View Full Version : What do you look for in a trainer/obedience class?

9th February 2007, 04:30 PM
Hi all,

I am looking for a good obedience class for Murray. I called a trainer and wasn't able to make it into his class due to scheduling conflicts. However, he was describing his class and it involves using a "soft nylon training collar". Is this similar to a choker collar? Or are these commonly used and are okay? My preference would be to not use a collar at all.

Any advice on where to find good trainers? Or what specifically to ask when calling around?


9th February 2007, 05:11 PM
I don't know what he meant by that - I'd ask again, but there are some nylon training harnesses that are very good and put no pressure on the throat.

The easywalk harness is a good example. Lucky has one and he walks so well with it on - much better than the puppia. It gives a gentle correction when he forges ahead, but nothing severe and no pressure at all on the throat.

This is an example of what it looks like:


I'd investigate to see what your trainer is talking about, but if it is the Easy Walk, then I would not be concerned. Lucky forges ahead with the puppia but walks so politely with the easy walk. He rarely forges ahead at all.

9th February 2007, 06:06 PM
I have a feeling it means a nylon choke. :(


Most wouldn't use a walking harness for training all dogs but many clsses would use a nylon choke for training 'corrections'.

Why not call your vet or the local SPCA and ask if they have a list of trainers who offer rewards-based classes?

9th February 2007, 06:17 PM
We asked our vet for a list of dog trainers who use positive renforcement in their training and they refered us. I was also told to visit some training classes before you go and see if you like the trainer and the way the class is run? Also make sure that the owners, dogs and trainers arn't stressed. Also ask how many puppies will be in the class we have a max of 6 in the class? Do they separate the smaller and larger dogs during the free play socalisation time? We also looked on the apdt website but i think that just for uk dog trainers.

9th February 2007, 06:24 PM
Nylon choke ... :yikes

Since you are in NJ, I'll recommend Pet Smart for you - Lucky went there and it was a great experience. There were the distractions of the shoppers but it was actually a good experience havign him focus with those distractions.

If you're in the Northern NJ area Petsmart is actually opening a SECOND store on Route 17 - farther north. My trainer told me that new store will have an enclosed training ring and they'll be remodeling the current store to have one as well.

Also, I ran into some people with a Cav at another pet store and they are bringing their dog to American Canine Academy. You may want to google them and call to see if they are positive reinforcement. I will probably call them myself at some point to find out too - they have a very flexible Intermediate and Advanced training schedule and do agility as well. They are in Hawthorne.

(just edited to say that on their "Choosing a Dog Trainer" link they say look for positive reinforcement and training should never involve yelling choking or any methods that involved paint ...I'd still see if you can observe a class, but if it is convenient for your location it might be a place to look at ...)

Good Luck. :flwr:

9th February 2007, 06:24 PM
Good advice Natalie, thanks. :thmbsup:

A good trainer shouldn't mind if you coma and quietly sit and observe a class (without your dog of course).

9th February 2007, 07:06 PM
Thank you for the great advice. I am trying to find a class that emphasizes positive reinforcement. It has been hard to find one around here though. We are in South/Central NJ, we do have a PetSmart near here, I just wasn't sure how good there classes are. Good to know you liked it though and had a good experience there.

I'll let you know what I come up with!

9th February 2007, 07:56 PM
Some of the PetSmart classes are really good! My parents enjoyed the one they did with Lucy.

9th February 2007, 07:59 PM
The downside of taking a class at Petsmart is the temptation to buy new treats and toys every week before or after class ... icon_whistling

9th February 2007, 11:51 PM
Hi. If you want to PM me and tell me where you are located, I can give you some good recommendations here in NJ. we used a terrific trainer in Union and there is a great place in Frenchtown. And I know of a few others that are all positive based training. Your Murray is just gorgeous!

10th February 2007, 11:23 AM
If you are joining a group class then go to watch for a few classes, ask the others there if they enjoy the classes and if they see results from the way they are being taught, do the dogs and owners look happy....we always encourage this at our club classes.

Is it a nice atmosphere, do you LIKE the trainer? can you TALK to them?....remember the awful teacher at school? we never learnt anything from them! we always did with the nice ones :lol:

Look around and be fussy, it's easier to get the training done the first time correctly than having to undo and then re-train afterwards when things havn't gone quite right.

Relax and feel comfortable when you start training, tension travels down a lead. Practice little and often at home between classes as well.

You will know when you find a class that suits you....you will love to do it and you and your dog will want to return week after week. ENJOY and have fun!


Barbara Nixon
10th February 2007, 01:54 PM
I would also add : Look for a class where the trainer is in control. By tha,t I don't mean controling , but in charge of the situation ie dogs aren't allowed to interfere with others (I walked out on a class where dogs were tied round the outskirts of the room, unsupervised and allowed to lurch at any working dog passing by. At another despite being warned otherwise, a silly lady let her aggressive wheaten terrier off lead , causing a nasty fight with a labrador. The trainer was able to separate the dogs and calm everyone down. She banned the offending owner, with no refund, too )

10th February 2007, 03:33 PM
We have a new place in my town called Unleashed. They have an agility course, obedience training, grooming, boarding and an indoor dog park. The place looks really cool. I have used them for grooming (we also have a Yorkie) and was happy with them. This is the trainer I talked to who was saying they used the nylon collar. Maybe I need to call back to clarify how it is used. I could not use it as a choke collar. I would not do that to Murray. I think I'll call back, if I'm not comfortable with it, we'll have to continue with our search. There is always PetSmart! Murray loves it there because he always gets so much attention AND we do always leave with new treats or toys!

10th February 2007, 09:25 PM
Murray is absolutely adorable!!! Good Luck! :flwr:

12th February 2007, 07:04 AM
(I walked out on a class where dogs were tied round the outskirts of the room, unsupervised and allowed to lurch at any working dog passing by.


If she was a member of the PDTA I hope you wrote to them and complained. I know they spot check their instructors and would want to know of this if she was a member.

Alison. :flwr: