Puppy Obedience - not necessarily AKC STAR

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Postby mnp13 » December 2nd, 2009, 6:08 pm

For those of you who have taught puppy classes, what do you normally cover over the course of an 8 week class? What do you generally teach week 1, 2, 3...

Do you give hand outs? Like what? Where do you get them?

What's your general philosophy? Marker training? Corrections, but mostly flat collars and "positive" - backing up while pulling the dog towards you with small tugs to keep them moving (I don't know how to explain it better)? Do you allow choke chains? Prong collars?
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Postby StalkerBlueDog » December 2nd, 2009, 6:57 pm

I personally start all dogs on flat collars.. then see what we've got. I'm not adverse to choke or pinch collars but I have a problem with putting a pinch or choke chains on young puppies when there's so much that can be done first.

I use a tool box method.. in other words not everything works for every dog.

I start to teach alot of shaping combined with luring/guiding depending on the dog to start sit, down, stay, come, stand, touch.

I focus alot on bonding with the pup, playing games, being consistant with commands (all family members). I also teach the PEOPLE how to crate train, travel safely, socializing (places to go etc.), how to pick commands and a release command, and I do a lot of ? and answer at the end/beginning of each class.

I start to teach life skills like standing on different surfaces, being brushed, having each paw, ears and tails touched, meeting new people.

I also start to teach what I call safety skills- sitting at the door and not going through it till it's released (which I expect to see an attempt at with dogs coming in and leaving the building for each class, and when the enter and leave my ring each week), a down/drop command, leave it, and a give command.

I start to teach loose leash walking, but not precise heeling. getting the dog to focus on you with a look command and following you as you back up which eventually leads to you stepping into heeling position with the dog looking at you and walking. I also teach reversing direction when a dog pulls.

I say "start" with all of these because most dogs cannot pick up those skills in 8 weeks.. it's just the beginning..most pups are at least walking on a loose leash, siting, downing, have a "fun" recall, sit when asked at doors, play touch, and can do a short stays (distance and time depending on the age of the pup) by the end of class... but no two puppies are the same.. and now two breeds are the same.. and no two handlers are the same.. and all of those factor into how well the dog will do. :D
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Postby TheRedQueen » December 3rd, 2009, 12:22 pm

I don't teach a "normal" puppy class...we have an on-going class that doesn't begin or end.

I teach using clicker training...using mainly shaping and some luring. Equipment favored includes front-clip harnesses, flat collars and head halters. Used in class right now...all of the above and also one choke chain and two martinagales. We'll either wean them off the choke, or they'll move to a different class. I dont' teach how to use prongs, chokes or corrections...there are plenty of classes elsewhere for that...and I don't think they're necessary.

We focus on socialization rather than "obedience"...there is plenty of time to learn how to stay, but there is a brief period where they can socialize with other pups, dogs, other animals, people and environmnts.

We also focus on how to teach...and the reasons behind the training. For instance last night, we did "back to basics"...sit, down and stand. The pups did all that, but we also talked about the 4 ways to get the desired behavior (shaping, capturing, luring, modeling).
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Postby katiek0417 » December 3rd, 2009, 3:01 pm

When I have puppy clients, I usually work them in a group...

I do basics: sit, down, come when called, and I work on grooming type things (getting paws touched, getting brushed, getting teeth checked, etc)...as well as problem solving.

I also have several handouts: potty training/crate training, grooming/bathing, health, feeding, training equipment, information on classical conditioning (i.e., how does your dog know the word "good" means you're pleased?) and information on operant conditioning (with stress on positive reinforcement and negative punishment since those are the ones I use with puppies).
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby maberi » December 3rd, 2009, 3:09 pm

katiek0417 wrote:information on classical conditioning (i.e., how does your dog know the word "good" means you're pleased?) and information on operant conditioning (with stress on positive reinforcement and negative punishment since those are the ones I use with puppies).


In my honest opinion, this is the most important piece of puppy and beginner classes and I've only seen a small handful of instructors focus on this. There is a theory behind learning all of those skills and people really need a basic understanding of that to be successful with their dogs.
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Postby airwalk » December 3rd, 2009, 10:48 pm

We don't "teach"...but one of the things we try to stress to all new adopters whether puppies or adults is ... dogs don't speak people and coming is ALWAYS good. I tell them my dogs don't speak English they speak diana. They learned Diana through consistency and reinforcement.

We tell them no matter how big of a goob the dog is being...when it comes to you it is ALWAYS a good thing.

I know these are basics, but you'd be amazed how many people don't understand those two basic building blocks.
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Postby StalkerBlueDog » December 3rd, 2009, 11:19 pm

"information on classical conditioning (i.e., how does your dog know the word "good" means you're pleased?) and information on operant conditioning (with stress on positive reinforcement and negative punishment since those are the ones I use with puppies)."

I agree. Very important skills to teach the people.. sometimes we forget as trainers (or psychologists) that these are very basic things that can be taught to new owners..

after thinking about it there are two things that I do to teach people the principles of operant conditioning and also why good communication is so important..

the first week I inform them that I expect to hear consistant commands, happy release words, and coming in and out of the building in control (with a sit at the door). After the 1/2 way pt (4th week) if I catch anyone doing any of those things incorrectly a quarter per offense is due to the local 4-H club.. though I praise and give candy to handlers that do the things I ask those first 4 weeks and I've never had to charge a quarter after that 4th week.

The other thing I do the second week is take owners and drag them around the ring by the hand with out telling them what I want out of them..move them from one end to the other quickly.. no communication.. and then ask them how they felt..
Jill Rakin CPDT-KA
"DAWN" U-CH Canami's Age of Aquarius CD RE AX OAJ NF CGC/TDI (1/3 AXJ, 1/5 U-GRCH, MACH pt'd)
"KAYLEE" U-CH Canami's Protector of Serenity (AKC major Pt'd)
"LEIA" Sorella's Rebel Princess (UKC pt'd)
"LUKE"Canami Sorella's A New Hope RN
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Postby katiek0417 » December 4th, 2009, 12:13 am

maberi wrote:
katiek0417 wrote:information on classical conditioning (i.e., how does your dog know the word "good" means you're pleased?) and information on operant conditioning (with stress on positive reinforcement and negative punishment since those are the ones I use with puppies).


In my honest opinion, this is the most important piece of puppy and beginner classes and I've only seen a small handful of instructors focus on this. There is a theory behind learning all of those skills and people really need a basic understanding of that to be successful with their dogs.


Matt, it IS one of the most important things to teach people. It is SO much easier to train your dog when you understand WHY you're doing something. I think, so often, trainers teach people how to train their dogs, and the owners follow what the trainer says without ever understanding why they're doing something....and being able to know how what you do affects your dog's behavior is important in being a good (and responsible) owner...
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

Katrina
Sacha CGC - Dumb Lab
Nisha CGC, PDC, PSA TC, PSA 1 - Crazy Malinois
Drusilla SLUT- Pet
Nemo - Dual-Purpose Narcotics
Cy TC, PSA 1, PSA 2, 2009 PSA Level 3 National Champion
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