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What Influences Your Decision To Join A Particular Club?


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With all the private trainers becoming more prevalent, what draws you to either a cccq (or other state canine control council ) affiliated club or a private business??

I'm just curious is all, as it seems that there are more and more private establishments popping up all over the place.

I personally like the cccq affiliated clubs, but that's because I compete regularly in cccq comps and enjoy being able to access several different trainers, all of which bring a unique training aspect to the club.

What is everyone else's thoughts?

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I look for the following in any trainer/training club:

1. Flexibility in thinking/technique.

2. Talk TO you, not AT you.

3. Talk to you about your goals, and work WITH you.

3. LISTEN to you as the dogs owner.

4. Act in a professional manner.

I've been put off by profesional trainers due to cost and the sometimes the pushy, preachy manner in which they can treat their clients. I've heard from some people who had their private trainer berate them for not desexing their dog. And I was berated by a private trainer who decided to share their philosophy (despite not being asked) on how I could 'quckly' fix Dory's separation anxiety. I didn't mind the discussion, but it was the emphasis on the 'quickly' part that I was struggling with. And their rather 'passionate' delivery. ie. not prepared to listen to a differing viewpoint. My personal thought was you go as quickly as the dog is ready for. :shrug:

State Obedience Clubs...well...where do you start?

I've visited a few recently and I was sadly disappointed and frustrated by them all. Here are some of the things I observed...

- classes that were complete chaos and no attempt by instructor to control the chaos.

- Waaay too big classes.

- no consistancy in training advice. And often conflicting advice.

- Instructors that were in over their heads.

And finally something that is personal to me. As I watched how the classes worked, I realised my training style would not fit with the way the classes were run. And I'd either disrupt the classes or I'd end up with a bored dog.

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I am not a member of an obedience club anymore, nor do I see any private trainers. I cannot find a club or trainer that trains competitive obedience in a manner that suits me or my dog, so I just train by myself. I will take online classes on occasion, and have competitive obedience friends overseas that I send my training videos to.

Agility is more difficult, because of the gear required... I have to train at a club because I do not have the room for even 1 jump at my house. The club I train at is very close to my home (30 minutes walk), has all of the gear that I need and the people are all lovely. It's a very relaxed club, and you can kind of just do what you want with training, no one will berate you for your choices as long as you and your dog are being safe. I am considering going to a second club, or to a private trainer though, just for some handling lessons. I don't feel like I am getting enough 1 on 1 time at my club, which is understandable as you can't expect too much of that in a class environment... But I am really not doing Elsie any justice and she is a lot of dog for a newbie handler! :)

As for other clubs, I just join whichever one is for my region, we don't have multiple working trial, sledding or coursing clubs here. Those clubs are very small and tend to avoid the club politics that OB/agility can't escape ;)

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I think the cost would be a major turn off for me, unless I had a major behavior issue of course. But for normal training, some of the prices are :dropjaw:

:laugh: I know. I get that they are running a business, I get that many of them have paid significant amounts of money on courses and to keep their techniques current etc. And have invested a lot of time and money in keeping themselves up to date. But like you, unless I had a problem that I couldn't work with, had no idea how to work with or signifcantly impacted the quality of life for the dog and myself, I couldn't justify the cost of a private trainer. Helps that I've done a bit of work myself. I'd like to join a club for the motivation and the social element of hanging with like minded people.

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Im part of a state affiliated club. I looked at a couple of private clubs but found that the cost, plus the "this is the way we train" approach and the fact that the classes were geared towards people who wanted pets rather than were interested in sport really turned me off. I felt very patronised at one club after refusing to 'correct' my dog for breaking a stay after they tossed a ball in front of her.

I like that there are so many different options and people with experience at the state affiliated clubs. My club still has the overarching command correct praise sequence but most instructors use more of a lure and reward approach. A lot of people use clickers or some kind of marker as well as nrm and some of the more serious competitors use drive training. I feel that any problem I have I am likely to find someone who has dealt with it before. Plus membership is cheap.

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I do agility, and have been to several clubs and classes. This is what influences me.

* Distance from home

* Cost

* Size of club - this can influence how much equipment comes out, how much input you can have into classes, instructors, help available

* Aims of club - some clubs cater more for competition, some are more for fun

* Instructors - handling style and quality - I want to train with people who are better than me who can help me, and who have an understanding of the type of training/handling that I use

* Flexibility if I want to do something differently

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I run non-affiliated classes, they're more expensive than an affiliated club, however, the big things that affect whether a dog gets trained or not is that:

People are generally very time-poor. If they have kids they are also battling weekend sport etc.

They want quick results - if you told most new puppy owners with no dog sport aspirations that they need to be at X place every Sunday 9am for the next 6/8/12 months their eyes pop out of their heads. They need the location to be as close by as possible and they need a class at a time that suits their schedule.

For many new owners training a dog can be stressful, confusing and a battle with their dog where they feel out of their depth if they've never trained a dog before.

I charge more because I limit my class size to 6, my classes are indoors, we can get much more completed in a 6 week course with 6 handlers than we could with 15 or 20, I'm available via email/phone/facebook between class times for advice, if you miss a class we can meet at an agreeable time for a catch-up lesson.

Most pet dog owners want their dogs to stay, recall and walk nicely on lead, much of the rest is superfluous. That being said, I teach grooming, crate games and a few other things I consider very important. But I get to set the curriculum. :D

Myself, I've trained at one affiliated club and would probably go back there for with any new pups as much for the socialisation benefits of a huge club with agility/obed/flyball running concurrently as much as anything else. However, I'll remove my pups from class if they are bored, if I see an uncontrolled dog in class that is too much of a risk and if there are socialisation exercises being done that I'm unhappy with. I'm also quite happy to stand up for myself and my dog in that regard, and I have the skills to assess what might be too much for my dog in any instance.

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I've had trouble with all my local clubs to the point that I've given up on them. I need help with numerous issues my dogs have (lunging and barking on leash and in the car to name two) and not once has any club I've been to, been able to offer suggestions. Usually in classes my dogs are perfect angels and the instructors often ask why I'm even there. When I explain the issues I'm having, I get ignored, which frustrates me to no end.

I've had my two dogs re-enrolled in basic classes to see if I can get the instructors to address the problems I'm having, no such luck. I then tried advanced classes and again, nothing. I wouldn't have minded so much if the instructors had just told me they were unsure how to help -- I could've at least left the classes earlier not feeling like even more of a failure.

My last cry for help has been Steve at K9 Pro and now I'm just whiling time away until our session in July. I just hope this can provide me with the answers I've been seeking for the past 2 years.

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I've tried both clubs and private trainers, some are good, some are bad, distance is an issue, as well as cost. Steve from K9 pro is awesome at fixing issues (and that's from one phone consult) I'm saving to do another consult. and have plans to go over. I also ask friends/internet, and find I get heaps of suggestions that way. you do have to listen/look/think, then see if you can apply it to your situation. I'm going to be trying a new "heeling" method, and need to step back again on basic moves (I was quite disappointed when I realised that milo won't drop on a purely verbal command....)I r

so, to sum up, in my opinion, if you have a particular issue, I recommend K9pro, (or another private trainer) but if you want to do regular obedience classes, then you need to look at various obedience clubs...

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The private training clubs don't seem to do much in the way of obedience comp training. No ring craft or ring run throughs etc. They seem much more geared towards pet ownership. Some are doing a bit of agility now but not sure how serious they are about that or whether it is just fun stuff. So that leaves the affiliated clubs.

The club needs to have the same basic training philosophy as me and after that distance is important as most seem to train on a Sunday morning and I would prefer not to have to be out at the crack of dawn!

I would use a private instructor. Love private lessons. Don't seem to be many people around offering this either.

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I train at both for different reasons.

Depending on the instructor I get the most value from clubs when I'm looking to work my dogs in a highly distracting environment. I don't think that clubs are the right place to deal with issues - instructors are all well meaning and generally quite skilled in what they do, but most of us are not equipped to deal with behavioural issues - even if we can deal with the dog our strength is generally not teaching people to manage their dogs. BUT......I guess you get what you pay for. ;)

I find most of the people competing (and doing well) at the higher levels look to private trainers to help them hone their skills. I don't have a lot of experience, but I think that problem solving should fall into this category - the upper end of the skill spectrum.

I think clubs do a GREAT job of introducing people to the world of dogs, but I don't think they are there to problem solve or to go beyond a certain point with competition training. Typically the introductory classes are where the volume is for clubs and (certainly in my experience with a number of clubs) are not only an important feeding ground for membership, but also help fund the club.

What do I look for.......

A level of professionalism from instructors, a friendly outlook and most of all a SAFE environment for members where instructors are supported for making good decisions about enforcing that safety. I also look for clubs that use positive methods. I'm not looking to start a fight with this, but for me dog sport (club activity) is a FUN pursuit. Most people can't time a reward properly so I don't know how they are expected to time or learn to time a correction in a class situation. They have their place, but IMO need to be taught on one so they are used appropriately. I think a level of honesty about what they can and cannot achieve is also important.

Private trainers - knowledge and an empathy for my dogs, what I'm trying to achieve and the methods (both +ve and aversive) that I choose to use. Most of all though I look for results.

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We have a lot of competitors come to see us for private training, a lot of people seek private training to improve their skills, get their dog working more consistently and happily in the ring, and give their training an edge you can't get from taking classes at obedience clubs. I think it depends on your goals and what you want to achieve in your training. You never stop learning, I started out at obedience club but saw private trainers which are more expensive than the $5 class at the local club, but the benefits I (and my dog) reaped from the knowledge they gave me far exceeded the cost.

I would go to a local club to proof training around distractions and do ring run outs, but club style training doesn't fit with the way I train my dogs now.

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If I could find a private trainer locally that offered what I wanted I would choose them over a club purely for convenience. Cost isn't an issue, but time is very important to me.

My work life doesn't allow regular club attendance really and I am also not interested in some of the curriculum. My dogs already do all the manners stuff to extent I want it and it is a feature of many local club lessons, whereas I would train to trial or address a particular issue only. Timing of lessons is the reason I stopped teaching at the local club, I can't guarantee I will not be travelling or staying late at work.

I do find club courses good exposure for young dogs, and that is when I go back - when I have a young pup.

Edited by Diva
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