Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Oh, Chou Chou...


I used to have a sweet little pup. Now I have an adolescent. ("Sit? Why should I? Are you going to make me?") She weighs nearly 50 lbs. already, and enjoys jumping on me more than anything in the whole world. She also loves to run at me in the yard and body slam me. This is not fun for me.

We are on Trainer #3. 

Trainer#2 was better than the first, except that she recommended scaring the poor pup with a Slimfast can (she said it had to be a Slimfast can) filled with 35 pennies (it had to be 35). I actually bought the can and loaded the pennies; I used it once, terrified Chou, and threw it away. And after that one visit, this trainer never returned my calls. Very odd. Wouldn't you think, for $150, she'd want to come back? But just as well!

Trainer #3 also came to the house. She uses only "pawsitive" reinforcement. "Deflect, redirect, praise, reward." Fine and good, except Chou is shoving into me harder, in what the trainer calls an extinction burst. Now, I know about  extinction bursts; I teach that stuff. But this is one very long extinction burst! Tonight Chou and I started a basic obedience class, 6 puppies, with Trainer #3. 

A dog walker comes for an hour every Tuesday and Thursday and plays with and walks the pup while I am teaching. Playing with a puppy for an hour is $35. One dog trainer here charges a ridiculous $1500 for a "series of sessions" (and I heard he uses shock collars); I paid $150 for Trainer #2 who didn't return my calls, and $195 for Trainer #3, plus the class for $195. No certification and no education required for these high hourly rates. Maybe I am in the wrong profession.

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