View Full Version : Remington's 1st puppy class

17th March 2013, 09:31 PM
After attending puppy class with my first dog (a Golden mix) I though I had this whole thing figured out. Remington, my 5 month cavalier, had other plans. He was the most unruly puppy there. He would not settle even after I tried distracting him with treats, one of the helpers tried giving him a chew, they even tried putting him in a thunder shirt thinking he was just anxious, it was ineffective. I am assuming he was not happy that he could not get to the other dogs or people and that the focus was not on him. Once the trainer came around, because it was his turn, he did great and knew all the commands she was explaining. Week 2, he did a little better, but was still not happy just observing. At home he is very chill and I do not dote on him for his every whim although he does get plenty of attention. I am pretty good at teaching him all the commands he needs for this class, but I signed him up because I wanted to get him in a different environment so he can be well adjusted in different situations. Does anyone else have any stories they can share from their puppy class experiences?

17th March 2013, 11:51 PM
I'm pretty sure Bentley's puppy class was $100+ wasted. He was about 4 months old; we are in our 70s and he's our first house dog and we had/have no idea what we were/are doing. Yes, we dote on him. As we speak, Grandpa has him on his lap in the recliner, on his back, snoring with his belly being scratched. (the dog, not Grandpa!) At puppy class he was so hyper we could hardly get him inside the building. Seriously. I was scared he'd get loose from his leash and run to the street because he was just wild with excitement. Once inside, all he wanted to do in class was sniff and wrestle the other dogs. It was embarassing because most of the other owners had a clue and had already trained their puppies somewhat. He learned "sit" and "leave it" "take it." However, it was only a game to get treats and of no value when outside. It's our own fault, not his. I imagine at age 2 he would now be a little more settled and could learn something; I probably wouldn't take him to the same place, though.

26th March 2013, 12:47 PM
it's such a shame to hear your stories because I really enjoyed puppy training with Jazz. the class was restricted to 6 puppies only (very important as they do get very distracted!!!). We were told before class that we should take their dinner of dried food as rewards and then some high value treats (roast chicken in Jazz's case!) for when they start losing concentration. Once she realised that food was the reward, then I had Jazz's attention! Yes we had puppies getting lose and running around, barking etc but generally the class was a calm yet fun environment and we had some good laughs - we were also confident that they were safe.

Jazz became a little star beacuse once she realised that the trainer had cut up hot dogs as her rewards, Jazz would sit, lie down, give her paw in fact everything she'd been taught, without being asked, in the hope that she'd get some hot dog - I could never get past the trainer at the start of the class as Jazz would want to go to her for a treat.......perhaps it was actually me that was getting trained by Jazz?!! :rotfl:

Perhaps I've just been lucky but I got quite alot from the classes and most importantly, Jazz has very good recall skills which was my primary aim as I wanted her to be safe - of course from time to time she develops selective hearing!

26th March 2013, 02:20 PM
To be honest I think maybe the disappointing experiences are more due to the instructors and a poor approach to the classes,. There are huge benefits any puppy gets out of going to a socialisation class. The point should never be to do obedience in class the whole time and expect puppy's attention!!!

It's the difference between, say, a children's art class and an adult art class. Noise, messiness, disorder and FUN is the whole point!

This is all VERY normal stuff and exactly WHY puppy socialisation is recommended!! It is GOOD for them to be a bit unruly, meet other puppies, be distracted and gradually learn to be less so.

If the instructor wasn't encouraging fun interactions, and instead focusing on puppies having to learn things in such a class -- well, that's just plain sad and stupid. Especially if the instructor in any way made people feel the issue was their puppy not being somehow up to the mark. :sl*p:

One major problem is that basically anyone, no matter what their level of experience, education in training, qualifications, or personal stupidity, can offer a dog training class. So most are mediocre, most are based on training theories developed from outdated, poor early research on wolves and dogs now accepted in the professional world as being WRONG but totally underlying most obedience (corrections/dominance theory) classes. Most are offered by people who haven't a real clue about dogs, canine learning, working with students or dogs correctly... the list is endless on the problems with dog training classes. Just because someone likes dogs doesn't make them a good trainer! But that is the general level of 'qualification' most have. :(

It's why I recommend people only do classes from CPDT or APDT certified instructors -- the former is the better qualification now in the US but either is good outside North America (based on how people are certified -- it's far more open now in the US and less of a quality mark).

If the instructor isn't that great, I'd focus on letting a puppy just experience the class as the meeting other dogs./humans part, and doing some early fun obedience with a room of distractions, is all good. Socialising like this is what GOOD instructors consider one of the single most important things owners can do with a young puppy, so it is well worth doing a class (I'd consider it essential!).

26th March 2013, 03:26 PM
The last two classes have been better. The instructor is CPDT certified and they teach positive reinforcement as opposed to the dominance pack leader mumbo jumbo. I think the main issue is the chemistry of the puppies and owners in the class and the size of the room. The class consists of seven puppies and four of those are restless or have some fear based issues. I am not including Remy as part of the four because after the first class I found bringing a lamb pizzle for him to chew on when the instructor is talking distracts his attention to chewing instead of getting worked up by the other dogs whose humans haven't figured out how to calm their puppy. I feel bad for the instructor because she has really tried just about everything to calm some of these pups down, by playing calming music, wrapping them, giving them a variety of chews. All it takes is one to stare at another and the barking starts all over again. Because of this they haven't been able to get them into the socialization portion of the class. This was the main reason I signed up. I was thinking maybe if they allowed them to sniff each other under supervision it may diffuse the mystery, but I am not a trainer. Remy is such a social pup, the fact he can't get close to the other dogs and people frustrates him. He is learning and I suppose he is not always going to allowed to greet.

Its funny because with my other pup I took to puppy class. The instruction was bad (one of the big pet shop chains) but the facility seemed more conducive to training. The dogs were in closer proximity to each other and although the first week was harder, by the 3rd week all the dogs seemed to have formed a mini pack and were cool with each other. Just my observation.

Sorry for such the long post.

26th March 2013, 03:46 PM
We live in the US and Fletcher and I took an AKC Star Puppy class for our first class....most of the training was socialization. It was mostly play with learning mixed it like play....I lot like you teach preschoolers thur fun. It was super fun and I was not even disappointed when we needed to repeat the class. Not funny but my Fletcher is like all the other boys in my life I little on the class clown side :rolleyes: I personally think it was just the normal cavalier friendliness in puppy-drive LOL