realized. Is this the right class for Lyn? potentially not - but that doesn't make this trainer a training Nazi and she doesn't deserve cyber-bashing from a total stranger over it, Sooz.
 

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Good for you to decide to take another approach and recognizing this one isn't working. I can't remember if your in NJ or not, for some reason I kept thinking this. If you are in NJ, I would recommend checking out St. Huberts training programs. They are in Madison, NJ. www.sthuberts.org They have quite a few classes that a geered towards, what they call "fiesty fidos" They are also all about positive reinforcement approaches. I have observed quite a few of these classes and it was quite interesting on how they can dogs with issues all training in the same area and work on these behaviors. Good Luck and pulling for you.

Kratty, I actually just emailed Lyn this info last night - Lyn did you get it?
 

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I'm glad you know of the trainer and the methods used Kim, your explaination if things going on puts it in better perspective for me to comment. I refrained from commenting at first, just not knowing *what* exactly the circumstances were beyond the initial explaination. Given your history with your past dogs and training, your explaination is more then credible to me.

Off of reading the initial post, I was rather erkked with the trainer. Being that I also have no issues with humane corrections, along with positive reinforcement, I didn't feel the trainer was over the top though, but obviously not reading the dog or the situation as well as possible or doing what was best for the dog at the time.

Each animal is unique, and oh yeah, some are downright bratty! Generally I believe that establishing control (what it seems the trainer was trying to accomplish for Nike) and being proactive is sufficient for dogs like that. But it seems that Nike has other issues as well. She's headstrong to a degree, while also being fearful in certain situations. So the effect of dominating her to sqash the brattiness, in the situaiton that also makes her fearful and nervous (close proximity to other dogs) is only serving to set Nike back even further.

IMHO I think it would benifit Nike and Lyn to work with a personal trainer to establish a strong foundation of groundwork and control. Once that foundation is established, so that Nike will put her trust in Lyn and be willing to let go of some of her anxiety, then I think it would be optimum for Nike to be enrolled back into traditional OB classes (the ones recommended by Kim and Kratty sounded great for her) with the trainer having a firm understanding of Nike's issues, so they know where to go with her and how to proceed.
 

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Hi Lyn,

I have a dog who is dog aggressive (and that is putting it mildly), that I managed to work through with obedience. She was initially taught her obedience away from other dogs and when it was more than clear that she understood what she was being asked to do, we introduced other dogs. She was put in a long down on a long line and other dogs were brought around her. It went as far as dogs healing by, to wagging their tails and hitting her in the face, and the final stages dealing with dogs aggressing at her while doing obedience. She was rewarded for good behavior and corrected for not being obedient. It seemed a little extreme at points and difficult to work through (BIB got to witness some of it), but she ultimately got the point. Is she cured of dog aggression? Absolutely not and will never be, because I feel there is a genetic component to it; but now she can be safely worked around other dogs. The way I have always approached it, is you can’t correct a dog for aggressing another dog, but you CAN correct a dog for not being obedient if they know what is being asked of them. I find if you simply start popping a leash and yelling at a dog who is aggressing others, you might as well be pouring fuel on the fire BUT if you tell your dog to fuss/sitz/platz when they are acting out and they don’t, that is another story because the dog should be looking toward you for guidance. It is to the point with my girl that when we approach other dogs, she looks to me knowing I will soon be asking her to do something which will ultimately end up in reward if she listens.

The process is rather simple, but I know it is very difficult to work through. I wish you good luck with Nike.
 

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She (the instructor) has pulled the lead away from me several times to (RE)instruct me on how to punish her and I have to say, I wasn't nuts about what I saw.
Sorry, I wanted to add one more thing. Be careful who you hand the lead over to. I wouldn't allow this especially if you didn't feel comfortable with the trainers methods of handling. I am assuming the trainer *knew* your dog, because it could have been very ugly. If a dog is feeling stressed and someone unknown is correcting them, it could result in the dog coming up the lead.....
 

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I Art Therefore I Am
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
You know, SOoz - I'm going to step in here. Do I think Nike and Lyn are in over their head? Yes - but that isn't necessarily the trainers fault. You're way over the line, and this time I am going to say something to you - you have no real basis to sit here and call someone a Nazi just because they chose to correct a dog. This trainer is not abusive, she utilizes food often, but she WILl correct a dog when need be.

I know this trainer and I personally DO train with her - she's a licensed judge, taught multiple classes, her mom and her sister are also trainers for one of the biggest clubs in the area, and she is perfectly fine with rewarding - she lures and is completely fine with many of us using a clicker in her class (though she doesn't teach clicker style, she encourages others to use it if they do).

The problem is NIke doesn't understand, and she is actually getting worse. Nike has been pushed because the trainer has assumed that Nike DOES understand something, when it was not clear - that isn't Lyn's fault necessarily, but Nike clearly needs more time, and more confidence boosting. That doesn't make the trainer a "moron". I was one of the people pushing Lyn to this trainer, and she did great with the first session ( beginners) - what I do not think, is that Nike is necessarily ready for the advanced class she is in - perhaps repeating beginners would have been more appropriate (hindsight is 20/20) than moving her up. I was also the one to loan Lyn my clicker and a book, encouraging her to build NIke's confidence and reward her more for what she is doing right - not just correct her for what she is doing wrong.

Part of it is, Nike IS a brat. When she doesn't want to do it, she fights tooth and nail (not necessarily something bad, but even if she doesn't want to sit, she swings around, she jumps up on Lyn, she will not stay put). BUt she is also fear aggressive and her position is that a best defense is a hella-big offense. She's even snapped at my own dog (that she LOVES - you have seen the pics) at this class, because she is just on edge with all the other dogs. I think the deciding factor with this is actually that there is another dog very similar to Nike in behavior that has an owner who does not admit at ALL that her dog has an issue, and the owner allows that dog to react with every other dog, making the rest of us have to watch for this dog.

I think privates will be beneficial, to at least boost Lyn's handling confidence, and lay a foundation in positive reinforcement for Nike. What I have mentioned to Lyn that she is working on, is attention work - the problem is NIke has no skills to do instead of reacting to a dog - so if she works attention, she is able to GIVE attention rather than focus on another dog. I think clicker training will also reinforce the bond between them.

Nike isn't bad - she has rock solid stays, she is doing well with LLW, and she will get there - it will just be a process and I think unfortunately, Nike needs more time in that process than anyone had thought (not that she is slow - she is a very cautious dog and petrified of being wrong no matter what). She needs a lot more confidence boosting, but that cheerleading also has to be tempered with the fact that she IS a very reactive dog when on leash, and that behavior cannot be allowed to continue. Part of it is going to be watching her and what situations she is put into - part of it is going to be confident handling and not letting anxiety travel down the leash - and part of it is going to be tempering praise with well timed correction.

I think the corrections last week were over the top for NIKE - but the other dogs in the class are perfectly ok with the level of correction, if needed. Nike is confused and doesn't know what to do, and unfortunately correcting her isn't going to make that better, which is what Lyn has realized. Is this the right class for Lyn? potentially not - but that doesn't make this trainer a training Nazi and she doesn't deserve cyber-bashing from a total stranger over it, Sooz.

Kim, I trust your knowledge and judgement immensely. I also respect the instructors credentials and experience. I am just really torn on my feelings about her and whether she and Nike are a good combo, honestly.

You are right, Rah (bless his little blue soul) and the other dogs are oblivious to the corrections. They handle whatever is given. Nike? Not so much. Yelling at the local sports teams on t.v. makes her nervous. Pulling on the skin of her face?? Ugh. I really wasn't too keen on that instruction. I did it anyway, and felt awful afterwards. I worry that she may be losing her trust in me. And honestly, I was surprised and relieved that she didn't bite the instructor for handling her like that.

I do agree that this level is a bit above her, and me, without a doubt (Tho half of the dogs don't seem to follow commands either, but I digress). I'm sure the tougher commands (that goes along with an advanced class) add stress and confusion to the mix.

Is Nike a brat? Probably. However, she *does* have insecurities and the instructor *knows* this, has *seen* how she reacts and yet she *still* has a "tough, she has to deal with it" (quoted verbatim) attitude. Btw, she had the same exact philosophy in the beginners class...

I'm at a catch 22. I think she needs to be around other dogs. I think she needs structure in a controlled class setting. I think she needs to be corrected for bratty behavior. I just worry about her safety along with the other dogs (and the feelings of the other owners in the class) and I'm just not sure this is the place. Am I'm over reacting?


(For the record, private behaviorist is happening, either way)
 

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Lyn, you know your dog. If you are not comfortable with this trainer's methods or the results, then I really think you are making a good choice for Nike. I can only speak of what I am gathering of what you and Kim have said, and if I were in the same position, I don't think I would continue with this particular trainer/training program given Nike's issues and backwards progress. She may be a good trainer for most situations and dogs, I don't think given the situation that the trainers actions are what's best for Nike. Just my opinion though....

Good luck with it all!!! Keep us updated of your progress with her!
 

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Look here, Kim...first of all, according to Lyngr (not you), she & Nike have a real problem with their trainer...the trainer that YOU sent them to (a fact which I did not know until now). Lyngr (NOT YOU) invited response to her problem. Based on what Lyngr says (not what YOU now say), I responded appropriately. Now you come here setting forth a different scenario than what Lyngr did, then you blame Lyngr, Nike, me and anyone BUT the poor training that Lyngr is receiving for Nike. Let me say that again so you'll understand this time--the training for NIKE that she described in her post (NOT the training for your dog or anyone else's dog) is completely inappropriate IMO. Disagree if you like, that's fine, but notice that Lyngr did not go to you privately for your opinion, she came to DT welcoming all our feedback. Defending your trainer friend is not doing Lyngr any good. The trainer may be good with other types of dogs with other issues, but based on what Lyngr said, she's not good for Nike. If you could truly be objective instead of defending your friend the trainer and bashing me, you'd agree. Instead, your bias is showing. I am not over the line here at all. Defend your friend all you like but don't take it out on me.

Lyngr is NOT COMFORTABLE with what SHE deems too harsh training practices. She's not comfortable, do you get that? I would tell her (or anyone else) to immediately leave her doctor, her lawyer, her veterinarian, her priest or anyone else if they made her feel that uncomfortable. Furthermore, never once did I ever refer to anyone as a Nazi. That word never even entered my mind as I posted. You have quite the active imagination or perhaps you have me confused with someone else. And any reference to me cyber-bashing is truly a case of the pot calling the kettle black. So, you can step aside, you can step back you can step off, but do NOT step on me. If you're calling Lyngr a liar for what she posted here, or an exaggerator, or ignorant or otherwise inferior to you because she can't train HER problem dog with your friend the trainer, take it up with Lyngr, not me. I took her at her word that what she posted here was accurate, and I responded to HER concerns. I do not need your permission to have opinions, nor do I need your permission to express them. Based on what Lyngr posted, my opinion stands that the best thing she could do is get a new trainer.
 

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I Art Therefore I Am
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It sounds like what's happening isn't really too fair to the other dogs in the class as well, who wants another dog lunging after their dog?

I spent a fair number of years helping teach group obedience classes. When we had a dog come through the class with issues similiar to what Nike's sound like, we found the comfort zone for that dog, and that's where the dog was initially placed. They were brought closer to the rest of the dogs on a gradual basis. Sometimes it took more than one series of class before the dog was comfortable enough to be right in the midst of the other dogs in extreme cases, but most were able to be gradually introduced within the framework of one 10 week course.

You just can't lay more on a dog than it can handle at any one time, and if the situation seems to be getting worse rather than better, I think you definitely need to find another way to handle it.

Is the answer a private trainer? I dunno, I think a good group class with a different trainer that doesn't expect so much so soon might be a better option. She needs the exposure to lots of other dogs, and you won't get that exposure with a private trainer.

I was thinking of doing private sessions in tandem with a different group class. Different instructor, maybe a different facility. Definitely a lower level (as per Kim's suggestion). I agree with and appreciate your comments.


Nike's initial obedience classes were at a totally different facility. Although there were aspects that I did not like about it (one being distance) the one thing that I *did* like was that the instructor was *very* sensitive to Nike's insecurity and fear of other dogs.
 

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I think that Kim has had the best interest of Lyn and Nike all along AND knows the situation personally.

I also know that it is almost impossible to be able to give good advise in a situation like this IF you have not had the opportunity to observe the situation. There are so many dynamics going on between both the dog and the handler/owner - it is just not black and white. I do know Lyn but have not had the opportunity to watch her train and interact with Nike in class.

I think that working with a behaviorist is probably a good idea, and hopefully if they are good then it will lay a foundation for understanding Nike better and then will hopefully transition to a training class.

Not every trainer will work well with every type of dog - that does not make them a bad trainer.

What I DO know is that Nike and Lyn's training issues will NOT be solved on the internet.
 

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I Art Therefore I Am
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Look here, Kim...first of all, according to Lyngr (not you), she & Nike have a real problem with their trainer...the trainer that YOU sent them to (a fact which I did not know until now). Lyngr (NOT YOU) invited response to her problem. Based on what Lyngr says (not what YOU now say), I responded appropriately. Now you come here setting forth a different scenario than what Lyngr did, then you blame Lyngr, Nike, me and anyone BUT the poor training that Lyngr is receiving for Nike. Let me say that again so you'll understand this time--the training for NIKE that she described in her post (NOT the training for your dog or anyone else's dog) is completely inappropriate IMO. Disagree if you like, that's fine, but notice that Lyngr did not go to you privately for your opinion, she came to DT welcoming all our feedback. Defending your trainer friend is not doing Lyngr any good. The trainer may be good with other types of dogs with other issues, but based on what Lyngr said, she's not good for Nike. If you could truly be objective instead of defending your friend the trainer and bashing me, you'd agree. Instead, your bias is showing. I am not over the line here at all. Defend your friend all you like but don't take it out on me.

Lyngr is NOT COMFORTABLE with what SHE deems too harsh training practices. She's not comfortable, do you get that? I would tell her (or anyone else) to immediately leave her doctor, her lawyer, her veterinarian, her priest or anyone else if they made her feel that uncomfortable. Furthermore, never once did I ever refer to anyone as a Nazi. That word never even entered my mind as I posted. You have quite the active imagination or perhaps you have me confused with someone else. And any reference to me cyber-bashing is truly a case of the pot calling the kettle black. So, you can step aside, you can step back you can step off, but do NOT step on me. If you're calling Lyngr a liar for what she posted here, or an exaggerator, or ignorant or otherwise inferior to you because she can't train HER problem dog with your friend the trainer, take it up with Lyngr, not me. I took her at her word that what she posted here was accurate, and I responded to HER concerns. I do not need your permission to have opinions, nor do I need your permission to express them. Based on what Lyngr posted, my opinion stands that the best thing she could do is get a new trainer.


I would hate for this thread to get locked for becoming ugly because I value everyone's experience and thoughts.

I do not believe that Kim is calling me a liar or anything else derogatory. It's true that we have different perspectives on this but then again, we have different dogs and different feelings and perhaps different opinions. I'm sure she is more focused on Rah than Nike and vice versa.

And I *have* spoken to Kim in private about this. It was her advice that prompted me to seek a different method for Nike.

This class, this instructor is perfectly fine for Rah and Kim and probably 90% of the owners and dogs that go in and out the door. My gut tells me it's not right for Nike. I think Kim agrees.
 

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I spent a fair number of years helping teach group obedience classes. When we had a dog come through the class with issues similiar to what Nike's sound like, we found the comfort zone for that dog, and that's where the dog was initially placed. They were brought closer to the rest of the dogs on a gradual basis. Sometimes it took more than one series of class before the dog was comfortable enough to be right in the midst of the other dogs in extreme cases, but most were able to be gradually introduced within the framework of one 10 week course.



We had a dog in our obedience class that had some issues. Our trainer did exactly as Murrydobe stated. The dog started off at the beginner class and sometimes she would work with him in the corner BUT the other dogs were all in the same room. But the third level of training her dog could be next to the other dogs with very few problems. At the end of the fourth level of training I went over to her and congratulated her for sticking with it!! Lucky dog!!
 
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Maybe you could have the private trainer come in a couple of times but still go to group obedience. I would change instructors if I were you. You don't sound comfortable with the current one and that is important.
 
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I didn't feel the trainer was over the top though, but obviously not reading the dog or the situation as well as possible or doing what was best for the dog at the time.
This is what I feel is going on - it's not a bad trainer, it's just not the right training for NIKE right now. Nike needs something different because this isn't working for her OR lyn, and if they BOTH dont feel comfortable with it, it will not succeed.

The way I have always approached it, is you can’t correct a dog for aggressing another dog, but you CAN correct a dog for not being obedient if they know what is being asked of them. I find if you simply start popping a leash and yelling at a dog who is aggressing others, you might as well be pouring fuel on the fire BUT if you tell your dog to fuss/sitz/platz when they are acting out and they don’t, that is another story because the dog should be looking toward you for guidance.
Exactly. The correction comes from NIke not obeying what her command was and CHOOSING to aggress. The correction comes from breaking a command, not just acting like a little butthead :) That's how I approach it with Rah - when he is distracted, I ask him to pay attention to me. if he fails to do that, he gets a little pop, or maybe a poke or a pinch on the butt :) THEN the minute he looks back at me, I reward the hell out of him for coming back and doing what I asked. Eventually they figure out that it's just better, easier, and more rewarding (most important?!?!?) to do what I want at that time. The trainer is trying to do this, but I think the thing is, Lyn and Nike need to get a good foundation to ASK her for a behavior and have her reliably respond with it, before you can ask her to do it in the face of a distraction (the biggest one for her - other dogs, and to some extent other people). I think the trainer is assuming that Nike can do these things, and it is not that Nike is slow - it's that THIS is Nike's achilles heel - and it's too soon to expose her to it. It would be like me asking Rah to do a platz and stay there while we throw 10 lbs of meat and then have a squirrel run around it - it's simply much too soon to expose Rah to his prime distractions. It's too soon for Nike - it doesn't mean she is a bad dog, just that she needs more training before she is exposed to that level of distraction for her. Some dogs can work immediately around other animals. I laid a solid foundation on all my dogs before I brought them to classes.
 
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