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catfancier
11-19-2008, 04:45 PM
I'm thinking about taking over running puppy classes (socialisation - ages 3 - 6 months) at a new pet retail store where I live as I used to do it a few years ago at a previous job. We used a 4x sessions, 1 hour per session format but I am struggling to remember what was covered in the lessons. Does anyone have a list of topics that were covered each session when you took your pup through socialisation and/or basic training lessons?

Thanks :)

Giselle
11-19-2008, 11:26 PM
1) Dog communication skills
2) Handler focus - yes, it matters no matter how old that puppy is! But I'm not talking boring stare-at-me focus. I'm talking about choosing to focus on the handler vs. focusing on the other dogs (this is huuuuuuuuuuge!!!!!!!! HUGE!!!!).
3) Building strong foundation for obedience via clicker
4) Explaining what clicker training is and encouraging its use <-- a lot of people are intimidated and/or don't understand what's so beautiful about clicker training. I would use my own demo dog to demonstrate what's so great about clicker training to encourage the folks to try the same. Specifically, I would do a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot a LOT of games. People get too caught up in what their dogs should so, how they should act, how perfect they should be, etc. I say, screw that. Take out a clicker, bring some treats, and play some games :) Puppies are supposed to be fun.
5) Learning "mat" or "place" or "crate". In other words, teaching the dog to go to a place and staying there <--essentially for learning calming behaviors.

Have you read Control Unleashed or seen Susan Garrett's Crate Games? They have wonderful wonderful wonderful games that you can play with young puppies to encourage self control and strong handler focus in the face of distractions.

IRescue452
11-20-2008, 12:31 AM
Autumn's classes were at the local dog club, I'm not sure I'd ever do obedience at a retail store.

Commands: recall, front, stay, wait, sit, stand, lay down, ok, back, heel

New experiences (mirror, noises, greeting new people)

Touching dog all over so they are used to it (touching paws, ears, belly)

Taught us about NILIF

Basic agility (everything but weave poles)

Giselle
11-21-2008, 12:07 AM
IRescue, keep in mind, this is a class geared towards 3-6 month old puppies. I don't think heavy obedience or agility foundation skills should be the highlight of the class :p I do agree with NILIF and body handling, though. That stuff should begin Day 1 with any dog of any age.

ILoveMyAbbyGirl
11-21-2008, 12:24 AM
Hate to be ignorant, but can you explain the NILIF thing to me? I've seen it mentioned a few times, but I have no idea what it is, lol.

IRescue452
11-21-2008, 12:31 AM
That was the 3 month beginner class.

BC_MoM
11-21-2008, 01:23 AM
Hate to be ignorant, but can you explain the NILIF thing to me? I've seen it mentioned a few times, but I have no idea what it is, lol.

It means Nothing In Life Is Free. It's great for some dogs, but as always, it's not necessarily a good choice for ALL dogs. Personally, in my training, I take bits and pieces from different methods/theories and make my own up. But NILIF is basically where your dog has to work for everything it receives. Before it's fed, it must sit and wait. Before it goes outside, it must sit and wait until you go through the door first and tell your dog it is okay to go through. Comprende?

Giselle
11-21-2008, 07:58 PM
Wait, so 3 month old puppies were doing agility? Were you just doing tunnels and chutes or were you jumping and performing contact obstacles? I'd be concerned about the health implications if it was the latter =/

IRescue452
11-21-2008, 11:31 PM
We did little jumps, they were honestly like 3 inches off the ground and for the smaller breeds they were just bars on the ground basically. I don't remember doing the teeter-tooter, but we did a short dogwalk and we did the tunnels and chutes and the sit/stay platform. It was all on leash and slow and a great way to give the dogs something fun to do and teach them to focus in different ways. Its a lot better in my mind than just heeling around a circle when you can walk with your dog at heel and come to something and say "over" or "through" or get them to ignore total distractions. That's a command I forgot, they also learned "leave it". To be honest I don't know why so many people pay $200 dollars for walking around a retail store rather than the $60 for the dog club classes. I've seen the retail store classes at petsmart and I'm not impressed. The dogs were jumping around and the owners were struggling not knowing what they are doing, and the teacher is totally lost if they are even watching at all while the owners/dogs are walking around the store perimeter.

chocolatepuppy
11-22-2008, 03:12 PM
To be honest I don't know why so many people pay $200 dollars for walking around a retail store rather than the $60 for the dog club classes. I've seen the retail store classes at petsmart and I'm not impressed. The dogs were jumping around and the owners were struggling not knowing what they are doing, and the teacher is totally lost if they are even watching at all while the owners/dogs are walking around the store perimeter.

Gee, I don't know, I took Lacey 8 years ago to Petsmart(two classes) and Layla went through four. The trainer Lacey had, Lori, does obedience with her dogs and has a search and rescue dog. Layla had a different trainer for her first three classes who was nothing short of the dog whisperer and then for her 4th class had Lori. As for our local dog club classes it says on their website, one sign of dog aggression, and out you go. What the heck? So who will help me with my dog? Lori, at Petsmart did. She taught me how to better react to Layla's occasional 'outbursts'.
I believe I paid $79. eight years ago for Lacey and I paid $99. and $109. for Layla, not $200.;)

shepgirl
11-22-2008, 03:49 PM
I mosly do the same as BC mom. I take bits and pieces from each different training methods that I think will work well for my dogs and I work them that way . I don't even use the same methods for my two dogs, they both have different temperaments and different responses to stimuli so I just adapt and try new things. I am a pretty big fan of NILIF though.

ILoveMyAbbyGirl
11-24-2008, 12:23 AM
It means Nothing In Life Is Free. It's great for some dogs, but as always, it's not necessarily a good choice for ALL dogs. Personally, in my training, I take bits and pieces from different methods/theories and make my own up. But NILIF is basically where your dog has to work for everything it receives. Before it's fed, it must sit and wait. Before it goes outside, it must sit and wait until you go through the door first and tell your dog it is okay to go through. Comprende?

Gotcha. Sure, I've been trying to get Sydney to sit and wait for her food, because both dogs have a really bad habit of jumping and spilling the dish out of my hands. I try and get them to sit and wait till I can get to the door when they go out to go potty, but that's about it. My dog doesn't have much patience for that. =p

catfancier
11-24-2008, 05:15 PM
Thanks guys for your responses so far. I didn't know what NILIF stood for originally either although I have practiced this and continue to practice it on dogs that I care for.

There isn't really an alternative at the moment to conducting our puppy classes in store. A lot of people here have the expectation that if they buy a dog from the shop (yes, I do still have problems with buying pets from stores, but I can only reassure you that a vet does check the puppies and the parents, she buys from ethical breeders and she does full health checks on both the pups and parents - it is her store and I don't think it would go down too well if I began complaining about it), that the shop will guarantee the health of the dog and be there to support the new owner throughout the different life stages. This includes socialisation and basic training.

From a shop/business POV it's about supporting the customer and instilling the confidence in them to train their dog, and hopefully they will come back with repeat business at a later time. If the training is good, they are likely to tell their friends and family about it and of course that creates a positive flow-on effect. If the training is bad, obviously the opposite happens. I want to ensure that the training is good :)

There is a dog school in Wellington that offers training to puppies over 3 months of age, I don't know how many people take it up, or if they do, how closely they follow the instructions when they are at home. Surprisingly, in all the time that I have worked with pets I have not heard good nor bad things about the dog training school here (and unfortunately, not owning a dog myself, I haven't had the opportunity to check them out personally either).

I'll see if I can get a hold of those books mentioned, no doubt they would be useful.

Thanks for your help so far - if you have any other pearls of wisdom, please keep them coming!

catfancier
11-24-2008, 10:51 PM
I've just found a good entry in my Veterinary Nursing textbook that gives the format for a 4 week basic puppy training course and a list of topics covered! I guess I should probably read it more thoroughly :)