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Old 12-01-2012, 08:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default NJ Training School experiences?

Hi, everyone! So I want to start taking classes with Laszlo, my 11 month old mini. He's super smart and I feel like the (few) issues I have with his behavior would evaporate if we did more structured activities and if his mind were more stimulated. We did puppy obedience and he has a very reliable sit, a fairly reliable down and recall(~85%), and good sit- and down-stay as long as I am paying attention to him (he does over a minute for each). He walks well on the leash as well. Currently, I'm teaching him the names of his toys (eg, "Fetch Happy Moppy!"), "drop it" (he already knows "give"), the "go to your bed" command, and how to catch a variety of soft toys and squishy balls.

I'm interested in doing one or more of the following, and I'm interested in which I should start with and where I should do it. I don't know what he has the skills for, because every school just says which of THEIR courses you should have done.
  • Intermediate pet obedience
  • Foundations of competitition obedience
  • Agility
  • Rally

I'm looking at Barking Hills in Lebanon, Top Dog in Flanders and Kellars Canine Academy. I live in Hudson County, by the way. Thanks for any help you can offer! I'd love to hear your experiences at these or other schools!
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Not knowing the geography too well in your part of NJ, I would say Top Dog. They have all you want and then some!
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Lily AKC: CGC CD HIT CDX, RN RA RE RAE RAE2 RAE3 RAE4 RAE5 Multiple Rally High Combined, NA NAJ; APDT: RL-1; CPE: CL1-R, CL1-H, CL1-F, CL1-S, CL1
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Any tips on which I should start first, or skills I should shore up before I start a class?
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I doubt you will really need further pet obedience since the other things will cover that and then some. You could start with rally since it is a little more relaxed, or dive right into the intro to competitive obedience. I have found that having good obedience has been important to me with Lily for agility. It has taken longer to get her trial ready for agility than for obedience or rally. I am using rally at this point to get her used to the idea of having to do more than one routine each trial. We are one leg away from our CDX, then on to UD and after that to get UDX we will have to do open and utility routines in each trial. RAE legs are for ring savvy now that we titled.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You don't really need to do more structured obedience, per say. Other activities that forge a closer dog/human bond and build focus and drive will improve his compliance. When playing games, better compliance, for things like recall, will come as just part and parcel of the new fun game and you guys will be practicing it without even knowing it. But whatever you both find fun, go for it! But my advice would be to keep it fun. Meaning, please don't use a trainer who's punitive and correction based. It's just really not worth zapping the fun out of dog sports for the dog. You both can enjoy it when it's reward based. There are a lot of other dog sports as well that in corporate obedience in a round of bout kind of way. Treibball, nose work, etc. Just FYI. And new sports popping up all the time.

That being said, I tend to recommend trainers (many via companies and classes) from Truly Dog Friendly and Professional Pet Guild.
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The folks from Top Dog just gave a seminar on strategies for fun in training for obedience at a place on Long Island. I wasn't there, but I heard great things about it. I think if you were to go there you would find that their philosophy is to use positive methods.

I will also add that for Lily trials and training for them are fun. She loves that time we spend together. when I am getting ready to take her for a lesson I ask her if she wants to go to school and she gets a happy gleam in her eye and a bounce in her step!
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks, Lily. I'm swamped with finals right now, but it looks like Top Dog offers a lot of classes at a very reasonable price. If they use positive methods, it sounds like they are just what the doctor ordered!
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I know that end of semester feeling well. I had to bring papers to grade with me to Pennsylvania while I have down time at our trial tomorrow. I would work on them now, but I always like to go to sleep early the night before trials and before bed time I play with Lily. I hate grading on Friday nights anyway, even though I am running out of time at this point. I think you will find Betsy and her partner at Top Dog to put a lot of emphasis on having things be positive and rewarding.
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