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I am going to be a new first time poodle owner. I have owned many dogs and we have always taken them to basic obedience school. My wife did I should say. I think I may do it this time and am looking to hopefully do more than just a basic obedience class. I am looking for advice as to what classes to get started in and what route if there is such a thing to take via advanced classes. Where to look for quality classes etc... This is all new to me so any pointers/advice/links or conversation on the matter would be muchly appreciated. I am in s.e. MI if that matters. Thanks for any help. We get our 8 week old in early sept and would really like a nice well trained dog and also a good hobby for us so I can keep her(the dog) happy and challenged.
 

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There are plenty of youtube training videos online. When we brought our new little guy home, we taught him to sit the first day (he was eleven weeks old) and got him to run through an agility tunnel by tossing a mini tennis ball through the tunnel. Two weeks later he knows "down", walks nicely on a leash (most of the time!), and has started "stand", "stay", "heel" and "bed". We're also working on crate training although he's still a bit fussy about that. We "train" for several minutes at a time, many times throughout the day — he just thinks we're playing with him.

We've also found some puppy socialization classes in our area that are intended for partially vaccinated little ones. Our veterinarian was enthusiastic about that plan as well. Alfie was more interested in socializing with the people at first, but now he's playing well with the puppies. We had one poodle that we did not trust around other dogs, so we're hoping that this will help, although temperamentally Alfie is much softer than his spicy predecessor.

Daily "grooming" is important too. Poodles need to learn to accept grooming, so start now rather than later.

After you finish basic obedience, you may want to try agility, rally, or nosework. We like training, but we don't have any interest in competing at shows. However, the nice thing about obedience competitions is that all of the dogs can "win" vs. conformation showing which has only one winner and is kind of political.
 

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Yea, I'm not looking to compete. Just something for fun and to exercise the dogs mind. My wife has always dont the puppy class and the first basic class although she was trying to tell me with our current doodle she thought the first kindergarden puppy class was a waste of time. She says she did not think the dog needed it. I disagree though. Thanks for the link I will look into that.
 

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Yea, I'm not looking to compete. Just something for fun and to exercise the dogs mind. My wife has always dont the puppy class and the first basic class although she was trying to tell me with our current doodle she thought the first kindergarden puppy class was a waste of time. She says she did not think the dog needed it. I disagree though. Thanks for the link I will look into that.
You're welcome. Puppy Kindergarten is 100% crucial no matter what your goals, IMHO. The main purpose is socialization, with some very basic skills thrown in to help the puppy behave and to get questions answered on housebreaking, etc.

And training is a life long process even if you don't compete :) I don't compete with a few of our dogs, but I still train them every day to keep their minds stimulated.
 

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Search for training facilities that offer competitive obedience classes. They might be called novice, open, or utility obedience. We just started pre-novice/pre-competition obedience with our 6 month old.

You can also search on the AKC website for Obedience events. If you have time to go as a spectator, you can chat with the exhibitors and volunteers and hear where they are training. I did that last weekend and people (including the judge) were extremely friendly.

Of course you need to start with puppy kindergarden first. Competitive obedience is much later down the road. I found it helpful to do puppy class at the same facility so we're already familiar with the environment.
 

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I think it's wonderful that you plan to take the new puppy to puppy kindergarten and beyond.

While you take your dog to these classes - they are training you to be a good trainer and handler so you can train your dog.

I always recommend people take classes at least until their dog has passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. A good training facility will not only show you how to train the obvious "sit" "down" etc. but will help you with common problems people face with puppies both in the house and while out in the community.

Look for a member owned dog club where people train for competition dog sports. You don't have to compete - many of the people taking puppy and early obedience classes have no interest in dog sports. The prices are usually lower than private trainers and the trainers are passionate about training dogs and knowledgeable. I belong to two clubs - one is AKC affiliated and the other isn't - both are wonderful and would make the perfect choice for puppy classes.

I got my minipoo when she was almost a year old and she had no obedience training so I was started at scratch. This was the first dog I trained. The first place I went to was a private owned club where people trained for agility and obedience competition. Terrible experience - the owner might have done well with her dogs in competition but she had no people skills and used some cruel techniques in training. I left her and went to another trainer who also had a doggy day care - we did the CGC and dog therapy training there. Wonderful experience but they didn't offer anything beyond that. That's when I discovered and fell in love with dog sports and discovered these two member owned training clubs. Wish I had started in them in the first place - I would have had a much better starting point. The take away from my story is look for a great place to train your dog that offers higher levels of training should you decide to continue AND if you are uncomfortable about any training methods, come and post here on the forum for feedback. If the training is inappropriate - leave and find someone better. It's worth it.

As for dog sports. At both my clubs, they do have some children, along with their parents, training for agility, rally and obedience - they are encouraged. If your children are interested - take them along.

I know quite a few people who take the competition level sport classes but don't compete. They do it just for fun.
 

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For a puppy there is nothing more important than a good puppy K class that emphasizes social interactions with other puppies. Nearly all AKC affiliated obedience clubs will offer such a class. An AKC affiliate club also is usually non profit and will be very reasonably priced. Many of these clubs will also offer AKC STAR Puppy and/or AKC CGC oriented classes and testing. We don't have STAR Puppy at my club at this point, but I am starting a CGC class on August 9th and will be testing the dogs in early September.


There are many good YouTube instructional videos, but they can't substitute for the social interaction of classes. I would use them to supplement real world training environments.
 
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I'll give my +1 to the recommendations for finding a training club. I've trained my dogs with information I learned from books and videos before, and had limited success, just enough that we can live happily with our dogs while suffering some minor annoyances. Two weeks ago, I started with my 3-yo dog on a "good manners" course (like the puppy course but for older dogs) at our local AKC obedience club, and it's going well. It's incredibly helpful to see an experienced trainer demonstrate things, get feedback on what we are doing, and most importantly for me, to have a structured program to follow. Watching YouTube training videos is like drinking from a firehose. You can learn 50 different training techniques and still not know which one to apply, how often, and whether you're doing it correctly. Books and videos are great for casual learning, but I think a class is the best option until we have more experience as trainers.
 

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Go to a trainer that uses positive methods. In my book that means no choker. A poodle should not need a choker and you can do so much without one. If you have not trained a dog before you may do well with a clicker trainer. Learning how to train with a clicker will, I think, really prepare you for the methodology of training.

I used clicker to train my donkeys. With the dogs, It is useful but I don't use it much. However, some people never do any training without a clicker. It is up to you.

I suggest that when you take the puppy to the door to the outside you lure him (use a food treat and put at the puppy's nose, then move back over the head so he sits) and treat. He will not only learn to go to the proper door, but will sit instead of scratching the door.
 
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