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Am I totally wrong, please tell me.

(23 Posts)
Lucisky Tue 16-May-17 19:25:46

I am in my 60's, with a lifetime of dog ownership, and I am retired. I have got a 5 month old toy poodle, and, assuming she lives her full lifespan, (or I pop my clogs) she will be the last dog for me and my partner. I have never had a poodle before, jrt's, Yorkies, shiztzue's (sp!), collies and beagles, yes, but no poodle. I wanted some help with recall as she is rather flighty and inattentive. Other than that, she is very good for her age, walks nicely on the lead 90% of the time, understands phrases, sits, lies down etc etc. I engaged a local dog trainer for a one to one session. I am still fuming. I was quizzed about my dogs sleeping arrangements (a crate in the bedroom, perhaps a snuggle on the bed if she's behaving quietly). That was not right apparently, she must sleep downstairs or she will think she is having to protect me all the time (!?) The feed she is having was googled to check it's protein content (Mc Adams if you are interested). I must just give her ten minutes to eat her food twice a day, if not eaten, take it away. Well, I free feed her, her daily allowance is put in the bowl and she helps herself as and when. Why not? It makes no difference to me. Apparently, my dog must respect me. Why? My dog is my (our) friend and companion, not a subordinate. The crunch came when she put a slip lead on her. She said you can check them with the slip collar. I have always used harnesses for small dogs ever since I had a Yorkie with tracheal problems. I am not happy using a choke collar on such a tiny dog with a delicate neck, and I thought it was not recommended anyway. Her suggestion of going for a walk down the lane (in other words, not a secure area), brought me out in a sweat. I know my dog, and I could see her panicking like a fish on a line with this unfamiliar pressure round her neck. (One of my Yorkies passed out once at a kennels when a kennel maid brought her to me on a slip lead - she was excited, she pulled and nearly strangled herself). We had words, and she vanished back into her house, and I came home.
Now, am I in the wrong? Is this what dog training is? I have never used a dog trainer before. I did not expect to have my feeding and sleeping arrangements quizzed. What business is it of hers? All my dogs have been well adjusted, happy and long lived, and have given so much pleasure and happy memories. I just wanted a few pointers. I most certainly don't want my dog to be frightened, or made to respect me. I see my dogs as friends and partners primarily.
Anyway, I would be interested in your thoughts. The search continues for some sensible help. I was initially worried that this person might be on here, but if she is, then she can defend/riposte at will.

anyoldname76 Tue 16-May-17 19:28:57

sounds like youve got a ceasar milan wannabe, get rid of the so called trainer and get somebody else.

BiteyShark Tue 16-May-17 19:32:12

I went to a couple of different training classes before finding a 1-1 trainer that understood my breed and transformed my training.

They are all very different so find another one you are happy with. My trainer listened to what I was struggling with and helped me.

Personally I use a slip lead but that is because I am doing gun dog training and it is useful for that. If you aren't happy with using it then don't. Also if you are happy with the other things you are doing then continue. As with everything in life I thank the people for their advice and then decide whether I will use it or not.

FeedMyFaceWithBattenberg Tue 16-May-17 19:32:50

What a horrid trainer.
I have a poodle cross.
Always use a harness.
And I free feed.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 16-May-17 19:35:22

No, that's shockingly bad and very much an out of date approach. My trainer did talk about food but there is a school of thought that if you put poor food in, you get a poor dog out and she knew I was a complete novice. She gave me three recs of different price points and then left that part of things to me.

DDog had a slip collar when we got him (he's a terrible puller still) and she talked it all through with me very calmly and supportively and then left recs for harnesses.

Mine was a member of the Pet Professional Guild and a positively certified trainer, if that helps you narrow things down. If you're anywhere near East central scotland I'll pm you her dets if you like.

But there are definitely a lot of bad trainers out there.

villainousbroodmare Tue 16-May-17 19:38:47

All trainers are different. Sounds like this one doesn't suit you.
I think ad lib feeding is very dull for the dog, predisposes to obesity and makes it difficult to know exactly what and when your dog is eating.
Also 'perhaps a snuggle on the bed if...' is difficult for her to understand; either it's always fine, irrespective of muddy paws or it's not allowed.
If I were to give one piece of advice to a poodle owner, it would be this: start brushing her teeth every day, now. Poodles tend to live very long and healthy lives but are wildly overrepresented in the rotten teeth stakes.
Change your trainer - or better, buy a few books and do it yourselves - and enjoy your lovely dog.

Lucisky Tue 16-May-17 19:39:23

Thanks Lonny, no I'm I'm Gloucestershire. If anyone has any recommendations for the Stroud area, I would be interested.

FatOldBag Tue 16-May-17 19:40:29

Ignore the advice - it doesn't work for you anyway and she seems to be trying to address problems you don't even have.

About the recall, I whistle train all mine. A whistle carries much further and seems to get a much more consistent response. Start when the dog is next to you in the house, I do 3 short pips then give the dog some ham or cheese or something. Do this a few times a day. Next day do it when the dog is in the same room but a few feet away. Gradually do it further and further from the dog, then try it in the garden, then on walks with an extender lead or somewhere enclosed until you're confident of her recall. Always have your treat ready when you blow the whistle and give lots of praise.

Lucisky Tue 16-May-17 19:41:45

Oh yes, v.brood mare, I know all about little dogs and tooth problems, Yorkies were the worst!

Lucisky Tue 16-May-17 19:43:58

Fat old bag (sounds like me!), that's a good suggestion with the whistle, I'll try that, thanks.

BiteyShark Tue 16-May-17 19:47:06

To be fair to the trainer I have been told that to get recall 100% you do need to concentrate on general obedience and also try and make you their world (not other dogs/people etc). However, that is nothing to do with feeding etc and it sounds like you need to find someone different.

missyB1 Tue 16-May-17 19:50:47

I've done the whistle training too exactly as fatoldbag describes, it was the only way to teach my silly pup some recall.

My trainer did ask about feeding as she wanted to check the protein content, on her advice I changed to one with more protein.

villainousbroodmare Tue 16-May-17 19:56:21

O, I missed the recall bit.
This is basically how you do it.

Pick a word or a whistle that is completely novel. (If I could start again I'd choose something other than 'come' or 'here' as these words are so often used that they can become ineffectual for the purpose. Both of you will use the same word.)

Basically this new word will be magic, and the way to keep it magic is to never ever let her hear it and ignore it.

Call her once only, ever.

If you are not 100% certain that she will come, then don't call her - go and get her.

Start with your word only in situations where you can make sure you win, and arm yourself with lots of tiny, tasty treats, like little cubes of cheese for example. (Good reason not to free feed!)

Call her when she's coming anyway, treat her, tell her she's great and let her run off again often the best reward for an active young dog.

Work up from recall in the kitchen to across the house, then to an enclosed garden with no distractions, and very gradually to the Great Outdoors.

5 months is actually a great age to cement recall, as they are still a little tentative and reliant of you in less familiar surroundings. I would say it could take a year and a half though before you can rely on a dog to turn back from a truly exciting scenario to trail meekly back to your side!

Lucisky Tue 16-May-17 19:57:19

Missyb1, she wanted to check there wasn't too much protein in the food as she said it was like giving children too many smarties.

villainousbroodmare Tue 16-May-17 20:03:23

And yes, the more your dog feels respect/ awe/ that you are her Glorious Boss, the more likely you are to receive rapt attention and obedience rather than 'worldly bored teenageriness'.
There are lots of subtle, kind, reassuring ways to engender and reinforce your Glorious Boss status. Most people don't bother as they are not really fussed about obedience and find it too hard to be consistent, but I wonder if that's what your (former) trainer was hamfistedly getting at. grin

BagelGoesWalking Tue 16-May-17 23:19:50

This is a really good dog training support group. Positive, force-free etc. Interesting to read...

pigsDOfly Wed 17-May-17 01:04:47

The trainer does sound rather old fashioned in her approach.

My dog sleeps on my bed generally, although she does move around in the night and will often end up in one of the other bedrooms or even downstairs. She most definitely does not feel she's having to protect me, lying as she frequently does stretched out flat on her back; hardly the position of a dog poised for action. I think she just enjoys the tummy rubs and closeness before we both settle down for the night.

It's a lot of nonsense about having to make a dog respect you. You train and work with your dog to build a trusting and mutually workable relationship; that's all you need.

It might be less intense to find a class for training, rather than one to one, and as Broodmare suggests, read some books; then carry on the training yourself.

And the slip collar on a small dog? Very unwise.

LilCamper Wed 17-May-17 08:49:09

That trainer was right about free feeding but wrong about the reasons.

Free feeding devalues food for training purposes.

pigsDOfly Wed 17-May-17 09:35:27

Yes, not sure about the free feeding either. Dog never gets properly hungry, so yes, food is devalued.

GreenHairDontCare Wed 17-May-17 09:40:35

I free feed my chi otherwise she'd never eat. There's no way she'd get through her daily food in ten or twenty minutes.

Her recall is great because she's obsessed with me. She sleeps downstairs though because dh is a meany she sleeps with me when he's away.

It sounds like you're doing fine. The trainer sounds a bit mad.

pigsDOfly Wed 17-May-17 09:48:21

My dog's the other way, she'd never eat anything if I didn't draw her attention to it.

Agree the trainer sounds a bit mad, and picking the food up after only 10 minutes is a very short time.

Lucisky Wed 17-May-17 12:49:39

Thanks for all your input. I hadn't thought about free feeding devaluing treats. You are right. I have taken the bowl up and decided she can have it morning/late afternoon at feeding times, when I will leave it down for an hour each time (not ten minutes!). She is a slow feeder, so this should be ample. I have never had a dog on dry food before, so I suppose it was the novelty of having a food that won't spoil if left uneaten for a few hours. I have gone for dry after many years of problems with little dogs teeth. My Yorkies were the worst. I am hoping it will help.
I have got a dog whistle this morning, and it is great! Just a few goes round the house and she comes running when she hears it, and gets a tasty treat. Now, if only it would stop raining, perhaps we can get off the sofa and have a few goes in the garden.

arbrighton Thu 18-May-17 14:06:44

Poodles are bloody fussy and don't always want to eat- my miniature is the same

Used to leave it down and she'd get round to her but we've now gained a collie cross who inhales everything in sight in seconds so she either eats it or it's picked up

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