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So "everyone" seems to think that puppy classes are a must, but I feel like they would actually be a bad idea. Am I crazy? I want to spend time training my puppy to handle the situations he will have to deal with as part of our family, surely that is best done in the actual environments he will be in and with distractions I can completely control? I don't see it as necessary for him to mess about with other puppies picking up bad habits and diseases, I would prefer to take him to visit stable adult dogs that can be good role models. As I live in the middle of nowhere, literally deep in the forest, my choice of puppy classes is seriously limited within an hours drive. Surely a poorly run class with different training strategy to what I am already doing would do more harm than good? I guess I am looking for support in my decision to home school my puppy, but if you have counter arguments please convince me!
 

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I’ve never taken a puppy to puppy classes, just regular beginning obedience classes when my dogs have been at least 5 or 6 months old. I don’t really get the point of puppy classes.
 

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I don't do "puppy classes" that include puppies playing or interacting together. I do puppy class so that my dog will start learning the basics of obedience with distractions. I guess you would call it a beginner class vs a puppy class but it's always been a group of puppies
 

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I have a 19wk pup. Have never done puppy class and will never do one

Like thegooseman90 said, just work of playing and bonding

There're lots of training videos available on YouTube. Watch a few, and decide which style best works for you

Is there a popular park in your area you could go to often? One thing, called Sit on Dog, is pretty much just you and pup sit on a bench and people/ dog watch
 

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I too live in the middle of almost no where finding classes and/or trainers has been really difficult. I do not have any problem issues with my pup now 11 months, would just be nice for guidance sometimes as this is my first dog. I like you use my real world as my training ground. The only down side is I have a hard time finding dog distractions to train around. I do not know anyone with dogs and an hour away we do have a dog park but it is really not set up in a way that makes training that good, but I make it work when I can. My pup is over the top in love with other dogs so it is my greatest challenge. So far just exposing my pup to my world and teaching him what I expect as best I can is working out well. I may be slow but slowly we will get where we are going (prays lol) I will say it is great living in the woods with a dog I love to see him run free through our forest and he loves it as well.
 

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Most puppy classes are chaotic and badly managed (my experience). In the past I took one and decided not to take part in "pass the puppy" (in which everyone handles each others pup, incl. treats!) and I also declined the free play sessions as it was mainly turning all the little airheads loose together. This didn't go well with the instructor so it was the last time I ever went.
I do take them to the basic classes and after these decide what fits the pup best.
 

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I never took Inga to any classes. I trained her myself. I had to train myself to train her. Now she knows 30 commands, even from distance by hand signals. I understand that a lot of people don't have time for this and get trainers and classes. My advice is keep away from dog parks. Especially puppies and youngsters.
 

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My dog graduates from a STAR puppy class next week.
I don’t think it’s something you have to do. I unknowingly bought my dog from a questionable breeder and noticed some temperament issues early on. I don’t believe I’m experienced enough to handle temperament problems without a trainer.

She seemed to enjoy it. We’ll move on to the Good Citizen class next.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all your support, very nice to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't see puppy classes as essential! There is a localish gsd club I might join when puppy is a bit older. They do different courses for tracking, agility etc. For now just focusing on potty training, calm behaviour, crate training, teaching puppy his name means to focus on me and general bonding. It's only day 5!
 

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In the words of Randy from American Idol... "that's a no from me dog" :)

Kidding - but I think you're spot on for not thinking puppy classes as essential. Build your bond with your dog and make it light and fun as you incorporate more training into your daily routine. I feel like I learned more from Hudson over the past 6 months and that has made our partnership more successful than it could have been if we were to have been working through early OB with a crowd. My trainer has engrained in me a "know your dog, build a bond" type mentality and I feel like it makes training, socialization and day-to-day issues that may arise that much easier to overcome.

Enjoy your puppy - and good luck!!
 

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Know your dog. I've been thinking much about that lately in terms of motivation. I would be pleased to have that topic discussed.
 

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I did puppy classes as a way to proof in distractions, but not to learn anything. Honestly I didn't learn anything of value in terms of what to teach my dog, but I did learn a lot about how I train and where my short comings are (that being said, my instructor was a national level Rally-O competitor). I never stayed to let my girl play with other dogs because she wasn't interested and neither was I. But we also didn't even bother with puppy classes until my girl was about 4 months old and after we had formed a good bond and I'd already worked on training her a bit.
 

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Poorly run classes are probably worse than no classes at all. Fortunately, I have access to great classes so I always enroll my puppies. I also start working with them at home from the time I get them, so when we get to class they've had 3 or 4 weeks of basic training.

Here's Halo in week #2, at 14 weeks old - I have treats in both hands and she's ignoring the food and focusing on me:



There's a treat on the floor in front of her in this photo:



The instructor is using her to demo a collar grab for treats:



 

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I've been through so many basic obedience classes over the years that I could probably teach one, lol. I don't really need a class to train a dog in basic obedience, but I find it helpful in other ways, and I like being around other dogs and their owners. I enroll so that my puppies are exposed to multiple dogs in a somewhat controlled setting. And also to proof obedience in a distracting environment. Because I have small kids and often walk the dogs with a stroller, it is very important to me that the dogs are rock solid in public. I can't walk as often in remote forested places anymore (sadly), I have to go to places with sidewalks for the littles. The classes, I think, help ensure that the dogs are used to being around lots of different kinds of people and dogs. I'm sure there are other ways to do that.

My first GSD was dog-reactive, and it started when he was around 6 months old. We lived in a fairly rural area where we didn't see a lot of other dogs. I think if I had kept him in classes for his first year or two instead of stopping after one class, he would not have been as dog reactive. However, I learned a lot from that dog and became a better handler. We got to the point where *most* of the time he did not react to other dogs, but there were still lots of places I chose not to take him because I didn't want to risk it. I haven't had a reactive dog since, thankfully. There are lots of ways to raise a puppy successfully. Everyone has to find a way that words for them and their situation.
 

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I've been through so many basic obedience classes over the years that I could probably teach one, lol. I don't really need a class to train a dog in basic obedience, but I find it helpful in other ways, and I like being around other dogs and their owners. I enroll so that my puppies are exposed to multiple dogs in a somewhat controlled setting.
^This. I've probably taken at least two dozen classes over the past few decades with a variety of different dogs, so I have a pretty good idea what I'm doing. That doesn't mean there isn't more to learn, however. And I have actually helped teach our flyball club's classes.

Also, I've never understood what people mean when they say they don't take classes, they train their dogs themselves. The two things are not mutually exclusive! I DO take classes, AND I train them myself - before, during, and between classes. A typical OB class is one hour a week, and hopefully anyone who has gone to the time and expense of enrolling their dog in a class is investing that effort wisely by regularly practicing the skills that are being introduced each week.
 

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We didn't take Jack to any puppy classes. All of our training was done at home with my husband and I. We did a lot of reading about dog training, I did a bit of reading about basic behavioral science (because I'm a nerd), and we used some common sense. It was easy sometimes and very challenging at others.

Would it have been easier with a puppy class? I don't know. It just wasn't something that seemed like a worthwhile investment for us. The style of training just wasn't our preference, and classes here are hosted by PetsMart/Petco. Not exactly places we thought were the best for proper training.
 
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