Do you stick with one trainer? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Do you stick with one trainer?

We are getting our puppy in about 2 and a half weeks, and once he is of age will enroll him in an obedience class. The thing is, most of the classes around here require you to take THEIR obedience class if you want to enroll your dog further into more advanced classes. There are two venues we are looking into, one has obedience, then it also has tracking, agility, flyball, and CGC courses, and we are wanting to do something fun with Bruce once he is old enough. The other venue is the humane society, and they offer a bunch of obedience classes after their basic class each focusing on different things (walking in public, tricks) and also some more fun classes, like how to track (but not as advanced as an actual tracking class, more just for fun).

The thing is, we want to keep Bruce actively engaged in such types of classes, so we are really wanting to put him in an obedience class as soon as he is old enough. But would you recommend choosing one and sticking to it, or could we choose like the humane society, and take him there until he is about 9 months old, then start taking him to the other place and working on flyball or agility or obedience? What would you recommend in this situation.

Here are links to both of the places we are considering:
Go Dogs Omaha
Nebraska Humane Society

We took our other dog to the humane society, and he really liked it, and we really enjoyed the environment there, but we got him when he was a bit older. With a puppy we would want to do something also fun like agility or flyball.

~Deanna
Bruce - Born Nov. 9th 2015, Pick up Jan. 6th 2016
At the Bridge:
Max - With us August 24th 2015 - December 16th 2015
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 11:32 AM
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It would be worth checking with each place to see how firm they are on the requirement to take their classes. Some of the facilities I took classes at with Halo listed a prior class taken there as a prerequisite, OR a comparable class taken elsewhere. Four of her first 5 obedience classes (Sirius Puppy 1 & 2, a CGC class, Family Dog 2 and Basic Manners 2), were taken in different places - a deliberate choice I made.

The first two were the same program and instructor, just different locations, and the CGC and Manners class were at the same place, but a year or more apart. She also took her beginning flyball class there. Family Dog 2 was at a humane society, and since I'd taken her earlier classes elsewhere they required us to "test in" by demonstrating that she already had the skills she would have gotten if we'd taken their beginner class. I simply made an appointment, brought Halo in, and showed that she knew sit, down, stay, a recall, and some leash skills. We got the okay for either FD2 or 3, but their previous level 3 class had been cancelled because there weren't enough signups, and it would have been a less convenient day and time, so I took the level 2 class. Our flyball club also practices on a field at that humane society.

If there had been a place where I could have taken a variety of classes from basic beginning all the way up to a sport I might have started there and stayed there, but that wasn't always the case. Also, I liked the idea of generalizing Halo's training by having her in novel environments. When she was a puppy I worked with her in a different room in the house each day, and once she was a bit older and I was doing more of her training outdoors, I'd take her to different places to work. We went to both of the pet supply stores in town, three different strip malls, we trained on busy street corners, next to gas stations, by the baseball field while kids were practicing, and a basketball court, outside the bowling alley and the supermarket with automatic doors and people going by with carts.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
It would be worth checking with each place to see how firm they are on the requirement to take their classes. Some of the facilities I took classes at with Halo listed a prior class taken there as a prerequisite, OR a comparable class taken elsewhere. Four of her first 5 obedience classes (Sirius Puppy 1 & 2, a CGC class, Family Dog 2 and Basic Manners 2), were taken in different places - a deliberate choice I made.

The first two were the same program and instructor, just different locations, and the CGC and Manners class were at the same place, but a year or more apart. She also took her beginning flyball class there. Family Dog 2 was at a humane society, and since I'd taken her earlier classes elsewhere they required us to "test in" by demonstrating that she already had the skills she would have gotten if we'd taken their beginner class. I simply made an appointment, brought Halo in, and showed that she knew sit, down, stay, a recall, and some leash skills. We got the okay for either FD2 or 3, but their previous level 3 class had been cancelled because there weren't enough signups, and it would have been a less convenient day and time, so I took the level 2 class. Our flyball club also practices on a field at that humane society.

If there had been a place where I could have taken a variety of classes from basic beginning all the way up to a sport I might have started there and stayed there, but that wasn't always the case. Also, I liked the idea of generalizing Halo's training by having her in novel environments. When she was a puppy I worked with her in a different room in the house each day, and once she was a bit older and I was doing more of her training outdoors, I'd take her to different places to work. We went to both of the pet supply stores in town, three different strip malls, we trained on busy street corners, next to gas stations, by the baseball field while kids were practicing, and a basketball court, outside the bowling alley and the supermarket with automatic doors and people going by with carts.
Yes, this is something I am looking at too. On the humane society page, for advanced classes it lists basic obedience OR permission from the instructor. So I am thinking maybe if we take Bruce to the other club that has the agility and other basic classes, and take him to obedience classes there we can get permission from the instructor by showing his certificate of training from the other place, showing his skills, and also since we have already taken a class there, we are going to be using their methods to start Bruce before he is old enough to go to a class. I just don't want to pay for two different basic obedience classes, if there are no ways around it I would. I did REALLY like the trainer at the humane society, she was very knowledgeable, has a GSD herself, and really cared about the animals. They just don't offer any sport-related classes. And one thing the trainer STRESSED at the humane society was how in order to really get your dog VERY obedient, you have to practice a LOT in a LOT of different places, practice at the park, before the gate, in the gate, down at the bottom, practice near the car, practice in the driveway, practice in the porch, practice in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, dining room. She said dogs remember things by pictures, so if they remember a certain phrase or gesture in the living room, next time you are in the living room they will remember, but not necessarily when you are at the park. She said it takes 2 years of constant training, and a 100 different places to get your dog good. So if we can take him to obedience classes at different venues, I would prefer it, I just didn't know if anybody had reasons for why not to take him to different venues, such as different styles could confuse your dog or something. Which I agree, it could, but if we go to a trainer with a style we don't like, it is OUR dog, and our word is the final say on how we train him. That is my opinion.

~Deanna
Bruce - Born Nov. 9th 2015, Pick up Jan. 6th 2016
At the Bridge:
Max - With us August 24th 2015 - December 16th 2015
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 12:13 PM
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And one thing the trainer STRESSED at the humane society was how in order to really get your dog VERY obedient, you have to practice a LOT in a LOT of different places, practice at the park, before the gate, in the gate, down at the bottom, practice near the car, practice in the driveway, practice in the porch, practice in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, dining room. She said dogs remember things by pictures, so if they remember a certain phrase or gesture in the living room, next time you are in the living room they will remember, but not necessarily when you are at the park.
Perfect! Not everyone realizes that, so you're already ahead. Each time you change the picture it's different for the dog, even though WE know a sit is still just a sit no matter where you are, or where the dog is in relation to you. With a young puppy I do a lot of stuff sitting on the floor, so that's a different picture than you standing, or sitting on the couch or a chair while training.

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So if we can take him to obedience classes at different venues, I would prefer it, I just didn't know if anybody had reasons for why not to take him to different venues, such as different styles could confuse your dog or something. Which I agree, it could, but if we go to a trainer with a style we don't like, it is OUR dog, and our word is the final say on how we train him. That is my opinion.
Absolutely. Different venues may not mean different training styles anyway, but a class is usually just an hour a week so the main training will be done in the days between each class, where you can train with whatever methods you choose. And you have the right to refuse to do anything in class that you're not comfortable with.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
Perfect! Not everyone realizes that, so you're already ahead. Each time you change the picture it's different for the dog, even though WE know a sit is still just a sit no matter where you are, or where the dog is in relation to you. With a young puppy I do a lot of stuff sitting on the floor, so that's a different picture than you standing, or sitting on the couch or a chair while training.



Absolutely. Different venues may not mean different training styles anyway, but a class is usually just an hour a week so the main training will be done in the days between each class, where you can train with whatever methods you choose. And you have the right to refuse to do anything in class that you're not comfortable with.
Thanks you for the support! I am going to talk with the husband, and I think we will probably start Bruce off at the Go Dogs place in Omaha, if they have times that work well with us. My husband has a kind of wacky work schedule, so that is another thing we need to consider when choosing the venues. But I feel like if we try to get the same trainer we had with our other dog, she will let us waive the basic class at the humane society.

~Deanna
Bruce - Born Nov. 9th 2015, Pick up Jan. 6th 2016
At the Bridge:
Max - With us August 24th 2015 - December 16th 2015
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 12:31 PM
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I've never seen a requirement that you have to take THEIR classes - every club I've researched has explicitly stated that comparable classes elsewhere are permissible.

I do stick with one club and trainer team for obedience, but they have a setup that follows your dog from puppy class through advanced trial prep. The continuity has been great and the class fits nicely into my schedule, so it works for us.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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I've never seen a requirement that you have to take THEIR classes - every club I've researched has explicitly stated that comparable classes elsewhere are permissible.

I do stick with one club and trainer team for obedience, but they have a setup that follows your dog from puppy class through advanced trial prep. The continuity has been great and the class fits nicely into my schedule, so it works for us.
I don't plan on competing in anything with Bruce, most of the stuff that we will be doing will be to keep him occupied mentally, and to just have fun with him. So I'm not so worried about having a certain club or trainer for a certain discipline, since it will all be for fun anyway. Thank you for your input!

Oh, and the requirement for taking their class is usually just listed in prerequisites for training, but I think if we talked to somebody about it and demonstrated our pup's ability it could be waived.

~Deanna
Bruce - Born Nov. 9th 2015, Pick up Jan. 6th 2016
At the Bridge:
Max - With us August 24th 2015 - December 16th 2015

Last edited by Wags; 12-23-2015 at 12:41 PM. Reason: add more info
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 12:54 PM
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I've taken classes in two different venues so far and may add a third.The instructors so far seem fine with having people and their dogs that have trained elsewhere.Two owners/dogs in our last advanced class ended up being moved back to a basic class after after one or two weeks when it became obvious they weren't ready.Both places state any dogs in advanced classes that have done basics elsewhere need permission from the instructor,but that's just to make sure they aren't jumping in over their skill level before they're ready.No silliness like going from puppy basic to competition agility.The instructors even train with their dogs in other facilities.Looking forward to reading about Bruce's progress!

Terri

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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I've taken classes in two different venues so far and may add a third.The instructors so far seem fine with having people and their dogs that have trained elsewhere.Two owners/dogs in our last advanced class ended up being moved back to a basic class after after one or two weeks when it became obvious they weren't ready.Both places state any dogs in advanced classes that have done basics elsewhere need permission from the instructor,but that's just to make sure they aren't jumping in over their skill level before they're ready.No silliness like going from puppy basic to competition agility.The instructors even train with their dogs in other facilities.Looking forward to reading about Bruce's progress!
Thank you for this information! That is kind of what I thought the whole "instructor permission" was for, just to ensure the dog hasn't been trained only at your home, and now you want it to be competing or something silly, to make sure that you are working at the appropriate level. Our humane society just offers some really fun classes, and I want to be able to take Bruce there, but we already took the basic class with our other dog. And it seems like most group classes (or really probably private classes as well) are more to train YOU how to work with your dog rather than to train your dog. I even still have the homework the instructor from the humane society e-mailed us about our classes. We seriously had just finished classes at the beginning of December! And then we lost our Max too quickly. But, all that training information is still very fresh in our mind.

~Deanna
Bruce - Born Nov. 9th 2015, Pick up Jan. 6th 2016
At the Bridge:
Max - With us August 24th 2015 - December 16th 2015
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Haha, and I was just scrolling through google and found a few other clubs that I'd really like to join and offer decent obedience classes. Bruce shall be well rounded I've decided, maybe we'll give each place a class and see how we like to compare them.

~Deanna
Bruce - Born Nov. 9th 2015, Pick up Jan. 6th 2016
At the Bridge:
Max - With us August 24th 2015 - December 16th 2015
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