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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Have you or someone you know ever had a bad experience w a trainer? Know someone who should never be a trainer in the first place? Let's talk about it. Please note, this is NOT a thread to bash people, no naming names or anything please. I just am interested in hearing about your bad trainer experiences. I know the horse world has them, so the dog world must too.

I had one myself. When I was a new dog owner (had family dogs but this was my first dog of my own) I had a rather difficult to train dog w EXTREMELY SEVERE separation anxiety. My mom found a trainer for my boyfriend at the time and I to work w Kovsky, the dog; we mainly wanted to work on the separation anxiety but certainly some help on commands w this difficult dog couldn't hurt. I don't know how she found this trainer. The trainer came to house.
1. She told us to use a pinch collar for Kovsky, who pulled just slightly, not a lot. Totally unnecessary for him. Nary a word from Miss Trainer on actually TRAINING him not to pull.
2. For his separation anxiety, she told us to spray him in the eyes w vinegar every time he screamed in his crate. That did not work at all and we stopped doing it quickly as I found it pretty awful. No tips on keeping him from screaming constantly and destroying everything when we weren't there.
3. Kovsky hated her and was kind of scared of her right off the bat. Dogs can tell ya know. When she tried to walk him only 5' away from us his separation anxiety was so bad/he was so uncomfortable w her that he started thrashing around wildly and couldn't stay on his feet, he went to the ground and continued thrashing around until she let him run back to us.
She was in way over her head w him and wasn't a good trainer to start.
Literally the only useful thing I gleaned from her was to use "deck" as a down command so you can use "down" when you want them off furniture etc. I still use that to this day. I also train myself, and if I need help w future dogs will research THOROUGHLY before letting any trainer into my home.

What about you all? Any bad trainer horror stories?
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Vinegar in the eyes? Jeebus... :eek:

My first experience was with a dog behaviourist. A friend had an obnoxious dog (absolutely no training or socialisation) that was 3 years old, and tried to attack other dogs and children. The behaviourist gave them symbols to throw on the ground to distract the dog when he was barking and lunging (didn't work, and they kept accidentally hitting the dog on the head!!), then on the second visit the behaviourist brought their dog along too. She had my friends' dog held at one end of a hallway, and her dog at the other, and said they'd stay like that until my friend's dog had calmed down...they were there AN HOUR and the dog was still going crazy, so the behaviourist left and said the dog was "untrainable". She charged a lot of money for that, too. There are still huge marks on the floor from when the dog was lunging and scrabbling for so long :(

When we first adopted Kasper we used to bump into a 'professional trainer'. She was working with an aggressive GSD and she let this dog off lead in an area where lots of dogs are walked...and the dog didn't have recall!! She would often yell "Get your dog, this one will attack him!", and we once rounded a blind corner and there she was with the GSD off lead...idiot :mad:

The only trainer we ever tried using was when Zoey was a puppy, for extra socialisation. My bf spoke to the trainer on the phone, we checked she used PR methods, and she sounded really good. We went to a class without Zoey to check her out. The class didn't have an age limit (there were no puppy classes near us) but when we went all the dogs there were puppies under the age of 5 months, and the class looked fun.

Next week we took baby Zoey and because it was snowy there were NO other puppies, they were all adult dogs!! One barked the entire time, one RG and one really really liked Zoey...when she was nearby it would hump her (and REALLY latch on, to the point where it was hard to get him off!) and when we moved to the other side of the room the dog would scream for Zoey...bleh! When the dog was humping Zoey the trainer (who was stood right next to us) didn't even get the dog off her, and nor did his owners, we had to do it ourself. They just laughed. We didn't go back...
 

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Oh, don't get me started...

When I was 8, my family got two CKC spaniels, one for me and one for my sister. My parents found a training class to sign them up for and me and my sister were in charge of attending the classes and training the puppies.

Here is a list of the stupid things this trainer had us do (and of course I was 8, so I had no idea what I was doing):
1) She said we should spray bitter apple spray into their mouths every time they barked (that's not nearly as bad as vinegar in the eyes for separation anxiety, though. That's horrible!)
2) Her idea of "snake training" was to have you bring the dog near on a lead and she would SHRIEK and throw a bull snake at your dog. I'm pretty sure this only made the dogs scared of her and did nothing to scare them of snakes.
3) She put e-collars on two CKC spaniel puppies and gave the remote to an 8 YEAR OLD. Luckily I cried the fist time I pressed the button so we didn't do that really.

All of her dogs (all border collies) looked absolutely terrified of her and constantly shut down. I could see that even as an 8 year old.

Luckily, the story has a happy ending. We stopped taking the spaniels there and they suffered no lasting affects from the nasty techniques.
 

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Yep. I once knew a trainer who would throw a choke chain at his dogs (aiming for their face) when they'd make a bad choice. It was awful. This man took paid clients. No joke. :(
 

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The trainer I took Shadow to wasn't to bad but she did instruct one of my class members to squirt lemon juice into the dog's mouth when it barked.

She also gave a very good demonstration about why a person should never force a strange dog into a sit, unfortunately she didn't mean to. She was trying to get Shadow into a sit and Shadow wouldn't lure into it, so she pushed down on his bottom and forced him to sit. As soon as she let up I saw Shadow's ears go back, so I pulled him back a second before he snarled and snapped. She had also noticed what he was up to and jerked back. I often wonder if she kept forcing dogs into sit after that.
 

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My neighbor does that @Rain when I go toher house. She'll chase the pup down and give it a good squirt.
But back on topic, my first trainer was with my Siberian Thor. SHe would use a choke, smack, and the prong collar. Needless to say, I quit.

I got many books and read til I couldn't see. It was about positive reinforcement. We went to matches, then finally AKC shows, and finallly received our Companion Dog rating. CD if you will. THis was in the 70's. I'm glad things have changed mostly for the better with training.
 

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God mine isn't nearly as bad.

I took my husband's Parent's dog to go see my area trainer when I was working at 'the big box store' as a trainer because I wanted to feel her out and see what she thought about his fear of bowls. (Any type of bowl. Metal, Plastic, paper plate, didn't matter. He went a week without eating because he was so scared.)

So this area trainer was new and being praised to all the other trainers in the area as being dog Jesus. That she was amazing. She was OFF HER ROCKER. Seriously. Her voice was so high pitch that the shrieking would bounce off the walls. She kept trying to force a bowl that she placed a treat into his face. Dodger hid under a chair for the entire hour, completely shut down. Husband and I left with a migraine. HORRIBLE experience. I went back to my store and informed my manager that I would NEVER take advice from that crazy lady. Found out she was fired for fraud a year or so after I left.
 

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I don't know if this really counts per say, but I'll throw it up here. My fiance and I took Levi to the dog park (there are rarely any dogs there, so we mostly just get a huge field to play Frisbee in). On this particular occasion however, there were EIGHT English Mastiffs of varying ages and two Boxers. As we were approaching the gate, the guy who was there asked us to wait while he leashed his dogs. I was a little nervous, but I know how sometimes scuffles can happen at the gate due to excitement, so I was at least glad he had the foresight to get eliminate that possibility.
He gets them all leashed, and Levi goes bounding in, happy as a clam to see all these dogs. Immediately bonded with a puppy who was a few months older than him, but just enjoyed running around and playing with them. We were briefly chatting with the guy who said he breeds and trains them. He was at the table with a few other people who owned a few of them, and others were just friends apparently. I don't think I would call him a "breeder". Levi then approached one intact male, who gave him some signals to sod off, which Levi ignored (puppies man...), so the Mastiff growled and nipped at him a bit, Levi screamed (drama queen), but it was fine, no one was hurt, and I think it sounded WAY worse than it actually was. (Levi had no marks or anything like that).
WELL. That guy walked over and proceeded to beat the living hell out of this dog. It was brutal. I felt sick to my stomach. It happened so fast, and I told him to stop, and he basically said "my dogs blah blah". We leashed up Levi, and got the hell out of there. There were so many cars we didn't know which ones belonged to him, but we informed the humane Society, so hopefully if we run across him again, we can get more information.
 

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@Shandula I actually had a similar experience with a dog park I took a family member's dog to. There was this German Shepherd (intact of course) who kept wanting to hump our dog and once the owner realized that his dog wasn't giving up (and I was having to push his dog off of our dog) he would run over and slam the dog to the ground. The first time he did it I out loud said 'Oh. Sh-t' and moved to the other side of the park. Of course the dog found us and did the same thing, and the owner ran across the park and slammed the dog to the ground again. Once again, out loud my response was 'that's not necessary' and we leashed the dog and left. People are the main reason I will not go to dog parks.
 
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@jclark343 It is crazy how many people are like that. Going to dog parks is an eye opener. I do like going because you do meet some great dogs (we met a pit/lab mix last night that was so sweet. He and Levi had a great time), but unfortunately it seems like the percentage of people I meet who are ridiculous is growing high and higher.
The other day we met people who have a young Border Collie, and chanted the command "sit" over and over at him, then give up, and complain that their dog is stupid. He's not stupid, he knows he doesn't have to listen to you. :p
 
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My trainer wasn't terrible, she taught me a lot of valuable things, mostly used positive reinforcement, but she seemed to have an issue with positive support, for the human!

I went to some of her puppy classes, which had over 10 dogs (some puppies, some new adoptions but adults), waaaay too many dogs for one training session. I attempted to move my dog out of the training circle, since he was having such a difficult time...very overstimulated, unable to focus, and she made me move him back in and attempt to perform skills in front of everyone. My dog wouldn't stop barking and trying to get to the other dogs, and in front of everyone, she told me I needed to "control him!!!" and pull on his leash. I refused to do it because I think it's mean, so she took my puppy from me and corrected him with a leash pop.

After many classes, she told me my puppy wasn't interested in me, that we hadn't bonded, that if he ever got away from me off leash he wouldn't come back, etc. etc. That really stung and while I believe she was trying to help me, it didn't help. I was already having so many insecurities about my dog not bonding to me and about his hyperactive behavior and her comments pushed me over the edge.

We never went back to the class after she leashed popped him and then scolded me for not being able to do the same. It seemed to me she was really overwhelmed by the size of the group and the amount of nervous dogs in there. Again, she taught me many great things but I was just not comfortable with her style and criticism. I know I can't do everything perfectly the first time I do it, but a little support would've been good.
 

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Well, my horrible trainer story isn't in the same league as anything shared so far.

At our training club, there's one trainer who is great with the dogs, can read body language better than anyone I've ever met, really nice guy, but sarcastic as heck. It's funny as long as it's not directed at you. Fortunately, I know him well enough that it doesn't sting (which is huge for me). I went from hating his classes to loving them.
 

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What about you all? Any bad trainer horror stories?
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1. My partner and I were very, very novice dog owners, and Boone came to us a very frightened 5-month-old. In order to socialize him more, we took him to basic training classes. The classes were held in a small pet store, and every time we took him Boone fought us all the way between the vehicle and the door to the store. Once inside, he was pretty shut down but he did his best for us. The trainer never once suggested that he shouldn't be drug into the class, or seemed to notice just how shut down he was.

2. Boone was also very reactive to other people (fear) and dogs (frustration), and he'd bark/lunge and act demented. We attended another trainer's class, which was better than the first because it was outside or in a large enough arena that Boone was ok to enter. Still not knowing much, we explained our issue with Boone's reactivity, and the trainer recommended a pinch collar. For two weeks, it worked like a charm (or so it seemed; in hindsight, I know how miserable my poor dog was) - Boone did not react to much at all. Until the day he did react; barking, lunging, screaming in pain because of the prongs. His reactivity got rapidly MUCH worse, and a couple days later, he sat down, looked at me and bit the leash. Next time he reacted, he 'grazed' my leg with his teeth as part of his going nuts. The third time, he actually bit me. When he grazed my leg, I wasn't sure if it was on purpose, but I contacted the trainer and explained that he was getting worse and what happened. "Normal" she said, "It will get better, don't stop using the collar". When he actually bit me and I tried to contact her, she never got back to me. I stopped using the collar, and that's when I really started learning about positive methods. I'm pretty sure that three weeks on the prong set Boone back several months.
 

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A good trainer should give instructions on how to modify dog handling at home, initially.....
It is almost like sending a misbehaving child to school and expect the teachers to fix all.....
Once, the owner and dog are in sync.....training is much easier.....

Don't think one will send off an animal to a trainer and all will be well.....
 

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I don;t know who this trainer is but

I was at a park with Manna when she was quite a bit younger, we were in the large dog section (there is a fenced off small dog section as well) when a lady and her chi mix come into the large dog section.

The chi-X is terrified and lashing out aggressively from fear while the lady holds the dog to the ground butt up in the air and trys to call ALL the large dogs over.

I can't remember the exact conversation but she told me somthing along the lines of .

"My trainer said to help him get over his fear of other dogs that I should hold him down so he can't attack the other dogs and get other dogs to smell his "behind"(she used a not so nice word) . "

I have no clue who this trainer is but I leashed Manna up then and there so we wouldn't have to witness a fight.
And the worst part is I've seen more people on leashed walks doing similar things and claiming that a trainer told them to do it. So he's still around here somewhere.
 
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