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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is this issue again. In a month Anton will be 6 months and I will be taking him for obedience class, actually it's called a leadership class (the school and this particular class was recommended). After the registration I have recieved the class info and discovered that the choke chains are required during the class. I really don't know if it's a good idea since in the past I had a bad experience with using a slip collar on my other dog Yana.

Anton is a great puppy, extremely food motivated. When he starts pulling just a simple stop and telling him 'slow' works. I informally teach him attentive healing with food and he's doing wonderfully. I don't even need to pop a leash on him since the distractions to food or toy (sometimes) and watch me command works very well with him. His worst habit right now is getting excited and barking if we are too close to another dog (not just passing by but if two dogs are waiting and close to each other) and it's excited barking, not fear. Again, ignoring and redirection works so far, and I have a very happy puppy with me right now.

I was thinking to reserve the prong collar and corrections for later times after he absolutely knows what is expected from him, and here it seems that they teach obedience using the choke. I have done that with Yana so I know it works but I am afraid I will destroy the bond I have with my puppy right now and kill all the fun of learning new stuff for him. What do you think? Am I too paranoid?
 

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Would they let you use a fur saver? (Then you could attach the leach so that it doesn't "choke" but works like a "regular" collar instead.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks, Tracy! I will ask about that. I prefer prong myself but I'm just afraid it's too early! I'm afraid that they will demand to put the leash on a live ring and the training would be to wait when the dog makes a mistake and then jerk the leash. The result will be a reluctantly obedient dog that doesn't want to look into my eyes (I'm still retraining Yana to love doing obedience).
 

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Well, this isn't much help but I won't take my dogs to a training facility that makes blanket requirements about what tools or methods I can and cannot use.

In your case, I would put him on a simple nylon martingale. I'm hoping that their reasoning for a choke is so that the dogs cannot slip their collar. In most beginner level obedience classes I've been to, pretty much everyone is using a flat collar that is fitted way too loose, or they have a hyper or reactive dog flipping like a fish and backing right out of his collar. A properly fitted martingale ensures the dog cannot slip the collar, but has a limit so the dog cannot choke himself or damage the trachea with too much or constant pressure.

I don't use chokes of ANY kind for training or corrections (I do use slip collars and slip leads for ease and simplicity but only on Kenya who is trained). I think you are right to use a prong instead and wait until you have something in mind to use it for, not just slapping it on the puppy. The prong is a martingale collar.
 

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Can you call the trainer and see if he/she would be willing to make an exception for your puppy, or possibly go watch a class to see how everyone trains? Maybe they are more flexible than it sounds on the class info.

If not, I'd find a different class. Choke chains have become a thing of the past and it sounds like you're on the right track doing everything motivationally now and then adding the prong much later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Liesje and phgsd, thank you for your input. I will call the trainer tomorrow and ask questions. It's more than an hour one way so for me it's hard to go there just to watch. I hope they are flexible. I do not want to use a choke because if I'm not comfortable with this tool I won't be able to use it correctly anyway, even on an adult dog.
 

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Ask why the requirement. If it is required to prevent a dog from slipping the collar, then ask if a martingale type collar would be ok instead.

I have used choke chains for different reasons. I do not see them as necessary for young pups. prong collars are supposed to cause less injuries than choke chains.

However, the prong collar cannot be used in AKC performance events, but a choke chain can be.
 

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I'm with Lies - I would question any trainer requiring the same equipment for all dogs and all ages of dogs.

Ask a lot questions. Why a choke collar. What style of training do they use. Can you watch a class or speak to a prior student.

I thoughtwe were long past the days of assigning equipment.
 

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I wish the trainer in the puppy class I went to with Jenna required a specific type of collar for all the dogs.

The puppy class turned out to be general obedience with mostly adult dogs. Jenna was ten weeks old.

The very first class the full-grown yellow lab slipped its flat collar twice and attacked Jenna both time.

Until a trainer knows what they are dealing with (dogs and handlers), dogs should be contrained with some type of method where they cannot just slip out of it.

That is just an opinion.
 

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Originally Posted By: selzerI
Until a trainer knows what they are dealing with (dogs and handlers), dogs should be contrained with some type of method where they cannot just slip out of it.
I agree. But, a "choke chain" is NOT the only type of collar a dog can't slip out of.
 

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Originally Posted By: selzerI wish the trainer in the puppy class I went to with Jenna required a specific type of collar for all the dogs.

The puppy class turned out to be general obedience with mostly adult dogs. Jenna was ten weeks old.

The very first class the full-grown yellow lab slipped its flat collar twice and attacked Jenna both time.

Until a trainer knows what they are dealing with (dogs and handlers), dogs should be contrained with some type of method where they cannot just slip out of it.

That is just an opinion.
Well a good trainer should make suggestions and offer some training tools to try. At my first basic obedience class, the trainer looked at what each person had. A lot of people ended up with martingales and she let people borrow hers until they could buy their own. At the club I go to now, they sell everything the trainers recommend (usually easy walks or martingales), so the dogs can be fitted right there during class.
 

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Your comment and my son's experience with the so-called training classes are why I am a bit negative on enrolling my GSD's in these sessions.

Frankly, most of the trainers I have encountered know less then the folks on this board, and I see no reason why your pup needs to arrive with a chock collar.

From your response it sounds like your pup is doing just fine, so socialize the dog and spent that time wated in training classes working with your dog. You will also save a few dollars.

You are not to paranoid, and your opinions about your pup are right on. The excitement and barking at six months is quite normal.

If it continues you can correct it.

Also, I see no reason for calling the trainer and asking him/her about the chock collar. If that is their approach fine, but drop it. That requirement does not help a pup.
 

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Originally Posted By: selzer Jenna was ten weeks old.
Ten weeks is too young to be in any type of structured training class. First of all, the pup is still bonding with you as it's new parent and leader, does not have enough attention span or a developed enough brain to absorb training, and probably most importantly - has not had all its shots and should not be around other dogs for any length of time.

PS - if the trainer was worth anything, they would not accept a 10 week old.
 

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We took Kuno to the local trainer when he was still very young (about 3 months I think). We were in a class that was mostly other puppies, several GSDs, etc. They also required a choke collar or prong collar. Their method of training is constant leash corrections, sometimes fairly violent. The woman who owns the business and leads the training is pretty competent, but she had an "assistant" there that was way too extreme in her corrections. She was always on the borderline of abuse.

We dropped out about half way through, because of the above, and also that the class was just too full and there were too many distractions for puppy and owner alike. I have to say that what really disappointed me was that we never even got a phone call asking why we stopped coming. I guess since we paid for the whole course in advance she already had what she was after from us.

This has turned me off to dog trainers and anyone who wants to tell me how to train my dog. My opinion is, get to know your pup and what methods seem to work best and use those. If you can find a good trainer that will help you using the same or similar method then you're lucky - but the minute a trainer takes a "my way or the highway" attitude, I choose the latter immediately and don't look back.
 

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Originally Posted By: LedZepWe took Kuno to the local trainer when he was still very young (about 3 months I think). We were in a class that was mostly other puppies, several GSDs, etc. They also required a choke collar or prong collar. Their method of training is constant leash corrections, sometimes fairly violent. The woman who owns the business and leads the training is pretty competent, but she had an "assistant" there that was way too extreme in her corrections. She was always on the borderline of abuse.

We dropped out about half way through, because of the above, and also that the class was just too full and there were too many distractions for puppy and owner alike. I have to say that what really disappointed me was that we never even got a phone call asking why we stopped coming. I guess since we paid for the whole course in advance she already had what she was after from us.

This has turned me off to dog trainers and anyone who wants to tell me how to train my dog. My opinion is, get to know your pup and what methods seem to work best and use those. If you can find a good trainer that will help you using the same or similar method then you're lucky - but the minute a trainer takes a "my way or the highway" attitude, I choose the latter immediately and don't look back.

Max and I went through a same type of training, but, the corrections were made for the "sound", not the force, and there were only 8 dogs per class, Max was trained military style, sorry to hear that an assistant ruined it for you, its an excellent method of training if taught correctly, we were told to buy the German made chokers they release much quicker and have a distinct sound, but I decided for the prong is much safer for my boy and girl
 

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LedZep, sorry but I wiped the slime off of Jenna when she was born so she was pretty well bonded with me ten weeks later. Three years later, she is still well bonded.

I signed up for a "puppy class." This woman told me that she defines puppies as dogs under five months old, then they are adolescents. When I got to the class and had the only animal less than a year old, you better believe I called her up that night.

Ten weeks is not too young for a puppy class. Jenna was not too young for a basic obedience class given that I chose to do what I felt she was capable of, for as long as I thought she was capable of doing it. After a second session with the monstrous lab, the trainer did split me and the little foo foo dog that wasn't there the first night into our own class.

My pups do not have the full complement of shots until they get their rabies shots between 16 and 18 weeks old -- that might even be put off a little longer from now on. But the girl had two sets of shots and that is really enough to get them started on.

Timber1, I am sorry but I have to totally disagree. Having trained six puppies in the past two years, I think I know how to train a dog to sit and down and well (let's leave "heel" out of this). I do not NEED a trainer, but my dogs do need the classes with the other dogs and the other dog-friendly people there.

It all depends on what you want to do with your dog. If your dog is going to stay in a kennel or on a chain in the back yard and take occasional spins around the block on a leash, then going to obedience classes is overkill. If you want to take your dog to pet stores and dog parks and take them off-lead to parks that allow that sort of thing, then I think obedience classes make sense. If you want to title your dog, then working them in a class setting is a must.

No way should you take a green dog out into a busy show where there are people and dogs of every size and shape milling everywhere so that the only place you can relax is your couple of minutes in the ring itself.

Dog classes are also helpful, for house dogs, dogs that are taken to the vet, dogs that are taken in to be groomed by someone they do not know, dogs that are boarded.

There are plenty of things you can teach your dog in a vaccume. But at some point it makes sense to get them out where they will see others (dogs and people). And it makes it that much easier if the other people are also learning. They tend to be a little more careful, a little more knowledgeable and a little more forgiving than the average Joe on the street.

In my ideal dog breeding setting, a requirement for puppy buyers would be that they have paid up front for 1 year of dog training at a local (for them) dog training fascility, and have $3000 in trust at their local vet. Unfortunately, I would never sell another puppy.

But I truly believe that if everyone who bought a puppy was required to go through three or four sets of classes: Puppy kindergarten, Basic Obedience, Advanced Obedience, CGC, Begining Agility, Begining Herding, etc., there would be almost no dogs dropped at shelters.
 

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Selzer some people especially a novice person with a GSD can reap benefits from going to puppy class. First it is usually a nice place to socialize, in most classes you do meets and greet with fellow students like you are outside walking your dog. It gets pups use to people and other pups/dogs approaching them.

Also some people work better with some guidance, if you can do your training fine, but I don't think you should advise people not to go to training classes.

I don't really like the use of the choke chain and would hope that the OP will try to find another training center.

Val
 

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Selzer, regarding your comment which follows:

Timber1, I am sorry but I have to totally disagree. Having trained six puppies in the past two years, I think I know how to train a dog to sit and down and well (let's leave "heel" out of this). I do not NEED a trainer, but my dogs do need the classes with the other dogs and the other dog-friendly people there.

The so-called classes have been a waste of time and $$$. As I said so many times before when my Germans are out playing in the yard as many as 5-7 dogs also attend. A Mastif, A Chow, of course a few labs, an adopted dog from Hurricane Katrina, etc.

Timber, again as I have said so many times has also been in crowds as high as 50,000 (Ducks Unlimited, Oshkosh, WI.) and his behavior has been perfect.

He now goes to the nursing home my father is in, and the old folks love him.

Has there been some problems, absolutely, but this board has helped me resolve those.

As for classes, I am suprised at your response, inpart because the rescue dogs I take, with their so-called certificates need to be re-trained.

I could elaborate, based on the experience of others, but most of these so-called classes do more harm then good, and then is somewhat apparent from reading this board.
 

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Timber - I'm very sorry training classes did not work out for you. However, to make a blaket statement that MOST classes are not worth it is unfair.

Just like anything else, there are good and bad. We get a lot of repeat handlers in our classes - sometimes with a new, young dog after losing a faithful friend and sometimes just because the classes are great for working under distractions and for bonding - and they are fun!


Let's try to keep an open mind and just say that not all dogs and not all handlers need the classes. For those who have a lot to learn, who enjoy the time spent in the class or who's dogs will benefit from working around other dogs, classes should be safe, educational experiences. If not - blame that instructor, not all instructors.

I don't know what I like more - taking classes or teaching them.
 
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