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Hello!

I am having really bad behavior problems with my dog, Jasmine to the point where I'm desperate and starting to feel hopeless. Just a little history on her... She is a miniature schnauzer. I found her left alone on the streets in the winter of 2015. I took her to the vet and discovered that she had gave birth, was nursing and that she was approximately 3 or 4 years old. My sister and I posted fliers and looked online for her owner but no one claimed her and her microchip wasn't assigned a name. I suspect that her previous owner didn't socialize her or walk her much because whenever I walk her she would pull and bark at other people/dogs we encounter. I also suspect that her previous owner might have physically abused her but I'm not entirely sure. Ever since then, we have been inseparable. We slept together, she followed me around and I gave her a lot of attention. In 2018, she was attacked by a dog that bit her neck and held on while wiggling her. I rushed her to the emergency pet hospital and she had to get stitches because there was a tear in her neck area. Sooo... this dog has been through a lot and I don't blame her if she has anxiety or if she is scared around other people/dogs. When I found her I was in high school and was not able to walk her everyday, take her to dog parks or get her spayed but I am able to now and have gotten her spayed in November. She knows her basic commands and has very high energy.

But she is getting a bit out of hand... I noticed that she gets very wild when I'm present but with my boyfriend she is completely fine. (I've only noticed this getting worse after her spay. She has done some of these behaviors before but it wasn't as bad as it is now)

1. She is in a play area when I'm not home but when I come home, she immediately barks/whines and I ignore her (don't look at her or pay attention) to not endorse the whining behavior but she just keeps whining and doesn't stop.
2. She is more alert--anything that sounds like someone is coming--she focuses very hard on the door and starts whining/barking. Whenever someone comes into where we are, she barks and immediately runs to the person and jumps on them. I try to get her focus by saying her name in a firm tone and trying to distract her but she is very stubborn and doesn't listen.
3. She acts like she is the alpha. Goes through doors before me, doesn't listen when I give her commands (I have to say it like 7 times in a firm tone), greets people before me, etc. I have tried to practice the concept consistently that I am the alpha by making her sit and wait before she eats her food, me eating first, me going to the door before her, etc. but for whatever reason, the whole concept doesn't click with her because she still tries to race me to the door and doesn't wait to eat.
4. On walks she gets super excited but she doesn't listen at all. Even before we walk out the door. The other day she was getting too antsy so I told her to sit but she would not sit until I said it multiple times. I waited for a minute then opened the door and told her to sit again. Again... would not sit until I said multiple times and made her wait again. I finally took her out and the second she stepped out of the door she barked and pulled on the leash. I have to walk her at nighttime where there are barely people outside because she doesn't listen on walks and barks at everyone. Besides her not listening, going on walks with her is not too bad now. She pulls a little bit but I am working on not giving her too much lead and keeping her by my side, stopping every now and then to make sure she knows that I am walking her and not that she is walking me.
5. She is always following me and moves too fast where she almost gets hurt. (standing in front of the door where there's stairs on it, jumping and sliding, etc.)
6. She has nipped on my boyfriend and his sister which I'm not sure why but maybe they held her wrong.

If you have any tips or solutions (or even explanations to her behavior) please let me know because I love her so much and I don't want to give her away. I have no idea what course of action to take because I'm not sure if she is just protective of me or if she thinks she is the alpha. I have tried doing the things to make her know that I'm the alpha and training her myself but it just doesn't click with her. I'm not sure if it's because she's old or whatever but I'm completely lost. I am completely open to group training as well but I'm not sure which classes she needs and a private trainer charges a lot for an hour sessions which I think Jasmine will need multiple sessions. Please help me out, thanks!
 

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For a start let go of the alpha dog rubbish. its old and outdated based on macho ideas that arent true.
A lot of the time trying to do too much at once leads to confusion. We have taught the look at me. This works for all sorts of things, other dogs, scarey people, barking, etc, look at me and their attention is fixed on you so that you dont have to go through a whole list of other commands. When their attention is focused reward.

Whats with ignoring her? If I come home my OH says hi I dont ignore him its rude I say hi back.. Same with the dogs they say hi and I say hi back they missed me its natural they want to say hi..

There are a few easy techniques for pulling one is to stop until they calm and then walk on another is to turn each time they pull and walk back the way youve come a few steps until they realise they wont get anywhere by pulling.
As for the nipping and assuming she is healthy and not in pain maybe your BF and sister need to wait until she is calm and then pet her. 5 second rule you pet for 5 seconds then take your hand away if she wants more petting she will put her head to you .. If not and she walks away you leave her alone...

Its not about being boss its about working together to find what works best.
 

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Mad Murphy is right, it's not about "being alpha", that theory was basically just wrong - it was based on wolves (and dogs are no more wolves than we are chimpanzees), the pack wasn't a real pack, they were in captivity, and it has been thoroughly disproven. This article explains it well -

She doesn't sound naughty, she sounds a little confused, let's go through some of your points - there's a lot to unpick here so bear with me if I miss anything.

When you get home and ignore her - naturally she is keen to see you and say hello, so your behaviour is just confusing, like MM says. You aren't reinforcing her behaviour by doing that (and the ignoring technique hasn't worked, has it) so just let her say hi and give her some attention.

When someone comes to the door, saying her name in a firm tone is just - saying her name in a firm tone. It doesn't tell her what you want her to do as an alternative. In fact, the best way to stop any unwanted behaviour is to asked for an alternative, incompatible one. There are a few things you could do to stop this behaviour, pick what suits you best and use that - dogs find it easier to learn if it is one thing done consistently. So, you could get a n old yoghurt carton with a little bit of wet dog food, meat paste, cream cheese or peanut butter without Xylitol smeared inside. When she wants to bark, let her lick that. She can't bark and lick at the same time. White noise may mask the sounds that are setting her off. Longer term, you can train her not to bark - Kikopup on YouTube has a series of short videos showing how to do this.


Eating etc - she sounds keen for her food, and that's useful because you can use it for rewards in training. She goes to the door because she is faster than you, she isn't trying to be alpha - that theory is outdated and disproven like we said.

When you say sit, or anything, multiple times, all you do is let her know your first cue is optional. So try to avoid repeating yourself if she doesn't do it. With a sit, start over (if you like, use a different cue word). Use your word, with a treat in your hand, raise your hand with the treat above the dog's nose and as her bottom goes down to the floor, reward. Watch this video, it demonstrates it nicely. It will also show you how to ask her for a stay, so she doesn't get under your feet.





If she is anxious about dogs and other people when you are out walking, keep some distance. She will have an invisible radius of space around her where she feels secure - it's called flight distance; anything closer will trigger the fight or flight stress response which you may have heard of. Find out what that is and keep her far enough away from other dogs that she is aware but relaxed. Reward her for being calm. Gradually, over weeks and months, not days, work on reducing the distance. This may mean you have to be selective where you walk - choose places with good visibility so you can give other dogs a wide berth, or where you can turn and walk away easily. But - be aware that if your dog has had a stressful episode the stress hormone can stay in the body for up to 48 hours so a distance she was comfortable with the day before might be too close that day. So the safe distance can change, watch her body language. Trainers describe behaviour like this with reference to the three Ds. Distance, as above but also be aware of Duration (your dog might be tolerant for 10 seconds, but not 15) and Distraction - how distracting the stimulus is; a calm dog might not trigger any reaction at a given distance but a bouncy one might. Alongside that you could train a 'watch me'. As your dog looks at you, mark and reward the behaviour. Ask for longer periods of watching. Then if a dog approaches, after you have worked on the distance issue, you can get your dog to focus on you and not the other dog. BUT - some dogs find this scary as they cannot see the thing they are anxious about so you need to judge your dog.

For nipping, she may be scared or in pain or simply not like being lifted - a lot of dogs don't. It's important to listen when she tries to tell you she is unhappy about something though. Dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore the early signals or reprimand the dog for giving them; that would be like taking the battery out of a smoke alarm.

Theres a lot in there, I hope I haven't missed anything so please come back if you have any questions.
 

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Well... from your description she sounds pretty amped-up. The very first thing I would do in that situation is to get the dog more exercise in order to burn off some of that nervous energy.

Also, if you have the funds for some training then I would recommend that. Discuss with a decent trainer what the most logical option is. Training is always good because it stimulates the dog mentally, which could help her calm down. Training is also as much for the owner as for the dog. In your case I get the impression that you've been watching Cesar Milan on the TV but that's not really your best path to training the dog.

I can point you at two resources to start with. Check out the youtube channel of Zak George. His technique is pretty much the going paradigm (using as much positive reinforcement as possible). There are also several other good youtube channels where you can learn some basics.

Another resource is book called "decoding your dog" Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones - Kindle edition by American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, Debra F. Horwitz, John Ciribassi, Steve Dale. Crafts, Hobbies & Home Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Between those you might make a decent start.

That said, given your dog's background I think a few sessions with a professional trainer might be worth the money.
 

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Many questions have already been answered well by other posters. I will second the suggestion to read "Decoding Your Dog". It is very helpful in terms of understanding how dogs do (and do not) perceive the world, and therefore how to change unwanted behaviors.

I also do not understand why you don't greet your dog? Your dog loves you and wants to say hi because she missed you. My boyfriend always says hi when I walk in the door, and I don't ignore him.

It sounds like she may not like training because you are using a firm, loud tone of voice. To her, it may sound frustrating or like she's being reprimanded. As frustrated as you may be, it's important you always use a happy, calm, positive tone of voice. If you sound like you're having fun when you're training, your dog will want to come have fun with you!

Additionally, I'm not sure what your recall training has looked like in the past, but if you want your dog to come to you rather than bombarding a person at the door, you will need to work on "come". Always, always, always reward your dog for coming EVEN IF they do 3 other things before they listen to you. Even if she goes to another person first, sniffs around, gets her toy and THEN comes to you, still reward. It may seem counterintuitive, but your dog should always know that coming to you is the best choice they could possibly make. If coming to you always results in something positive and never results in anything negative, they will really want to come to you when you call.

Others have already mentioned that the alpha mentality is entirely false. If you're watching Cesar Millan, please stop, and instead watch "It's Me or the Dog". Available on Hulu and Amazon Video.

If you want to walk first through doorways because it's an alpha thing, forget it. If you want to walk first through doorways for safety reasons (you don't want your dog running out on the streets), you will need to train it. I think the easiest way is to train a sit/ stay. Once your dog knows that command, tell them to sit at the door, you walk through, then when you're ready for them to come through, say "OK! Good job!" And let them come through. Of course, you'll need to tell her to sit at every door. You could further this by asking her to wait at the door and rewarding, but that's a much longer process as she'll need to get in the habit of always doing this.

I think the most important thing to understand is that you're the boss, and your dog already knows that. Dogs have been domesticated over so many years, most dogs have no doubt in their mind that you're the leader. You don't need to train them to think that. What you need is to convince your dog that you're working together. Remember that most dog breeds have been selectively bred to work alongside humans. They enjoy working with you when you show them you're a team, you recognize that they're trying, and you appreciate them!

Although a group obedience class will not solve some of your problems like walking through doorways or jumping on people, it may be helpful for you to see a positive way of training dogs. It's also a great time to work with your dog as a team, bond with your dog, and learn to communicate better together. If you haven't already taken an obedience class I would recommend it. Just please be sure to find a trainer who uses rewards based training, for example a clicker training class.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
For a start let go of the alpha dog rubbish. its old and outdated based on macho ideas that arent true.
A lot of the time trying to do too much at once leads to confusion. We have taught the look at me. This works for all sorts of things, other dogs, scarey people, barking, etc, look at me and their attention is fixed on you so that you dont have to go through a whole list of other commands. When their attention is focused reward.

Whats with ignoring her? If I come home my OH says hi I dont ignore him its rude I say hi back.. Same with the dogs they say hi and I say hi back they missed me its natural they want to say hi..

There are a few easy techniques for pulling one is to stop until they calm and then walk on another is to turn each time they pull and walk back the way youve come a few steps until they realise they wont get anywhere by pulling.
As for the nipping and assuming she is healthy and not in pain maybe your BF and sister need to wait until she is calm and then pet her. 5 second rule you pet for 5 seconds then take your hand away if she wants more petting she will put her head to you .. If not and she walks away you leave her alone...

Its not about being boss its about working together to find what works best.
Thank you so much for your response and I see that most people don’t like the “alpha” training so I will research more on the reward training. I would also like to clarify that I don’t ignore her right when I get home. I go to her first, say hi and pet her a lot and leave to do stuff around the house but she could still see me. I keep her in there until I’m all done with the house work I have to do so that she’s not in the way but she keeps whining and barking even after I have given her attention. I always thought that she’s just excited to see me but now I understand that this is normal behavior and that she just wants to be out.
 

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Mad Murphy is right, it's not about "being alpha", that theory was basically just wrong - it was based on wolves (and dogs are no more wolves than we are chimpanzees), the pack wasn't a real pack, they were in captivity, and it has been thoroughly disproven. This article explains it well -

She doesn't sound naughty, she sounds a little confused, let's go through some of your points - there's a lot to unpick here so bear with me if I miss anything.

When you get home and ignore her - naturally she is keen to see you and say hello, so your behaviour is just confusing, like MM says. You aren't reinforcing her behaviour by doing that (and the ignoring technique hasn't worked, has it) so just let her say hi and give her some attention.

When someone comes to the door, saying her name in a firm tone is just - saying her name in a firm tone. It doesn't tell her what you want her to do as an alternative. In fact, the best way to stop any unwanted behaviour is to asked for an alternative, incompatible one. There are a few things you could do to stop this behaviour, pick what suits you best and use that - dogs find it easier to learn if it is one thing done consistently. So, you could get a n old yoghurt carton with a little bit of wet dog food, meat paste, cream cheese or peanut butter without Xylitol smeared inside. When she wants to bark, let her lick that. She can't bark and lick at the same time. White noise may mask the sounds that are setting her off. Longer term, you can train her not to bark - Kikopup on YouTube has a series of short videos showing how to do this.


Eating etc - she sounds keen for her food, and that's useful because you can use it for rewards in training. She goes to the door because she is faster than you, she isn't trying to be alpha - that theory is outdated and disproven like we said.

When you say sit, or anything, multiple times, all you do is let her know your first cue is optional. So try to avoid repeating yourself if she doesn't do it. With a sit, start over (if you like, use a different cue word). Use your word, with a treat in your hand, raise your hand with the treat above the dog's nose and as her bottom goes down to the floor, reward. Watch this video, it demonstrates it nicely. It will also show you how to ask her for a stay, so she doesn't get under your feet.





If she is anxious about dogs and other people when you are out walking, keep some distance. She will have an invisible radius of space around her where she feels secure - it's called flight distance; anything closer will trigger the fight or flight stress response which you may have heard of. Find out what that is and keep her far enough away from other dogs that she is aware but relaxed. Reward her for being calm. Gradually, over weeks and months, not days, work on reducing the distance. This may mean you have to be selective where you walk - choose places with good visibility so you can give other dogs a wide berth, or where you can turn and walk away easily. But - be aware that if your dog has had a stressful episode the stress hormone can stay in the body for up to 48 hours so a distance she was comfortable with the day before might be too close that day. So the safe distance can change, watch her body language. Trainers describe behaviour like this with reference to the three Ds. Distance, as above but also be aware of Duration (your dog might be tolerant for 10 seconds, but not 15) and Distraction - how distracting the stimulus is; a calm dog might not trigger any reaction at a given distance but a bouncy one might. Alongside that you could train a 'watch me'. As your dog looks at you, mark and reward the behaviour. Ask for longer periods of watching. Then if a dog approaches, after you have worked on the distance issue, you can get your dog to focus on you and not the other dog. BUT - some dogs find this scary as they cannot see the thing they are anxious about so you need to judge your dog.

For nipping, she may be scared or in pain or simply not like being lifted - a lot of dogs don't. It's important to listen when she tries to tell you she is unhappy about something though. Dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore the early signals or reprimand the dog for giving them; that would be like taking the battery out of a smoke alarm.

Theres a lot in there, I hope I haven't missed anything so please come back if you have any questions.
Thank you so much for the links and videos! I will definitely try to use the reward method more and only say a command once to not let her think it is optional. I am also already working on the walking to see how far away people/dogs need to be where she is comfortable. That will be tricky considering she already sees from a far distance and hones in. I’ve tried holding jerky that she really likes but she completely ignored it and was focused on the other person/dog. Maybe they were too close to her radius? I will definitely work on that.
 

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Well... from your description she sounds pretty amped-up. The very first thing I would do in that situation is to get the dog more exercise in order to burn off some of that nervous energy.

Also, if you have the funds for some training then I would recommend that. Discuss with a decent trainer what the most logical option is. Training is always good because it stimulates the dog mentally, which could help her calm down. Training is also as much for the owner as for the dog. In your case I get the impression that you've been watching Cesar Milan on the TV but that's not really your best path to training the dog.

I can point you at two resources to start with. Check out the youtube channel of Zak George. His technique is pretty much the going paradigm (using as much positive reinforcement as possible). There are also several other good youtube channels where you can learn some basics.

Another resource is book called "decoding your dog" Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones - Kindle edition by American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, Debra F. Horwitz, John Ciribassi, Steve Dale. Crafts, Hobbies & Home Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Between those you might make a decent start.

That said, given your dog's background I think a few sessions with a professional trainer might be worth the money.
Yes I am working on walking her more to release some of her pent up energy. I also am considering on taking her to group classes but I’m not sure where yet. Do you think places like Petco or PetSmart will provide good training for things like this?
 

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Many questions have already been answered well by other posters. I will second the suggestion to read "Decoding Your Dog". It is very helpful in terms of understanding how dogs do (and do not) perceive the world, and therefore how to change unwanted behaviors.

I also do not understand why you don't greet your dog? Your dog loves you and wants to say hi because she missed you. My boyfriend always says hi when I walk in the door, and I don't ignore him.

It sounds like she may not like training because you are using a firm, loud tone of voice. To her, it may sound frustrating or like she's being reprimanded. As frustrated as you may be, it's important you always use a happy, calm, positive tone of voice. If you sound like you're having fun when you're training, your dog will want to come have fun with you!

Additionally, I'm not sure what your recall training has looked like in the past, but if you want your dog to come to you rather than bombarding a person at the door, you will need to work on "come". Always, always, always reward your dog for coming EVEN IF they do 3 other things before they listen to you. Even if she goes to another person first, sniffs around, gets her toy and THEN comes to you, still reward. It may seem counterintuitive, but your dog should always know that coming to you is the best choice they could possibly make. If coming to you always results in something positive and never results in anything negative, they will really want to come to you when you call.

Others have already mentioned that the alpha mentality is entirely false. If you're watching Cesar Millan, please stop, and instead watch "It's Me or the Dog". Available on Hulu and Amazon Video.

If you want to walk first through doorways because it's an alpha thing, forget it. If you want to walk first through doorways for safety reasons (you don't want your dog running out on the streets), you will need to train it. I think the easiest way is to train a sit/ stay. Once your dog knows that command, tell them to sit at the door, you walk through, then when you're ready for them to come through, say "OK! Good job!" And let them come through. Of course, you'll need to tell her to sit at every door. You could further this by asking her to wait at the door and rewarding, but that's a much longer process as she'll need to get in the habit of always doing this.

I think the most important thing to understand is that you're the boss, and your dog already knows that. Dogs have been domesticated over so many years, most dogs have no doubt in their mind that you're the leader. You don't need to train them to think that. What you need is to convince your dog that you're working together. Remember that most dog breeds have been selectively bred to work alongside humans. They enjoy working with you when you show them you're a team, you recognize that they're trying, and you appreciate them!

Although a group obedience class will not solve some of your problems like walking through doorways or jumping on people, it may be helpful for you to see a positive way of training dogs. It's also a great time to work with your dog as a team, bond with your dog, and learn to communicate better together. If you haven't already taken an obedience class I would recommend it. Just please be sure to find a trainer who uses rewards based training, for example a clicker training class.
Thank you so much for your advice. I am going to see how talking in a fun, positive tone will go while training. I’ve always used a nice tone whenever giving her commands but she wouldn’t listen so I switched to a firm, loud tone because that’s when I noticed that she listened more. I will give it a go again but with treats and maybe there will be a difference. I am also looking for group obedience classes as a start but I’m not sure where to go yet. Do you think places like Petco or PetSmart are good?
 

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I have tech problems putting quotes in replies but when you said earlier that sometimes she won't take jerky treats - that means she is too close and/or you are too late with the jerky. Stressed mammals won't take food (part of the fight or flight response, stay empty and stay light). Its a little bit like applying the brakes after you have driven the car over the cliff edge. So get in sooner, and further away, with the calm behaviour and reward.
 

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Thank you so much for your advice. I am going to see how talking in a fun, positive tone will go while training. I’ve always used a nice tone whenever giving her commands but she wouldn’t listen so I switched to a firm, loud tone because that’s when I noticed that she listened more. I will give it a go again but with treats and maybe there will be a difference. I am also looking for group obedience classes as a start but I’m not sure where to go yet. Do you think places like Petco or PetSmart are good?
Well, in my own opinion I try to stay away from Petsmart and Petco. They are certainly cheaper, so if that's all your budget allows, you'll certainly learn important things there BUT I have had some experiences at these places which made me feel they were not entirely knowledgeable.

For example, one trainer told us that our Pitbull would become aggressive toward people if he ever caught a wild animal and tasted blood. One other trainer told me my 13 week old puppy was becoming aggressive because he nipped him when he tried to pick up and hold his paw, which any experienced trainer should know dogs don't like and need to be conditioned to be okay with. One day I was training my puppy at Petco and another trainer came to me and asked, "have you considered socializing him?" I thought, "isn't that what I'm doing right now?" And lastly I was told that I was unable to enroll my puppy in the higher level course, even though he already knew all of the basic commands and their brochure clearly said that if you were beyond the basic course you could just ask to be enrolled in another one. She told me puppies weren't ready for higher level skills? Their basic course didn't even cover the important lifesaving skills including "leave it" and "stay", which I found ridiculous.

Anyway that's my rant. Not that these aren't good stores, it's just that I've found the staff - at least at our local stores - aren't the most experienced. If budget allows, I'd look for a trainer with more experience. You can tell they're good if their website or pamphlet tells the trainers qualifications and details their training philosophy. Good trainers will be very transparent about their methods and their reasons for using those methods.

I know it's already been said here but if you find a trainer who talks about dominance or physical punishment, run the other way!

Sorry for ranting. If it helps, I enrolled my puppy in an AKC STAR Puppy class. I think they're more standardized from location to location since there's a protocol dogs need to be able to achieve by the end of the course. There's an adult dog equivalent called the Canine Good Citizen. Again, though, just because it's an AKC course doesn't mean different trainers' methods won't vary.
 

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Do you think places like Petco or PetSmart will provide good training
I don't know. We don't have either of those stores where I live.

My impression generally of any kind of "training", whether it's for the dog, or for any kind or sport or activity is that the more such places try to appeal to a mass market, the bigger the chance is that it will be watered down to a sort of "fast food" formula that keeps you coming back. That obviously won't be true everywhere and individual trainers are likely to vary in skill, experience and style so this is not a "dis" at either one of those outlets; it's just a general impression that I have.

I guess the main advice I can give you is to shop around. You'll want to look for a trainer that has good qualifications, good recommendations and gets good results. Ideally you'll also want someone who is on the same wave-length as you are because the better you and the trainer understand each other, the better the training experience will be. Taking the time to research your options will definitely pay dividends.

Like I said in my previous post this learning experience can start to some extent online because there is some good information available that won't cost you much. In my opinion it's worth taking the time to read up on more modern training approaches than you see on the TV.

I especially like reading about it as opposed to watching videos because most videos and/or TV programs are "time compressed". Bloopers and intermediate steps are usually removed to keep the videos short enough to watch. This gives an unrealistic picture of what real-world training is like. In the real world your ABSOLUTELY best asset when training a dog is patience. When you're watching the TV or something on youtube you often don't see that because the programs are 1/2 hour long (or so) but the training experience sometimes lasted for weeks to get that 1/2 hour of someone looking good on camera. This is why I think reading books and engaging with a real-world trainer is a vastly superior way to go.

hope this helps.
 

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Pet store training can be a hit-or-miss. It really depends on the local store and who they hire to teach these classes. I'd suggest observing a class or two before you sign up. Keep in mind that the initial lessons will center on basic commands like "sit, stay, and leave it." Because you'll be in a group setting, you probably won't get much individual help with your specific concerns. On the plus side, pet store classes are fairly affordable.

Sometimes, local shelters / humane societies will offer obedience classes as well. That might also be an option for you.
 
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