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obedience training

Posted by handymac (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 30, 08 at 20:12

Why do people recommend/enroll dogs with behavioral problems caused by trauma/mistreatment/environmental problems in obedience classes?

Obedinece classes are aimed at training dogs to do certain tasks---sit/stay/down/etc.

Obedience classes can actually make a misbehavior due to mistreatment worse---just read the litanies of owners who tried obedience training and it did nothing for the dog.

I think obedience training is wonderful for normal, well socialized dogs. The training helps with minor problems like jumping up, barking inappropriately, or things like that.

Now, maybe I am all wet---I have never taken a dog to obedience training---I have always done that myself---training the dog(s) for our situation.

I just get weary of seeing/hearing people recommend obedience training when rehabilitation would do much more.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: obedience training

You'd really have to explain your position more fully in order for me to reply. I'm not sure what the difference between rehabilitation and training would be?
Behavioral problems caused by trauma/mistreatment/environmental problems are often greatly alleviated by obedience training. The dog learns quickly which behaviors are acceptable and which behaviors are not acceptable. IMO, more damage is done to dogs by owners acting within shades of gray. Dogs understand black and white and thrive in a structured environment, especially the shy or fearful dog. Behavior is a result of its consequences.
And 99% of owners who "tried" obedience training and insist it did nothing for the dog, did not follow instructions or commit to actually WORK with the dog. The novice skips basic steps because they are too much work, rushes through steps or fails to proof. Then they blame the dumb ol' untrainable dog. Ceasar Milan and Victoria Stillwell will be unsuccessful in "training a dog" if the owner is not trained as well

RE: obedience training

If I'm reading handymac correctly, I think he's talking about the group classes, and I'm inclined to agree. I don't see any problems with individual training sessions with an instructor, but I also fail to see the benefit of group classes for many dogs (at least until they're farther along in their training). If the dog can work well in that environment, that's great. However, I think a lot of owners get frustrated and think formal training is a waste of time when their particular dog does not do well dealing with so many distractions. "Distraction training", in my experience, is something that is usually done *after* a behavior has been trained, as a method of "proofing" the training.

RE: obedience training

I do mean group classes, thank you jenc.

Out of the several dogs I have owned and hundreds with which I have been associated---I have seen exactly two 'untrainable' dogs. Both were probably brain damaged from birth or from environmental damage.

I have seen a lot of untrained owners. Mostly because people cannot think like the animal they are handling/owning. Not bad for a person with a chihuahua---but dangerous for a person with a horse.

And I agree that any trainer will fail when the human does not do what is required. Many folks complain they took their dog to training----the dog did fine in class/with the trainer----but reverts back to bad behavior when at home. The trainer did fine with the dog---and failed miserably with the human.

RE: obedience training

An obedience class, especially a beginner class is MORE about socialization than anything else.

It gets the dogs used to be around different people and different dogs in a controlled situation. A group class makes the dog focus on you, in spite of the distraction of other dogs.

I know many experienced dog handlers who enroll their dogs in obedience class to give them exposure to other dogs and people in a controlled situation. Its less about training and more about socialization.

RE: obedience training

Exactly, joepye! I much prefer and highly recommend group classes when at all possible. Handlers are able to observe other handlers and learn from their mistakes and successes. There's no better way for a dog to learn to control itself around other dogs than to be with other dogs who are under control and concentrating. An obedience class is (should not be) not a free for all filled with barking, unruly dogs and a well-run class limits distractions. Aggressive dogs may need to be moved to the far end so that they can work below their threshold, but in many years of training and instructing 100's of dogs and handlers, there have only been a few dogs who could not and would never handle a group class. For novice handlers, it is important to attend a well-run class - one that is limited in size (6-10 dogs is ideal) and has a large area in which to work.

And as far as .... "Many folks complain they took their dog to training----the dog did fine in class/with the trainer----but reverts back to bad behavior when at home. The trainer did fine with the dog---and failed miserably with the human." .... the instructor should not be handling the dog other than to give a very quick demonstration - the owner handles the dog so that I can observe their method and make corrections as necessary. Training is such a great way to bond with a dog - as much money as there is in board and train, I'm not interested because training isn't effective unless the owner learns with the dog. Private lessons are another great $$ maker and I may give a private lesson or two before recommending moving into a group class (and my group classes are free for the life of the dog after 3 private sessions or 1 7 week group session) but IMO I feel that a well-run group class is more effective.

RE: obedience training

Another reason why group classes are great, is because there is one trainer, who isn't working with dogs, they are working with the people.

Any good dog trainer knows that they are teaching the people how to handle their dogs. They are not "really" training dogs.

RE: obedience training

Thanks for the opinions---since I had never done group classes, I learned some good things.

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