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Thread: questions about training classes

  1. #1
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    Default questions about training classes

    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?

    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??

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    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.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    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.


    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.

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    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!

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    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.
    Cathy Moon
    India(tri-F) Geordie(blen-M)Chocolate(b&t-F)Charlie(at the bridge)

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    It would be, definitely! Although I can see the logistics issues of trying to train young pups in such a room. 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
    picture.
    (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.

    Bill
    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*

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    Lisa,

    How old will puppy be on Monday? Most training places won't accept you until 12 weeks because of the vaccinations?
    Kirsty
    Merlin and Oakleys Mum (Merlin -Male/B&T/5 years, Oakley - Male/Ruby/3.5years)

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    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!

  9. #9
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    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! ).

    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.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  10. #10
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    You echo my thoughts on the matter! 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'?

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