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training - where to start?

(16 Posts)
theanswerisbark Sat 08-Aug-15 21:50:12

I have a 20 month old collie x lab. She is a rescue, and I have only had her a few months but I'm trying to work out how to make her and me happier together. She has bundles of energy and is strong/bouncy which I have no experience of. My other dog is a barely 5kg lap dog type who has had minimal training because she isn't very bright and if she is naughty I just pick her up

We've had a 1:1 training session from a local trainer and other than that have muddled along with youtube videos (kilkopup) so that we can now sit, wait, paw and leave it. I'd say recall has a 90% success rate. Her lead walking is much much improved, but still erratic when excited or distracted. At the moment she gets treated (cheese, hotdog) for all of these things. She is also ball obsessed.

I have a feeling that she would like to do more than go walkies. But what do I do? training classes? (seem expensive for what they are, is £15 per class really worth it?!) or agility (do I need to be fit-ish for that?!) or something else? (any suggestions welcome!)

I dream of having a dog who trots on a slack lead by my side without needing a constant cheese supply who comes immediately when called even when there are balls/ducks/cats to chase who is generally impeccably trained, and does everything she is asked the first time I ask.

I'm sure my dog has the ability to achieve all of this, but I know I need to teach her. Where do I start?

EasyToEatTiger Mon 10-Aug-15 13:23:38

You just need to keep working at it. Bribery and corruption all the way and one day, when your dog is all grown up you will have your dream dog. Whatever, you won't want to live without her!

TheoriginalLEM Mon 10-Aug-15 13:28:53

It sounds like you are doing fantastically well actually. Agility would be great fun, however most courses have an obedience course as a prerequisite. Often the KC good citizen course or similar (if this still exists!)

Its funny isn't it, i have two JRTs, both bastards - lovely loving dogs but bastards nevertheless. I have had rotties in the past, including a rescue with issues and they were really well trained. Small dogs are harder to train imo.

Your dog is lucky smile

Booboostwo Mon 10-Aug-15 15:08:38

Training classes are a must for any dog. Perhaps shop around a bit, 15 pounds is on the expensive side.

A young collie cross will also need some kind of activity to occupy her, obedience, agility, fly ball, clicker challenge, dance, etc there are many options out there.

TheoriginalLEM Mon 10-Aug-15 18:01:37

booboo i disagree. training and socialisation are a must for all dogs but not all dogs respond well to formal training classes. One of my rotties thrived at training class and it was good for me but my rescue rottie just became stressed and aggressive at classes. We trained him, just not in a formal setting. took jrt1 to training and the lady told me he was untrainable. well yes, in that setting. have jrt2's name down for dd to take him to obedience and agility classes. it very much depends on the dog.

The op's dog sounds like she really would do well in "class" and on that i agree that £15 a lesson seems steep.

Scuttlebutter Mon 10-Aug-15 22:23:25

i'd recommend a nice training class to start with. Our trainer is a member of APDT (important to look for this), and deliberately keeps class sizes small so dogs are not in each other's faces during class. I pay £60 for a block of 6 classes, which is about average. May be worth shopping around in your area to find a trainer you like, with smaller class sizes. Personally, I'd be happy to pay a bit more for that, as it gives a much nicer, more peaceful learning environment for handlers and dogs, and you get more attention in class.

You can either go down the "classic" route of doing something like your Kennel Club Bronze, Silver and Gold Canine Good Citizen or there are similar schemes. For instance, our trainer does the Kay Lawrence Life Skills course. Our newest dog has just done Level 1 which included things like loose lead walking, simple recall,sit, down, look at me exercises, hand targeting, calm greetings etc. We are currently doing our Level 2 so that's things like loose lead walking but with obstacles, me carrying shopping, recall via an obstacle laden route, distance commands, etc so building on the level 1 stuff but more complex/longer duration.

Once you've done a basic obedience class, have you considered doing Rally? After we'd completed our Level 1 course, New Dog has added Rally classes to her repertory and is entering her first trial in a few weeks. She really enjoys going to class and the practice we do at home. Most of our training is clicker based and Rally is great, as it's not so fast and furious as Agility, but I think is more fun than "pure" obedience. There are lots of classes and clubs springing up (it's a very friendly pursuit) and many dog shows are increasingly having fun Have a Go At Rally rings - may be worth a try. Our Rally class usually has about six of us, and our teacher is fabulous. As well as the basic exercises, she spends lots of time explaining WHY we are doing/training certain ways and throws lots of interesting exercises into the mix. It has really helped me think about the clarity and consistency of the cues I give our dogs as well as deepening my understanding of how dogs learn. And watching your dog work something out, and then get that "lightbulb" moment is absolutely priceless. smile

Booboostwo Tue 11-Aug-15 07:08:11

Theoriginal what is the point of disagreeing with a sensible, general remark that helps the OP and is relevant to her situation? Yes, having volunteered for countless training classes I have seen various permutations of idiocy like the guy who brought us a 2yo GSD that had been tied up to the yard for two years and asked if he was too young to start training. Clearly the pet training classes were not appropriate here and out senior trainer had to do remedial one to one training. I have also seen the odd dog fail to respond to any kind of behavioural training but do well on drugs. Yes there are exceptions but it is pretty pointless to write a book to a simple, straightforward question.

TheoriginalLEM Tue 11-Aug-15 08:33:42

I was merely expressing the opinion that yes, whilst the OP's dog absolutely would benefit from classes, not all dogs do. I certainly didn't mean to offend you.

WeAllHaveWings Tue 11-Aug-15 09:01:15

My dn rescued a very energetic 18 month old collie x GSD. She tried training classes and it didn't work well at all, so she spent some time with the basics herself as you have and then he thrived at agility and is now winning medals.

I guess with most things you need to try and see what suits you and your dog.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 11-Aug-15 09:12:32

We attend an agility fun group with our 14 month old collie, it doesn't have the same 'must pass the kennel club award' requisite that most of the more formal clubs have. She will never compete at agility but to be honest I have no interest in competition. We have recently started taking our year old rescue Sprocker who has about as much formal training as a gnat's arse (he can 'sit', 'wait' and 'leave it' but that's about it for now) and he absolutely excels at it! Look around for some fun clubs to join. Both of our dogs really enjoy using their brains.

Have you looked at some brain games for her? Hide and seek, treasure hunts that kind of thing? In my limited experience collies are dogs that love to use their brains and it helps enormously with managing their energy levels.

Booboostwo Tue 11-Aug-15 13:42:22

Theoriginal why would I be offended? I was merely expressing the opinion that your opinion should not have been expressed.

theanswerisbark Wed 12-Aug-15 14:31:19

Ah thank you for the replies!

I am so happy to hear that continued bribery is acceptable. I seem to be surrounded by well behaved dogs on my local walkies, and I feel very inadequate with my big pot of treats and over-excited 'training' voice, when everyone else seems to control their dog with a mere glance!

I have found a local agility club who run a pre-agility course, and they seem really nice. I don't know if they are a 'formal' club, but they seem quite relaxed. I have no ambition to win medals, I'd just like my girl to feel a bit more fulfilled and perhaps spend a little more time sleeping and a little less time pestering me to play ball.

My local ADPT training courses are £50 for a block of 3, which seems higher than the rest of you have paid...I will have a shop around and see if there are any other ones I could go to, I don't mind paying £60 for a 6 week course, but £50 for 3 seems a bit steep. I'm happy to give the formal classes a go, but like you've said if they don't suit her I can find other options.

I had no idea there was such a thing as dog Rally...I will look it up!

Scuttlebutter Wed 12-Aug-15 17:10:23

Here's a link to the Kennel Club Rally pages. here

There are loads of vids on youtube. smile

TheoriginalLEM Wed 12-Aug-15 17:18:02

oh so you were simply being rude then hmm

theanswerisbark Wed 12-Aug-15 18:40:31

Thank you scuttle that looks exactly what I was hoping for! Interesting for the pup, and involves agility type stuff but doesnt involve the owner running round loads like 'proper' agility blush <red/sweaty out of breath owner.

I think rally could be a good starting point for us :-)

Wolfiefan Wed 12-Aug-15 18:46:54

Scuttlebutter that's really interesting. I'm looking at getting a pup I have my heart set on may get a young high energy breed dog I've seen. Obviously we need to basics first but interesting.

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