Second Puppy Class- yay or nay? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Second Puppy Class- yay or nay?

Hello,

I have a bit of a dilemma that I've probably created in my own head by reading too much.

My girl is a little over 7 months old now. We are supposed to start our second puppy class this Saturday. We did the first puppy class when she was about 4 months old. The place that I'm going to uses a mostly positive only approach to training (no prong collars, etc).

From what I understand the puppy class that we are supposed to start on Saturday puts a large emphasis on free play with the other puppies. The first one was like this too and honestly, I had mixed feelings about it. It felt very chaotic to me. It was a situation of "let your puppy go play, then go get your puppy and tell her to sit". It didn't feel very effective to me at all but for a young a puppy I thought it was fine. (She is VERY obedient at home and is amazingly well behaved and responsive for her age).

Now my girl is showing some reactivity to other dogs. I've been working with her using a prong collar and she has gotten much much better when out for walks (we don't do dog parks).

We had a vet appointment this morning and she was barking (the high pitched, excited type of bark) at the other dogs there.

I'm wondering if this puppy class is the right one for us. I don't care about making my dog friends with every dog and I don't really care if she likes other dogs or not. I basically just want her to be non-reactive to other dogs when we are out and about.

What would you do? Take the puppy class or find another type of obedience class that doesn't emphasize free play time with the other dogs?

thanks!
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 08:18 PM
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As someone who has taken off leash puppy classes many times, I wouldn't advise it with a 7 month old. Both Dena & Halo took Puppy 1 and Puppy 2. I don't recall how old Dena was when she finished the second class, this was a long time ago, but Halo finished Puppy 2 a few days before she turned 6 months old. Our classes did have occasional brief free play sessions, but that wasn't the emphasis, nor was it a free for all.

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by GSDreSearching View Post
Hello,

I have a bit of a dilemma that I've probably created in my own head by reading too much.

My girl is a little over 7 months old now. We are supposed to start our second puppy class this Saturday. We did the first puppy class when she was about 4 months old. The place that I'm going to uses a mostly positive only approach to training (no prong collars, etc).

From what I understand the puppy class that we are supposed to start on Saturday puts a large emphasis on free play with the other puppies. The first one was like this too and honestly, I had mixed feelings about it. It felt very chaotic to me. It was a situation of "let your puppy go play, then go get your puppy and tell her to sit". It didn't feel very effective to me at all but for a young a puppy I thought it was fine. (She is VERY obedient at home and is amazingly well behaved and responsive for her age).

Now my girl is showing some reactivity to other dogs. I've been working with her using a prong collar and she has gotten much much better when out for walks (we don't do dog parks).

We had a vet appointment this morning and she was barking (the high pitched, excited type of bark) at the other dogs there.

I'm wondering if this puppy class is the right one for us. I don't care about making my dog friends with every dog and I don't really care if she likes other dogs or not. I basically just want her to be non-reactive to other dogs when we are out and about.

What would you do? Take the puppy class or find another type of obedience class that doesn't emphasize free play time with the other dogs?

thanks!
I would not go to another class like this, but go to an obedience class that focuses on engagement and neutral behavior towards other dogs and people. Neutral is what I strive for, train with distractions and not do any play with other dogs when training. You can have a play date with a dog your pup gets along with if you really need to...but it should not be in 'training mode'. I always want to crate my dog after a session if it is a learning one, and having that free time just throws what they may have learned away.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 08:25 PM
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no thank you .
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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As someone who has taken off leash puppy classes many times, I wouldn't advise it with a 7 month old. Both Dena & Halo took Puppy 1 and Puppy 2. I don't recall how old Dena was when she finished the second class, this was a long time ago, but Halo finished Puppy 2 a few days before she turned 6 months old. Our classes did have occasional brief free play sessions, but that wasn't the emphasis, nor was it a free for all.
That is sort of what I'm thinking too. I can't imagine ten puppies her size running around out of control like Puppy 1 was. I should have immediately done Puppy II if was I was going to do it. Live and learn!

This class was part of a Puppy Package that I purchased. They won't let you take the next obedience class without taking Puppy II. I hate to lose the money but I also don't want to do anything to compromise her training/development.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 08:43 PM
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lose the money or expect to take a class for reactive behaviors in the future....that club should re-think their methods(or is this their agenda?)

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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lose the money or expect to take a class for reactive behaviors in the future....that club should re-think their methods(or is this their agenda?)
I'm going to call tomorrow and see if they will let me take their regular obedience class instead of the Puppy II class.

They have a really good reputation but they are definitely of the "positive only" persuasion. I feel like at this point I need to proof her training so their regular obedience class will accomplish that I think. She listens really well at home and in the neighborhood but I haven't been good about taking her to public places (hence the reactivity at the vet this morning).
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 09:13 PM
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No, I would find an ordinary basic obedience class where the dogs will be on leash.

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 10:36 PM
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I'm on my first German Shepherd but have trained quite a few labs. Ellie is only 10 weeks old (will start Puppy 1 in two weeks) and I already feel like she's wayyy too advanced for the class - opposite of the labs lol. We're going to do it anyways for socialization purposes but if I were you I'd go with an obedience class!
I feel like the reactivity could even be augmented by more free play in her training environment? I would mention those concerns to them when you call. Hopefully they'll be understanding!

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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 11:33 PM
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I would start the dog in obedience. He is old enough and shouldn't need a second puppy class.
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