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in home training or classroom setting?

June 21st, 2006, 08:31 PM
Ok, so I got the name of a good dog trainer in the mtl area (thanks Inverness), but I'm now having a long heated discussion with the boyfriend. He wants me to take Buster to a classroom type setting for training and I want to have a in-home behaviorist. The dog trainer I've contacted only does in-home consultations and training sessions. She charges 48$ +gas expenses (around 3$) for a session of up to 2 hours (she said between 1 and 2 hours)

You see, Buster already knows his basic comands (he knows sit, heal -- sorta--, lie down, off, leave it, etc). we want a trainer because there are a few issues that I can't seem to help him with. He is dog agressive -- he's never bitten any dog, but he does try to pick fights. He's just not socialized, and I've tried bringing him to friends houses where I know there is a submissive dog, but my friends are now asking me not to bring my trouble maker around!! :o
When he's with other dogs, it really looks like he doesn't know the rules to the dog-games and just freaks when any pooch sniffs him the wrong way!

I'd also like him to learn to come when off leash. He comes well when he's on leash (or tied to a rope), but he ignores me offleash (I only keep him offleash in a completely fenced in baseball field), and I'm worried if he ever gets away from me, I won't be able to call him back. Seeing as how he's a car chaser, a rabit chaser, a cat's worrisome.

So those are his two main issues. BF thinks that an in-home trainer is too $$, and that a classroom would work just fine.

What do you think??

June 21st, 2006, 08:58 PM
Since you are dealing with other dog issues the trainer should be the one to ask sometimes they offer private sessions at their facilities that would be less than in home. The trainer may want to start with some private classes and then start integrating so your dog learns to ignore the other dogs somehting that cannot be done in your own home.

June 21st, 2006, 09:16 PM
If Buster is dog aggressive, a group class is not the right environment for him (Unless its a feisty fido/growl class type situation, where the focus is on rehabbing dog-aggression).

June 22nd, 2006, 09:24 AM
Ive done both. The inhome training was great for our first 2 because they work one your specific issues. The classroom was great for our third dog because it got him learning in a new environment with lots of distractions.

In your case I would say private. It will be worth it to pay the extra money and get training on the specific issues that you need help with rather then pay less for basic obedience (sit, down, etc.)

June 22nd, 2006, 09:53 AM
I don't see how in-home sessions will help with the two issues.

dog agression - I would think that a class setting would be better to expose him to other dogs. granted, not a huge class, but a small one. One where Buster could keep his distance (so sniffing wouldn't provoke fights) but at the same time he'd get a weekly dose of learning to behave around and/or with other dogs.

recall - I found a class setting best for this, primarily because of distractions. My dog's recall is great at home, where there isn't anything better than his mommy holding a treat or toy. BUT in class, there are other dogs, people, other people w/ food (treats), noises, agility equipment, etc... if you can get reliable recall there, you have a better chance of getting Buster to come when he's out w/ you.

just my 2 cents.

June 22nd, 2006, 12:35 PM
He wants me to take Buster to a classroom type setting for training and I want to have a in-home behaviorist. She charges 48$ +gas expenses (around 3$) for a session of up to 2 hours (she said between 1 and 2 hours)

I have tried both private and group classes, Buster's "aggression" issues are exactly like Dodger's!!!

Dodger's issues were only a problem when another dog rudely got in his face so we could still do group classes without a problem. I just explained that he had personal space issues!

Having said that, I took a private class to deal with his "aggression" problem but I opted to do it at the training hall and not my own home... The trainer had her dog at the school so we were able to set things up and see where the problem was. If you have a good trainer - $51 is a great deal for 1-2 hours of private training!!

So if it were me, I would do both over a period of time... If you go with private training first you get the 1-1 time that deals with your specific issues. Your trainer should give you things to practice on and as Buster improves (approx. 1-3 months) I would enroll him into group lessons.
If money is an issues, I would go with group classes - just make sure you are still getting the help you need with Buster's issues and not just practicing stuff he already knows!

BTW, the best book I have ever bought was "Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog" by Emma Parsons.
A couple of things that I have tried with Dodger is having him carry a stick so he can't snap at other dogs, taught him to "leave" specific dogs, I also practiced a lot with friend's dogs (I'd reward and make sure only fun things happened around dogs). But the 2 most important things is training for attention (so your dog automatically looks to you when he sees another dog or gives you eye contact when you tap his bum!) and you need to learn how to control your body language so Buster doesn't react because you are uptight/nervous when he greets another dog (ie: slack leash, normal breathing, relaxed posture etc..)

GOOD LUCK and let us know how it goes! :)

June 24th, 2006, 03:05 PM
I would say start with at least 1 private. Let the trainer evaluate your dog and determine if your relationship and communication is where it needs to be in order to be effective in a group setting.

We don't do group classes upfront. I equate it to trying to teach a child to read at the circus. I would rather teach the child to read first and then go to the circus. We will both be more successful that way.

June 27th, 2006, 11:14 AM
I'm thinking that I like the idea of a few individual lessons...then moving on to a classroom setting.
Anyone have recomendations for a doggy trainer that does both indidual AND classroom? I've contacted Montreal Dogs (e-mail and phone message) and they have yet to call me back, so any other recomendations would be greatly appreciated!
BTW -- I live on the Montreal South anywhere on the south shore or in Mtl would be great.

June 27th, 2006, 12:47 PM

Am I allowed to post this kind of info here ?

June 27th, 2006, 01:59 PM
thanks again Inverness! Oooo, he's on the south shore too -- BONUS!!