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Puppy class; is this how they all are?

dartfrog
September 15th, 2009, 01:35 PM
Hey everyone, thought I would see what you thought of this situation….
I took Dweezil to his first “puppy” class, there was 4 dogs Dweezil (boxer) 4.5months, a dashound 8months, another boxer 10months (un-neutered) and a third boxer 12months(also un-neutered). So when I first got there I was unaware of the ages ect of the other dogs; we had to sign a release form saying the money is un-refundable, they are not responsible for injuries damages ect ect. (I had not actually paid yet that was at the end of the class but I had signed saying I would and it was un-refundable for the course.) So everyone gets there and it turns out the 12month old wants to KILL the 10month old.. and would like to dominate everyone else too. It was an unorganized mess with poor direction, in to small of an area and most of the class was trying to keep your dog away from the aggressive one. She also wants us all to get a martingale collar but I think she really meant a limited slip from what I read (the one with a fabric collar and a chain where you leash to) Anyway I am soooo not good with conflict so having signed the release saying I was paying the full amount for all 6 classes I did and did not say anything about the fact that I didn’t really feel this was a “puppy” class (in my eyes anyway; maybe this is what they are like?) I guess I a stuck with them or not go back and eat the money; not quite sure what to do.

Winston
September 15th, 2009, 01:46 PM
I would try to stick it out for at least a couple more classes. I remember our first puppy class and it was pretty unorganized. It took a couple of classes for puppies and owners to get used to the routine etc. I dont know how much you paid be even just for the socialization around other dogs is good for your dog too! If you have concerns about the aggressive dog in a couple more classes I would mention something to the instructor because your likely not the only one feeling that way. Perhaps they could reschedule the aggressive doggie to another class!

My boy Winston pooped in the class on the first night so that was enough to throw me off in the first class! :D:laughing:

Dont forget puppy class is for the owner not the doggie. It shows you commands how and when to use them, consistancy, perhaps some grooming help...but all in all it should be a good learning experience! I would keep going! Best money I ever spent !

Cindy

Bailey_
September 15th, 2009, 02:15 PM
Sorry your experience hasn't been that great. I agree with Winston, if you're already in it for the long haul, you may as well stick it out. Unfortunatley not all puppy classes are like this.

Speaking from experience, the puppy lessons I hold are held outside at various locations so the pup is introduced to a variety of sounds/senarios immediatley. Were your lessons indoors or just confined to a small area outside? I agree - it's not a good situation to confine a puppy to a small area, simply because I don't think it's "real life" and doesn't give the owner the opportunity to approach real life scenario's with a trainer on hand to guide and help them. Which is why I always make sure our locations are not only different each week, but also fun for both owner and dog.

I do a free assessment for every puppy and owner before coming to my class, that way I know exactly what group they should be in, or if they need to be in private classes to start. A lot of trainers/behaviorists don't do this for free, but most will usually assess. I don't think it's right for trainers to throw all puppies together, because some clients seek out obedience training when they have a behavioral problem - which needs different direction than your basic 'sit-stay-heel' program that a lot of puppy owners are interested in; and as you mentioned, the word "puppy" doesn't always mean that they are of the same age - some are older and testing independence and dominance, at which point they should be with an entirely different group of dogs in order to maintain organization and control in a group setting.

It does sound like a martingale collar that your trainer is referring too. They're commonly known as martingales, and they are the only collars I train with as well. Are you hesitant about using one?

sugarcatmom
September 15th, 2009, 02:21 PM
Here's a good article on what to look for and expect from puppy classes: http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/puppy-classes

dartfrog
September 15th, 2009, 02:29 PM
Thanks everyone your input helps a lot!
Bailey I sure wish you were here LOL it sounds like you are the kind of trainer I was looking for, I really think the 12 month old should be in more of an obedience class then a puppy one (but guess what.. that person is a friend of the trainer!! Go figure eh)
I think I might suggest what Bailey said and see if maybe we could do the classes in an open field or at a park ect. Right now its in a little cleared area behind her house (its about 12foot square in the woods) we were getting dizzy trying to walk around it. There will be one more dog next time so I really feel this is not an adequate area to be doing this kind of training in but again what do I know LOL.
But you are all right I suppose its good practice for him to be in many different situations I just felt (specially the older dog) that maybe puppy class was not the place for a dog that needs more obedience training.
oh and no i just didnt know a lot about Martigales, they did however sound better then a chock chain :)

Bailey_
September 15th, 2009, 02:36 PM
Thanks everyone your input helps a lot!
Bailey I sure wish you were here LOL it sounds like you are the kind of trainer I was looking for, I really think the 12 month old should be in more of an obedience class then a puppy one (but guess what.. that person is a friend of the trainer!! Go figure eh)
I think I might suggest what Bailey said and see if maybe we could do the classes in an open field or at a park ect. Right now its in a little cleared area behind her house (its about 12foot square in the woods) we were getting dizzy trying to walk around it. There will be one more dog next time so I really feel this is not an adequate area to be doing this kind of training in but again what do I know LOL.
But you are all right I suppose its good practice for him to be in many different situations I just felt (specially the older dog) that maybe puppy class was not the place for a dog that needs more obedience training.

Certainly don't hold back voicing your concerns about this to the trainer. Sometimes this is the only way for a trainer to progress, and I'm sure she'd be willing to take into consideration your thoughts. We're there to help owners have a great relationship with their dog, and if our clients can't be open with us - we simply won't succeed at our job. Period.

Even if she doesn't want to move locations, she may not realize that this other dog is stressing the other owners and this could be a great opportunity to bring this to light. Sometimes what also can happen in that kind of a situation is that a trainer will tend to focus more on THAT dog specifically, and loses sight of the other pups in their class which also is not fair; again, another reason why you will find that most trainers do an assessment first.

But mostly, just try to remember that it's great socialization for your puppy. Even if this other dog is acting up, it's good for your pup to see that while in a controlled environment. It helps your pup become accustomed to a variety of energys, which will essentially happen sometime at the dog park, and not react to it.

The 12 month old may be a completley different pup at the next class, and hopefully it was just having an 'off day' as it was the first class. Good luck! Keep us posted!

Bailey_
September 15th, 2009, 02:39 PM
oh and no i just didnt know a lot about Martigales, they did however sound better then a chock chain :)

Martingales are nothing like a choke chain, even though they do have a small piece of chain on them. They act very differently than the choke, and are very forgiving to the owner when you're learning to use it for innteruption purposes. Like any training tool, they need to be used properly, so make sure your trainer is showing you all how to do so - and she's not just expecting your dogs to have them on.

They're incredibly safe as well, your pup will have a very difficult time getting out of it, if ever he is spooked. Not to mention, very comfortable for them as they give and take with their movement. I have one on my dogs when we venture outside, and reccomend them to anyone.

dartfrog
September 15th, 2009, 02:53 PM
There is another class I found (at a local rec center) and they limit the age to 5 months max (he will be pretty much exactly 5 months) I wonder if it would be to much for him to do two different puppy classes (the one we are in now is Mondays and the new one would be Tuesdays) but I think the 5 months or under one would be more like the page sugarcatmom posted a link too and I think could benefit him.

Bailey_
September 15th, 2009, 02:57 PM
Do it! Socialization in an organized setting is NEVER a bad thing. :thumbs up

Marcha
September 15th, 2009, 03:36 PM
I agree with Bailey on that one - do the other one as well. The last thing you want is to show your dog that dog/people gatherings are tense. Sounds like the below 5 months class will be a lot more playful.

I guess it depends on how much competition there is too for trainers in an area. Here (greater victoria), we have quite a lot of choice, so we can look around and see what's best for us and our pup. We started last week with puppy classes for 3 and 4 month old pups, and our pup isn't the oldest, but definitely the largest. In our puppy classes we have a miniature dachs, a yorkie, a schnautzer, a bernese and a blonde lab - and they're all around the same age. The classes are all held indoors, and there's max. 6 dogs. Family members are all welcome. There's no contract to sign; participation is by payment. I have found the trainer to be very hands-on and present for tips and information and suggestions, but also very knowledgable about dogs and breeds and personalities. If you want to check it out - http://www.communicanine.ca

We're going to start her 'family manners' class at the end of the month too, which is in a combined indoor and outdoor setting... so Bodhi will be in two groups simultaneously for the overlap of puppy classes and the family manners one.

dartfrog
September 15th, 2009, 03:49 PM
I agree with Bailey on that one - do the other one as well. The last thing you want is to show your dog that dog/people gatherings are tense. Sounds like the below 5 months class will be a lot more playful.

I guess it depends on how much competition there is too for trainers in an area. Here (greater victoria), we have quite a lot of choice, so we can look around and see what's best for us and our pup. We started last week with puppy classes for 3 and 4 month old pups, and our pup isn't the oldest, but definitely the largest. In our puppy classes we have a miniature dachs, a yorkie, a schnautzer, a bernese and a blonde lab - and they're all around the same age. The classes are all held indoors, and there's max. 6 dogs. Family members are all welcome. There's no contract to sign; participation is by payment. I have found the trainer to be very hands-on and present for tips and information and suggestions, but also very knowledgable about dogs and breeds and personalities. If you want to check it out - http://www.communicanine.ca

We're going to start her 'family manners' class at the end of the month too, which is in a combined indoor and outdoor setting... so Bodhi will be in two groups simultaneously for the overlap of puppy classes and the family manners one.


We are in the Collwood area and I actually found it hard to find anyone out this way... I thought this one sounded good but I just didnít really know what to ask or what to expect. I take it the one you are going to is right in Victoria?(I just looked and it looks like yours are in Bretwood, a little to far for us) The 2nd one I was thinking about is at the rec center out here in Collwood.

Marcha
September 15th, 2009, 04:03 PM
Yeah, we're in Brentwood, and I don't think Darcie goes out toward the Colwood area. But she may know some trainers who do! It's worth giving her a call and asking for recommendations.

Another link you may be interested in is
http://www.citizencanine.org/victoria-dog-trainers.htm

and

http://www.wonderdogs.bc.ca/
because he has a government accredited dog training *school* (for people to become trainers) and would know where the good trainers are in your area.

Bailey_
September 15th, 2009, 04:07 PM
Just make sure that whichever trainer you're reccomended to, trains with the methods you and your family believe in. :thumbs up Don't get yourself stuck in a class that you don't agree with the training methods. You essentially won't stick to it long-term.