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Old 04-01-2012, 04:35 PM
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Default Choosing a puppy class trainer (be wary of shutzhund trainers?)

Ok guys. I am moving to boston and for those who don't know already am bringing home an aussie puppy

Anywho, I am looking for a puppy class. I have a few choices in Boston (which is very pet friendly) and am doing my research and such on different trainers/classes in the area

Well I happened upon a well recommended trainer/classes about 30 minutes away from my future apartment and started my research..

The website of the training center isn't working at the moment.. but from what I've found online about the trainer he seems to be a highly recommended trainer (especially in doberman/shutzhund circles) and when I mentioned this someone told me I should be wary because even if I am only taking basic puppy classes/obedience courses.. this kind of trainer (as in who does PP and those kinds of training) might not be OK with clicker training and positive only based methods.

Any ideas/input?

I gave them a call and left a message and hope to speak with the trainer more..

I am a little saddened by the possibility of this not working because the trainer seems highly recommended and it's one of the only dog training places around that features MORE (higher level obedience) than just basic puppy class+basic obedience and manners.

So what has been your experience with this kind of thing?
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Last edited by Fran101; 04-01-2012 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 04-01-2012, 04:40 PM
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We start every puppy in purely positive at my IPO(Schutzhund) group.
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Old 04-01-2012, 04:45 PM
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I would go watch a class before making any assumptions. IME, yes, some people into protection sports can be very heavy handed and just assume that's how you handle puppies, too, but others are also quite adept at shaping puppy behavior with an eye to competition using reward-based methods.

eta: I will say that I am MUCH more cautious about classes held by people from the protection sports than from someone whose focus is on pet stuff/agility because there do seem to be a higher proportion of trainers in that field that either 1. have a lot of ego wrapped up in their work and don't take kindly to questioning or modifying techniques to suit a particular dog and owner or 2. seem hung up on some of the old dominance theory stuff.
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Old 04-01-2012, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
We start every puppy in purely positive at my IPO(Schutzhund) group.
Good to know!

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Originally Posted by stardogs View Post
I would go watch a class before making any assumptions. IME, yes, some people into protection sports can be very heavy handed and just assume that's how you handle puppies, too, but others are also quite adept at shaping puppy behavior with an eye to competition using reward-based methods.
That's what I thought as well. but this person reacted so strongly about shutz trainers and the like that I figured I might ask before I make a fool out of myself on the phone with the trainer

I'm gonna try calling again tomorrow and see where it goes either way, the persons reputation is very good and I do hope my needs match the class
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stardogs View Post
I would go watch a class before making any assumptions. IME, yes, some people into protection sports can be very heavy handed and just assume that's how you handle puppies, too, but others are also quite adept at shaping puppy behavior with an eye to competition using reward-based methods.
I agree with this. Some of the protection oriented trainers I have known are much more into building drive, motivational training and engagement than pet or obedience people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stardogs View Post
eta: I will say that I am MUCH more cautious about classes held by people from the protection sports than from someone whose focus is on pet stuff/agility because there do seem to be a higher proportion of trainers in that field that either 1. have a lot of ego wrapped up in their work and don't take kindly to questioning or modifying techniques to suit a particular dog and owner or 2. seem hung up on some of the old dominance theory stuff.
I can say the same about obedience people. Really, it pays to make sure any trainer you use is going to be a good fit, regardless of what their interests are or how they promote themselves. There are some pet dog trainers who are pretty clueless about training and unlikely to help you much with drive building or anything like that if you are interested in sports. There's some really great obedience/protection oriented trainers that can give you a lot of insight and really help with early puppy training. And there's some who I would stay far away from. And not all agility trainers are great and positive either. You just have to talk to them, try to observe classes, talk to others who have trained with them, etc and see if they fit what you are looking for.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:04 PM
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So true, the first obed class Denis and I took with our mal puppies was run by the obedience club here and their method of training heel was pop and crank. The solution for a pulling dog was a louder, metal slip lead. We opted to leave after 2 weeks and join our IPO group.

Just check them out.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:12 PM
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like others said, go watch. There are some real pieces of work out there in all kinds of dog training, just like there are all sorts of contractors, doctors, co-workers, teachers, policeman etc.

I'd say in my closest circles at least 80% are primarily marker trainers. They understand and use it very well. These are people from never having been thru a trial at even a club level, to world competitors and national champions. I think there are a lot of schutzhund trainers thare are as well versed as anyone in how to train a dog
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:50 PM
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We start all our puppies in purely positive. My TD is very big on puppies getting good solid positive foundations.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
So true, the first obed class Denis and I took with our mal puppies was run by the obedience club here and their method of training heel was pop and crank. The solution for a pulling dog was a louder, metal slip lead. We opted to leave after 2 weeks and join our IPO group.

Just check them out.
Yeah, you really have to go watch in person. And even if you decide on a facility, individual classes can vary wildly depending on who is instructing. At the club where I'm taking a great agility foundations class they also teach horrible low-drive boring obedience and offer a "focused heeling" course where they actually tie their dogs to their legs and walk around for an hour.

I would definitely go check out the IPO club though, there are some very good obed trainers in the field who want flashy dogs that are happy to be working.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panzerotti View Post
At the club where I'm taking a great agility foundations class they also teach horrible low-drive boring obedience and offer a "focused heeling" course where they actually tie their dogs to their legs and walk around for an hour.
Oh... dear.
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