Went to visit Twin Cities Obedience Club last night to check out the classes and talk with the trainers. I've decided that I'm ready to make a change in where and how I train Argus, and need to find a place to start Letty in Basic Obedience. Am just not happy with the class Argus is in, and I KNOW the methods used by that trainer will NOT work for emotional Letty. Argus is starting to show signs of stress and I want to switch to a more positive training method for him. I prefer to train with treats and a lot of praise, and find almost everything easier to teach with rewards. Training a dog by correcting mistakes (a traditional method) can work OK, but positive training shapes behaviors. Letty's puppy class used the latter and she responded very well to that method, so I would like to continue with that.
Argus is a bit soft and quite emotional and doesn't respond well to physical corrections, and there are so many other ways to teach things. Because he's such a happy dog, and because I particularly love that part of his personality, I want to be sure he doesn't lose that. It's time to take a step back, re-evaluate techniques, and try a different path with him. We've been a team for a long time and I want us to continue being a team. And I want him to have fun.
Met with the Training Director, explained my goals and my concerns, and she will test Argus on Tuesday to determine an appropriate class for him. They have many different levels of training, which is a nice change from where I am training now. There are a number of school in this area that use the positive training methods, but TCOTC has been using them for many years.
I'd like to get back into serious obedience work, since that was where I started. I've trained at a number of schools, using a variety of methods over the years, and just need to find the right school that uses techniques that are a good fit for me and for my dogs.