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Discussion Starter #1
I train my dogs for competitive obedience. We're still at a novice level but beginning to trial here and there. There are no competitive or advanced classes in my area that are close enough for me to drive to.

I called a local dog grooming/training/boarding business. I was led to believe they offered an advanced/competitive oriented class in January. Last night was our first class. It is a basic pet class. I'm okay with that as the distraction training is what I need the most right now with my GSD. Beggers can't be choosers kind of mentality.

There are 8 dogs total. The other 7 were required to take a pre-class class with no dogs last week. I am unsure exactly what occurs at it.

One dog is an extremely strong, large dog with an owner who cannot physically hold him back. He is also reactive at best, aggressive at worst. My dog experience tells me he's dog aggressive. He barks constantly at other dogs in class and pulls toward them when they approach too close (not very close at all) and he pulls her three or four steps before she can stop him. Most of the other dogs have no idea how to sit which is apparent. Folks are collar popping (prong and buckle alike) to dogs who appear to have not been taught a lured sit or a collar pressure upwards means sit. I've been around competitive minded trainers too long now. I think pet owner's in a training setting could make me insane!! It was chaos but got a little more controlled throughout the class. We began by spacing out in a circle around the room and had our dogs sit and down and try to distract them from the sit or down. We also did group loose leash walking, and some meet and greets. But this progressed quickly over the hour with dogs that 90% of them by all appearances have no idea how to sit on command!!! I've taken basic obedience classes twice about two years ago with a different trainer who is much more in charge and I've never seen a training class conducted in this manner. The trainer is in her 20s and is very very nice. Her dog was in class with her and he was extremely well behaved, as she competes occasionally herself. Its obvious she has the knowledge of training and behavior. I think she is apprehensive about really truly taking charge and being "confrontational."

I do not want to drop out of the class, as I would prefer to help her improve her classes, as I don't see how anyone can get much out of the class unless you already know how to train your dog and you're just in for distraction, even then with the aggressive dog and the constantly barking dog and people saying 'sit, sit, sit, sit, sit, .. . . .' all at the same time. Yes, she lets them give multiples of tens of commands without making the dog do the command. I've always learned don't repeat the command. She also NEVER SAID ONE WORD to the aggressive dog owner. I saw her giving lengthy advice to the barking dog, just over excited type of GSD. There are little toy dogs on harnesses being yanked, Fido, sit - she lays down for one second - and is up again. The aggressive dog owner can't even correct him with the prong he's wearing because its always already tightened. It does not phase him one little tiny bit. When I started training in basic a few years ago I was very unconfident, shy, tentative, etc. Now, I've been in this world long enough and understand how everything works that I'm MUCH more confident, although I am not a confrontational person.

I don't know how to ask her what in the world is she thinking?! How would you broach this subject. She doesn't have email that I know of or that would be my first option. Its going to have to be in person or over the phone. This girl is really smart, really loving of the dogs, and sweet as can be. She is only a year or two older than myself. I think her major issue is she is nonconfrontational. But that's just my impression from one hour.

Oh, and to make it GSD related, 4 of the dogs, 50%, (including mine) are GSDs
 

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I just went to our first obedience class last week.My instructor is awesome I guess.Athena was barking when we first got there and would not shut up.W/in seconds she came over took her leash and had her behaving for the rest of the night,she also took another dog that was a total spaz and got it under control.It sounds like you need to talk to her some how and you just might have to pass until someone more qualified comes along.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I absolutely think she is qualified. I just feel she's not stepping forward like she should and using those skills. Is it wrong for me to go up to one of the don't-know-how-to-sit dogs and point blank ask the handler if her/his dog knows how to sit. If they respond yes, ask what method they used to do so?
 

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We took our GSD pup to a similar class when he was about 3 months old or so. We were not the brightest bulbs on the tree, but that's why we were there. Same deal though, no way to conact the trainer via email or anything. We didn't finish the course because there were too many things we didn't like about it. What really pissed me off though was no phone call to ask why we stopped coming. As long as the check was in the bank who cares, right? For all she knows we could have all been killed in an accident or something.

It left a bad taste in my mouth for so-called dog trainers. I wish there were some around us.
 

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All I can say is good trainers are hard to find in some areas. I've had a similar experience to you LedZep. Sure wish we had a trainer like the OP nearby.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Originally Posted By: LedZepWe didn't finish the course because there were too many things we didn't like about it.
May I ask what types of things you didn't like about it? I'm asking because your perspective would have been similar to that of my current classmates.
 

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I hear you!!! We went to our first class last Saturday, I'm sure I know more than the trainer. I knew this class was for socialization, and lots of doggy exposure. 4 in our class, meet and greeted no real problems. But 2 of the other dogs have so much energy, we did watch me with a clicker, 4 clicks Pup has got it, the lab (7 months) and the goldendoodle (12 months) could not sit or stand and focus on the food to the eye words WATCH ME and click. It was beyond them and the owners don't realize you have to exercise your dog so they can focus. Those 2 dogs/pups had so much energy it was unreal. I think both dogs pretty much run the show when at home.

Pup is 5 months I had to laugh he just plopped down on the rug and watched. This is great for Pup he was very calm and cool through it all. In fact the one women came over and wanted to know why Pup listened so well. I told her he gets lots of exercise and I work with him every day on something. Then she asked me if I would take her dog home and train him.

That was to funny, I told her I had 2 more at home that were learning also.

Sorry I didn't mean to ramble but I can't believe the people who get puppies and let them get to almost adult hood and then start to train them. What happened to going to puppy classes.


I can imagine how your class went, I can picture this group in my head. EKKKKK-HELP!!!

I think maybe by what you have said maybe she would appreciate the offer of help. All she can say is no.
Sounds like you know what your doing so you would be a great asset to the class.


Keep us posted I'm interested in hearing how your class turns out. Good Luck!!!
 

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I would definately say something to this "trainer"..you know I have found there are a couple types of trainers,,trainers that really can train others,,trainers who's own dogs are well behaved/trained but CAN'T train others and then your downright 'wannabe trainers'..

This girl sounds like she isn't cut out to "train" others,,if she can't handle a class and lay down some basic ground rules, then that could be a disaester in the making..You can't be 'wimpy' when it comes to training a class, especially 'newbie' dogs and owners.

Masi is on her 2nd obed class,,(this after I had a few months of deprogramming NEGATIVE experiences she had in a purely positive puppy class),,this class is the total opposite of her 'puppy' classes.

Much more structured, the trainer is on top of what is going on with everyone, everyone is expected to respect other dogs/people's spaces. She is doing great in it, and is very relaxed and eager to 'work'.

I know you want to help this trainer and/or speak to her but I think I'd honestly ask for a refund if you expected a 'competition' class and find yourself in a 'companion' class. It sounds like the trainer really hasn't got a plan and doesn't know how to structure a class.

Good luck
diane
 

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no actually your not :)) I'd probably like to use it for that very reason to,,,but I think I'd be peeved if I "paid" for a competition class and wasn't getting that,, I'd be happier if I hadn't paid :))))

I think also I'd always be "on guard" for one of the newbies not realizing, and just letting big ole aggressive Fido get away from them and do some damage to another dog..
 

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I think you're entirely within your rights to talk to the trainer and discuss some strategies for the class. You can approach it in a "I'm a bit concerned about some of the dogs in the class" way if you want, because that's valid and isn't too confrontational to the trainer (unlike "I think you don't know what you're doing" might be .. not that you'd say that).

From there you could say "it seemed to me that some of the handlers didn't understand the basics of how to teach "sit" so the class was a bit chaotic for them. Maybe if you go back and cover some of those basics, everyone will be closer to the same level."

And then offer to help a bit, and also let her know that you would like to use the class as distraction since your dog is already past the level of what she's going to teach in class. I have often gone to lower-level classes with my competition dogs just to train on the outskirts of the class. The distractions of dogs that are not well-trained can be excellent as long as you're always aware of where the other dogs are and you don't put your dog in a position of being too crowded or even attacked. I've always told the instructor my intentions, too, although everyone in this area knows me and knows that my dogs are going to be more advanced than most.

It's tough training for competition when you don't have others to train with. Many of the behaviors you can train on your own, but the distractions need to be worked through, too, especially if you plan to go on beyond the CD level. You use what you can, though! Around here I'm the one usually teaching the advanced competition classes so I end up going to more beginning classes for distractions.

Good luck, and I'd like to hear what happens!

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Update: I left the trainer a VM yesterday and she called me back this morning. She has a second session of the basic kind of class right after the really basic one. She said several of the handlers in that class have been to her other classes before so they're a little less green, and the dogs are a lot calmer and quieter. I saw dogs sitting in the lobby outside after class last week and wondered if there was a second class after ours. She said she was going to ask me if I would rather be in that class.

She does offer the "competition" class but there was not enough interest for one in January. She's like to have 3 or 4 people anyway, which I understand. So that may be offered again the future, depending on interest. So I am moving to the 6:30 p.m. class next week!!!

She also knows how to teach the advanced AKC exercises. We've only dabbled with signals, has a pretty good directed jump (GSD LOVES it!), and dabbled with food training a take it, hold, and give (getting the hold part, but not the take it). So she can either work little bits on that stuff with us in the 6:30 class or do a private lesson. $20 for 30 minutes. That's not too bad.

I didn't even ask her about the problems with the other class, since I won't be in it anymore. It just may be an extra unruly class compared to normal.

So I am happy again. I was just SO disappointed after last week when I had gotten all hyped about a competition class. I had searched for any kind of advanced class close enough to me for over a year.

Kayla
Captain of Muddy Waters, CGC, AKC GSD - 5 yr old male
Rising Star of Juneau, CGC, CKC Alaskan Malamute - 2.5 yr old male
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Originally Posted By: JakodaCD OAno actually your not :)) I'd probably like to use it for that very reason to,,,but I think I'd be peeved if I "paid" for a competition class and wasn't getting that,, I'd be happier if I hadn't paid :))))
Also, its the same price for the basic class or the competition class, about ten dollars per week. From now on, I'm not talking to anyone about training classes but her. Her husband works there and a couple other employees and they just don't seem to know what's going on.
 
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