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Discussion Starter #1
I was going to take Rex to the classes that Petsmart offers at the end of summer. We were over there this morning and I watched for a few minutes and those dogs were like the crazy dogs on the dog whisperer, all growling and fighting. Rex didnt even want to be near them, he started shaking. Am I crazy to think that maltese are just better than other dogs? I know Rex wouldnt be happy sitting in a class with a bunch of crazies. Are all classes like this? Do people with normal behaved dogs even go to classes or are they just for bad dogs? I have already been working with Rex on my own and he knows sit and stay and how to walk beside me (he wasnt trained when we got him- so he just learned all this in the past month)
What are your experiences?
 

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I was on the fence about classes too and then I ended up signing up for one anyway. It hasnt started yet and I guess I reasoned it out as more of a socialization experience. Also I am having the hardest time teaching down and stay even after doing all the things suggested on here so I'm hoping the class with be able tot show me how to teach these things that I'm not 100%sure about. The class I signed up for isnt the ones at Petsmart. I asked my vet and she said to stay away from Petsmart. I signed up for one at an actual training facility. I am just alittle nervous about Kylee being around all the bigger dogs because I feel like they think she is a toy...but hopefully the trainers will have them all under control. ~Lori & Kylee
 

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I thinking training is fabulous for our babies. However, I say stay away from Petsmart type training. Find a dedicated training facility, either with your local kennel club or other community facility. Look for a trainer who specializes in working with small breeds. Ask questions. If they own a large breed and only seem to know how to handle Shepherds and Collie types, watch out . If they insist you use a collar or a choke collar- watch out . This means they don't know about the fragile collapsing trachea on Maltese, and their methods will not be suited to our babies.

PS. Training isn't just for bad dogs. It really helps socialize your baby and gives them a lot of self confidence.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Okay I looked it up in the phone book and found 3, Petsmart, one that is in a vet office that I have heard bad things about and the 3rd which the city is taking to court. There may be no good alternative here. I will wait awhile and see if anything better comes along.
 

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Hi Rexs' Mom,

I asked around to find out about the best place to train. The club I found doesn't advertize at all. The other good place in town is really hard to find out about, too. I work for a college, and one of my coworkers is highly involved with the kennel club in her city--she's the one who put me in touch with their trainers. Another coworker shows Whippets and has them in agility--he's the one who told me that we have a national agility expert with a full training facility about an hour from our place. The other agility club in town is very exclusive and hard to get in touch with--but I managed through perseverence.

There are some very active listserves (email lists with communication streams, like this forum but on email) for agility training. They often mention training opportunities. I'm on the list for the Northeast, as well as the MightyMite list for small breeds.

What region do you live in? I'm sure there are folks active in your area--they must just be a little hard to find unless you tap into the right communication channels. One way would be to join a listserve for your region and ask the question there. Those folks will know who the good trainers are, where they are, how to get in touch with them, and which ones have small breed expertise. Good Luck
 

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Lacey goes to a place not far from me for clicker training. There are 3 other dogs in the class and we are all placed far from each other. It is a big center so that is nice, also there is a fenced in area for dogs that need to be away from other dogs/people but can still participate in class. Lacey and I are doing well with the class. Lacey doesn't have to be around the other dogs and she doesn't have to wear a collar, just her step in harness. The only problem I am having with the training is all the treats. She is putting on weight from all of the cheerios and hot dogs! The other dogs like to play together but my little Lacey doesn't like to play with them. At the last class she was running up to them and barking. We need to work on socialization alot.
 

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We had a good experience with Petsmart-I guess it depends on the trainers they have. It was a puppy class so all the pups were under a year. Ruby loved the socialization of it-it was good for her to be around other dogs. I may sign her up again just cause she e njoyed going so much.
 

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i had a BAD experience with petsmart. PM me if you want to know all about it


i eventually found a lady who specialized in small breeds, and it made all the difference. i strongly urge you to try and find one like this.
 

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Finding a local agility club and asking for a referral for obedience is a great idea. Many agility trainers are very positive and into learning theory and operant conditioning (often in the form of clicker training).

http://www.apdt.com/trainers-and-owners/tr...iner-search.php

Also 2 agility associations with clubs you can contact:
http://www.usdaa.com/gen_findGroup.cfm
http://www.nadac.com/clublists.htm

You want a trainer who:
1. Uses positive, motivational methods rather than corrections.
2. NEVER recommends a choke collar or pinch collar. If a training collar is recommended it is a head halter or premier harness.
3. Emphasizes teaching you how to teach your dog.
4. Keeps the class under control. Unmanagable dogs are not permitted in class
5. Tailor's the training to the dog. Toy dogs often need slightly different methods than larger dogs (ie luring slightly differently, gets down on the dog's level).

Ask to watch a class first. The trainer shouldn't have any problem. You can also request a private consultation first to meet and get to know the trainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Originally posted by JMM@Jun 27 2005, 09:10 PM
Finding a local agility club and asking for a referral for obedience is a great idea. Many agility trainers are very positive and into learning theory and operant conditioning (often in the form of clicker training).

http://www.apdt.com/trainers-and-owners/tr...iner-search.php

Also 2 agility associations with clubs you can contact:
http://www.usdaa.com/gen_findGroup.cfm
http://www.nadac.com/clublists.htm

You want a trainer who:
1. Uses positive, motivational methods rather than corrections.
2. NEVER recommends a choke collar or pinch collar. If a training collar is recommended it is a head halter or premier harness.
3. Emphasizes teaching you how to teach your dog.
4. Keeps the class under control. Unmanagable dogs are not permitted in class
5. Tailor's the training to the dog. Toy dogs often need slightly different methods than larger dogs (ie luring slightly differently, gets down on the dog's level).

Ask to watch a class first. The trainer shouldn't have any problem. You can also request a private consultation first to meet and get to know the trainer.
<div align="right">index.php?act=findpost&pid=75808
[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the info! Now I know what to look for and questions to ask! Thanks again!
 

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First, there's something to be said about "small dog" only obedience classes. I do think there is worth to having your dog go to classes with other dogs - esp when it comes to proffing behaviors (yes your dog may come to you when you call him in the living room - but what about the park when a big dog is running around and he's terrified?). It's when the dog is working under distractions, that it really counts. You can quickly see if your dog REALLY understands a command when he can perform it under a great deal of distraction in a place he hasn't performed it before. You need to remember that dogs do not generalize well, just because he'll do something for you in the living room when he's the only dog in the picture, does not mean he will do the same behavior when asked in the park. However, that said, it is not necessary, and possibly even detrimental, for your dog to become fearful of training class because of a bunch of unrulely big dogs! There's a great video series available through www.dogwise.com - Obedience training for the Small Dog. In the first of that series, the trainers interviewd discuss how they choose NOT to train thier small dogs in a group class setting. If you could get together with a few small dog owners and organize a semi-private class, that would probably be your best bet to start out with.
 

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I would suggest asking around through word of mouth. Ask you Vet if he knows of any local kennel clubs.

Most of us dog trainers got started by finding local clubs. Go to obed trials and get a source that way.

I began dog training 12 years ago and now only teach through private lessons. I do recommend going to places that socialize your puppy. Some breeds do better with private lessons and socialize in other ways. (friends that have dogs is a good example.)

Stay away from any trainer that used choke collars, prong etc. Use only positive re-enforcement. I have used the clicker method but using that method you have to be "on the money" with your clicks. Most of my students did better with out using that method. Some people do great with it while others don't.

Have a meeting with the trainer and see what they have to say about their method of training. Remember it's the owner that needs the training. The pups will learn what the owner has been taught and the owner must follow through with what you learn at class. Do your homework.

Good luck in your search.
 
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