Puppy Training

3364009340?profile=originalI'm looking to start training with our 9wk old Labradoodle puppy Penelope. I've spoken to a couple trainers in town (Salem, OR) and haven't found any that I'm super confident in. Some use punishment techniques, and the only positive-reinforcement trainers I've met have pretty out of control dogs themselves (not a good marketing tool). 

Anyway, I'd be interseted to hear how you guys started training and if there are any good resources to help (books, videos, etc).



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  • Thanks. I also only want positive reinforcement training. I've seen a lot of youtube stuff on clicker training, and I've started with that. I've only had one appt with our vet so far. I wasn't super impressed and will be looking for another one. He didn't really have an opinion on training methods or have any recommendations for me which kind of alerted me that he wasn't going to be a good fit.

    I'll ask my Facebook friends to and hopefully find someone local.


  • Welcome to you and Penelope!  No tips for you about trainers, but sounds like you're on the search.  Cool to see another Oregon dood(ette!)  Best of wishes for your training.  Such a cutie!!!!

  • I would first find a puppy class in your area. This is usually a fun class where puppies get to meet other puppies and you get the basics. There is also a training group on DK with lots of good advice. Good luck!

  • Have you checked this place?

    My Dog Gym and Training Centre


    They seem to have instructors who are certified by the Karen Pryor Academy, which focuses on clicker training. You can see the profile on one of the trainers here:


    This trainer is based in Corvallis, but her web site is excellent. She says she works in the Willamette Valley and the Central Oregon Coast.


    Because I live in Texas, I have no knowledge of either of these trainers, but I am a big believer in clicker and positive reinforcement training! I hope this helps you in your search!

    • I actually had a consult with them just yesterday. It was going really well until they brought out their dogs for an example of how clicker training works. The two demo dogs had been trained for years with them. And although they did the "tricks" on cue, they were almost choking with how much they were pulling on the leash. They were out of control and would only break to do a trick&treat.

      I was impressed with the establishment, but would not consider their dogs a success or example of what I'm after. 

      I've found most helpful tips on youtube on this channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup

      But she lives in Sweden so it's not all that useful for hands-on training. I guess it's better than nothing though. Thanks for the help Elizabeth!

      • I would have a real problem with that too.  I want a trainer to show me dogs that he/she has trained, and I want to see dogs that obey commands on and off leash and are calm and balanced.  Tricks are fine, but if the dog cannot be relied upon to calmly walk by your side even among distractions, then the dog is not "trained" in my book.  I think Penelope is really young for formal "training" at this point.  I agree with Laurie that this is a perfect time for a puppy class where she will learn "dog socialization" which is so important and some basics. I'd get her used to being on leash and reward when she's by your side and paying attention to you.   This is a time for having fun with her and building her confidence.  When she's around 5 or 6 months is when trainers usually recommend beginning your more formal training program.  At that point you can decide what kind of program you want to use.  I believe in using a balanced approach...corrections to show the dog when they have made a "mistake" and lots of praise and reward when they make the right choice.  Everyone must come to that decision for themselves, and after to talking with lots of different trainers you can decide what you will be most comfortable with.  There were two books that were helpful to me.....My Smart Puppy by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson and Mother Knows Best by Carol Lea Benjamin (this was written quite a while ago but it was really helpful to me). Please consider joining the Puppy Madness and Training groups....there's lots of helpful info there.  Good luck....you're in for a wonderful adventure.  I think it's awesome that you're thinking seriously about training already....good for you.

        • Great. I'll look into those.

      • That's why it's so important to check these people in person! Good for you!

        Did you contact the Good Dog Gentle Training person in Corvallis? I was thinking that, because of the university, there might be more chance of finding a good trainer there.

        Even if you can't find a trainer in person, you can do this yourself.

        One of the most important books for me when Cosmo was a little puppy was the Monks of New Skete: The Art of Raising a Puppy. There are also a number of books specifically on clicker training, Karen Pryor's and others. Just go to Amazon.com and search for "clicker training for dogs." And, if you go there through the Doodlekisses link on our home page, a portion of what you buy will benefit this site!

        • Thanks for the advice. I am reading The Art of Raising a Puppy right now. I also ready Cesar Milan's book on raising a puppy and Puppy's First Steps. They are all really good for general info. I guess I was looking for something a little more in-depth on training methods. I am reading Karen Pryor's book right now too (Don't Shoot the Dog). Hopefully that has more prescriptive advice.

          • Karen Pryor has one called _Getting Started: Clicker Training for Dogs_ that has a lot of detail and specifically focuses on clicker training.

            Also, I would encourage you to take Cesar Milan with a grain of salt--and to think about his theories just as critically as you evaluated your in-person trainers. Specifically, I have concerns about the application of his "pack" approach to single-dog homes.

            Temple Grandin, though she readily admits that livestock are her primary research area, not dogs, finds the one- or two-dog home to be more like a family, with the humans as mom and dad and the dog as the child. I find this metaphor more applicable to our experience with Cosmo and more compatible with positive reinforcement training.

            You're clearly on the right track! I applaud you for dedicating so much thought and energy to training your puppy!

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