Problematic Trainer

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Problematic Trainer

This is a discussion on Problematic Trainer within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; alright, so this might end up being kind of long.... thanks for reading it all if you do. as some of you know i manage ...

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Old 06-27-2012, 09:32 AM
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Problematic Trainer

alright, so this might end up being kind of long.... thanks for reading it all if you do.

as some of you know i manage a dog daycare and im also a trainer. i focus on +R methods. well we have this trainer in the area... hes the #1 trainer. he charges anywhere from $800 to $3,000 to train dogs. im not kidding. $800 for a 6 week class! and hes ALWAYS flooded with tons of business. so much so that he has added on more trainers. NOVICE trainers. this guy specializes in aggressive dogs. AND he uses a prong or a shock collar on EVERY SINGLE DOG HE TRAINS. i dont like his methods to begin with.

we have been having a HUGE issue lately in our daycare with dogs behavior changing suddenly, and NOT for the better. im having sudden aggression issues with dogs that never had these problems before. ill give some examples:

1- we have a little hound mix who always had "stranger danger". she began working with this guy. before she just used to bark aggressively at them, she has now progressed to biting. the first session he had with her, he had the parents leave the room. he scared the dog so bad she litterally crapped herself. this would have been my FIRST huge red flag to not use him as a trainer. she has worked with him for a while now with no results, and only further issues.

2- we have a great pyrenees. she has always been a bit fearful of people. she began working with him. i think she paid $1,000. NO progress. she has now learned to be even more scared of people. i am one of the only people she trusts at work now. i have to go up front with her to get her to go home because she wont go by the front desk worker to get her leash put on. i have to do it. she did do a class with us. she did get a little better after the class, but is still extremely nervous. she has distanced herself from anything she feels she is uncomfortable with. when she did the class and they were standing in a group, the dog sat with her back towards everyone, she just completely refused to be a part of it. she growls at strangers as well, and attacks people at her door at home.

3- this is my largest issue. this is a GSP who is VERY dear to me. hes that dog that i just feel like i should have had. we are bonded at the hip. he suddenly began to have rage like fits. he will target a dog and begin to stalk them and growl at them with a very stiff body. we try to call him away or do anything we can to redirect his attention because IF YOU TOUCH HIM he FREAKS out. he will attack the other dog and not stop until he is in a time out enclosure. if you can get his attention off (usually it has to be me that he responds to) i call him over to the time out encloser and just let him go in on his own. as he is walking in he will explode with rage. he growls extremely violently and loudly and his eyes completely dialate. he also now has extreme leash aggression. the last time he was at daycare i sent him home early because of his issues and i was talking to his mom when she picked him up. 2 men walked in and he lost his mind barking, growling and lunging at them. she had a look of desparation on her face and said "rachel, help me! i dont know what to do anymore!" so i took him from her and got his attention back and made him settle. in about 2 minutes i walked him by them with no problem and took him outside. so we were standing outside talking and he was just standing and sniffing with us. a guy walked by and he lunged and growled and jumped up on the guy and almost bit him in the face. she said "hes never been this bad, i just dont know what to do with him anymore..."

these are all dogs who changed once they started working with him. we are at a loss of what to do anymore. now the guy opened up a DAYCARE! he takes dogs who have been kicked out of normal daycares for aggression and such and puts them all together! how the HELL does this sound good? i saw photos of his dogs in daycare.... some have muzzles, shock collars, etc. he also has photos of the staffs dog bites and explains how "these 6 dogs were in a serious fight last week but theyre fine now because we balanced them!" wth?! and people encourage him and say how wonderful he is! he has a photo of a dog who was rehabbed with him with its owner, and saying how far the dog came and blah blah blah and how he was cured. he left out the part that the dog was euthanized a month later for biting the owner in the face!

im just at such a loss. i dont know what to do anymore. hes ruining so many of my dogs......
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:23 AM
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i dont know what to do anymore.
So many people these days are afraid to stand up and say something because of fear of retribution. Telling the truth is not defamation.
I say that unless he is named either in this thread or elsewhere, as long as business is pouring in he will have zero incentive to change, and the people paying for his services may have no clue about what is happening and will have no reason to avoid him.
I'm not pushing you into a corner or trying to tell you what to do at all, I'm just setting this idea out for you to consider.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:26 AM
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we have considered calling him directly and telling him "look you have too many novice hands in the pot, youre not getting good results. look at what is happening..." but at the same time, we feel like we dont have the right to call and tell him how to do his job. plus, i feel like now that he has a daycare, he doesnt care if his training gets dogs kicked out of our place, because then they will just use his daycare instead....
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:30 AM
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i was talking to his mom when she picked him up..
Could this be an opportunity to talk about training methods?
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:44 AM
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This is such a horrible story! I feel just terrible for these dogs, and their owners. TBH, I think Cesar has a lot of responsibility here. Its his modeling that has people believing this stuff and therefore trusting trainers like this.

What would you think of going on a full scale information campaign to educate people about how harmful are these methods? You could make up brochures explaining about the fallout of his methods and give them to people with the troubled dogs he is ruining.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:48 PM
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Why is this guy even gets so much money for such a bad job??

It's really sad when the supposed professionals are actually doing damage and are not knowledgeable at all... And then you have desperate owners that knows little about dogs and trust their dear dogs to these pros... and when the dogs gets to be labeled as lost cases, they get PTS... And if the dog appeared to be fine even if inside they were not fixed, then someday a tragic accident might happen coz the dog is like a ticking bomb...

And then this guy wants to open a day care with all the ticking bombs together...

It's so sad when people go so far about corrections and dominance theories that they forget about empathy, compassion and understanding... They think that it's all about who's the leader that they live in a paranoid world, and then think that leadership is the solution for all the problems. If you have a fearful dog, apply leadership and *blink*, it's solved. If you have an aggressive dog, apply leadership and *blink*, solved too! Geez...


Maybe even if you might not achieve much, you can try talk to them about what happened to those dogs, and try to explain them calmly how alternate methods can be much better... And if they don't listen, try to hand out papers that explains in a simple way why positive methods can be much better, near the place of your day cares. I do think that if people know that "we have no other choice but to implement corrective methods" is mostly not true (some few cases are but generally are not), they would much prefer gentler methods any day, specially when they love their dogs.
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:27 PM
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GDM,
This guy sounds atrocious. And I can't even imagine a semi-intelligent pet owner sending their aggressive/problematic dog to day care with other aggressive/problematic dogs. A true WTF....

Honestly, he doesn't sound like a "trainer" (and I use the term loosely) who will ever change his ways, so IMHO you'll have to focus on public/pet owner education. Do you live in a small community? Is it possible to get a reporter to do a news story on your dog day care and how great it is? Maybe a great client could recommend the paper do a story. You could throw in something about negative effects of certain kinds of training and how you see dogs suffer behaviorally when used....

Do you have lots of great reviews on sites like Yahoo!, Google, zootoo, Yelp, etc? (If not, ask your clients to help out!) Does the day care have a Facebook account where you could put out tips, etc? The more online presence you have will hopefully encourage people to give you their business first. Then once they're in the door, bombard them with information on +R advantages and red flag information for other types of training.

Would it be feasible for your dog day care to create a training library of sorts with positive focused training books and videos?

Do your daycare workers address any behavioral problems with owners? And if they do, do they provide a list of resources to look into for help? Perhaps catching minor problems that owners may feel comfortable working on would decreased the chances of them turning to this guy for more extreme behaviors later.

If you haven't talked with the pet owners of the dogs who have increased problems from this guy about why the methods are not working (or working against them) and why they should stop immediately (whether or not they get a refund), IMHO, you should. Like you said, they are lost and desparate--willing to trust anything/everything, and don't know if/how it can be damaging. They want their dogs to get better, you just have to point out the obvious--it's not working with that guy. Maybe, once they see the "light," they'll be willing to review their experiences on the sites I mentioned above.

Good luck.

PS. I believe Dr. Yin has some behavioral posters that the day care could buy/put up in the lobby if it doesn't have time to make its own....
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:33 PM
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Could you put up a sign or start a policy stating "we will no longer accept dogs trained by XXX due to our experience with those dogs becoming more aggressive?" Or just talk to the owners?
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:01 PM
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You're right. Saying anything to him or naming him publicly will appear unprofessional and petty.

This is a really awful and frustrating situation.

My suggestions would be to educate:
Talk to everyone whose dog is having problems in your daycare. That is your jurisdiction and you ABSOLUTELY have the right to say something. These dogs are interacting with your staff and clients and they sound dangerous.
Lay it out for them "so, i've noticed these changes in behavior, and I'm worried . . ." then problematize the training (not the trainer). Use science. Talk about your experience in the daycare.
This is a great study to reference If You're Aggressive, Your Dog Will Be, Too, Says Veterinary Study at University of Pennsylvania | Penn News

I find that the way dominance-based training is able to sucker people is that it plays to their expectations without actually explaining how and why it works. If you de-mistify the mechanics for them, a lot of folks will choose against it because they can make a more informed decision.

You can also:
Leave an anonymous thorough google review of the business that problematizes that style of training but does not attack them personally. Again, use lots of science (heck, I'd be happy to do this for you )
The same goes for listings on kijiji or Craigslist. I see public service announcements there all the time. Don't name them specifically, just talk about the training.

If you're feeling very pro-active:
Make anti-dominance and aversive training pamphlets (include the things like an explaination of suppression and he ladder of aggression or web links to places like "welfare in dog training") that you could leave at your front desk, vet's offices, pet stores, etc. Anywhere dog folks frequent. If nothin else they would be a good resource for your training clients.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Lucillle View Post
Could this be an opportunity to talk about training methods?
i did. she does have a honeymoon coming up and i will be watching him for 2 weeks, so i plan to work with him a lot there and say "look i will work on this, if it works pay me $xx if it doesnt, i cant say i didnt try."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tess View Post
TBH, I think Cesar has a lot of responsibility here. Its his modeling that has people believing this stuff and therefore trusting trainers like this.
i believe he is actually in the same training group that cesar is in. i cant remember what its called, but i think cesar is on the board or something like that, and this guy is part of it. kind of like CPDT but with dominance based training and such, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tess View Post
What would you think of going on a full scale information campaign to educate people about how harmful are these methods? You could make up brochures explaining about the fallout of his methods and give them to people with the troubled dogs he is ruining.
this is a thought.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheep View Post
Why is this guy even gets so much money for such a bad job??
i cant understand it myself....

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheep View Post
It's really sad when the supposed professionals are actually doing damage and are not knowledgeable at all... And then you have desperate owners that knows little about dogs and trust their dear dogs to these pros... and when the dogs gets to be labeled as lost cases, they get PTS... And if the dog appeared to be fine even if inside they were not fixed, then someday a tragic accident might happen coz the dog is like a ticking bomb...
i completely agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheep View Post
And then this guy wants to open a day care with all the ticking bombs together...
not wants to... he did....


Quote:
Originally Posted by crock View Post
Do you live in a small community? Is it possible to get a reporter to do a news story on your dog day care and how great it is? Maybe a great client could recommend the paper do a story. You could throw in something about negative effects of certain kinds of training and how you see dogs suffer behaviorally when used....
fortunately for us, we are the #1 daycare in the area. we have been on the news and such. it just sucks that he ruins some of our great dogs.

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Originally Posted by marbear View Post
Could you put up a sign or start a policy stating "we will no longer accept dogs trained by XXX due to our experience with those dogs becoming more aggressive?" Or just talk to the owners?
no thats not really professional of us to do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by millitantanimist View Post
My suggestions would be to educate:
Talk to everyone whose dog is having problems in your daycare. That is your jurisdiction and you ABSOLUTELY have the right to say something. These dogs are interacting with your staff and clients and they sound dangerous.
Lay it out for them "so, i've noticed these changes in behavior, and I'm worried . . ." then problematize the training (not the trainer). Use science. Talk about your experience in the daycare.
This is a great study to reference If You're Aggressive, Your Dog Will Be, Too, Says Veterinary Study at University of Pennsylvania | Penn News
we do talk to the clients. thats usually when i find out they are training with him. and at that point, i cant say much about him. but i try to tell them there are other ways around it and usually i get "well we will talk to him and see what he says" *palm to forehead*



Quote:
Originally Posted by millitantanimist View Post
If you're feeling very pro-active:
Make anti-dominance and aversive training pamphlets (include the things like an explaination of suppression and he ladder of aggression or web links to places like "welfare in dog training") that you could leave at your front desk, vet's offices, pet stores, etc. Anywhere dog folks frequent. If nothin else they would be a good resource for your training clients.
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actually i like this idea, A LOT. i might have to get started on this.

thanks everyone. it just seems like an uphill battle.
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