dog training

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by glory bee, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. glory bee

    glory bee Member

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    Hi! First will introduce myself. Posted briefly on old C-side site. Have subscribed to C-side mag. for a decade or so. Have lurked ever since. I love the site, and love all things homestead related. We are currently building a cordwood house. My son mixes the mortar, and I lay up the logs. My husband works an hour and 20 min. from home, so he provides the technical advice, and works when he can on his day off. I also homeschool. Do a lot of gardening, used to raise bees and rabbits. When the house gets up, Iwouldl like to get into raising meat rabbits, chickens for eggs, and bees again. The house is priority one for now. I have had, in the past, a dog grooming business, worked for a vet for awhile, worked with dog trainers for a year or so, and had many different dogs as pets through the years, both purebred and mutts. My question comes from a previously closed thread about best dog breed? I noticed that Wolfsoul mentioned being a service dog trainer. If you read this, or anyone else in the dog training field, could you please give your imput as to the best way to seek training in this area. I have only worked some with pet trainers, and didn't agree with all their methods, so I backed off after awhile. The area of service dogs interests me more; however, do to family commitments ( last child of five at home for the next 8-10 years) , I don't think I can travel to a school across the state or across state lines anytime soon. I am researching this out for when this house is reasonably finished, in a year or so. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks! :)
     
  2. themckendry

    themckendry New Member

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    Apprenticing is good if it's to a good trainer. Get a copy of Dog World magazine and put an ad in the back with your location and that you want to apprentice. Alot of pros read that mag and I think there is a school in PA. Also volunteer at your local shelter. The dogs are more adoptable with some training and you get alot of experience so it's a great deal!
     

  3. glory bee

    glory bee Member

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    Themckendry, Thanks for your advice. The shelter/ volunteer idea, I like. I hadn't thought of the ad. I did seek out apprenticeship when I worked with trainers the last time. I just wasn't keen on some of their ideas. Also, they weren't involved in much except beginning obedience training. I'll keep searching :)
     
  4. perry

    perry Member

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    I may be able to help. I have owned, bread and trained my own dogs. I have taken a college class on the care. The professer has taught and worked with search dogs and police dogs. I do have access to him and can ask him questions if I don't have the answers.

    What type a services do you want to train dogs to do?

    There are different methods of training. What did you like about the trainers you worked with and what methods didn't you agree with. Correction can and is over used.

    Do you use correction with your dogs and if so what?

    There are training methods that use only rewards. Alot depends on the trainer's personality and the dog's.

    Hope I can be of help. Feel free to reply, pm, or email

    Perry
     
  5. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

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    Perry,

    I too am interested in training a service dog. My interest is in training a dog for those in a wheel chair. I have pleanty of dogs to practice on <grin>
     
  6. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    There's a couple useful service dog lists on Yahoo, and elsewhere- my favorite is Clickersolutions, which is a clicker training list, but has a number of folks who have trained service dogs for themselves or others. There's a woman on there with two papillons who has been featured on Animal Planet several times who is an INCREDIBLE resource.
     
  7. glory bee

    glory bee Member

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    Perry, Thanks for responding. I only have a chance to check this site about once a day, if I'm lucky. Too busy mortaring and stacking logs at the moment. The trainers I worked with were very good with positive training methods. They did use treats, but gradually weaned the dogs off expecting more than a short word of praise . What I mean, is that treats were not overused. Leash corrections were used when appropriate etc. I guess what threw me was the (to me) strange way of discovering if a dog was allergic to a particular food. The one trainer would hold the food against the side of the dog. The dog's response was supposed to prove whether or not that particular food caused an allergic reaction. I don'tmean to offend,but this seemd off the wall! I decided to head in another direction. I am honestly not sure at this point which type of service I am interested in. Probably to help someone with some kind of physical or emotional challenge. I don't think I could physically handle search and rescue work because of a chronic back problem. I understand that this type of work can be long and physically strenuous. I would like to consider it, but need to be realistrc. I enjoyed working with the vet and helping sick animals, but didn't enjoy dog grooming quite so much. The business did well in a short period of time, however, I really wanted to work with animals doing something that could make a difference to someone in need. I purposely put it on a back burner, while family commitments took priority. I am researching it now in order to plan for the time (hopefully in the not too distant future), when I can again pick up where I left off. I cuurently have a boxer and an australian shepherd...both quite different in temperment and trainability. The boxer is intelligent, loving, and VERY headstrong LOL...the aussie is highly intelligent, loyal, and extremely easy to train. She is definitely interested only in pleasing, almost too much. I call her my velcro dog. Anyway hope this helps. Thanks again.
     
  8. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    We also have a Aussie. Her name is Misty and she is a tri. We are getting a blue merle female pup on Oct. 3 from a friend. Her name is Alfie. The friend will be getting our stud dog from California. We will co own him and he is a tri. They are the smartest dogs and want only to please. We are starting our breeding program and these dogs have good lines already.
     
  9. glory bee

    glory bee Member

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    Hank-Narita, I noticed on another thread that you were getting a new Aussie. They ARE great! Mine is named Tea Biscuit :D My son-in-law picked that one. We used to have a border collie ,also, many years ago...my other favorite breed. Good luck, hope you all become one happy family!
     
  10. WolfSoul

    WolfSoul Well-Known Member

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    No doubt I will begin to offend people now that we've gotten into this discussion. Leash corrections are NEVER appropriate. It is the sign of a poorly educated trainer. My dog weighs 80 lbs and I have a rod in my spine, yet she does over 100 tasks without COERCION. Using pain to train may seem like it's faster, but it has fallout. When you work a service dog in public, you are legally and financially responsible for whatever it does. That means if you train a phobia into it (say you strike it with your hands,) and someone mimics the behavior unintentionally, you may have a bite. If you have a bite, you have a lawsuit. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOUR SERVICE DOG'S BEHAVIOR HAS DIRECT IMPACT ON EVERY DISABLED PERSON'S LEGAL USE OF DOGS IN PUBLIC. If poorly trained animals go in public and get a reputation for aggression, the ADA law may be changed against us.

    Using pain to train may work in the short run and people say to me, yeah, but what if you don't have food to reinforce? To teach these people that using force is a choice and not a necessity, I take Journey into class and have her give a silent demonstration which includes only hand signals. She will do everything from carrying groceries in, to finding a phone people hide, to obedience, to some protection training. This is all done offlead. Then I challenge people who use jerk and pull leash corrections to do the same WITHOUT THEIR PRONG/PINCH COLLARS.

    By building mutual trust, bonding and respect, the animal knows YOU will never hurt it. It will run to you and not away from you and that could save its life. I have 99% recall with Journey and I only reinforce once every 20 times or so. I had a Shetland Sheepdog who was flea dipped at a local doggie shelter. They accidentally dropped him underwater and he jumped out panicked. He ran blindly straight towards the highway. I hollared "Justin! Sit!!!" and he stopped in his tracks and sat. He knew he could trust ME not to hurt him and in my mind that is what saved him.

    If YOU as the owner cause your animal pain, how then can he/she trust the rest of the population. The dog will be in a position to instantaneously decide if the hand coming towards it is going to hit or pet him/her. Some dogs will misjudge human intent and bite. In my opinion, why use pain training and set the dog up for this? Can you tell which people coming towards you down the street will rob you? No, but luckily you're not forced to interract with every Tom, Dick and Sally who wants to touch you, yet we expect dogs to be able to handle this without biting. In my experience, the best way is to teach my dog that MY job is to protect her and to look to me to tell her when she's in danger. That makes for a relaxed, happy dog in public. If I'm a source of pain to her, not only can't she trust me, but much of the public.

    No doubt some of you will say, surely you need to teach the dog who's boss, but if you read any of Karen Pryor's books on Killer Whale and Porpoise training, you will find that you can't muscle those animals into compliance, nor do you need to. All you need to know is HOW THE ANIMALS LEARNS AND WHAT REINFORCERS WILL KEEP THAT BEHAVIOR FROM BEING EXTINGUISHED.

    Dogs do what works for them. You, as the owner/trainer can decide to teach a sit by jerking a chain or luring it into position. You are still reward based training the dog. If the dog sits when jerked, the reward/reinforcer is end of pain. If the dog sits to a lure and you say good and release it, it gets one of its primary drives met..........hunger. The difference is mainly WHO YOU WANT TO BE AS A PERSON.

    I personally will not ever hurt an animal, especially one who is giving up its life to serve me. Using pain is not a necessity, it's a personal choice and one I think many people, if they knew there was another way, would opt not to use.

    My organization is dedicated to educating the public that there is a better way.

    Karen

    If you would like a picture of Journey doing laundry, just send me your private emails and I'll show you how possible it all is.

    PS. I have trained wolfdogs, pits, rotts, abused animals, horses, and worked on a horse rescue and never once had to resort to force. I DID on occassion have to sit down and think about things from the animal's perspective.

     
  11. WolfSoul

    WolfSoul Well-Known Member

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    The best way to become a good service dog trainer is to mentor under someone you RESPECT. You need to believe in their philosphy about animals, how they should be treated and how they should be trained. I personally believe every creature has the spirit of the Creator and should be treated as such. That means I allow each animal to learn in its own way, at its own pace and allow it to make mistakes without punishment.

    I am working to make it illegal to train service dogs with pain because of the potential losses to the entire disabled community because of the fallout of it and longterm problems. For statistical references for this read Murray Sidman's "Coercion and Its Fallout" and B.F. Skinner's "Beyond Freedom and Dignity." Skinner wrote an entire chapter on punishment and why he was AGAINST it, which most people don't know.

    Being a Service Dog Trainer is quite a challenge. You need to be very talented in reading dogs (which I believe is inborn and not learned -- from teaching many people in class.) Then you need to educate yourself about current ADA law and the legal ramifications of using a service animal in public.

    Then, if you are not disabled yourself (I am, by the way,) you will need to find a way to build empathy for the disabled individuals with whom you will work.

    All of that is quite a challenge in itself, but add into that equation that training dogs for the disabled may not be lucrative. Some to many disabled groups do have well-paying jobs, but many other do not. You may be serving the community least able to pay for the services which means you will need to rely on grants/donations. To do that, you will need to form a nonprofit corporation.

    If all of that doesn't scare you, then you probably are a good candidate for becoming a Service Dog Trainer.

    You can work for some other Non profit, but if they use techniques which bother you, then it puts you in an awkward situation. However, you can call and ask if you can observe their training. MOST WILL SAY NO. I always say yes. IMHO if you can't observe, you need to ask yourself why. I have an open door policy. People can stop by at anytime unannounced. Why? Because I have nothing to hide. They will never see an animal being abused.

    Also, be aware that Service Dog Organizations did not want to help me learn to train EVEN THOUGH I AM DISABLED. It's competitive out there and the grants are valued commodities. It offended me to no end that here these dogs were supposedly to help people, yet no one would let me watch their techniques due to competition when the truth is, with the baby boomers aging, there will never be enough service dogs to go around. I get calls from war Vets all the time, by the way. So, I ask you to please share your talent instead of compete with it.

    By the way, I'm originally from MD/PA, near the Mason Dixon line (Gettysburg) and will be visiting my mother in a few weeks. If you would like to meet me, just let me know.

    Karen

     
  12. WolfSoul

    WolfSoul Well-Known Member

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    I agree with apprenticing for a good trainer, however I'm against putting an ad in Dog World Magazine or any other magazine. Why? If a trainer is really good, they are swamped with people who want to apprentice. I am. I know others are too. We have many people from whom to pick and choose. If you advertise, you may get someone who wants you to intern and have you sign an "Agreement Not To Compete" contract and have you intern for two years or more. In other words, you may end up helping them build their business but be unable to run your own afterwards.

    Also, please be very careful about Service Dog Organizations. MOST service dog organizations will say they use positive reinforcement but it's in conjunction with other methods such as choke chains, shock collars, etc. Please make sure to ask if they use positive reinforcement EXCLUSIVELY and guarantee that they are 100% humane. Also, I beg you...........ask right up front if they use a "forced retrieve" or "ear pinching." These methods, IMHO, are unethical.

    AND ALWAYS LOOK AT A DOG'S REFUSAL TO COMPLY FROM THEIR VIEW FIRST!!!! A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE IS A MISTAKE I MADE WITH JOURNEY. Journey was about 4 months old when I was teaching her to get grocery items off of my table and hand them to me. To do this, I targeted the item by pointing to it with a "target stick." I pointed to a box of potatoes and she jumped up and grabbed the green beans. No reinforcer was given. I pointed to the potatoes again adn she handed me the chocolate cake mix......no reinforcer. We kept doing this and I knew she was guessing, but I didn't know why because she could do it in the store. I sat down in the chair (which was about the same height as she was) to think about it. When I did, I noticed I COULD NOT SEE THE ITEMS ON THE TABLE!!!! She was guessing because from a sit position, she couldn't see what I was pointing at. If I'd been hitting or shocking her for that what would she have learned?

    Don't make my mistake! Always give the dog the benefit of the doubt. Karen

     
  13. glory bee

    glory bee Member

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    Wolfsoul, WOW! Thanks for taking the time to write such an in depth reply. I really do appreciate the response. As far as choke collars, pronged cllars, etc., the trainers I started apprenticing with did NOT use them. They just made me uncomfortable in a few other ways. They would use a sharp quick yank when a dog would not respond to their commands. They oftened trained with a gentle leader, which seemedtome a humane device. I admit to being a step just above novice when it comes to proper training methods. I don't have enough experience in proper training methods to claim more than that. I do have a lot of experience with different breeds, and think I do have a pretty good rapport with dogs, generally speaking. I would like to learn properly and as thoroughly as possible; that is why I made this enquiry. As they say, a little knowledge can be dangerous :eek: When will you be traveling north? I am actually about 4 to 41/2 hrs. from Gettysburg. I should know that town; my husband has taken me there more than anywhere else, as he is a major civil war buff. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and being frank. As far as wanting a lucrative business, I wouldn't mind making SOMETHING , but am more interested in working in a field I enjoy that would benefit others, too. I love the human-dog relationship , and the mutual benefit that this matching of service dog to person can have. I have one other question. When wolf/dogs are raised , do you find them to have stable personalities? I know the vet I worked for discouraged people from purchasing them as pets. In his opinion, wolves should not be hybridized by mixing itwith a domestic breed, or domesticating the wolf itself. Thanks again!