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Not sure we are enjoying puppy class...(11 Posts)
Puppy is 17 weeks now and has been at training classes for 3 weeks. I had already taught her to sit, loose lead walking, and working on 4 on the floor, and her recall is reasonable for her age (til she sees a pigeon!) I'm using the Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy book, which is all kind, reward based training, as is the puppy class.
But at class we are covering the same stuff only very repetitively.. puppy is much more distracted at class, and tbh I think she's a bit bored other than the excitement of seeing other puppies..and then it's me stopping her bouncing on them. On daily walks we are 'meet greet, move on' for the most part .
Is it worth persevering? Are classes essential? Will we learn something amazingly essential?
I had a similar experience with my 2nd puppy. Everything they were teaching I already knew, and was already working on the foundations with the new pup. It was a waste of time and money. Other than the socialisation with other puppies, if you already know the basic stuff and can work on it at home and outdoors, I don't see much point.
If you're really interested in doing training classes, I'd suggest one that carries out the Good Citizen Dog scheme. There's a checklist of stuff that your dog needs to be able to do to be awarded. If your puppy already knows the basics, they could possibly even skip the Puppy Foundation and go straight onto Bronze. This should stop you from getting stuck in a class where your puppy is far ahead of the others training-wise and hopefully you will be learning something new!
I've just had a look at the good citizen scheme..it looks great! Unfortunately there isn't one near me :/
There is plenty of stuff we need to work on..she's no perfect pup.. but she is definitely bored at the class; her breed is fairly bright and the breed club did say they will get bored quickly if stuff it too repetitive and this seems to be the case. I think I am going to give it a couple more weeks and then go alone, and if I struggle I'll get a one to one trainer is where we can work on specific issues.
Change classes. I persevered with a class long after I should have left and it did more harm then good.
Some of the best classes I have been to have been for fun things, like agility (some cater for puppies by not making them jump etc so it's basically a little run around a pretend course while keeping attention on you) or a short course on recall delivered through fun. Even if your recall is good, it gives you a chance to 'up it' before adolscence comes along and with the distractions of other (controlled) dogs in the field.
Various bits of obedience has then come as a side effect of that. e.g. some lessons in impulse control and practising calm patience, while you wait your turn in agility.
I'm not sure I'd keep on with this type of puppy class in your shoes.
When I got my dog as a puppy I'd never had a dog before so I really appreciated the classes we went to because it actually help me to learn how to train her. Although, I did read extensively on the subject of training, I think the classes helped me.
If I'm honest, I don't think she actually got anything out of going to the classes. She's not a dog that's ever been keen on other dogs, so the whole, 'ooh other puppies' thing left her completely cold.
You clearly know what you're at. Maybe as, TeacupRex has suggested, look for something a bit more advanced.
In the unlikely event that I ever got another puppy, I definitely would not bother with puppy classes as I'd feel confident enough to just get on with it.
Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy book is written by Steve Mann who also runs IMDT. See if you can find an IMDT trainer they will have similar approach to Easy and should have good fun games.
find a IMDT trainer
Another one who didn’t find puppy classes brilliantly helpful for me or my dog.
We did much better with 121 sessions on things we wanted to focus on and then consistently following a positive reinforcement model of training at home.
Now DDog is coming up to 18 months I’m going to take her to a group class to reinforce what we have learnt, with the distraction of other dogs around her. She just wasn’t ready for that level of distraction as a young pup.
You could use the good citizen scheme as a tick list for what you need to train your puppy. But do it yourself at home.
Thank you for your replies!
We find the other puppies very distracting and for comparison.. tonight we went for a (very damp) walk in the local dog fields.. I let her off lead (took my long line and put it on when we saw another dog) She flounced and bounced...but returned when I called. In class we are working on recall from 6 feet away. Her recall isn't perfect, but it's good enough at the fields, or the local park with a ball.. with 6 other puppies she just does it a few times then wants to nosy !
She's my first dog, so I'm a a novice, however I do have an in house trainer in the form of my daughter's partner who has trained his own families dogs (the IMDT way)..he lives with us which is very handy.
I'll give her a break this weekend, try one more and if we are both still bored I'll keep plodding along and get some 1:1 as she enters adolescence!
At the end of the day, you know your own dog - some really enjoy the dog training class experience, whereas others prefer short, frequent sessions throughout the day. Unfortunately classes tend to be a 'one size fits all' and don't take into account that different breeds learn in different ways, and a dog's individual personality can also have an effect on their learning. My 2nd dog would also get bored and frustrated quickly with very long, drawn out training sessions, so we keep them short to make sure we have her full attention.
I would recommend training classes to brand new owners who have never owned a dog before, or people that haven't had a puppy in many years and may still believe in old style training techniques (like 'being the alpha' over your dog, rubbing the puppy's nose in its mess when it has an accident in the house, etc) that nowadays is not the right way to train a dog. But it sounds like you're in a very good place, with reading Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy and someone in the family experienced with positive training methods.
I found puppy classes unbelievably boring, but they were useful for 2 or 3 weeks to train in a new environment. We love agility but might stop that for a while because of the timing.
The best courses I've done have been at a local dog field where they are every now and then for specific things, we've done loose lead walking, reliable recall (that one was good they used a 'hare' on a bungee cord to spring off and provide a distraction) Hoopers (like agility but ok for puppies) and I'm doing a scurry course in a few weeks. These have been so much more use than walking around a community centre hoping the dog doesn't need a wee in a hurry.
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