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milo&codus

Beginners Obedience Training

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Hi everyone, I have a quick question regarding beginners obedience training - I went to our the local kennel club yesterday (without Milo, our 17 week old Labrador) to check out the beginners classes. We are booked in to commence beginners classes in a few weeks time.

It looks very popular and there were dogs everywhere - all in different groups depending on their level of training etc. The beginners/motivational classes had at least 4-5 groups of 8 dogs, then there were other larger groups teaching more advanced classes. All classes are taught in a large open field.

My question is, do you think Milo would be totally overwhelmed by the amount of dogs (there were honestly at least 100 dogs there)...?? He will be 5 months old when we start & he has never been around this amount of barking dogs before - I'm not really sure how he will go, I'm concerned he may get totally over-excited, or will be frightened by sensory overload!.... Getting him to focus will be interesting, or even be able to do the training session? I observed the classes for quite a while and it seemed that some were really calm and didn't seem to care less about all the other dogs/people (these appeared to be the older dogs), but others were going nuts, jumping, barking, whining, rolling...

Any thoughts/suggestions? Should I just go to the first class and see how he responds?

My other option would be to sign him up for a privately run adolescent class that only allows 8 dogs max and is held on the grounds of a local primary school (after hours)- its run by a private company (trainer is member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers and Pet Industry Association of Australia).

Cheers

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cavNrott   

Hi everyone, I have a quick question regarding beginners obedience training - I went to our the local kennel club yesterday (without Milo, our 17 week old Labrador) to check out the beginners classes. We are booked in to commence beginners classes in a few weeks time.

It looks very popular and there were dogs everywhere - all in different groups depending on their level of training etc. The beginners/motivational classes had at least 4-5 groups of 8 dogs, then there were other larger groups teaching more advanced classes. All classes are taught in a large open field.

My question is, do you think Milo would be totally overwhelmed by the amount of dogs (there were honestly at least 100 dogs there)...?? He will be 5 months old when we start & he has never been around this amount of barking dogs before - I'm not really sure how he will go, I'm concerned he may get totally over-excited, or will be frightened by sensory overload!.... Getting him to focus will be interesting, or even be able to do the training session? I observed the classes for quite a while and it seemed that some were really calm and didn't seem to care less about all the other dogs/people (these appeared to be the older dogs), but others were going nuts, jumping, barking, whining, rolling...

Any thoughts/suggestions? Should I just go to the first class and see how he responds?

My other option would be to sign him up for a privately run adolescent class that only allows 8 dogs max and is held on the grounds of a local primary school (after hours)- its run by a private company (trainer is member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers and Pet Industry Association of Australia).

Cheers

If there are large numbers of dogs in each class I would opt for the training at the local primary school. You could always attend the kennel club obedience classes at a later date if you wish to continue doing obedience training.

Why not check with the kennel club about how many dogs will be in your beginners class and make your decision accordingly.

Many years ago I joined the local kennel club and did not have a great deal of success because there were too many dogs in the classes. On the last occasion I attended, one of the trainers didn't turn up for a class that was one grade below ours and those dogs were put into our class. That made a total of 45 dogs in the class. It was bedlam and too much for our poor trainer to deal with.

We were instructed to walk our dogs at heel around the oval and when I got close to the car park I peeled off and left the class never to return.

My dog was an excitable girl and I was a nervous novice at formal obedience training so it was probably my fault that we were not progressing well in those classes. The upshot was that I found a brilliant private trainer and no time my dog was obedient and well behaved.

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Before I got my puppy I scoped out a few of the clubs in the area to find one I felt comfortable with. I left all of them with the impression that none of them were going to provide for me what I was looking for. I was lucky to find a club that was small, and didn't do group training so found a happy medium between cost and service.

I think if I hadn't found this club I would have opted to go to a private trainer for one on one training, get me and my dog to a level where I had sufficient attention and control and then possibly take that to a club and join in one of the upper classes.

Too many of the clubs I visited where bedlam, too inconsistent with their training methodology. I saw people getting told completely opposing views on what would work for their dogs. And worst, I saw so many puppies getting jerked, pulled and dragged ineffectively around overly large classes. And plenty of very frustrated owners who were too busy trying to control puppies to even begin to hear what the instructor was trying to teach.

It made me realise that sometimes, paying the money for some private lessons is a very, very worthy investment in the future happiness of both you and your dog. Provided ofcourse the trainer knows their stuff!

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dididog   

We just started at an obedience club yestersay, Didi is 5 months old and used to seeing other dogs but still was a bit excited. I was pleasantly surprised that even with a class size of 10 there was a main instructor and two helpers which made things run a lot smoothly. The smaller class at your primary school sounds like a good option, less overwhelming and will get him used to working with you around other dogs before you move on to bigger class sizes.

My beginner class is only for 3 weeks and then we go into class 1 which is quite big (20-25) but the other higher up classes look much smaller.

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I think we had 3 classes of 9 when we did beginners a while back.

My lad did just fine, for a dog that is overly excitable, totally dog focused and very vocal.. He came first in the beginners group :)

I think a lot of it depends on the experience of the instructor, your own confidence and the amount of work you are prepared to put in outside of the weekly class..

If you put the work in, your dog will do well.

We spent the first few classes on the outskirts of our group because Zig was so over excited. As a reward for being calmer, we moved closer to the group - if his behaviour changed back to over excited, we moved a little bit away from the group.

He wanted to be in the group, so he soon picked up that calm behaviour got him there..

These are things you will learn from your instructor.

I tried one on one classes at a huge cost.. We did OK but really didn't start to get results until we went to formal group classes.

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Nic.B   

We were instructed to walk our dogs at heel around the oval and when I got close to the car park I peeled off and left the class never to return.

Lol, that is something I would do.

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Thanks for the responses - I have decided to sign him up for the adolescent classes (run by a trainer on the school grounds), as there is just a max of 8 dogs in the class, and I think he will be able to focus a little better. This goes for 6 weeks. Once he's completed that I'll either put him into the next level of obedience classes with the same trainer, or get him started at the beginners obedience with all the other dogs at the local kennel club.

I will also most definitely keep up his training at home. His loose-leash walking could use some work!! He has just recently decided to think that play-biting is a fun game too (he's good most of the I time, but when he's over-tired or over-excited his little nippers unleash).... I have been reading the other posts regarding this, so I will just continue being consistent and patient with him... On a good note, I practiced his recall this morning in the park on a long line (9m), and he came back 90% of the time (mind you I had some pretty tasty chicken!) Practice makes perfect right!?!

Thanks again for the advice everyone.

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wuffles   

I think a lot of it depends on the experience of the instructor, your own confidence and the amount of work you are prepared to put in outside of the weekly class..

If you put the work in, your dog will do well.

Agree with this :) Personally I think that my dogs have benefited from the environment a dog club provides but some do find it tough. I have a very excitable and boisterous 7 month old and he does really well in classes, it also provides me an opportunity to work on overstimulation issues in a more controlled environment than say, out on a walk.

Enjoy your classes! :)

Edited by wuffles

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I think a lot of it depends on the experience of the instructor, your own confidence and the amount of work you are prepared to put in outside of the weekly class..

If you put the work in, your dog will do well.

Agree with this :) Personally I think that my dogs have benefited from the environment a dog club provides but some do find it tough. I have a very excitable and boisterous 7 month old and he does really well in classes, it also provides me an opportunity to work on overstimulation issues in a more controlled environment than say, out on a walk.

Enjoy your classes! :)

I really believe it wuffles.

I meet so many people who say that 'obedience didn't work for their dog'...

Zig is very excitable - our beginner instructor just suggested that we train a few metres away from the rest of the class and as he calms, we come closer.

If he plays up, we move further away - good behaviour gets him into the group, which is where he wanted to be.

He now heels off lead in a large group of dogs and as much as he loves all his class mates, he never leaves my side..

It can be done!

Good luck to the OP on your class - I hope you have lots of fun :)

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espinay2   

Even with a class of just 8 or so dogs and no other dogs around you will find that many dogs will be quite distracted for the first lesson or two. That is natural and expected and I see it in every new class I teach. However, as the weeks progress and settle in the class environment and by the end of an 8 week block they are generally totally different dogs. So don't be discouraged if your dog is 'off with the fairies' for the first few weeks in class. The important thing is that you take the lessons home and practice at home without distractions. By practicing at home and getting your dog used to the distractions your dog will pay more and more attention to you rather than what is going on around it.

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Dogsfevr   

The problem is people attend class once a week & expect the dog to suddenly become well trained & when it isn't they give up & the dog gets no where .

For me class size isn't a big issue , i now some with small classes that are hopeless,boring & turn you off .If i was doing a 6 week course then i would expect strict guidelines by all in the class because its a short time to learn unless the offer another class more advanced afterwards ,Many people start "getting it" around 6 weeks & then need the class to help more & more with new behaviors.

Distractions is what training is about & even when i train in the backyard ts all about distractions i don't train my dogs in quiet gives a false sense of achievement then the giant disappointment hits at class.

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