Getting a trainer - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Getting a trainer

Hi all, I just put down a deposit for a black GSD that we'll get at 9 weeks in early January. Having never owned a "power dog," I wanted to keep on top of training and get a good, early start. Therefore, I intend to get a trainer.

The first quote I got came out to $1600 for a couple months of twice-weekly training, and I see another website advertises basic obedience for that much.

That's a little rich for us...

Is this a normal price? Any suggestions on getting some help, but maybe not spending quite so much? Thanks.

We are in Tempe, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix)
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 01:13 AM
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It'll be worth it if it's a trainer well versed in GSD's. I'd wait until your pup is 4 months old. First thing is potty training and puppy proofing. Have fun with your puppy!
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 02:52 AM
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I would check out engagement unleashed for the next Collared Scholar session. It's an online course and given your puppies age you probably have time to wait. I think a lot of the information can be really beneficial for the pet dog home. The course really helped my understand my dog better, it isn't so much about really young puppies, but used thoughtfully it can be. I would be thinking in hindsight about finding clear ways to communicate with my dog and much less about obedience.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 08:28 AM
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Congrats!! For a block of privates that would not be terrible, around here at least. I'm in NE NJ. I've done privates with 2 known breed oriented trainers. One was 100 per hour another was 150 per hour for privates. Each charged an eval session too at the beginning that was a little bit more.

Another option, unless you are having a specific issue where you feel you need an intense one on one, is to join a local IPO Club. For club dues (figure about 100 per month) you will at the very least get coached. Sometimes that is all one needs. Bonus would be if you do start having issues where you need privates, the people at the club will know good trainers.

Or, find a group class. Just make sure it isn't a Petco type, or positive only puppies need to have playdates type place. Those types of places usually aren't ideal for our breed. Look for a group class that is about you and your dog, and helps you teach your dog to be neutral to distractions including other dogs.

IMO you don't need to shell out for privates if they aren't in your budget, UNLESS you are having a behavior crop up that has you in over your head.

Good luck! Hope to see puppy pics when you get him/her

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 09:13 AM
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Not sure what it is in Phoenix, but here in NE Ohio, you can get good training, six weeks of puppy or basic obedience or rally or advanced obedience for approximately $115 -- that would be 6 50 minute sessions in a small group of other dogs, usually 5-8 pups/dogs in a class, taught by an AKC obedience/rally judge/CGC evaluator, and helped by an AKC CGC evaluator. This is actually really a bargain with good trainers who are breeders and are very familiar (have owned and worked with) a variety of breeds, including GSDs.

Ten or so miles away you can get 10 sessions of training for your dog and then be trained with your dog for $600. Oh wait, the first session is free, and then you get 10 more. But wait, I think the first session is just a go and get information and have him meet the dog. Whatever, the folks chose that one because the first session was free. I think she said $600, but she might have said $1200. Can't remember now. I was just flabbergasted. Of course I gave the people the name and contact info of the first trainer and am, maybe a little butt-hurt that they did not even consider trying that route.

I suppose wherever you live, you can find training in a variety of price ranges and styles and levels of effectiveness.

I am hoping some folks in your area can suggest some good ones.

What is important for you is to have realistic expectations for your puppy. German Shepherd puppies can be really, really good at obedience, so good in fact that we can over do it so easily. Then when our pup doesn't get something or fails to do something we were sure he knew a week ago, we can quickly become irritated with them. When this happens, sometimes our wonderful, biddable, dogs will shut down, for fear of doing the wrong thing, and we generally see it as stubbornness, and we retaliate and you can see how this spiral is going.

Please, before you get your puppy, learn what to expect from puppies at 8 weeks of age, and at 12 and 16, etc. A good trainer will help you recognize puppy behavior, but how do you know you have a good trainer? There are so many bad ones out there. And they will not have to live with the consequences of their training. You will. It is up to you to educate yourself on how to recognize good training. And what to expect from a pup the age of your puppy. You have to learn how to keep the puppy challenged and engaged, but to quit when the puppy still wants more, and to keep it light and fun.

You are seeing this puppy as a power puppy? It is working lines? I see it is black, but that is not necessarily working lines. Also what puppy you end up getting from this litter -- too early to tell yet what the temperament will be. If you were getting a green dog, about 18 months old, training can be done in a businesslike manner with adult expectations and goals. Keeping it light and fun for both of you may still be the best answer but not nearly as crucial as for a baby like the one you are getting.

GSDs are pretty resilient and you can make mistakes with them. They will bounce back. But they are also sensitive dogs and to make the best of your training, you can start off on the right foot with puppy expectations for both the quality of the performance and the quantity of time and effort you put into the training. Playing with your puppy is probably some of the best training you can give it. Training him to be gentle, to trade you for things, to let you handle his paws and ears, to find and bring you things, to amp up and to calm down, and to get to know you and for you to get to know him.

Congratulations on your new puppy and good luck with him.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 10:18 AM
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It depends on the trainer. I've paid $100 per session. I currently pay $50 per session. The $100 per session is a world champion in my sport. The $50 is national level competitor.

2x weekly for 8 weeks = $50 per session. Not a bad price. Their expertise and knowledge are worth something. I know the money I've spent to learn what I know.

My issue is that you have a young puppy and once weekly is plenty. You take a lesson, go home and practice then take another lesson. Once a week is perfect for that unless training your dog is all you are going to do in your life.

What you can do is find a good trainer that works with your budget. You don't need to do even weekly lessons if you can't afford it. I took lessons every 2-3 weeks because it fit with my budget and my schedule. And that was for formal sport training.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the thoughtful and informative replies. I will certainly look into educating myself with courses and books! I do like the idea of trying to find some good group classes and seeing how that goes first. I did like the trainer I talked to, and the $ seemed fair compensation given what he was offering--it's just going to be very hard to fit it into our finances. I am also going to make sure to get the dog's lineage. I looked at the paper and saw a lot of foreign names, but unfortunately I didn't snap a shot of it in the moment.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 11:51 AM
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A word of caution about group puppy classes. I will never let my puppy play with other puppies at those classes again. Look but don't touch.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 11:52 AM
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It really depends on where you live and I don't know what typical prices are in your area. We used a great private trainer here and she charged $100 per session (which was an hour to hour and a half), but had a package deal of 10 sessions for $700. I don't know what she charges now, but it could be more since that was around 8 years ago.

To me, a private trainer is more for tackling specific issues or if you're working towards a goal, such as competing in a sport. A good group class is a fine place to start with a young puppy, I don't see any need to spend a lot of money on private lessons to teach basic obedience behaviors. You do want to set a good foundation though, so educating yourself with books and videos is a good place to start. Denise Fenzi's series of Dog Sport Skills books (series of 4) are great, and I like Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed program too. Even if you don't plan on doing a sport, they are both very applicable to pet dogs.

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CactusWren View Post
I am also going to make sure to get the dog's lineage. I looked at the paper and saw a lot of foreign names, but unfortunately I didn't snap a shot of it in the moment.
You can always search at Pedigree Database or Working-Dog. It's easier if you have the name of the dog's sire or dam, at least. I always find what I want by writing the kennel's name, though.

Last edited by gsdworld7; 11-10-2018 at 12:24 PM.
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