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Old 01-05-2013, 04:49 PM
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LOL . We had one of those "first ever" classes that left my head spinning and I just need to babble a moment here to let it all out.

We got to class and I was the only one who brought a crate for my pup.

The instructor (nice lady) told me I wouldn't need the crate. I chuckled and commented that it was there in case I needed it.

And as it happened, it was a VERY good idea I had the crate because class technically started a half hour after we got there. I put Bertie in the crate and sat back to wait.

There were 15 dogs there - WAY TOO MANY!!!!

When you have 15 dogs handled by experienced trainers, you don't notice the size of the class really. Because the people have control over their dogs and they are respectful of other people's training space.

This class is a pet class - which means it was chaos. Dogs barking and whining nonstop. When we were up and moving, I was constantly shifting Bertie over to an open space FAR FAR away from the other people, because dogs were lunging and jumping into each other space. People were training in "clumps". Some people looked like they were letting their dogs visit each other on the floor when they were supposed to be training.

When given the opportunity to switch to a smaller class (I think 5 dogs?), I hopped to it right away. I am mainly using the facilities for training my puppy. And for the purpose of what I'm doing, there needs to be more space and few dogs there. So Bert has to wait 2 weeks before we try this again.

Training itself - that's where the PLOP comes from. Because I've never trained Bertie with distractions swarming in the 6 foot radius of training space around us, I was not prepared for how distracted he was while I trained with him.

OMG. He was actually jumping and lunging towards some of the other dogs if I didn't move away from them. You never realize how calm, trained, and wonderful your older dogs are until you deal with your first ever puppy class with a new puppy.

Though the quality of his work was low because of the distractions and lack of space.... Bertie did the prancing next to me. He did his sits. He did his comes. <- I waited for everyone to pitter out the door at the end of class and I pulled treats out and did a few retrieves and treat toss comes. And I even got him around to do some touch work at the gate.

The instructor told me that he was a really great dog and stated (didn't ask) that I would be showing him in obedience. <- I of course made a face and talked to her about how poorly I thought he did compared to what I'm used to at home.

I told her I was thinking about not taking him to class with Jacks on Monday, but it's a sure thing that I DEFINITELY WILL now I've seen what he's like. The little social busybody! You'd think he's a golden or something. Monday's class usually is very experienced trainers and I can probably get there early enough to set up Berts crate and get him settled in so he won't bark.

The huge positive though is that he was all confidence and completely fearless there at class with all the chaos and noise - it's what I was hoping for when I brought him home the first time.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:02 PM
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That's what I didn't like about puppy class plus all puppies were let off leash to "play" together ie: roughhouse.
I just didn't think it was constructive although I guess he did get some much needed socialization with other pups.
I'm now looking for a different class where they remain on leash and under control.
Good luck Monday
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:30 AM
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Reminds me of a session from last summer. It was a beginning obedience class, about 10 dogs. The room was big, but not quite big enough. A handful of dog-reactive dogs. The primary trainer was running late, so the assistants started class. They covered the main floor with hula hoops before class started. The idea was that the dogs would come in and the owners would practice having their dogs sit in the hoops. Sit in one hoop, then move on to the next hoop.

We arrived on time, but not early. Utter chaos. The dog-reactive dogs were out on the floor sitting in the hoops. Every dog in the room was barking. There was no room to manuever to a seat without either going by the dog-reactive dogs or right by another dog on the perimeter. My dog was just under a year, not yet neutered, the other male dogs already had it out for him. I should have turned and left from the get go. But no, I stayed and struggled for an hour with my dog.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:52 AM
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OMG. Thankfully none of these dogs were "reactive". A lot of them were rescues and that was why the people had them there. Like before class, I was sandwiched between an adorable lab/pit mix and a bull mastiff. <- Both dogs were very friendly towards me and Berts. The pitmix wanted to come home with me because I gave him a few cookies while we were waiting. <- Bertie is pretty much crate trained, but I still give him treats every few minutes in cases like at class where he's in the crate and there's a lot of noise and chaos going on around us. Keeps him thinking "TREAT" vs getting scared by the barking, etc. The pitmix was practically sitting in my lap begging for treats. The owner had 3 little kids with her and was trying to control all the kids and the dog who were all constantly moving.

The bull mastiff was mainly a barker and had this LOUD bark. She was fine about Bertie, but when other mastiffs were brought in, it set her off.

I would have been extremely upset with my 3 month old being exposed to aggressive dogs... o_O As it was, they were just raucous and wild. *laughs* So yes, I'm happy to wait a couple weeks to get more space between me and others.

I'm nervous about tonight, because I do want to get a little training with Bertie in before class. I just don't want to cut the time that I'd otherwise spend training Jacks. It's going to be a juggling act, but I knew that years ago when I started planning on bringing home another pup to train.

I did a little training at home yesterday, but again something (the PLOP) I realized on Saturday is he needs to learn to work through distractions. With Jacks, even with the tight and insane room, he still would have focused only on me because I've distraction-proofed him for years. The pup has a LONG way to go before he catches up with his big bro.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:39 AM
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Sometimes those environments are great simply because of the management and attention skills they teach you and your dog, though it sucks to pay money for an agility class just to have a noisy environment that you could probably get by grabbing a $5 latte at the local coffeeshop and training on the patio.

There are about 5 or 6 other dogs in our weekly agility class, and in a relatively big space, it means I don't have to leash Comet pretty much at all for the duration of class, since we're all taking turns on equipment or waiting in line as we all cycle over one big piece of equipment (dog walk, A-frame, etc.) turn by turn.

Any more than 5 or 6, though, and it'd start to feel really crowded. I can't imagine what a gong show it must be to have 15.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:52 AM
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Our intermediate class has 10-11 dogs. It does get a little crowded when everyone is heeling in a circle, although it's a fairly large room. 15 would be unmanageable.

It's amazing how much more focused the dogs in the intermediate class are compared to the beginner class. Bella has made a lot of progress on this. 90% of the time, she just ignores the other dogs.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:00 AM
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But why would they schedule so many dogs in the same beginner class? When I took Tess to therapy dog class, there were 13 dogs, way too many. I was ok with it, because it was more for me than for her, and the distraction was good for her, but had she been less experienced, I would have been upset by it. Especially specialty classes, like agility or for that matter, therapy, should be given in smaller groups, in my opinion. I understand that it is tempting for training schools to sign up a lot of people, but...
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tippykayak View Post
Sometimes those environments are great simply because of the management and attention skills they teach you and your dog....
Very true, but only if your dog already has a concept of focus/attention and working through distractions.

The class I'm going to tonight usually has 10+ people. But the difference is that these trainers are very experienced and the dogs are seasoned obedience dogs - whether that's 1-2 years obedience training or they are already titled and going after higher titles. The dogs are able to switch on or off as far as tuning out everyone around them.

So you basically can have people working right in a close space together without it being a problem.

The class I went to on saturday is supposed to be limited to 8 people because the trainers will need to spread out a lot more because they and/or their dogs are very green. Heheh. I had my first "smack of reality" since bringing home a puppy. I went to class thinking about everything I wanted to do to take advantage of the floor time. I never thought I'd be right there with everyone else and working on the VERY basics. LOL.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inge View Post
But why would they schedule so many dogs in the same beginner class? When I took Tess to therapy dog class, there were 13 dogs, way too many. I was ok with it, because it was more for me than for her, and the distraction was good for her, but had she been less experienced, I would have been upset by it. Especially specialty classes, like agility or for that matter, therapy, should be given in smaller groups, in my opinion. I understand that it is tempting for training schools to sign up a lot of people, but...
Personal opinion... I think somebody dropped the ball and didn't shut off the valve early enough to give people alternatives. Probably because enrollment happened right around the holidays.

The instructor was in a state of shock when people kept walking in the door. She thankfully is willing to give up a little more of her saturdays to split the class for us who wanted a smaller class size.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Megora View Post
Very true, but only if your dog already has a concept of focus/attention and working through distractions.
True. There are diminishing returns with increasing distractions if your dog doesn't have enough of a foundation for the situation.
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