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Obedience training cost?

This is a discussion on Obedience training cost? within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Originally Posted by rotten Positive reinforcement only is NOT behaviourism. And is not actually possible. When training any behaviour, right at the end of training ...

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Old 01-12-2018, 06:41 AM
  #11
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Positive reinforcement only is NOT behaviourism. And is not actually possible. When training any behaviour, right at the end of training steps, you must proof the learned behaviour for fluency. That requires punishment. As a psychologist i can confidently say... there is no such thing as positive reinforcement ONLY.
I agree it's pretty much impossible to trsin via +r only. However, it doesn't require positive punishment even for proofing.


One can "proof" via setups where the dog cannot gain access to the environmental reinforcement/distraction. Dog gains positive reinforcement for correct choices/behavior. No reinforcement from handler and unable to access distraction for incorrect. But also no need to correct the dog. Ideally, one would build in small increments and the dog not make any wrong choices. But neither human or dog are perfect so having a plan in place to prevent accessing the distraction is important. When that happens, it's far more effective ime to allow the dog to learn which of their choices do and do not serve as a route to reinforcement/what they want, rather than correct the unwanted behavior.
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:28 AM
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Responding to OP, I would be weary of that class from what you said. I understand sitting you away from other dogs that may be over stimulated as long as there is an action plan to help your dog learn to cope around the other dogs. The easy walk harnesses are great but aren't for every dog. If you are more comfortable walking your dog on the regular harness I would want the trainer to tell me how we are going to train that. As far as the citronella spray, that I'm not ok with. In a situation that is already over stimulating a spray of citronella spray to the face could cause the dog to create a negative association to being around other dogs, being in a class environment or many other things. I personally have a pretty sensitive dog who would likely remember a negative experience creating something I would have to work through. I would be irate if a trainer sprayed either of my dogs with citronella. That's a band-aid that is simply allowing her to get through the class, it is not addressing the dog's problem and quite frankly it's lazy. And I would hate to know what the bean bags are for.

What's your instinct telling you? Are you comfortable with the trainer's methods? Do you think this is an environment you could learn in? Do you think it's worth the money? It's really what you think is best for you and your dog.
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:41 AM
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@Lorib64
Personally I'm not a fan of sprays and beanbags for multiple reasons...
Dogs becoming "savvy" (stop when the bottle or bean bag is present and revert to unwanted behavior when they aren't).
The stress and nervousness they can create in sensitive dogs.
Association of the correction with rhe handler.
With dogs who don't care much or get used to the correction, people tend to escalate to harsher corrections.


I honestly find it easier and more effective to train without.
I often start with management (dog an/or environment) to prevent what I dislike. Then, I can teach what I do want my dogs to do via reinforcement. Overtime I can manage less if I choose.

Like jclark, I would probably be wary but that's me. I just encourage you to advocate for your dog. If you feel a method is not appropriate for your dog, then politely say so and ask for alternatives. A good trainer should have multiple options he or she can suggest.
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:52 AM
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I too went to a training class with my new rescue Aussie. They also stuck us in a corner behind a baracade for barking. I was plenty upset to say the least. This was no fix for this issue. She was a new dog and needed to be around but not meet other dogs. I had a very wordy discussion with both trainers. By the second lesson I had reduced the barking to just occasional and had Sam beginning to “ watch me” on Command. Samantha is an over the top active dog much more like a Mal so it takes lots of patience and carefull training. Even though I use a prong it’s never yanked. I only use a twitch of finger tug on a short tab. These two trainers wanted heavy pressure on her. Again I had words with these two idiots. I finally simply went about my own methods in class and we did ok or the first times with a brand new dog. I wrote an accurate but negative review of this place and ....surprise not...it was deleted. LOL

Ultimately we go to three different training centers and just do our thing. We do the class events but in our own way. Plus add our own methods. All three of these centers work with high drive dogs so it’s nice to be able to talk to them about issues.

Most centers seem to like to direct toward competitive training but I think many beginners really want “ street wise” training. Being close to other dogs,passing on the sidewalks, standing around with other dogs nearby, going in and out of doors and most important a good recall. Sit, down, stand and not jumping on people are important too. There are always 20-30 dogs in classes so plenty of interaction are possible. I like all three of these centers as they Taylor the training to each dog as it should be.

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Old 01-12-2018, 08:41 AM
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Dog training is not regulated, so a person can charge as much as they want for a class, so sometimes the value does not equate to the price. For what it's worth, the PetSmart classes are awful. :P

Sitting off to the side is not something I'd be concerned about. If your dog was nervous, it's important to have him feel safe before he can actually learn anything. However, I am not a fan of the citronella. It doesn't communicate anything with your dog other than he knows you don't have his back when he's afraid.

You need to be your dog's advocate, so if something doesn't feel right, you should investigate other options.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:24 AM
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To be fair to Petsmart not all of the trainers are horrible. There are a few diamonds in the rough. You have to find one that loves what they do and is willing to research and go outside the curriculum and the resources provided by PM. I know I did that a little when I worked as a trainer in one but I wish I would have done it more (I was young). Your best bet is to make a list of your goals. Are you looking for strict obedience training? Agility training? Or do you want a street smart dog that knows the basics to being a good dog. All of those things can have totally different directions from an early age (agility doesn't encourage a dog coming in front of you, obedience values quick prompt responses, street smart dog won't need to focus on those things as hard but might focus more on focus and being calm). Once you have that list speak with your trainer on what your goals are and how they are willing to help you achieve those goals. If they can't provide a plan that you feel comfortable with then get your money back and find a trainer that can.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:02 PM
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OP, what behaviors are you enrolling your dog for? Is this for basic obedience or something more complicated?
It is basic obedience
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by kmes View Post
I agree it's pretty much impossible to trsin via +r only. However, it doesn't require positive punishment even for proofing.

This makes sense.

I posted something along these very same lines but I must have not hit submit or it was deleted.
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Old 01-12-2018, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Lorib64 View Post
It is basic obedience
If the dog training place uses spray bottles and beanbags for ab initio training, I might ask them to refrain from using those methods on your dog unless you know the hardness of your dog. It might sound absurd but a soft dog getting sprayed or beaned from the get go, might cause problems as in long lasting ones that will take more training and time to undo.
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:14 PM
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Removed some off topics posts and any replies to those posts. Please stay on topic to this post - which is not to debate training methods.

If you would like to discuss something other than the OP's post, please start a new thread.

Thanks!
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