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Old 08-22-2012, 12:41 PM
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Fran101 Fran101 is offline
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Default help me pick a puppy class

there are two different places I am looking at.
(only in Boston would you have to start this early to reserve a spot lol but that's a whole 'nother issue.. haha)

#1. Is "bigger" I suppose (since it's taught at a big boston shelter so they have more facilities).. classes go further (agility, nosework, rally, cgc etc.. which is nice because I wanted to find ONE place and get one of the training packages).BUT can't find any reviews online since the classes are taught at the SPCA so it's a part of the shelter itself.

and here is the trainers site so you can see her message on her training methods

and the official program site (you can see the different classes)

#2. Much smaller. Taught at a small pet boutique. They have a strong online presence (facebook group etc..) and class size is much smaller.
BUT classes only go puppy, adolescents, adult. Has great reviews about the trainer/classes

Price is about the same.
Which would you choose?
One or the other? or do puppy classes somewhere and then jump to another school/trainer?
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Old 08-22-2012, 07:47 PM
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Laurelin Laurelin is online now
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 28,374

My first thought is it probably depends on what you want to do with your dogs. I've trained so far at 6 different 'dog schools'. Very different experience at all 6.

My first group was a very traditional type training group. Too many collar and other corrections for my taste when I felt they were totally not warranted and not working on my dog. I had friends train there so that's why I went (and I had no idea at the time). Bad fit. Some of the people were having success in rally but the methods were just not right for me or my dog.

2nd place is a big sports club and it was alright but the people there were very new to agility (and the club was UKC based). The lady teaching us had one competition dog (not at high level) and another up and coming dog that had some issues and wasn't competing. At the time, I thought it was great but looking back on it, they missed most all the important foundation work in both agility and in training period. Skipped all the shaping and drive building and straight to obstacles.

3rd place was a pet store run by a working BC breeder. Once again trainers there were overall decent but lacked experience in agility to really introduce agility right. The head agility trainer was just starting to trial her first agility dogs. I think my other classes there were fabulous (the CGC class, obedience, and trick training).

4th group was my favorite but unfortunately doesn't fit my schedule. The trainer had lots of experience and knowledge and also had MACHs on her dogs, and had trained a national champion as well as other high leveled dogs. The only downside is that she would NOT work with people who wouldn't want to be competitive.

5th trainer does pretty much everything but agility. I like her classes and she's very knowledgeable and has titled dogs (and highly) in many different disciplines. She will do an intro to agility class for fun but will not teach people that want to be competitive. She holds lots of other classes though (rally, obed, freestyle, treibball, and I've taken a few. They were fun and fairly in line with Group #3's obedience, etc classes. My dogs were probably too advance for the class I took. Trainer #4 trains at trainer 5's facility for non-agility things.

6th place is my main club now and was recommended by trainer 4 and 5 when I couldn't fit #4 into my schedule and #5 didn't offer what I wanted. I like this place a lot. Head trainer has trained 5 of her own dogs in agility (and they're vastly different breeds). Other trainers are also very involved and have been doing agility for 10+ years. Their dogs have gotten advanced titles and so have some students. Not the level of success yet that #4 has but the two schools team up to bring in workshops and things and are in charge of the local AKC agility club. I'm really happy there although I also wish #4 had worked out.

I guess what I'm saying is it depends on what you want to do with your dog and go with a trainer that understands what you need to achieve those goals. I am planning on my next dog doing an agility right from the start at club #6 and pre agility at #6 and taking basic puppy classes from #5. Both trainers use methods that will be beneficial and conductive to my eventual goals. I would personally not train again with someone that has not titled dogs extensively. I think it makes a big big difference and I see a lot more quality in the last three trainers I've been to.

That came out really long winded.

For your clubs...The first group has all sorts of classes but I dont' see much info on who the trainer is and what their experience is. Kind of similar with the second one too. Can't find much about their methods. I would try to sit in on a class to get a better idea and I would also try to ask around the competitive dog scene in the area to try to find trainers too. Either could have very good or very bad puppy classes imo but I wouldn't go to them for agility or competitive sports (unless they have trainers I am missing that compete...)
Mia and Summer

Last edited by Laurelin; 08-22-2012 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:08 PM
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Laurelin Laurelin is online now
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 28,374

Oh good God that came out really long lol.

The short version:

I would look for trainers with experience and proof of their ability (ie: highly titled dogs of their own and hopefully students).

And a trainer that will understand what you want to do with the dog eventually and will use methods that are going to be in line with your goals.
Mia and Summer
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