Puppy Pre-School? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2017, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Puppy Pre-School?

I am picking up my new puppy, GSD, this Friday. He will be about 11 1/2 weeks old.
What do you all think of puppy pre-school classes? I have never done them, but it has been many years since I have had a GSD puppy (about 12 years ago, she died at 10 :*( ).
The class I am looking into is NOT a free for all for puppies. It is pretty structured, beginning marker training, and experienced trainers decide in the first class what puppies should go where (ex. no bullies that will scar other puppies).
Are they worth it? I have a lot of the Leerburg training videos, and from what I can tell, he is not a fan of classes like these. However my last GSD was dog aggressive. I really want a dog that doesn't care about it's surroundings. Puppies, dogs, people....
Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2017, 01:27 PM
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I skip puppy classes. To me they only add fluff and chaos. I do the training of a pup myself in the real world and they only are exposed to normal adult dogs, not to other crazy puppies. Later I take my youngster to a few basic classes and then decide which way to go based on the personality and preferences of the dog.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2017, 01:36 PM
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I had a good experience with puppy class. The teacher was very careful about who played with who. My boy was the biggest kid there but started out timid and only wanted to play with one small, very young little submissive lab. There was a very pushy smallish mutt of indeterminate lineage who was the bossiest of the group. My pup started off totally intimidated but by the end was playing with that puppy in short spurts, I always made sure that puppy never ran him or scared him.

We live in a very isolated place and getting to interact with all the other people was good too. There were families and kids and everything.

One thing I felt was really important was for him to see different types of dogs so he knew they existed and were dogs. And there was a nice variety in my class including some little thing that basically looked like a mop. Uppy ears, floppy ears, big, small, stubby, curly, ect.

I felt he became more confident from it and it was a good experience for him.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2017, 01:46 PM
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First of all, I'm sorry for the loss of your last GSD. <3
Considering your last GSD was dog aggressive, it's a possibility that a puppy class can maybe help with socialization if nothing else? Sounds like if it's a structured class time with specific objectives and experienced trainers, it should be helpful. However one thing I have learned from lurking over and reading a lot of posts on training is that there is a difference between "experienced" trainers and "qualified" trainers. Someone who works at a pet store or owns a pet boarding business may claim to be an "experienced" trainer, and sure, they have experience with animals. Not the same as someone who is a "qualified" trainer who either trains dogs for basic obedience or for competition. Just my .02 from what I've learned around here.
We opted out of doing the "puppy" class since we didn't want to overwhelm her when she first came home but we have had some crazy circumstances with this pup. It has been almost a month and we are finally starting training next week - a basic obedience class with learning the normal control commands and touching on behavioral issues like lunging at other dogs or jumping on people.
Good luck!

Ghost - our first WGSD, parvo survivor, 9/30/16
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 08:58 PM
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Personally, I've had both good and bad experiences with puppy classes. The pup I have now is my first GSD, but previously I had two pit bulls and one did well with the puppy classes and the socialization worked wonders, the first one however --- it was a disaster. I had taken him to the puppy classes at the local Petco and the trainer was new, and let me tel you it was a disaster and there is a part of me that believes it ended up having a lot to do with his later developed dog aggression. My advice is if you are looking for some serious socialization, go for it but do yourself the favor of researching where you go first. I had gone to a different place the second time around and I have to say the trainer worked wonders with us Good luck on your new pup!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 09:31 PM
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It sounds like this is a structured obedience class aimed at baby puppies. That sounds awesome. There is nothing wrong with starting training early. My club has classes that have all the same exercises as adolescent/beginner 1 classes we just teach to a more immature/shorter attention span mind.

Our take on socialization for puppies is "Yes, there are other dogs over there but you are here to learn to work with a human." We don't allow playing as part of class.

Our puppy class is for 8-16 week olds that have had at least the first vaccine.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 11:53 AM
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Its was incredibly positive for us. Our trainer does classes at the city's activity center. It's a 6 week course ending in the STAR puppy certification. She's a professional handler/trainer, currently works with therapy dogs, etc. I didn't realize it at the time, but from her bio it appears she developed PetSmart's training program. Now, I wouldn't do the PetSmart program at one of their stores, but you can imagine the person that developed the program at a corporate level is good.

Samson was pretty much trained in everything needes to pass the STAR puppy test before the classes, but still benefited. More than anything it taught us how to approach training; enforcing what we were doing right while giving us sone new ideas. It also gave him an opportunity to interact with other puppies around the same age in a structured environment. Because it was done at the activities center the rooms were very large and provided plenty of space. She also organized "pack walks" downtown where her students would meet up on weekends and work on more real life type things. The dogs got used to walking past outdoor diners, going into stores (there are several pet stores and other places dogs are welcome), seeing unfamiliar dogs while on a leash, and being pet by strangers. Again though, it was more about teaching the owner to train than teaching the dogs.

I know there are some pretty string and differing opinions in this, but if it ia thr right class, setting, and instructor it will be a positive experience.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamsontheGSD View Post
Its was incredibly positive for us. Our trainer does classes at the city's activity center. It's a 6 week course ending in the STAR puppy certification. She's a professional handler/trainer, currently works with therapy dogs, etc. I didn't realize it at the time, but from her bio it appears she developed PetSmart's training program. Now, I wouldn't do the PetSmart program at one of their stores, but you can imagine the person that developed the program at a corporate level is good.

Samson was pretty much trained in everything needes to pass the STAR puppy test before the classes, but still benefited. More than anything it taught us how to approach training; enforcing what we were doing right while giving us sone new ideas. It also gave him an opportunity to interact with other puppies around the same age in a structured environment. Because it was done at the activities center the rooms were very large and provided plenty of space. She also organized "pack walks" downtown where her students would meet up on weekends and work on more real life type things. The dogs got used to walking past outdoor diners, going into stores (there are several pet stores and other places dogs are welcome), seeing unfamiliar dogs while on a leash, and being pet by strangers. Again though, it was more about teaching the owner to train than teaching the dogs.

I know there are some pretty string and differing opinions in this, but if it ia thr right class, setting, and instructor it will be a positive experience.
Excuse the typos. Big fingers, small phone. :-)
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 12:01 PM
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I enrolled both Asher and Levi in puppy classes and had positive experiences. Of course, the classes were run by experienced trainers. If you're in doubt, maybe you can observe a class. From the description you gave, it sounds like a worthwhile class to me.
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