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Old 01-09-2013, 10:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Puppy class tips?

We are going to sign Wade up for a puppy class once he is fully vaccinated (after this weekend). A few questions:

1.) We plan to audit a class next Saturday to see if we like it (they let you do this for free). I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions for what we should want to see in the class, and what we shouldn't want to see.

2.) What is a reasonable price for a class? The one we are looking at costs $199 for six weeks (one class per week).

3.) Someone mentioned to me that they took their pet to a Petsmart for a puppy class and LOVED it but I'm hesitant simply because it is a pet store (this is not where we are auditing). Thoughts?

Thank you!
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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If you can find an outdoor class, that is best. Indoors in not a real experience for them. Often they will be great in class, but in the real world not so much. It completely depends on the trainer. I don't think petco and petssmart have good classes. I prefer to go to a training only type facility, not a retail store. Also, I have seen them running those classes in the stores. They are in this tiny area blocked off. Is the class you are going to a free standing training facility? Or, a trainer with a huge backyard?

You live in Los Angeles. Class cost depends on where you live. I live on the edge of Los Angeles County and $199 would be over priced here. I pay $140 for 6 weeks hour long group and that is the going rate here. I suspect that $199 is average for Los Angeles city. It is all about supply and demand just like everything else. You have lots of people there and not as many trainers. I suspect you will pay significantly more for grooming than I do, also. Have heart, though. Your pay rates are higher, too.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Key things I would be looking to evaluate are:
Are the pups happy? Are the owners happy? Does the class focus on positive reinforcement for the dogs (bowls of scrummy treats, choke and "training" collars banned, no collar yanking, bum pushing, or scolding), and for the owners (friendly and courteous, praising what you get right, suggesting alternatives for what you get wrong). Is the class calm and well controlled, with interaction between pups carefully set up and managed? If any of the pups are anxious or ill at ease, do the instructors take care to ensure they feel safe? If any of the pups are bumptious and overbearing, do the instructors take care to ensure they are kept under control? Are owners and pups learning something in the course of the class? Do the instructors know their stuff - are they able to answer questions about puppy development, training, and dog behaviour (and are they aware of up to date research about issues)? Are there enough instructors to cope safely with the number of pups and humans in the class, and to keep control?
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Great suggestions so far! Thank you! The class is part outside and part inside, I think. I'm glad we get a chance to audit it so we can see what's what before shelling out all of that money.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The puppy class at my obedience club is $185 for an eight week class. Much of he work is off leash (our class is indoors) and there is lots of time for the puppies to play in between more formal activities. The instructor manages the puppy personalities so that no shy puppies are overwhelmed and no bullies in the making are allowed to think they can get away with it. All reinforcements are positive. There is homework.

If you want to see some features of really positive puppy training look up sirius puppy training on Ian Dunbar's website, http://dogstardaily.com. I went to seminar he gave and he is excellent! I also would stay away from pet store classes. See if the instructors are credentialed in any way. For instance have they trained their own dogs for performance sports and titled them, or are they members of APDT, or do they have a certification from an organization such as CCPDT?
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lily cd re View Post
The puppy class at my obedience club is $185 for an eight week class. Much of he work is off leash (our class is indoors) and there is lots of time for the puppies to play in between more formal activities. The instructor manages the puppy personalities so that no shy puppies are overwhelmed and no bullies in the making are allowed to think they can get away with it. All reinforcements are positive. There is homework.

If you want to see some features of really positive puppy training look up sirius puppy training on Ian Dunbar's website, Dog Star Daily. I went to seminar he gave and he is excellent! I also would stay away from pet store classes. See if the instructors are credentialed in any way. For instance have they trained their own dogs for performance sports and titled them, or are they members of APDT, or do they have a certification from an organization such as CCPDT?
Great suggestions. And I'm already completely obsessed with Dr. Dunbar We have several of his books sitting on our living room table and his training videos are excellent.
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Old 05-04-2014, 05:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I went to Petsmart. My groomer is there, I use Banfield vet and it's nearby. I watched classes 4 or 5 times and they were always orderly and stimulating. I liked it being indoors because the distractions make it more challenging and I don't like the rain and snow LOL. There's lots of opportunity to have your dog socialize with animals and humans. Staff has never been anything but helpful. PLUS they guarantee their classes - if you are unhappy they will let you take it again or complete it with privates if you really press because of another animal.

There's just a really "not nice" dog in class and it's been addressed by me and the change best be in place next week.

They charged 109 for 6 weeks of puppy training. I've been watching the next stage already - just watching the dogs waiting their turn, sitting patiently tells me something is working.
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Old 05-04-2014, 06:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I love the idea of auditing a class, because there really are ALL kinds of trainers out there.
The one that I like around here is $300, and when my girls were young it was for six classes, but was just looking at their website and they have reduced it to 5 classes, which seems crazy short to me, but I do like their methods, and they offer the most variety of classes. Every other place that I have looked at has puppy obedience, and adult obedience, and that's it!


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Old 05-04-2014, 11:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have to say that US classes do strike me as hellishly expensive! The classes I take here average around 5/$7.50 a session, perhaps a little more for a puppy class with very limited numbers. And that is for fully qualified, experienced staff, in a custom built centre with fields outside!
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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We go to Zoom Room, I think there are some in the L.A. area. They offer a $99/month all you can sign up for plan. That's what we use. So $99 bucks and we are doing puppy obedience and agility one a couple times a week. Works well for us.

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