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Discussion Starter #1
So. The trainers that came to the house before for Agis worked on desensitisation and don’t do one on one actual obedience training. I’d like someone to work on that.

On our New Year’s Day walk (not a long hike!) we met a lady with a Presa Canario who was intact and impressive as all get out. Super calm dog that you could tell was very good at keeping his edge in check. Sent our such strong calming signals Neb was fine with it and he often has issues with intact dogs (I think because I didn’t neuter him until he was 18mos).

Normally I’d think it was super sketchy, but I checked out her stuff in more detail and she’s coming to the apartment tomorrow for a meet and greet to discuss what she does.

But -

I talked to her last night, and she works with the humans, then takes the dog away and works with it on her own, then works with owner and dog together.

I am deeply uncomfortable with someone working with my dogs when I’m not around. She says she trains in a calm assertive style, but Toby swears the Presa was wearing an e-collar (recognising it is a tool like any other - I mean, I’ve used a prong with my hard aggressive female GSD) and I don’t want force used on my puppy, especially because Agis can be sensitive. Not being there I won’t know what she’s doing.

I told her I was not comfortable not being there, and that is she could offer one on one with us and Agis at the same time I was interested.

I’m not off-base here, am I?

I know Agis will be a powerful dog and her big powerful Presa was a great advertisement, but I really don’t like the idea of someone else training my dog. Training is bonding and I want to do that, plus I can’t be sure of her methods if I’m not there.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I talked with Toby some more and contacted the trainer and told we’d decided not to proceed. I think this is a “follow your gut” situation
 

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There’s a good and a bad to e-collar training.

The bad:. I once rescued a Lab/Red Heeler that had been so abused by someone’s e-collar method, that I couldn’t even get a normal cloth collar on him, without him falling to the ground. I never was able to put a collar on him. I did all his training at liberty.

The good: is knowing HOW to use an e-collar. The dog has to have been trained in Obedience 101 at the very least. The PROPER use of an e-collar is follow up obedience, in an uncontrolled environment, of what the dog has already learned in a controlled environment.

We have 25 acres and horses; both dogs are fantastic with the horses. We are surrounded by large cattle farms and a lot of woods — that means there is an occasional misplaced head of livestock and a lot of wildlife to chase. Recall can often go out the window and that’s when the e-collars come in to play.

By now both my 2-1/2 yr old Rottweiler only needs the buzzer on rare occasion. She is so smart, she looks to see if I’m holding the controller if she is thinking bad thoughts, lollol. I keep her collar at 12 because she is still prone to know-it-all-disobedience and will Bull right thru anything lower.

My 5 yr old Catahoula/Pit Bull hasn’t needed the buzzer in a couple years. His collar is only on 2 because his hair is so short and just wearing the collar has long since been enough for him.


There is nothing at all wrong with an e-collar in the right hands but I do agree with you — Unless I personally knew the trainer and was 200% sure of their training ethics, I would not send my dog to a trainer who uses e-collars.

My suggestion is to enroll Agis in basic obedience and do your homework practicing every day at home until the next group lesson.

Once he has his commands down to perfection, then add an e-collar if you want to walk him in remote areas off leash.

An e-collar can actually be a safety feature for the dog, when properly used, so they don’t get coaxed away by an unseen stranger; I live in area heavy with illegal dog and cock fighting. When dogs like mine go missing, it’s never a happy ending.

During hunting season, my dogs also wear orange dog safety vests, even though they never go off our 25 acres and they are never without DH or myself, unless they go in our fenced back yard.

Your dogs should be on leashes at all times when in public areas and Rottweilers should be kept out of crowds.

Hope this helps:)
 

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I think you made a very good decision. There is no way in hell that I would ever allow someone to take away my pup from me to assess,or train him. I'm also not against e-collars....but not impressed with someone that calls themselves a trainer that has to have one on their dog to walk him. What has this "trainer" done with their own dog/dogs? What titles? what accomplishments ? When a trainer can title their own dogs...then I would see how they did it. Anyone can call themselves a trainer...there is no certification...nothing needed.

Find a group puppy class...and keep on going to some sort of classes for the next couple of years. Have some goals...like getting a CGN on him, or doing Rally, or agility,etc. Start with positive type classes...and if Agis starts needing a bit more...then find a balance type of trainer...one that uses positive, but also can use negative when the dog is being an ass (and needs correction).

What part of the city are you in? I will reach out to my fellow RCC members and see if I can get any recommendations for classes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, I agree - I'm not against e-collars (I used one for a brief time with my female GSD to help her), and Toby was around for that, it really was just the situation that I think freaked him out.

I wanted to do group classes with him! The trainer who came in for his desensitization thought he wasn't ready yet, but I've reached out to her (she's on vacation I'm pretty sure) and will see what she thinks now. He's quite confident in most 'scary' situations these days, and the stuff I can figure out how to teach him (my weak point; Luc and Teagan, my two GSDs, I got as adults, though I did do training with both of them, and Xerxes came knowing things, Nebbers copied the GSDs are a pup, though Agis doesn't seem inclined to learn that way) he's pretty good at. Loose leash walking is coming along nicely when he's walked on his own (we need to work on it as a group) so overall I'm pretty happy with his progress, though he's starting to get a bit butt-headed at the thought of going for walks without the big dogs so I'm trying to focus on doing that as I expect for him to go on his own sometimes.

The trainer we did see is with When Hounds Fly. He's too old for their puppy classes - by the time his kennel cough we adopted him with was done, we were past the maximum starting age - but he could do a beginner class.

I would love to get a CGN on him, I think he'd be a great therapy dog (assuming his personality holds through maturity), and as a bipolar person I'd love to take him to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health which isn't too far away and visit the patients there - they have programs. I also want to do canicross and skijore with him when he's old enough, maybe teach him to pull my pulk for winter camping (hello I'm lazy) but that's mostly when he's full grown. Though we're going to cabins 10 minutes outside of the west gate of Algonquin for 16 days towards the end of January/beginning of February and I want to take him to the rail trail (where you can ski with dogs) and instead of walking him have him get used to me being on skis for a couple of kms (don't worry, I'm such a bad cross country skiier my walking pace and skiing pace are pretty similar, and I'll go slow for him!). So I've got to teach him hike/gee/haw too! Those are my goals with him :)

I'm in High Park, in the west end of Toronto. If you could get recommendations that would be lovely! Thanks!

In other news we were to the vet today (first lepto booster/vaccine since we do hike/camp so much, and we had found a lump on his chest which since we were going in anyways we tried to show them but despite it's seemingly huge size even earlier this week we couldn't find it, so it must've been a cyst). He's gained 4.8lbs in two weeks, he's 26.8lbs now! 20 weeks yet 4.5 months old.
 

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Good to hear that Agis is growing and gaining weight! Does not sound like he is going to be too big a dog...probably about 60 lbs? I'm guessing.
If you are in the High Park area then the Swansea Dog Obedience Club is not too far from you. Swansea Dog Obedience Club - HOME With a club, you can go for all sorts of different classes.
There is also North York Obedience Club www.nyoc.ca But, they may be a bit too far to travel for you.

It's nice that you are so enthusiastic to try and do things with Agis....I'm sure you will have lots of fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Based on his age and weight probably around 70 I think. So not huge. Not small, but not huge either.

I know of Swansea (sadly no longer in Swansea or it'd be SUPER close). But it's still eminently-get-to-able.

I looked at Swansea and I believe their fall puppy classes were already underway when we adopted Agis. And their winter obedience 1 takes place in part when we're away for 16 days so we'd miss two classes :( Hmm. I will see what When Hounds Fly can do because they're more flexible about how you take their foundations classes. You don't have to sign up for a specific day, you can take them as convenient.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
His one-on-one trainer is coming in for the second session to focus on obedience January 22nd! She was rather booked up. It's my birthday, what a better way to spend it!
 

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Let us know how things go. Have you found a group obedience class yet? That will really let you know how the boy is learning...LOL! They always seems so brave and smart at home, or their own turf. Put them in a room with a bunch of strange dogs, and people...and watch that "smart" dog..turn into jello...hahahaha! By the second or third class...they usually settle in, and really start learning.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I will let you guys know.

He will hopefully 'graduate' from private training with When Hounds Fly on the 22nd and then we can do their Foundations 1 group class. Like I was saying, because of our vacation schedule, unfortunately, Swansea doesn't work this winter.

I have started having him do obedience when we're far away from our building and we see other dogs and with TREATS he's pretty good but I don't kid myself that that's what's holding his focus. Walking in High Park through the dog off-leash area it's constant dogs so we stopped for awhile and just did obedience and with the squeeze pure pumpkin puree he was decent.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I just thought I'd update - we still hadn't registered Agis for classes at the place our private trainer works at. I took a look at Swansea again and they have spring classes that work well for us so I've registered Agis and I!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, as an update - due to COVID, the classes Agis and I were registered for were cancelled.

Where his private trainer came from eventually moved to online classes, but I wasn't convinced of their efficacy and frankly at $262 plus tax seemed a bit...high...for an online class. I decided to wait to see if Swansea would offer anything. Nothing in the summer, they had fall online classes, but I discovered that too late.

We are now doing online training with the Toronto Humane Society (where we adopted him from; with a discount due to that, $102 for a virtual course). I'm pleasantly surprised. A lot of this we knew, but we've been refining (getting rid of all of MY bad habits!), and picking up a few new things. Agis loves it, he is so motivated to train now. Earlier today I got up from the table I work at to go to the bathroom and he thought we were going to train (we'd done 3 short sessions earlier in the morning) and he lost it, leaping in the air, running around he was so excited. I felt bad that all I wanted was a pee!

I think it would be more ideal to train in person in terms of other dogs acting as distractions. Neb and Xerxes are a bit, but they're known entities. We do go to parks sometimes and work in heavily trafficked areas, but should really do more of this. However, with COVID, I don't have as many options for that (that being in-person classes). Private trainer's place is doing in-person classes, but I'm not 100% sure how comfortable I am with that with cases climbing here again.
 

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Good for you for taking an on-line training class!! I agree...I would not pay $262 . + to take an on-line class.
It is true...with every class you take, you do learn something new...or it at least lets us get rid of the bad habits we all develop with our training.

Glad that Agis is enjoying training...so much fun! Covid really had been hard for people that want to train with their dogs...you are lucky that you have done some training. I cannot imagine starting with a first puppy, during Covid...and having to learn online, or winging it on your own...it would be so hard!!

I'm hoping that by early Spring things will be better and there will be more dog training classes, and fun activities to do. We are hoping to adopt a retired CH in the middle of January (not a Rottweiler)...but I will get signed up for classes to form a good strong bond. We hope to do tracking, barn hunt, lure coursing, and scent detection...and of course obedience. It's been too long here without a dog!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks! Yeah, I just couldn't swallow $262+ for an online course. But it's been a lot of fun for both of us. The trainer was laughing last time because Neb and Xerxes were out and 'helping'. Agis is picking up the new stuff faster than I ever thought he would, certainly faster than when I was training him on his own. I think he's really engaged right now.

What's a CH (at risk of being dumb)? It'll be nice for you to have a dog again, Rottie or otherwise. I wanted to do barn hunt with Xerxes but he's such a poophead about other dogs that I shuddered at the waiting to start. He's a lot better now, maybe we should look into it again next year.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Agis graduated from Tier 1 today, and we're signed up for the next Tier 2 offering, at the end of February! (Why so far away, sigh)
 

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Congratulations!! What kind of stuff is in Tier 2 that he will be learning?? Look up CGN...and practice the different exercises till the new class starts. I bet by Spring he will be ready to get his CGN and pass!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yes, I know CGN - I'd like to do that with him! I'm honestly not sure what is in Tier 2.

That's a great idea to start on CGN exercises now.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
To keep us in the habit (of learning new skills) before Tier 2 starts at the end of the month, Wednesday we start four weeks of tricks training with the humane society (virtual, obviously).

I am excited because outside of 'shake' and 'high five'...I am not good at training tricks. I need the help! (I've tried to teach roll over after watching some videos, boy, did that go poorly) I found our last online trainer really made new skills easy, so I am hopeful we can do well.
 

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Good for you! It will be interesting to see what tricks Agis can learn . Online training is probably not the best, but what can you do?? Hopefully in another month or so there will be real classes going again.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yeah...hopefully. We're doing Tier 2 obedience virtually but for getting a CGN it kind of needs to be in person. I can't have someone hang onto him while I walk off, because, well, COVID. But we'll get there.

In the meantime, hopefully tricks are fun!
 
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