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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking into obedience classes but not really for the dog. My wife and I have just adopted Abby, who is a wonderfully behaved seven year old GSD. She minds very well but at times just resists a little. We don't want to teach her any bad habbits and since my wife is new to large dogs and I only have experience with farm dogs that worked independently, we are the ones who need the training.

I was wondering if it would be best for us to sign up for a basic class or if private classes would be better.
 

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You are so lucky to have gotten a wonderful new dog that is so well behaved! If she's that good, it probably doesn't matter which type of class you take her to, but I usually prefer group classes for the distraction factor.
 

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i like private lessons in the begining.
i go to group classes later on. distractions
are good but like anything else i add them in slowly.
 

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I'd say group classes would benefit the whole family, your dog will get to see some friends, you'll meet new people and get some advice. It's also a good way to make sure you'll train since you'll have a goal for the next week. Congratulations on your new girl!
 

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I like group classes, then you can see how she'll be around others. Don't feel bad, I have been to ton's of classes and I'm still learning.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
On reading my post I realized that I should have made the reason for my question a bit clearer. Abby has a canine good citizen certificate and the therapy dog certification with her old family has not expired yet.

Since she is so well trained I was wondering if a few private lessons would get me up to speed better than a group obedience class.

Yes, my dog is smarter than me.
 

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I think it's whatever you are comfortable with. :) You have an already trained dog so it's all about you learning. It might give you a better idea of her socialization if you took a group class.
 

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It sounds like she is a well behaved and mild mannered dog, but that doesn't affect both of your needs to go to dog school. She can always use more classes and you say you need them both. It doesn't matter which type of class you go to, private or group, for what you are looking to get out of it. I still think a group class is better as there are more distractions and you get more chances to learn how to handle her.
 

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I like the group classes. You learn from others mistakes and there isn't any pressure on you so if you make a mistake you don't take it so hard on yourself.

Also, there is a huge social network out there of just plain ole' dog lovers. The more people you meet the more resources you have in the future!

Lastly, there is always someone in the class who knows even less than you do! lol.
 

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She minds very well but at times just resists a little.
Could you describe what you mean by "resists just a little"? Could it be, maybe, that Abby is "resisting" because she does not fully understand what you are asking of her or how you are asking it? Just a thought. :D

But classes are a great idea for you to bond and learn to better work with one another. Either a private class or group classes should work for this purpose, as long as the trainer uses positive methods and gives you enough one-on-one attention to address any concerns you may have.

Re: what some said about seeing how well-socialized she is or how she's around other dogs, she's very well socialized and perfectly fine around other dogs. :D (The dog in question is the Abby I used to have.)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Could you describe what you mean by "resists just a little"? Could it be, maybe, that Abby is "resisting" because she does not fully understand what you are asking of her or how you are asking it? Just a thought.
She just responds very slowly or partially follow commands like on "sit" she will start to sit then stand again. The times that she doesn't understand is another reason we need training.

It is the human end where the training is needed. Even the issue of other dogs could be helped by some classes for us. Abby is doing great and we want to make sure we don't do anything that could teach her bad habbits.

I can see good points in the posts for group and private lessons. Looks like our schedule will be the main factor in the decision.
 

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I am going to differ from most of the posters. Since she has her CGS and is certified therapy I would opt (right now any way) for private lessons. Only because the trainer can customize the training to fit you and the dog. If she goes through basic OB she may get bored. Then I would go to a local Petsmart and practice my training where there are lots of distractions.

After you get a handle on training maybe then consider a group class of agility or tricks, something fun that she does not know already.
 

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Congrats on aquiring Abby! I was wondering where she landed. Are you going to continue on with the therapy work? I agree with Vat...the more personalized training would be best and then do some fun stuff for both of you!
 

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I've done both.

I got a lot more out of the private lessons. The instructor only has one person/dog team to watch and the hour is all about you and your dog.

Looking back on my group class I can say I was largely ignored by the instructors. I know I made mistakes and they were not addressed, but we got it and could do the exercises that were being taught.

Since the dog already has training I would suggest private lessons first to get the handlers up to speed. I think you would feel lost in a group class where the handlers all are seasoned and know the drill.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I was a little worried that in a basic class we would be ignored because Abby is so far beyond the basics.

We want to get Abby back into therapy work because she has such a work drive. I might even see about taking her out on some of the Sheriff's youth and senior programs when I am ready.
 

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I agree with Vat. Your dog is trained...you just need to know how to upkeep the previous training. I assume you would like to re certify her as well and want to learn more about the needs of the certificates. I would go private and then enroll in a group glass more for fun, or maybe even agility once you understand how to communicate with Abby. She is probably resisting because you are new to her...and new to training:)
 

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She just responds very slowly or partially follow commands like on "sit" she will start to sit then stand again.
It sounds to me like she is not entirely certain what it is you want of her. Bear in mind that she's gotten the same commands in a specific tone of voice and/or with accompanying specific hand signals for a pretty long time, so that is what she's used to. If you use a different tone of voice, different body posture, or different hand signals, you may be sending her "mixed messages", which is why you're not getting the behavior. (Kind of like when she would be slow or not listen to Brian...)

I don't think it's "resisting" - it's being unsure of what you want. A class would definitely help you communicate better with her. But I think a lot of it is just taking the time to work with her (in a class or outside of it) so that she learns your handling and your commands and gets used to them.

What I would do on the sit, for example - if she does start to sit but then gets back up, I would not reward/praise her until she sits. Either wait a little for her to go back to a sit (if she's trying to figure out what it is you want, she should offer behaviors). If she does not offer the behavior because she's confused, make it clear what you want. You can either step toward her so she has to plunk her behind down, or use your hand and just push down on her behind just a little when you tell her to "sit", then praise/reward her for sitting.

maybe even agility once you understand how to communicate with Abby
If there is a "ground work for agility" type of class where they work on communicating, that would be a great choice. An actual agility class probably not so much, considering her arthritis.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
That is why I think a few private classes. I don't think she is trying to resist, but I don't want to be the cause of any future problem. Having someone hear our commands and ensure we are not giving mixed signals. Plus it would get us ready for more advanced classes.
 
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