View Full Version : questions about training classes

2nd October 2006, 10:33 PM
Can people tell me what the usual format is for training classes? I really want to take the ruby baby to one- good for her, as it gives her individual time with me and will help forge a closer bond- and good for me, since as a PhD student I can be very isolated. Why do you think I spend so much time online? :D

Anyway, I'm concerned about communication. Does someone stand at one end of a hall and yell instructions to you at the other? Is everyone expected to do pretty much same thing at same time? How much individual attention does the trainer usually give? Are the acoustics in the halls a nightmare?? :yikes

2nd October 2006, 11:49 PM
It all depends on the class. Ask if you can view a class before committing to one. A trainer should be willing to have you do this. I would look for a rewards based class where no dog is ever jerked around by a collar or choke or corrected for 'wrong' behaviour. I'd want to see everyone having fun and dogs' tails wagging. I'd like to see an instructor who goes through a lesson then gives each class member individual time as all practice the lesson together. I'd want to learn some new things about why dogs are or are not getting the hang of what is being taught, tips on how to better convey the right message, and some insights into reading what your dog is saying to you through its behaviour. The location or way the instructor needs to speak giving the size of the location doesn't really matter. :)

2nd October 2006, 11:57 PM
Actually, for me those things matter as much as the dog issues. I've read reports online for the training class I'm thinking of online, and they do permit viewing, so I'll check it out with your provisos in mind, and the comments I've seen have been positive. The blurb on the site talks about reward over punishment- love it's opening paragraph:

Do you want to have a good dog? That would be one that doesn’t bark, doesn’t bite, doesn’t chase bicycles, doesn’t dig holes in the garden, doesn’t eat the furniture, doesn’t jump up, ... , doesn’t do anything that you or society regards as unacceptable. The quickest way to get such an animal is to have it lobotomised - then it wouldn’t do anything.

:lol: :lol:

From my perspective, if the acoustics are wrong, or the trainer yells from one end of the room, I won't understand a thing and then I'll feel nervous which won't help the dog! I'm severely/profoundly deaf, and hearing aids lose efficacy after only a metre.

3rd October 2006, 02:04 AM
My pup Kingston is in his fourth week of training and he loves it! I enrolled him in classes offerred at my local pet supply store. There are about 8 dogs total in the class, and we meet in a relatively small room.

The trainer uses positive reinforcement only. She has us bring lots of treats and our dog's favorite toys. She demonstrates commands with her dog, and then has us go out in the store and practice with our own puppies.

We meet back in the room and she has each of us show her our dog's progress. If we're having a specific problem or the dog just isn't catching on, she'll give us pointers or work with the dog herself.

Then she shows us a new command and we start the process all over again. It really seems to be working for Kingston, and I like the intimate setting. It's also a great way to make friends with other dog lovers!

Cathy Moon
3rd October 2006, 03:40 AM
Our first trainer taught at many locations, mostly in veterinarian's waiting rooms during off hours. She worked at a different place each day of the week. The one we chose was a nice setting; carpeted and everyone sat in a circle, the acoustics were good, and the room wasn't too big! I think something like this would be ideal for you if you can find it. :flwr:

3rd October 2006, 12:36 PM
It would be, definitely! Although I can see the logistics issues of trying to train young pups in such a room. :yikes I contacted City of Belfast dog training, and recieved an absolutely lovely email back from them:

Hi Lisa,
It is never too soon to attend training classes - even if it is just for
socialization purposes.

You are correct that as your dog is under a year old it would start in the
puppy class which is held at 7.30pm and lasts for about 45 minutes. You and
the dog would stay in the puppy class for at least 8 weeks until the dog is
well settled and doing a number of things that we are looking for. After
this you would both move to the 8.15pm class for the Bronze award of the
Kennel Club Good Citizen scheme.

The cost is usually £15 membership of the club, and £2 per week that you
attend, but depends on your age and circumstances. Check the “Fees” page of
the website. www.belfastdogtraining.co.uk

The first week is free – a taster. If you don’t like it you lose nothing.

Family membership allows for more than one handler, so that if you were
unable to bring the dog then another family member could do so, and vice
versa. (But in class each dog will have only one handler – the other person
can only observe.)

Being hearing impaired gives you one luxury that is denied to others - you
won't hear the awful commotion that a room full of pups and adult dogs can
make when they want to. The puppy class is the delinquent class where
manners have still to be developed (hopefully just by the dogs.)
But seriously, you might miss out on some of the chat because the
surrounding noise will doubtless make it difficult to apply the
cocktail-party effect, but I will try to ensure that you get what is
necessary. Observation is of greater importance. Dogs don't speak and so
their communication isn't verbal. They communicate by body language and that
is to some extent what we have to learn to do to help them have an easy time
with us humans who often bring our own bias's and agendas to complicate the
(see the attached Word file, "an average day with your dog".)

There is no need for special arrangements for very small dogs. Yours will
not be the smallest, and besides we have two Yorkshire terrier pups at the
moment and they get on famously with a St Bernard pup.

When you come, bring the dog, a soft collar and a normal lead, and a good
supply of treats that really interest your dog (meaty chunks or little cubes
of cheese usually work really well.) You’re aiming to reward good and ignore
bad or undesirable behaviour, and you will be putting treats into the dog at
a rate that most owners will baulk at. (If you fear having a fat dog, simply
cut down on its meals so that it works for part of its reward/food.)”

I hope that helps. See you on Wednesday.


As far as the training angle goes, it does sound very good- although I'd prefer to use a harness, myself. Then again, the puppy harness I got is rather.... bizarre. Lucky I've also won a puppia harness, but I think it'll be too big at the moment, since it's a small! Oh, well, she'll grow fast enough. They sound willing to be flexible and very helpful, and it won't break the bank- which is just as well, since I'll have to taxi there!

If I get the puppy on Monday, is it too soon to start classes on the Wednesday? Should I wait til the week after?

*less than a week now*

3rd October 2006, 01:16 PM

How old will puppy be on Monday? Most training places won't accept you until 12 weeks because of the vaccinations?

3rd October 2006, 10:31 PM
She has her second (and final) set of vaccs on Monday, before the breeder runs her over here in the evening. At that point she will be just off eleven weeks old. Right now I am inclined to think that it would be better to leave it until the following week, when any reactions to the shots have hopefully settled and she is more comfortable generally. But maybe I should start in quickly?

Also, what are the best treats to give a young, small puppy- as you can see I have been told to bring lots of treats!

4th October 2006, 12:06 AM
The following week is better -- that's a lot of pendemonium to take a puppy into who has just been taken away from her mother and siblings. It will give her time to get to know you, too. And usually you really want to wait a week to 10 days after the last set of vaccinations for exposure to lots of dogs.

Often trainers are fine with harnesses -- especially if you explain the reason why. I always train on harnesses and honestly it makes not a jot of difference to how fast or slow they learn. Jaspar learns very quickly, often the fastest in his classes, and he was always on a harness at my first of Lisa and Tara's classes (back when I barely knew them! :lol:).

I can see why the acoustics were an issue for you now!

I think this place sounds really good, and like they have a good sense of humour.

For treats -- you can use small pieces of kibble or tiny pieces of cheese. I would feed her nothing for her evening meal before she has her class. Cheese cubes can be tiny -- like a tiny nubbin taken off a piece, maybe a third of the size of a pea. She will be very happy with that. It is easy to overfeed and upset their stomachs. tiny pieces of cooked ham (the kind for sandwiches) is good too. I often use catfood kibble as it is quite small and a little but for training is OK.

4th October 2006, 12:19 AM
You echo my thoughts on the matter! :D :D I wondered about cheese; I suppose I've just got into the habit of not feeding it since I was warned not to give it to Holly as her dad nearly died from a dairy allergy. I don't think she is allergic, but... better safe than sorry. However, I know the breeders removed him from their breeding prog when they discovered that, so there's no real reason why it should be an issue this time round. From one perspective it's shame- Lyneka Radulf was one absolutely stunningly gorgeous ruby.

What about those Denny? pork,onion and tomato luncheon meat things? I realise I probably shouldn't be feeding it since it's almost certainly high in salt, not to mention the onion.... but the stuff motivates Holly like nothin' else.
And I rather like it too.

BTW, what does he mean by the 'cocktail party effect'?

Cathy T
4th October 2006, 03:42 AM
Lisa - I definitely agree you should wait a week or so. Give her time to get used to you. I loved the e-mail you received. He sounds like a great person and has a wonderful sense of humor. Not sure what the "cocktail-party effect" means...I don't get out much ;)

5th October 2006, 09:30 AM
I believe that it takes at least a week, maybe more, for the immune response provoked by vaccinations to become effective, depending on the vaccine. there is reason for uncertainty as to whether vaccinations are effective in puppies because if the timing is not right, the temporary immunity they get from their mother's antibodies blocks the effect of the vaccination, and as a result, puppies can end up unprotected yet the assumption is made that they are protected because the effect of maternal immunity has not been accounted for. Again, it depends on the timing of the shots. I've read that that's generally why they give a series of shots rather than just one, even though theoretically it only takes one to provoke an immune response. By giving a series, the problem of maternal immunity preventing the vaccine effect can best be worked around.

that class sounds really good!

5th October 2006, 02:05 PM
That class does sound lovely! It's very nice that they took the time to write an extensive, personal note rather than simply spout off the times and details.

I would wait a week, too. Not only will the pup just have its vacs, it will need time to get used to you! A week of feeding it and loving on it will help you establish a trusting relationship, so that when you go into a room with a bunch of strange dogs and people the pup knows that you're a friend.

When my Cedar was a pup, she was picky about treats. We eventually found that Cherrios worked. She was so small, though, that I would break them into quarters, and she just got a little tidbit during training. (You want a treat that the dog can just taste but doesnt have to chew a lot. The chewing takes time and removes the dog's attention from you!)

I'll be interested to hear how your class goes!

5th October 2006, 09:32 PM
Yes, the chewing was an issue. Holly can be wild for it, so I break things up very small for her, even though she's an adult. Schmackos work quite well for that as they're so easy to break up, but I've kinda lost faith in Pedigree Chum. I bought some Nature's Menu? chicken treats- they claim to be 98% meat, and they're small to begin with and can be broken smaller still. Will these upset a small pup? I know you're not supposed to feed puppy food, but what about treats formulated for pups? Does the same embargo apply?

I'm definitely waiting for the week. :D

9th October 2006, 09:47 PM
Hi Lisa,

Whilst I am off work this week I'm gonna cook up some of Nikki's liver recipe as although Oakley is a greedy monster he doesn't seem as enthusiastic about Bakers Nibbles as Merlin. Merlin does like liver as Jack his austrailian sheedog friend's mum gives this to them both and he likes Veronica more than me on a Thursday! :lol: :lol: :lol:

10th October 2006, 09:01 AM
Hi Lisa,

Whilst I am off work this week I'm gonna cook up some of Nikki's liver recipe as although Oakley is a greedy monster he doesn't seem as enthusiastic about Bakers Nibbles as Merlin. Merlin does like liver as Jack his austrailian sheedog friend's mum gives this to them both and he likes Veronica more than me on a Thursday! :lol: :lol: :lol:

That dried liver works great for training :)

10th October 2006, 08:42 PM
Me? Cook raw meat from scratch? Especially red raw meat...eeeek! Um, when I first had Holly, she was fed on those raw meat patty things. I bottled out and switched to dry. I couldn't handle handling all that raw meat. I never do, even for myself- the only raw meat I ever touch is sometimes chicken and VERY occassionally bacon. Even then I prefer it already cooked or roasted!! I'd love to get the liver treats, but I'd prefer a version that's dry/non-greasy on the fingers/ as natural as possible ... What can I say? I'm a wimp.

11th October 2006, 06:42 AM
Lisa, your post made me laugh!!! :rotfl:

You sound just like me. I never cook raw meat. Maybe sometimes I'll reheat an already cooked chicken breast. Never with bones though ... :)

There are lots of varieties of dehydrated liver treats in the UK - do they have any off-the-shelf, non-raw-meat varieties that you can get at pet shops in the UK and Ireland?

11th October 2006, 06:48 AM
ooops ... it is late here ... I meant there are lots of varieties of dehydrated liver in the US ... I don't know about the UK and Ireland which is why I was asking. :roll:

I lived in London for a while but didn't have a dog then. :)

11th October 2006, 10:22 PM
I don't think so. You can get liver flavoured, but I've been bitten by the natural bug. Unless it involves me doing something complex. :roll: I'm the same with chicken Lani- I'll happily cook veggie based pasta dishes and add that ready cooked roast chicken- the stuff that's in chunks of chicken breast for sandwiches. Touch anything with bones? Nup. Ain't going there. ;) I always say I'mn really a vegetarian- I can eat meat and fish so long as I can pretend it grows on the shelf in the supermarket. :roll:

12th October 2006, 03:16 PM
Goodness me...... I must be well hard then!

I worked for the fish counter at Tesco for years while I was at college and then I had to learn butchery skills when I went into management for Somerfield.

I've been known to buy whole ducks just so that I can use my sebatier knives! I love chopping things! :badgrin: :badgrin: :badgrin:

13th October 2006, 08:17 PM

Kirsty, remind me never to annoy you. I think you must be very, very, scary.... Sounds like you'd be right at home on a fanfiction board I used to frequent. A number of people had a disturbing predilection for carving knives and using them on hapless characters- not to mention fellow board members. In stories, you understand. I think you'd fit right in :lol: :lol: