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Hi folks,

any recommendations for puppy classes in the Toronto west end area? I've got my eye on "When Hounds Fly".
 

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Hi folks,

any recommendations for puppy classes in the Toronto west end area? I've got my eye on "When Hounds Fly".
I'd also like to add: do you considering puppy classes absolutely necessary? I'll be exposing my pup to plenty of things on my own, as well as basic training. Would classes just be a waste of money at that point? Save it for obedience down the road maybe? Just a thought.
 

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I can't tell you anything about the trainers or facility, but I do like to take my puppies to classes. I probably don't need instruction to train my dogs in basic obedience anymore, but I still learn new things whenever I take a class with a new trainer. I think the controlled setting is helpful in socializing with other leashed dogs, puppies, and people, and for proofing obedience in a distracting environment. I like to keep my puppies/young dog in classes for their first year or two. Of course, I also enjoy the classes. None of my GSDs have been reactive to other dogs or people since I started doing that--although that could be due to a combination of factors. I'm sure there are many people that raise puppies without classes, but if you're inexperienced with GSDs or working breeds, most likely they're a good idea.
 

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Visit an ongoing class first and see how they handle GSDs. I took my WL to a puppy class and it was a mistake. They threw treats at him. He was barking and they would not allow me to do anything to stop it except reward with more treats. The small puppies were allowed to have off leash play after class. Mine was not, so he developed leash frustration. I will never again take a German Shepherd to a class like that. They did not understand the breed or line. I don’t usually recommend PetSmart, but ours has a good puppy socialization class taught by a very experienced private trainer. By the time I looked into it, mine was too old. However, it’s not good for obedience. My neighbor’s dog went and got good play time with other puppies, but she had to find a real obedience class when her dog was old enough for one.
 

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Visit an ongoing class first and see how they handle GSDs. I took my WL to a puppy class and it was a mistake. They threw treats at him. He was barking and they would not allow me to do anything to stop it except reward with more treats. The small puppies were allowed to have off leash play after class. Mine was not, so he developed leash frustration. I will never again take a German Shepherd to a class like that. They did not understand the breed or line. I don’t usually recommend PetSmart, but ours has a good puppy socialization class taught by a very experienced private trainer. By the time I looked into it, mine was too old. However, it’s not good for obedience. My neighbor’s dog went and got good play time with other puppies, but she had to find a real obedience class when her dog was old enough for one.
That sounds really frustrating!
I'll definitely see how the local classes handle GSDs, thanks for the advice. I've been to a couple Petsmart puppy classes and they was terrible. I understand why puppy classes are pushed, especially since this is my first time owning a on my own, but I have experience with shepherds having grown up with them in the family for about 20 years. We never took our dogs to classes. I'm pretty confident in at least being able to cover the basics plus adequate socialization until he's old enough for proper obedience classes, but I'll be seeing what a couple of the non Petsmart classes offer. I'm on the fence.
 

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I'd also like to add: do you considering puppy classes absolutely necessary? I'll be exposing my pup to plenty of things on my own, as well as basic training. Would classes just be a waste of money at that point? Save it for obedience down the road maybe? Just a thought.
I have never done puppy classes nor thank god I never needed to. If I felt my puppy needed classes I definitely would go to classes.
 

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In the U.S., pet owners looking for puppy classes might look to see if there's an AKC club in the area -- they usually offer STAR Puppy Classes, which are set up to lead to a CGC. It's a nice way to get pet owners working toward something that's quite achievable, even for novice handlers:

https://www.akc.org/products-services/training-programs/canine-good-citizen/akc-star-puppy/


Sometimes that involvement with a CGC evaluator creates a bug to try a beginning rally or agility class at the same club, or even start working toward open/utility titles.
 
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