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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've found three in-home trainers in the area that deal with behavior problems as well as obedience training. I've decided enough is enough. I cannot train him myself. I got bit today when trying to get him in his crate because a plumber was here to fix a leak. He tore off skin, it's bleeding and hurts like crap.
How do you choose a trainer?
 

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Have you talked personally with any of them yet? Have they come out to do an initial consult? If not I would do both. You need to feel good about them as well as your dog. That is the most important thing.

The technique I personally look for is called LIMA...least invasive, minimally aversive. Which means mostly positive reinforcement with minimal punishment (either negative or positive). Call and ask about their personal techniques, write them down and post them up here and I can give you more info/opinion on them.

Oh, and just FYI I have yet to find a trainer that I agree with 100% on everything. I think this is nearly imossible to do, but the goal is to get one that you feel the most comfortable with. Don't be afraid to question their techniques or anything because they should be able to back them up with reasons.
 

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I would insist on a 100% positive trainer and a member of and certified by APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers). You can go to their website (http://www.apdt.com) and find a directory of their member trainers. Being a member of APDT doesn't guarantee a good dog trainer but it really helps the odds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
danemama- I have not personally talked with any of them yet or had any out for a consult.

One of the trainers is a Bark Buster's trainer (Dog Training by Bark Busters). The website says it's a "humane, natural dog behavior training method that provides not just the ‘how’ do I get my dog to listen but also the ‘why’ your dog is misbehaving, then call me! Bark Busters’ method of pain-free, treat-free, clicker-free positive dog training is the best system for turning dogs into happy, settled family pets. We will teach you a dog obedience system of communication your dog already knows, based on canine communication and their need for social structure." The trainer for my area has only positive reviews. She is a member of APDT.

The other one use non-aversive methods. And they use Positive Reinforcement and Relationship Based methods. On the website it says that the "first and most important step in dog training is selecting the right trainer for both YOU and YOUR DOG." They "offer superior training services to people who care about their relationship with their dogs. We believe that training should fit the dog and not the other way around. We do not provide "cookie cutter" training programs, nor do we endorse or use electronic shock collars. We work with your dog's natural instincts and social structure to make your dog a well behaved member of the family." She also has very positive reviews. She is "vet recommended" and a member of the Canine Good Citizen

The third one is Charlotte Biting Dog, Ballantyne Biting Dog, Matthews NC Biting Dog
They say they "are very picky about who we hire as a dog training instructor. Our dog trainers must have excellent communication skills with people and their dogs. We certify our instructors in each program we offer. All instructors must learn training concepts and our unique multi-method-training systemTM. Our Dog Trainers are tested in handling exercises, communication skills, and extensive problem solving procedures. Unlike most dog trainers, we are not trying to prove the one method of training is the best. Once we start training your dog, we will use our unique multi-method-training systemTM to suit your dog's personality and temperament. This process will advance your dog at a steady rate of training and ensure that you can see quick results and track your dog’s progress."
 

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Personally I would avoid Barkbusters, their training method involves throwing a chain at or near the dog to get their attention.
 

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Avoid BarkBusters. Not a good company with less than ideal technique. It's funny...we have reps from different companies come in and give talks to us about their services to increase their business all the time. Well, once we had a BarkBusters trainer come in. Bailey is the greeter in the front lobby at work (vet clinic) and she almost never barks at anyone. She growled and barked her head off at this trainer like crazy. He didn't even say a word to her, its like she knew he was no good...Then he proceeded to tell me how she was so aggressive and had serious behavior issues. What a weirdo. Not that this one encounter means much for the whole company, it's just ironic that the only person that she barked at was this trainer. I just don't agree with a lot of their methods because they are far from minimally invasive.

I personally like the sound of the second one better, but the third is still worth looking into in my opinion.

Hope this helps and good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Avoid BarkBusters. Not a good company with less than ideal technique. It's funny...we have reps from different companies come in and give talks to us about their services to increase their business all the time. Well, once we had a BarkBusters trainer come in. Bailey is the greeter in the front lobby at work (vet clinic) and she almost never barks at anyone. She growled and barked her head off at this trainer like crazy. He didn't even say a word to her, its like she knew he was no good...Then he proceeded to tell me how she was so aggressive and had serious behavior issues. What a weirdo. Not that this one encounter means much for the whole company, it's just ironic that the only person that she barked at was this trainer. I just don't agree with a lot of their methods because they are far from minimally invasive.

I personally like the sound of the second one better, but the third is still worth looking into in my opinion.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Thank you! I did not know that about the Bark Buster's. Yikes! Does not sound good! I personally thought that the second one sounded like the best. I'll definitely call tomorrow and ask about techniques and see if I want them to do an evaluation.

Side note:
He's been snarling and snapping at EVERYONE today ever since the incident with the plumber. We put him in his crate around 4:30PM or so earlier and he slept the entire time he was in there (around 3 hours). He was a little better after that. My sister took him for a long walk around 7:30 and that helped enormously. I know now after doing some looking that he's been under a lot of stress lately. We've had a lot of repairmen, plumbers (issue finally resolved after 6 different plumbers) and realtors coming by our house for the past couple of weeks and today he just completely snapped. We also have a lot of people coming and going from our house all the time and the noise level is pretty high. He never naps. He's always on alert. If he hears a noise or someone goes outside or comes inside he's up and checking it out. I've decided to give him a two hour slot in the afternoon upstairs in his crate where he can't hear everything with some harp music playing. He's also been moved, as of today, to sleeping upstairs in my sisters room. He'll get the rest he needs at night up there. I think that will help a lot. I'm also going to be taking him on a morning walk in addition to his evening walk. But for now my brother is going to do it. At least until he chills out around me. He's been avoiding me and if I do get near him he starts growling. I think this is because I gave him a bath yesterday and he detests them and because it was me that took him away from the plumber.
There was also, I learned, confliction as to rules. My brothers would let him on the couch whereas the rest would not allow him on the couches. Tonight the record was set straight on rules regarding Spike.
 

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I've found three in-home trainers in the area that deal with behavior problems as well as obedience training. I've decided enough is enough. I cannot train him myself. I got bit today when trying to get him in his crate because a plumber was here to fix a leak. He tore off skin, it's bleeding and hurts like crap.
How do you choose a trainer?
I'm not a trainer but have used trainer's techniques for getting dogs to go in their crates.

How have you trained the dog to go in the crate? Have you made it a fun thing for them?

I started off by throwing a treat in there, saying, "crate" and let them get the food. They can come back out in the beginning. Just get them to look at the crate as a positive thing.

Eventually you work up to getting them in the crate, closing the door and having them sit in it for a minute. Then let them out, each time rewarding for doing as you ask.

It should be that you tell them, "crate" or "get in your crate" or whatever you want to say, that they'll go in, happily.

As for staying in the crate for a long time, (ie: while the plumber is over), they may throw a fit, scream like a banshee, etc. Just ignore it. But it's best to have them trained to go in the crate and stay there, calmly, before you "have" to use it for whatever reason.

The dog biting you is a sign of improper training and the dog doesn't realize that the crate is a good thing, not a bad thing.

(Again, I'm not a trainer, I've learned from a trainer and this method worked very well and I think it goes with others who believe in positive reinforcement training although this trainer doesn't really call himself that.)
 

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Thank you! I did not know that about the Bark Buster's. Yikes! Does not sound good! I personally thought that the second one sounded like the best. I'll definitely call tomorrow and ask about techniques and see if I want them to do an evaluation.

Side note:
He's been snarling and snapping at EVERYONE today ever since the incident with the plumber. We put him in his crate around 4:30PM or so earlier and he slept the entire time he was in there (around 3 hours). He was a little better after that. My sister took him for a long walk around 7:30 and that helped enormously. I know now after doing some looking that he's been under a lot of stress lately. We've had a lot of repairmen, plumbers (issue finally resolved after 6 different plumbers) and realtors coming by our house for the past couple of weeks and today he just completely snapped. We also have a lot of people coming and going from our house all the time and the noise level is pretty high. He never naps. He's always on alert. If he hears a noise or someone goes outside or comes inside he's up and checking it out. I've decided to give him a two hour slot in the afternoon upstairs in his crate where he can't hear everything with some harp music playing. He's also been moved, as of today, to sleeping upstairs in my sisters room. He'll get the rest he needs at night up there. I think that will help a lot. I'm also going to be taking him on a morning walk in addition to his evening walk. But for now my brother is going to do it. At least until he chills out around me. He's been avoiding me and if I do get near him he starts growling. I think this is because I gave him a bath yesterday and he detests them and because it was me that took him away from the plumber.
There was also, I learned, confliction as to rules. My brothers would let him on the couch whereas the rest would not allow him on the couches. Tonight the record was set straight on rules regarding Spike.
I'm not a trainer/behaviorist either...at least not yet. I'm working on it :wink:

It sounds like poor Spike has all kinds of reasons to act out aggressively. STRESS, STRESS and more STRESS. Sounds to me like he spends his life constantly above his mental stimulation threshold (overdrive) which is why he has such behavioral issues. He has no chance to relax and mentally unwind...which is why he just passes out when given a quiet moment or relaxes when he gets positive mental stimulation (walks/hikes).

I personally would ask for a pet behaviorist and not just a trainer. Someone that speaks "dog" fluently. I mean someone that knows all the social cues that dogs give off, one that knows how to read a dogs every move. These people are few and far between. Someone who knows and understands the complexity of canine interaction and communication is key because Spike's issue is (to me) due to stress, which is a simple remedy but will take lots of time and patience and stability.

I wish you the best of luck and don't hesitate to post up at all....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm not a trainer/behaviorist either...at least not yet. I'm working on it :wink:

It sounds like poor Spike has all kinds of reasons to act out aggressively. STRESS, STRESS and more STRESS. Sounds to me like he spends his life constantly above his mental stimulation threshold (overdrive) which is why he has such behavioral issues. He has no chance to relax and mentally unwind...which is why he just passes out when given a quiet moment or relaxes when he gets positive mental stimulation (walks/hikes).

I personally would ask for a pet behaviorist and not just a trainer. Someone that speaks "dog" fluently. I mean someone that knows all the social cues that dogs give off, one that knows how to read a dogs every move. These people are few and far between. Someone who knows and understands the complexity of canine interaction and communication is key because Spike's issue is (to me) due to stress, which is a simple remedy but will take lots of time and patience and stability.

I wish you the best of luck and don't hesitate to post up at all....
Yeah. I realize that now. I feel really bad about it. But he is doing great this morning. He's perfectly fine around me now. He slept all through the night. I think the new arrangement and schedule will be good for him. He definitely needs down time by himself where it's quiet.
I'm going to be calling the trainer this afternoon. I'll definitely ask for a pet behaviorist.


I'm not a trainer but have used trainer's techniques for getting dogs to go in their crates.

How have you trained the dog to go in the crate? Have you made it a fun thing for them?

I started off by throwing a treat in there, saying, "crate" and let them get the food. They can come back out in the beginning. Just get them to look at the crate as a positive thing.

Eventually you work up to getting them in the crate, closing the door and having them sit in it for a minute. Then let them out, each time rewarding for doing as you ask.

It should be that you tell them, "crate" or "get in your crate" or whatever you want to say, that they'll go in, happily.

As for staying in the crate for a long time, (ie: while the plumber is over), they may throw a fit, scream like a banshee, etc. Just ignore it. But it's best to have them trained to go in the crate and stay there, calmly, before you "have" to use it for whatever reason.

The dog biting you is a sign of improper training and the dog doesn't realize that the crate is a good thing, not a bad thing.

(Again, I'm not a trainer, I've learned from a trainer and this method worked very well and I think it goes with others who believe in positive reinforcement training although this trainer doesn't really call himself that.)

He does know the command for crate, but when he's worked up about something, such as barking his head off at someone he. will. not. go. in. there. Anytime I tell him "Spike crate" he grumbles and growls. He's very selective in when he obeys any command that he DOES know. He's a very stubborn dog which is why I'm having trouble training him.
I think I'll try retraining him. Tossing food in the crate's a good idea.

Thing is, when we have people over he sees going in the crate as a bad thing. Because he wants to investigate and sniff them. Problem is with some people he just will not stop barking his head off and growling at them.
 

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Dont feel bad about what has happened. The good thing is that you've realized that help is needed and that is what matters. It will take a lot of work and patience but I think you'll have good results with him. Please keep me posted on progress!
 

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Avoid BarkBusters. Not a good company with less than ideal technique. It's funny...we have reps from different companies come in and give talks to us about their services to increase their business all the time. Well, once we had a BarkBusters trainer come in. Bailey is the greeter in the front lobby at work (vet clinic) and she almost never barks at anyone. She growled and barked her head off at this trainer like crazy. He didn't even say a word to her, its like she knew he was no good...Then he proceeded to tell me how she was so aggressive and had serious behavior issues. What a weirdo. Not that this one encounter means much for the whole company, it's just ironic that the only person that she barked at was this trainer. I just don't agree with a lot of their methods because they are far from minimally invasive.

I personally like the sound of the second one better, but the third is still worth looking into in my opinion.

Hope this helps and good luck!
There are some of the people in my vet clinic that have suggested that I take Titus to these guys. I haven't looked into them because I think that they would end up making him worse then better. But now that I am reading about all of this, I will NOT look at them. I will try and find someone that is willing to work with us on OUR terms and on Titus' time. Plus, Owen is a little hyper and needs a special kind of attention that most 'pro-companies' don't have the time or patience for.
 

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There are some of the people in my vet clinic that have suggested that I take Titus to these guys. I haven't looked into them because I think that they would end up making him worse then better. But now that I am reading about all of this, I will NOT look at them. I will try and find someone that is willing to work with us on OUR terms and on Titus' time. Plus, Owen is a little hyper and needs a special kind of attention that most 'pro-companies' don't have the time or patience for.
Yeah, it's unfortunate that these big franchise "training" companies don't have trainers that truly understand canine behavior and communication. Because that is the key to working with behavior problems in dogs. Glad that this helped you decide NOT to go to them. Good luck with your furkids too!
 

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On BarkBusters:
They've come in several times asking us to put their marketing crap in our lobby, and talking with us.
Annie and Champ were in the lobby with me, we were about to take off, and Champ put Annie in her place. She was in his face, jumping all over him, so he growled at her, and pinned her down. No harm done. Pure communication.
The lady told me that Champ was a vicious dog, and that I should isolate him until he's had more training, because he could be a threat to society, and that "lucky for me" BB knew JUST how to deal with that. :rolleyes:
What a Joke. He's an adult dog, telling an annoying bouncy puppy to back off.
 

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He does know the command for crate, but when he's worked up about something, such as barking his head off at someone he. will. not. go. in. there. Anytime I tell him "Spike crate" he grumbles and growls. He's very selective in when he obeys any command that he DOES know. He's a very stubborn dog which is why I'm having trouble training him.
I think I'll try retraining him. Tossing food in the crate's a good idea.

Thing is, when we have people over he sees going in the crate as a bad thing. Because he wants to investigate and sniff them. Problem is with some people he just will not stop barking his head off and growling at them.
You have to start at the beginning and have him calm when the door bell rings or when someone knocks on the door.

When that is instilled, work on the crate.

Switch it around so that he sees the crate as a good thing when guests come over. "Hey, I go in here and act decently, I'm gonna get great things!"

You can have friends help you out with this. Have them come over, put the dog in the crate, (once you have done the beginning steps), and reward him greatly for doing so, (you can give him something that he dearly loves, that will keep him busy, that means more to him than other people).

Start out with small increments of time. Have them ring the bell or knock on the door, put the dog in the crate with a treat, friends come in, sit on the couch or whatever, stay for a minute, (or even less in the beginning). Keep doing this over and over and over and over and over.

When he can sit in his crate for the time they are there, (no matter how small the time), and not act ridiculous, reward him GREATLY for it. (You might want to start off with a friend or neighbor that the dog doesn't react so hostile towards, to start off so that he can learn quicker.)

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

As he gets better at it, increase the time.

Or, if you want to use a baby gate to keep him to one area of the house instead of using the crate, that could work as well. And if you use a baby gate, you can even have your neighbors or friends toss a treat to the dog when they come in.

This was just on Victoria Stillwell's show and what she had the people do was leave a bag of treats outside the door for the guests.

They would ring the bell, the dog would be put in to a different room. When the guests were inside, they would sit on the couch, one owner would bring the dog out to the room, the guest would toss the pooch a treat from the bag on to the floor.

The dog was allowed to go get it. The dog was then put in to an area behind a baby gate, still able to see the guests. The guests would then, when the dog was calm, walk up to the gate, (not too close), and toss another treat over the gate. They would then walk away.

The dog started to get it almost immediately.

Worth a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yikes! I haven't been on here in a while!

Anyways....I contacted the trainer last week and the consult is this Thursday. It took so long because of money issues.

I've been working on his crate training and he's doing beautifully! He no longer "grumbles" when told "Spike crate" and he happily goes in. The day he "snapped" he also started guarding his food. So bad no one would even want to try to touch his food or him. I stopped feeding him in his crate for a while and fed him on the deck. I worked him up to where I can touch and pet him and touch his food with no problems. He still is a little bit leery if you touch his food, but no staring, growling, snarling or snapping. I've started feeding him in his crate upstairs where it's quiet and I haven't had any problems.
The nap thing isn't working at all. He's still on high alert and barks at everything he hears.
He's been getting two walks a day, at least 30 minutes of play time and plenty of toys/things to keep him from being bored. We've toned down the noise level. He's doing a heck of a lot better. He occasionally jumps on people to get attention, but he's getting a lot better.

Problems that I can't seem to solve are snatching food, persistently pulling and being in front of me during walks, leaning into people/nudging and barking and growling at you for attention and being pet, and not obeying commands consistently. When I've looked these things up it seems that most of these problems are dominance issues. Definitely a good thing I've got a trainer now.
 
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