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Topic: Question for Dog Owners about Training Classes

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Subject: Question for Dog Owners about Training Classes
Date Posted: 3/4/2009 1:03 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2008
Posts: 282
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I have been doing some reading on dog training and how a dog that ends up in a shelter has had basic training it is considered more adoptable than one that has not.  A dog with training is also less likely to end up in a shelter because the training helps with a lot of the behaviors that often cause dogs to be given up.  Most shelters and rescue groups recommend training for dogs you adopt from them as do a lot of vets because it makes for a happier owner and pet. 

My question is this:  If you own a dog (or want to own a dog) and are not planning on going to formal training classes, what is it that stops you?  Is it lack of time or the cost of the classes or something else?

I ask this out of curiousity because I do not currently own a dog, I foster instead.  Part of the reason that I do not own a dog is because I am not sure that I would be able to afford the cost involved.  I would want to train the dog, but $100-$200 for training classes would be out of my reach.   I would be much more likely to try to train the dog myself and stick the money in savings for any unexpected vet bills. I wondered how many other people in this enconomy are in the same boat.  If cost is all that is stopping alot of people from training dogs, it seems that there should be some sort of scholarship program to help cover the cost of dog training.

Anyway, I am just curious to get some people's opinions.



Last Edited on: 3/4/09 1:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 3/4/2009 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2007
Posts: 3,365
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We likely won't do a formal training program for 2 reasons. One is cost. The other is that the ones I have seen around here are all kind of late evening and that's kind of hard for our family. If I found one for under $100 that was on a Saturday morning I'd likely do it...



Last Edited on: 3/4/09 2:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/4/2009 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/6/2008
Posts: 5,301
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There are so many books and videos out there to learn from too...and shows on TV for that matter.  I watched a video once, and with this particular trainer, I was not impressed.  But, there has to be some good ones out there.  Good for you, Michelle.  I would foster if I didn't have this crazy "I hate dogs" cat.

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2008
Posts: 282
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Thanks Veronica.  I am enjoying fostering very much.  Most of the time it is cats (mother cats and kittens that need a place to stay untill they are weaned).  Since I already have two cats of my own that I care for, taking on the fosters was not a great deal of additional work. All they need to a little time and affection.  It is especially good for me because I have health problems that do not let me work right now so I am home all day. This is a great way for me to take care of my health but still be able to contribute to society at the same time. 

Date Posted: 3/11/2009 3:54 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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cost mostly and effectiveness. I have 2 dogs and took the lab to classes at petsmart. she could do all that stuff but none of it kept her from eating the carpet and couch and my doll collection. no amt of training can teach a dog to  hold their tinkle 13 hours(wasn't doing 12 hour shifts w hen i got the dogs but it switched). exbf was gonna take the german s hepherd to training but never did. luckily a dog park opened and going there c hilled her out and she's ok til she meets up with another dog w hile leashed. i was shelling out the big bucks for one trainer who seemed good but honestly I hired her and said I wanted my dogs to stop eating the furniture and going upstairs to do tinkle..her solution was to start with 'heel'..it didn' work. worked fine til something got her attention and at the amt I was paying I didn't have forever just to learn heel and  er s uggestion to blcok off the stairs resulted in my banister getting all scratched up then the next week my carpet had a hole in it and my couch got eaten..so Ifigured screw it...basically all I wanted to prevent happened right off the bat.

I really don't think my work hours are right for having a pet esp one insdie like mine are but we do the best we can. they're basically good sweet dogs and I've made sure they're been socialized around people and the german shepherd is ok on neutral territory or with dogs she knows..even ones she doesn't she just barks like she's gonna killand snaps but doesn't bite or make contact. even good with kids. but basically for me it wasn't worth the cost to s pend 8 weeks learning to heel when my house got destroyed anyways.

Date Posted: 3/11/2009 10:03 AM ET
Member Since: 5/6/2008
Posts: 5,301
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You need someone who will stop by daily to help out.  (and a dog therapist)  Have you tried crateing?  My pittbull used to eat the house when we left.  He was older when we got him, and believe me I tried just about everything I could think of to stop him.  Finally DH drilled a hole through the floor in the breezeway and chained him.  This was a good size room with glass doors so he could see out to the front yard, back yard, and inside the house.  I left the tv or radio on also.  He could reach almost all the way around the room, but not touch.  I bought him things to keep him busy, but had to be careful...he destroyed things easily.  There's a ball you can buy, too, that records your voice when the dog pushes it. 

Date Posted: 3/11/2009 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/21/2007
Posts: 405
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Susanna...you did say how old you GS was but young large dogs are more of a handful.  The do calm down...eventually.  In my experience dogs destroy things bc they are bored.  They need nice long walks.  At least an hour a day.  I know it's a lot to give when you already work 12 hrs but I found w/ my dogs it was worth it to save the furniture!  I also confined my dogs to a smaller area.  They were not allowed to have the run of the house when I was not home.  If my dogs were that destructive they would be crated.  Kongs, frozen w/ treats, pb and/or yogurt in them keep the dogs occupied for awhile when I'm gone too.

Back to the original questions.  I only went to a training class once...w the only puppy I ever owned as an adult.  And it was a waste of time.  I had already learned everything she taught us from books and videos.  The socialization aspect was nice but I'd rather have the $100 and take the dog to the park.

Date Posted: 3/11/2009 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2008
Posts: 245
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Not every home should have a dog in it and your living situation should always be a consideration before bringing a dog in. All the training classes in the world won't make a difference unless there is someone there to implement it. I really hate saying that, but sometimes rehoming is best for all parties involved.

As for the training... you foster so why not get to know the people that train? Go to their classes and ask to watch. Go to trials and talk to people. Perhaps you can find scholarships, payments, other resources or just plain help when you get stuck for free. People really do like to help and if they really get to know you and that you are trying to do the best for your dogs, they just might help out of the goodness of their hearts. OR even maybe you can provide a service that might help them in exchange for class work. The almighty dollar isn't the only commodity in this world.

Last Edited on: 3/11/09 8:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1

Date Posted: 3/11/2009 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,911
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Last Edited on: 7/11/11 5:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/12/2009 1:30 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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both my dogs are 8 now and have calmed down considerably. I do think a lot of it was from boredom. I love them to death and will grieve w hen they're gone but just not sure I could get another dog though don't know how I'll live without one. I'm partial to large dogs esp labs though the GSD the exbf stuck me with is an awesome dog just took us longer to bond. Ihad no idea what to expect and the GSD is a houdini dog..she coud get out of any kennel and I had to block off the windows...just a nightmare. I was hoping I'd be able to sell my place and get a house with a good sized yard but doesn't look like that will be happening.

Date Posted: 3/12/2009 2:56 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2005
Posts: 571
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I can't imagine not taking a dog to obedience class. I know how to train a dog and I've had my puppy in classes since he was 12 weeks. I've not learned anything, but there's a whole world of difference between me training him at home or in my backyard and training him in a class with distractions. Plus, he learns to work with me and, because it was puppy class, got to play with a bunch of different puppies and learn appropriate doggy language and manners.

Could I have taught him to work around distractions on my own? Sure. Would I have, in the middle of winter? No, probably not. It's cold outside! Being in a class makes it a whole lot easier.

I see dozens of clients every day at the vet hospital with dogs that are just wild. They behave at home, but nobody taught them to behave out in public. Public is way more exciting than mom! My goal is to have the dog that is calm and quiet at my side, the dog that everybody looks at and wants because he's so well behaved. Dog class just facilitates that.

Date Posted: 3/12/2009 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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considering my girls didn't have a bunch of training-the lab got the petsmart puppy/basic for about 6-8 weeks then got another trainer to come over and be worthless then another who was good but just too expensive..anyways, considering that they were well behaved other than the german s hepherd not liking being leashed and seeing another dog and not being contained and my stuff being destroyed..but other than that people at the dog park have commented how well behaved they are..they don't run off from me and not come back(the shepherd esp will run across the park but circle back and will immediately t urn back if I call her though that's not 100%) but I'm not one of those chasing my d ogs around the park begging them to let me leash them up..theycome over and stand for that..I just dont' remember formally training them to do so. I guess I just got lucky.

when I get another dog though I'd like to have just the one; at least to begin with. being stuck with exbf's dog on top of my own an dnot knowing a thing about them was hard on all3 of us. I would probably take vacation from work with the next dog and do the petsmart classes just for the pure fun of it. the lab loved the class after the 1st one..she knew the word 'school' and would walk to the truck to get in..walk in the door of petsmart and walk to the checkoutcounter and beg for a cookie then walk down and take a right then a left at the treat aisle and pretty much knew where to stop for the treats she liked..and once the teacher brought out cheese my gosh she was a goner..she did every single command then did them again for 3 other dogs..had to leash her and keep her beside me because she was a distractiong then she still kept doing 'sit, down' etc! but 2 puppies at once was too much for me. I've thought about taking time off and taking the german shepherd just for the heck of it. she's supersmart and pretty much taught herself a lot of stuff.