German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,157 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
why should i take my pup to class when i can just train him sit,stay,down, etc at home? i can just set up play dates with other dogs. in a lot of puppy classes the trainers dont really want the puppies to interact anyways. so is there actually a good reason to take a pup to these classes? people i know have owned multiple shepherds and they take each and every one to puppy class. im not sure if im just missing the point of these classes?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,250 Posts
Yes, they're important.

They are great because they are a weekly gathering of distractions and new people to train around. You could easily train all of the items at home, but they will not work in public unless you proof them there. Puppies need to socialization and training through distractions from a young age or they are going to be overwhelmed as adults being put in those situations. My Border Collie puppy knew touch, sit, down, come, stay, and his name all before we entered puppy class at ~3 months, but we did it anyway because the children in the class, new dogs, and new people were invaluable training tools/assets to have.

Most puppy classes DO allow socialization at the end of the class, also. At least the ones around here and the ones I teach, do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,157 Posts
What Danielle said. They're important because of the distraction aspect they provide for training and beginning proofing but also if you're having trouble teaching something, the trainer of the class may have a different way to teach it that works for your dog. It's also good supervised socialization.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,084 Posts
I don't like puppy classes. Every trainer I've worked with, and these are trainers that do working dogs, sport training, PP and PD work, does private lessons. Only when the dog is older and consistent do they do group classes to proof with distractions, NOT to socialize.

My trainer feels like proper socialization is necessary, but it needs to be in a very small controlled setting. Not the free for all that is most puppy classes. I socialize extensively with dogs I know and can control. I picture group classes like petsmart. Everyone let their puppy go. My old fear aggressive Shepherd pup was cornered under a stool by a chow pup, trainer just standing there with her arms crossed. After barking for 5 minutes he rushed out, snapped at the chow, and ran back under the chair. The trainer was explaining to us how she wanted to see how far he could be pushed before kicking us out of the class, in front of EVERYBODY, for having a dog that bit. Keep in mind he never made contact with the ither puppy.

If you dont have controlled interactions at a young age very bad habits and behaviors can form.

I would NEVER do puppy classes. I can do all my basic obedience and socialization myself, im with a trainer now because I've never done schutzhund before. If you need a trainer great find one. Of course I know not every class is the same and some grouo classes are good. But realistically and honestly, the majority of group classes are like petsmart and petco and just not that well structured.

Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
15,195 Posts
at 10 weeks old my pup was in a puppy class. the class was more
about socialization than training. the socialization included stairs,
wet ground, dry leaves, wet leaves, everybody handling everybody's
pups, mock exams, cat socializing (there was 2 cats in the class),
play time, leash training, etc. the class covered a lot. OB started
when my pup was 4 months old. my pup knew a few things before
the OB class but once the OB class started things took off.

i didn't take my last GSD to a puppy class but he was well socialized. he also started OB at 4 months old.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
15,195 Posts
what about people that don't know how to train or socialize???

I don't like puppy classes. Every trainer I've worked with, and these are trainers that do working dogs, sport training, PP and PD work, does private lessons. Only when the dog is older and consistent do they do group classes to proof with distractions, NOT to socialize.

My trainer feels like proper socialization is necessary, but it needs to be in a very small controlled setting. Not the free for all that is most puppy classes. I socialize extensively with dogs I know and can control.

>>>>> I would NEVER do puppy classes. I can do all my basic obedience and socialization myself, <<<<<

im with a trainer now because I've never done schutzhund before.

Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,157 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
those are good points. i meant training at home as i can train them by myself. today we trained in this large park next to some kind of frisbee golf tourny. he paid attention to me 80% of the time in front of a bunch of guys running and yelling. we just worked on engagement and sit.

i understand that going to an advanced obedience class would be different but is puppy class really necessary? i mean half the time is basically the instructor talking and half the time training. i could have been at the park training for a full hour. i feel like its a waste of money and time (because i've already been once) but will take my pup if someone could tell me why its beneficial for him to go?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,084 Posts
what about people that don't know how to train or socialize???
They find a GOOD trainer and go from there. My trainers now and in the past are amazing and produce fantastic, real world dogs that are working in every situation, be it sport police work or home life, none if them have approved of puppy classes as a starter, theyve all done private lessons. Obviously the dogs arent missing out on anything because the end result speaks for itself.

Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,157 Posts
luckily the trainer I'm in class with limits the number of dogs in the class to 7 and the class is very structured. He also has two of his 3 dogs titled in competitive obedience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,277 Posts
I took my pups to beginning obedience classes, but only for the distractions, not for teaching my puppy positions or commands(that was done at home) The one I took Onyx to was horrible. I wish I knew then what I know now, because the instructor was very compulsion based and we took away any confidence Onyx had early on. Looking back, it was a huge mistake to take her there. She was dog reactive, even at 3 months old and there was no way I'd have let her 'play' with any of the dogs in the class. The instructor was supposedly a GSD person(use to breed Am showlines) but she acted as if the breed was very intimidating and suggested prong collars for the young dogs. I didn't put a prong on Onyx til she was 6 months, but Gail the trainer had people putting prongs on most of the dogs around 3 months old.

With Karlo, I took him to a puppy class only for working him with other dogs around.
We were doing IPO too, so some of the exercises the instructor had the puppies doing didn't gel with my goals.

If I had to do over, I'd probably not do any puppy classes, but go to club regularly.

I'm also not a fan of the puppy play time, I only did that a couple of times before my male was 15 weeks old. I didn't want my pup to think the other dogs were more exciting than me. I wanted him neutral to all dogs, and that is how he is now as an adult. But he does have two other dogs at home to play with freely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,735 Posts
I think it's very important, we knew all the commands before the class started and Zeus demonstrated, but he learned how to behave at the club. Parks are playtime, club is for work. Was a great foundation =)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,690 Posts
Personally I do like puppy classes, however looking back I don't think play time is necessary. I actually prefered the beginner class as we worked on the same commands but there was no play time. I like that the puppy learns to focus in high distraction areas, and the social aspect for the humans
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,460 Posts
I think puppy classes are very important for most of us. Specially if this is just our first dog or we haven't had one for awhile. And if this was my first GSD I would REALLY make sure I'd attend.

BUT, not all puppy classes are the same. So doing our part to find the ones that are fun and positive based with appropriate 'puppy' stuff rather than formal obedience classes. Should be alot of treats getting used (with a clicker it's even better).



http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...ick-least-important-part-teaching-tricks.html

:)

I think for me, paying for and then SCHEDULING the classes makes sure I start up the socialization with my new puppy. Otherwise it's so easy to THINK I'll start up and INTEND to start up, but then keep putting it off until tomorrow/next week when other stuff comes up. So the fact that no matter what else happens I know that at least once a week I pack the pup in the car, have the one on one time in a NEW place with NEW people/dogs/situations means I am getting some good time in that my puppy needs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,254 Posts
I did not take Leyna and Levi to puppy classes, but we decided to take Paisley. I wanted her to be able to socialize with dogs her own age (along with all the other stuff). We started when she was 10 weeks and will be starting puppy 2 class next week. We've enjoyed it. It is nice to have someone to ask questions for things/issues that pop up that I didn't have to deal with when we had Leyna and Levi. There were usually two play sessions in between training sessions in puppy 1.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,735 Posts
Personally I do like puppy classes, however looking back I don't think play time is necessary. I actually prefered the beginner class as we worked on the same commands but there was no play time. I like that the puppy learns to focus in high distraction areas, and the social aspect for the humans
our puppy class had no playtime =( but it was for the better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
I like puppy classes for the socialization. "Socialization" doesn't mean puppies get to play free-for-all and make awesome new dog friends. Socialization is teaching a dog how to live in our world. This means new sights, sounds, people, animals, scents, and other experiences and distractions. It means the dog learns some restraint and learns how awesome it can be to focus on you even if there are other wonderful things around.

You can do this with people you know, but the benefit of a puppy class is everyone is there for roughly the same reason. And a good trainer can help guide you, and can see things you might be doing wrong from an outside perspective, or give you a new way of doing things if your way isn't quite working.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
I did not think it necessary to take my GSD to puppy school either, until we were walking him down the farmers market in a nearby town and I realized how his extreme excitement from seeing new people and dogs made him forget all that he had learned.

I live in Germany, and all of the Germans own very well behaved social dogs. They take their dogs very seriously, and bring them everywhere, even into restaurants.

It became embarrassing as my little guy got older and more hyper and couldnt contain his barking and excitement in public. So, puppy classes it was! He's only been to 2 so far (they are held once a week) and he is already improving.

:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,334 Posts
Apache was the 1st puppy I took to puppy classes, it was in my contract and I am one of those silly people that do what they agree to. Kiya and Lakota both had thier puppy classes and beyond. I highly recommend puppy classes and continuing with weekly obedience classes. It helps when you have a good trainer like I do that has her own GSD'S.
When I first got Lakota the interaction issue came up, my trainer has a strict no interaction between puppies or dogs. There was about 6 of us and she let us allow the puppies to play before we started class. Well forget about it none of them wanted to stop playing, we all got the point.
Nothing can take the place of going to classes.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,532 Posts
I've taken the Sirius Puppy classes with my last 3 dogs - Dena, Keefer, and Halo. They were created by Dr. Ian Dunbar. The classes are almost entirely off leash (unless we were specifically working on leash skills), and the short play breaks during class were actually used in the training. Since I do most of my training at home off leash, or I may attach a leash to the collar but then drop it on the ground, my pups are used to paying attention and working with me off leash, even around the distractions of the kitties, for several weeks before we start puppy class.

Some of the things we'd do is release the puppies to go play, and then go up to them and ask for a sit, give a treat, and then release to play again, or we'd lure into a down, or just do a collar grab instead of a sit. The idea of course was to get them to be able to focus on us around the distraction of the other puppies. We worked up to calling our puppies out of play to come back to us for a treat. If any puppy did not come to the owner everyone else was to hold onto their puppy, so there was nobody for the puppy to engage with, while the owner approached and lured the puppy towards them. And playtime wasn't a free for all, we were all responsible for monitoring play and redirecting the more boisterous puppies away from the less confident ones, until they felt more comfortable.

With Keefer I actually had a hard time getting him to leave me so I could call him back - he was WAY more interested in the treats I had than he was with the other puppies in the class. Halo was pretty distracted her first week in class and didn't do that great, but by week 2 she was doing off leash down stays with treats on the floor in front of her. And she had a rocket recall out of the play breaks, she'd spin on a dime and charge right back to me!

In Dena's Puppy 2 class we worked on downs while the instructor and assistant went around the room trying to distract them with balls and Kongs, rolling and bouncing them past the dogs. Since that was a difficult exercise, when it was over the dogs were released to go play with the toys for a few minutes. This was great impulse control work, and basically the Premack Principle - ignore that ball rolling past or that bouncing Kong and you'll get to go play with it later.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top