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My cute munchkin in a 1 year old neutered pit/catahoula mix. He is a very submissive, very playful hyper puppy but I have a lot of land so he gets a great deal of running and outdoor time. He is a devoted, amazing dog. In the past I had a cattledog, who was extremely smart and dominant, so I trained her, but Ive never owned a pit mix before.

After dealing with a foster dog with dog aggression issues, I thought perhaps that it might be a good idea to work with a trainer for the pit's obedience training, so that I could do everything possible to make sure he grows up well mannered.

We have been through a few weeks of lessons now, but I am seeing changes in his behavior that concern me.

My dog is very sweet and very clever so he learns quickly with lures like treats and before the class he seemed to be coming along slowly on his commands. We knew sit, stay and were working on down a bit and had worked through bite inhibition, drop it, but he did pull on his leash some. He would come when called most of the time.

The class uses a combination of positive and negative reinforcement. The general principle employed is to give the dogs lots of positive affection and encouragement, but the instant they disobey or dont follow a command, to give a very sharp tug of a prong collar-hard enough to make the dogs yelp so that they learn never to disobey your command and constantly redirect on you.

It works-he will not hesitate to follow a command that he has been punished for ignoring...but his personality has changed. He has always been submissive and extremely playful and sweet.

Now he instantly submissive rolls when I come near him, is very evasive, even hiding in the bedroom when I get the prong collar, and he watches me...almost fearfully, even without the prong collar. If I verbally chastise him for being bad, he seems afraid to let me catch him rather than recognizing it as redirection, so has stopped responding when I call him over. (As an example, he likes to bark at the horses, so I speak to him sternly and tell him to knock it off, before he would come running gleefully albeit naughtily, now he will cower and be evasive...)

He seems to have lost some of his joy in seeing me, if that makes any sense.

I could be being a big wuss and thought this was in my imagination, but my roommate, a former male animal shelter intake staff member, kind of a tough big guy, also noticed that the dog's behavior has changed and he seems afraid of people more and is cringing until you get near.

more oddly is that he has always seemed to like other dogs-but in the last class when he went to sniff another dog, and he felt the prong collar begin to tighten he actually lashed out at the dog. Then when the trainer corrected him, he start mouthing her-not biting but open mouth gnawing her hands. I have also noted him mouthing me, when I try and correct him, make him follow a command with my hands or as a way to avoid having me put his collar on. The trainer very sternly rebuked him by several repeated forceful jerks on the prong collar until he was yelping.

I dont want to be a wuss, as I recognize that negative correction has a place, but are there certain dogs it isnt a good idea to use on? In the past I used very negative correction at times on stallions for instance, because it is extremely dangerous to allow them to cross boundaries. On my heeler, I would sometimes make her THINK death was rapidly approaching, especially when she chased the cat, but I never actually inflicted pain.

Not real sure about how best to handle and would appreciate guidance or feedback.
 

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Sounds like those methods are too harsh for a soft dog like him.

I personally base training style on the dog in front of me. My very stubborn, independent male does best with balanced training.

My female is very submissive and soft, like how your dog sounds, and she does best with mainly positive reinforcement. A prong correction would be serious and probably cause a fearful reaction from her, if not shutting her down entirely.

I suggest you find another trainer that works with the dog in front of them, not a "one size fits all" mind frame.
 

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Put the prong collar on that trainer and give it a few good yanks until she yelps, then get your dog out of there before he's completely traumatized and/or ruined. There's a saying, 'Jerk is a noun in dog training, not a verb.' Your 'instructor' fits the bill, especially where soft dogs are concerned.

I was in a class where the 'instructor' was the same kind of jerk and I never let him anywhere near my soft dog. I never did the yanking corrections either, because positive reinforcement ALWAYS worked better and I'd point that out to him, not that it made much difference. I probably should have dropped the class, but I paid my money and it was a chance to work with other dogs, so I did the exercises using positive rewards and the occasional negative verbal correction. My dog was the only happy one there...
 

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Put the prong collar on that trainer and give it a few good yanks until she yelps, then get your dog out of there before he's completely traumatized and/or ruined. There's a saying, 'Jerk is a noun in dog training, not a verb.' Your 'instructor' fits the bill, especially where soft dogs are concerned.
Well just to be fair, I dont think the instructor has any ill intent at all, instead they are incredibly caring and loving towards the dogs. They actually put significant amounts of their own time and money into helping individuals rehabilitate animals with severe DH and AH so that the animals dont have to rehomed or euthanized. They also take in animals with behavioral issues on the euthenasia list at local shelters due to behavioral issues and rehabilitate them and work to find them new homes on their own dime, so extremely giving.

I suspect the perspective is one of "tough love" where it is thought it better to use negative reinforcement to teach behaviors and reinforce a well understood relationship, which results in a better long term outcome for the dog and owner.

My understanding is the methods are grounded in training of working dogs, where perhaps absolute adherence is essential in the jobs the dogs will perform.

However as a pet, the things I need absolute adherence to are few and as BC mentions, may be a bit much for my pup to cope with, without modifying some of the aspects of his personality that I enjoy.
 

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Sorry, I don't see this class ending well for your dog, no matter how 'caring' or 'loving' those people are. Thanks to their cookie-cutter methods of treating every dog the same, your dog dreads the collar and, by extension, you, because of the harsh treatment and pain he is receiving. Correcting so the dog is yelping in pain? NO. Just NO.

Your dog cowering away from you, being evasive and refusing to come when called tells me he DOESN'T understand what he's supposed to do, and he's afraid you're going to hurt him again. Redirection? You got a classic example when he attacked the other dog when he felt the collar tighten. He doesn't want to lash out at you, so he lashed out at the other dog.

My soft dogs are thrilled when the leashes and collars come out for training. They jostle each other to be the first one worked, they come when I call, they tag along happily when I'm working around the property, and they dance when I get home from work. Did your dog do that? Does he do it now?
 

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Sorry, I don't see this class ending well for your dog, no matter how 'caring' or 'loving' those people are. Thanks to their cookie-cutter methods of treating every dog the same, your dog dreads the collar and, by extension, you, because of the harsh treatment and pain he is receiving. Correcting so the dog is yelping in pain? NO. Just NO.

Your dog cowering away from you, being evasive and refusing to come when called tells me he DOESN'T understand what he's supposed to do, and he's afraid you're going to hurt him again. Redirection? You got a classic example when he attacked the other dog when he felt the collar tighten. He doesn't want to lash out at you, so he lashed out at the other dog.

My soft dogs are thrilled when the leashes and collars come out for training. They jostle each other to be the first one worked, they come when I call, they tag along happily when I'm working around the property, and they dance when I get home from work. Did your dog do that? Does he do it now?
:goodpost:
 
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