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critterlady 04-06-2014 10:36 AM

Any thoughts?
Zeus and I are signed up for a puppy kindergarten class this week, I found an add in the news paper, turns out it was the kennel recommend to me by the local humane society, they offer 1, 1hr class for puppy kindergarten, then they offer beginners obedience for puppies 5 months and older. While talking to the woman on the phone I told her that I have been working on basis stuff with Zeus, sit, down, stay, I also told her I was using a treating method to train him, she told me they don't use treats for general training, they only offer them as rewards for eye contact and at the end of the training session, she said they use a positive reinforcement method and teach you to be the alpha, she said similar to Caesar Milan. I've heard mixed reviews about this sort of training and wanted to get some feedback from other, more experienced, GSD owners, this is the only place anywhere near me that I have found offering puppy kindergarten and obedience training, so any thoughts or suggestions?

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PMRonan 04-06-2014 10:39 AM

I find that if you are comfortable with learning that method and the dog is in no danger then there is no harm. It will be good socialization for the puppy. But in the end you should decide if you are open to training with different techniques or if you would like to stay treat based.

critterlady 04-06-2014 11:08 AM

He seems to be doing well with the treating, but he has some areas we need to work on, he needs the socialization, he gets highly distracted when outside and around a lot of people and treats seem to be the only way to get and hold his attention in situations like that, but I'm guessing that's because he's a puppy, he's 14 weeks old yesterday.

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glowingtoadfly 04-06-2014 11:14 AM

I'm surprised that the humane society reccomended a cesar milan style training school- here our humane society is all positive training/clicker training. Could you speak to the instructor about your beliefs?

DJEtzel 04-06-2014 11:19 AM

I personally wouldn't do it. Could make a lot of negative associations with other dogs, people, etc. If all you are doing is correcting and not teaching what the dog SHOULD be doing.

critterlady 04-06-2014 11:46 AM

I think the lady I talked to was an assistant, she kept talking about the instructor as being someone else. She told me to make sure Zeus had a collar, I told her he did, but that I had been using a harness to walk him, she said to not bring the harness and use his collar. She also told me that if any dog shows signs of aggression at any point the instructor will exscuse them from the class. I think the humane society pointed me in that direction because it's the only place in our area that does training. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what Caesar Milan does for training, I know who he is, I've caught glimpses of his show, when it was on, but other than that kinda clueless about his methods.

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glowingtoadfly 04-06-2014 11:50 AM

Yeah, I would steer clear of a class that is not reward based, especially for puppies. How are you supposed to get the little tyke's attention? Maybe you could set up puppy playdates through this site, maybe someone is in your area.

pyratemom 04-06-2014 11:56 AM

I think it is better to train puppies with positive reinforcement - treats etc. The clicker and treat training to start pups off is the best way to get into their little puppy brains - do something the human wants, hear a click so I know its correct and get a tasty treat to reinforce the positive. Also, training should be fun and always end on a positive note. I start with eye contact with little puppies first. After they get eye contact down it is much easier to train as they will look to you for instructions. Learning to work around other dogs is important but a little puppy, in my opinion, should never be alpha rolled or exposed to some of Milan's training techniques (especially the kick behind the back which shows up in at least one training video I saw by him). Gentle leaders are great when training heeling at first because they can't pull. If that is the only puppy class available in your area I would talk to the actual trainer to get a feel on their thoughts.

Cassidy's Mom 04-06-2014 12:06 PM

I'd pass. What exactly does "positive reinforcement" mean if it's not reward based training? They expect puppies to work for praise only? I'd be leery of the alpha stuff too.

critterlady 04-06-2014 12:41 PM

If I understand correctly, they only give treats for eye contact and at the end of the session, the puppy receives praise only as his reward for doing what you ask.

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