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We will be getting a 12 week old GSD in August. He/she will be taught (at the kennel by the breeder) to "sit", "shake", "come", and will be started on "stay". He/she will also be walking on a leash and start with heeling while at the kennel. He/she will also be taught "down" (not to jump on people). Given this training, what class would be best for my husband and I to take the pup to when we get him/her? I am looking into the PetSmart classes...should we start with the puppy education (the very first, most basic class) or should we start a little higher than that since the pup will already have received some training?
 

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At 12 weeks old your s/he will still be well within the puppy kindergarten age range. Even though s/he will have learned some commands, it will be new for all of you to work on them together, and there may be an age or prior class requirement for higher levels. Also, in the PK classes I believe they'll be some off leash play breaks, which are good for socialization. At the humane society where we went after we finished puppy class, their Level 1 Obedience for rank beginners was for dogs at least 4 months old.

I started working with my dogs at home from 9 weeks old. Dena went into her puppy class at 16 weeks old, and Keefer at 14 weeks old. I would have preferred to do it sooner, but I couldn't meet the vaccination requirements in time to get them into an earlier class. Both of them already had spent many weeks working on everything they covered in class and then some, but it was still worthwhile for us to go over it all in a class setting.

And look at it this way - you and puppy will be the class stars since you'll have a head start on training! Mine were both way ahead of the other pups in class, who didn't seem to have had any training at all.

Question - if you're using "down" to mean don't jump on people, what command are you going to use for laying down on the floor? I use "off" for getting off of people (or things, like furniture), and "down" for laying down. Some people use "off" for staying away from something, I prefer "leave it". Doesn't matter what words you use, just make sure that each behavior has a separate command so puppy doesn't get confused, and make sure that everyone in the house is on the same page and stays consistent.
 

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Yeah, I was thinking it would still be good for us to do the Puppy Kindergarten class. I don't mind going to a class that teaches some stuff our pup may already know. It will be good for my husband and I to learn how to interact with him/her while training. And hopefully it will show the pup that he/she needs to listen to us as well...not just the breeder.

The breeder is the one who told me she will use "down" to teach the pup not to jump on people. When she told me that I thought maybe we would use "lay" for lay down...would anyone advise against that?
 

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You can use any words you like, it doesn't matter a bit to the dog. I know *I* would never remember to use 'lay' when I want my dogs to lay down, but that's just me.
There's also the German version of down, which is platz. If there are some particular commands you want to use for a behavior you could always ask the breeder to train with those and hopefully she would respect your wishes and do so. Maybe you could ask her for a list of the commands she normally uses, and you can discuss them with each other and her. But since this is your first dog and you aren't already used to certain commands maybe you don't really care, and that's fine too.

I like "come" vs "here", other people are the opposite. I use "okay" for my release word in spite of all the reasons why it's not a good idea. I've found that I can use the word casually in conversation (and noticed recently that while talking to the trainer with Keefer in a down stay at the park she used the word once and I used it several times, and he totally ignored us), that they do seem to grasp context and tone of voice. Other people use "free" or "release" or even "take a break" to release their dogs.

Pick words that make sense to you and that you'll remember easily and you'll do fine.
 

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I also use 'off' for when a dog is jumping up on stuff (me?) and 'down' is for a lay down on the ground.

I try to make ALL training for puppies seem like a huge happy game. That way I'm creating a great bond with my puppy while laying down a fantastic training foundation that learning and being with me is something to be looked forward to and a highlight of the day.

So any clicker training classes are ideal. Puppy kindergarden. Petsmart training is fine cause there's fun, learning and the necessary socialization with other pups/dogs and people.

I don't start 'formal' training until over 6 months. Before that it's all about fun fun fun and WAY more emphasis on 'socialization' to get a happy confident puppy in all situations. Rather than any stress on real 'training' to get the perfect 'sit'.
 

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Jesse when he came to me at 8 weeks I started training him the basic commands immediately. We started Petsmart Puppy Education for 8 weeks when he was 10 weeks old. He already knew everything before hand but it was a wonderful place to socialize him to people of all nations, kids, dogs, other pets (cats, birds, fish, rats, mice, snakes etc). It was a great experience and good test with tons of diversions around. We decided to continue with Intermediate classes there as it is all positive training. This works for Jesse cause he is a very calm, smart and obedient and temperment tested in line with guide dog, therapy dog, assistance dog. He is currently 5 months old and has been a joy to raise. He is also in daycare for 7 hours a week for dog socialization.
 
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