I think classes are just a waste of money...
I couldn't disagree more.!!!!
Classes are about teaching the people to teach the dog. Sounds like your friend was a great study and can hopefully show you how it's done but classes are definitely not a waste of money.
Dog park socialization is not going to get your dog to ignore other dogs. It will likely make him more interested in other dogs because they are fun. Training your dog and working on his obedience in the presence of distraction is what will give you the focus you are looking for.
In a nutshell, this is it!
OP, I once thought I was doin a pretty dang good job with my training
, and then we started Obedience... and I wasn't doing awful or anything, BUT the trainers pointed out how I could do BETTER and how some things I was doing, unknown to me, were actually working against the ultimate goal. The smallest things -- how you're holding yourself, your posture, things you absolutely don't feel or notice -- the trainers observing you do
notice. And *that* is the big value, IMHO, to the classes. An outside, trained observer who can bring your attention to ways you can improve what you're trying to accomplish. Seriously, things that you wouldn't think are such a big deal; the way you turn your feet, the way you lean, etc and so on convey a message to the dog that you don't have a clue you're delivering until someone points it out, tells you a better way, you try it and it works much better. It has sure made a big believer out of me!
The other huge benefit to me is that if you want a distractive environment, dog class is it.
My dog loves other dogs and wants to play. Very much. Our club allows zero dog play. A two second sniff is all that is allowed. All handlers must keep their dogs apart, period. This is pretty strictly enforced. We're not there for puppy play time, we're there for Obedience
, so that's fine. We work on many meet-n-greets and walk the ring together, etc, but the dogs aren't there for each other -- they're there to learn to focus on us, the owners. You may say you think classes are a waste of money, but you're just wrong. If you want to teach your dog to focus on you, these classes are "where it's at."
Obedience is the most important thing to me
because like this 1 person said... His dog was running and the owner told him to stop but didn't. The dog ended up getting hit by a car and died.
Then go sign up for Obedience class.!