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Discussion Starter #1
So, my 6ish month old puppy has been in the first level basic manners class at Petco for about a month and a half. It has it's good and bad things about it but most of what is taught I can probably learn for free via YouTube and other resources. But now that her last class is this week, the trainer wants me to sign up for level 2. He'd like me to do it at the same time as the other woman since our dogs like each other and are at the same level. He also thinks that she needs more training and that starting the next level as soon as possible is best. But the class is another $100 and I question whether it's really worth it.
So, my questions is: Are there other classes out there (if anyone knows any in the Tigard, OR area that'd be great) that are cheaper than Petco?
Or do you think it'd be better to just try to look up training methods myself?
OR, do you think the Petco classes are worth it?
 

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You can train yourself, absolutely. You can probably have a dog who LEARNS everything that is taught in classes from youtube.

What youtube will not give you is the motivation and structure of classes (may or may not be necessary for you) or keep your dog socialized with other dogs, and used to working in a distracting environment. Nor will it give you someone who can give you feedback on what you are doing right or wrong, or tips and help with your dog invariable (and it is invariable) throws you for a loop by not having seen the video and not behaving at all like the dog on the screen.

I kinda hate training classes. I have social anxiety, and I'm an introvert. Dealing with other people on that level, and being scrutinized, is a special kind of misery for me. I do, however, suck it up and do at least a couple of classes with my dogs after 6 months, because they benefit from it. Kylie starts agility today. Thud will do basic obedience II, some time in May. I still think I'd rather be drawn and quartered, but they'll benefit and be better trained for it.

So, you know, YMMV. If you just find the idea of another PetCo obedience class boring or unappealing, take your 100.00 and find a different trainer, or someone training something that DOES interest and appeal to you. He probably can't do agility yet (lower limits vary by class and trainer, for ours it's 8 months, others have been 6, some are 12 months) or rally or nose work or dock diving or freestyle or a trick class or-
 

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I agree with CptJack.

Personally, I need the structure, motivation, and personal support I get from a regular class. I hate going because it's outside of my comfort zone, but once we get to class we have fun. Last spring we took a class at a local dog training club and we joined last fall. We've taken 5 classes so far, are currently enrolled in one, and are signed up for a 7th. Certainly not something I ever imagined doing, but we're enjoying it.

When I was looking for classes, I googled "dog trainer" and my zip code. I skimmed through the results, found a number of trainers who met my criteria, and then found a few who were offering classes in the immediate future. I don't know that the classes were cheaper than a pet store class, but I felt more comfortable with trainers with years of experience, professional certifications, titled dogs, and / or education related to animal behavior or learning theory. You might get that at a pet store class, but you might get someone who has had a brief training session and then assigned classes.
 

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depends on the quality of the instructor. if they are very experienced and they are helping you a lot then yes. if they arent find another trainer. or go it on your own. but like captn jack said the trainer isnt there to teach your dog they are their to teach you and help you avoid common mistakes and pitfalls that happen during training. if you dont find each class enlightening learning something you didnt know before. move on.
 

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I'm a trainer at a Tigard Petco, (the other one)since you said 'he' I think I know who you are referring to :) . Anyway, we are one of the most inexpensive in the area, but you can absolutely do it on your own, or take some time to practice then go back, we do run specials every few months where you get $20 off. Some people do better with a class, some can do it on their own, its up to you.
 

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I ended up paying $100 for 8 classes last year with Lucy with a trainer who I did not like her way of training (old school, choke chain, jerk up and push down for sits and downs) but as she did not force me to use her methods, I used the classes for socialization and still trained with a leather collar and treats. It really helped Lucy as she started out barking at everything which she quit after a few lessons and it set us up for starting Foundation Agility in the fall with clicker training. There just is not a lot of choice in our area. At least she had a structured class. The only other Obedience classes, they teach everything (and I mean everything) in the first class, then just keep repeating it every class before a lot of the dogs even know how to sit yet. There classes are only $40 for 8 classes but you get what you pay for.
 

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I happened to find a trainer out in the boonies. It was a little bit more of a drive but the benefits were great. In town training classes had larger class numbers. It got great around week 4 by then most had stopped coming to the class. One training place was way too clicky for me. Out of town cheaper, only another dog in class, and my nervousness around people did not appear. The class was like having private lessons, did not have to worry about non-trained dogs lurching at your scared pup. The trainer would bring out her own well trained dogs to interact with the dogs. I am glad I shopped around or I would have never tried this place.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So, I looked around at other training classes and they are all more expensive than the Petco classes. And I'm going to have to agree that I need the structure of classes. I'm very impatient at home by myself. Also, it's nice to get the feedback from the trainer.
The trainer that I'm working with does do a good job as well. Now, here's to hoping I get my paycheck by Thursday. -_-
 

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just curious do they use clickers in your training classes there? I have seen one or two petco classes when i was in their stores and the trainers werent using them but I am not sure if thats the standard or if its the exception.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
just curious do they use clickers in your training classes there? I have seen one or two petco classes when i was in their stores and the trainers werent using them but I am not sure if thats the standard or if its the exception.
No, they don't use them. He's mentioned that you can use them but he prefers to use "yes."
 

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No, they don't use them. He's mentioned that you can use them but he prefers to use "yes."
That's because he doesn't understand clicker training, I've discussed it with him, he denigrates it
because he doesn't understand it. I teach it to people who want to learn, but its not taught to petco trainers
 

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That's because he doesn't understand clicker training, I've discussed it with him, he denigrates it
because he doesn't understand it. I teach it to people who want to learn, but its not taught to petco trainers
...Do you use the same trainer as kirschenregen?

Because using 'yes' as a marker is the same training principal as using a clicker.
 

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...Do you use the same trainer as kirschenregen?

Because using 'yes' as a marker is the same training principal as using a clicker.
I'm a trainer at another store and he 'trained' me, not really sure what his reasoning was
But he tried to convince me his way was better, we argued about a few things.
 

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I'm a trainer at another store and he 'trained' me, not really sure what his reasoning was
But he tried to convince me his way was better, we argued about a few things.
Ah, okay. I was confused by the sudden personal nature of the thing. That doesn't happen a lot online, IME.
 

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Not to argue, but to elevate:
1. The idea of Yes! and Clicker are similar, but the clicker is Much more precise.
2. I don't use clicker training, b/c my timing sucks [old dog, new tricks :) ]. I strongly recommend the method.
3. "Reaching the Animal Mind" by Karen Pryor provides useful insight. http://www.reachingtheanimalmind.com/
4. To the original point, after this class, can you go learn clicker training from Skitty56?
5. Important: Talk to the other woman and make friends, at least for weekly playdates outside of class. I strongly believe that a compatible playmate help to create a calmer, more social dog.... Also, ask her opinion about training...
 

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The agility class we started last night specifically said clickers were not going to be used, and part of the homework was to load 'yes'. Just because they'd found most people had trouble juggling the clicker, treats, dog, and moving on equipment and timing got worse and more clumsy with the clicker than with their voice. Not relevant in normal obedience classes, though.
 

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I am also a Petco trainer in Michigan. Every trainer is different in personality and experience so whether its Petco or Joe Schmoes training class - it all comes down to your teacher. Petco does have a uniform program/outline and use the marker word -yes- which is just like clicker training. All Petco training is supposed to be similar but some teachers will deviate. I've done clicker training too so I know how similar they are. Most people don't remember to carry a clicker everywhere and find it annoying to do so - so "Yes" works the same as long as you do it right.
If you like your teacher & have the money for classes, then I would say -go.
 

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I have always resisted the clicker, thinking it was too awkward to use, etc. In our Foundation Agility class they use the clicker so I thought I would give it an honest try and I was amazed how well it works. The dogs respond so much faster, seem to understand what you want a lot quicker and I am sold on it now. I still use the "yes" if I do not happen to have the clicker handy but for starting new things, I think the clicker works best. It only took me a few minutes to teach Kris to down using the clicker and never putting a hand on her or luring. I just stood there in an area with no distractions and waited on her. She knew sit really well and did that but when nothing happened, she finally just lay down, I clicked and treated and she got it right away. I can now do sit, down, sit, down or just tell her to stay in either position.
 

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I have always resisted the clicker, thinking it was too awkward to use, etc. In our Foundation Agility class they use the clicker so I thought I would give it an honest try and I was amazed how well it works. The dogs respond so much faster, seem to understand what you want a lot quicker and I am sold on it now. I still use the "yes" if I do not happen to have the clicker handy but for starting new things, I think the clicker works best. It only took me a few minutes to teach Kris to down using the clicker and never putting a hand on her or luring. I just stood there in an area with no distractions and waited on her. She knew sit really well and did that but when nothing happened, she finally just lay down, I clicked and treated and she got it right away. I can now do sit, down, sit, down or just tell her to stay in either position.
Heh. We had people quit our foundations class because they said they were using verbal markers instead of clickers and ask people to load the yes at the first class. Different strokes :p
 

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The agility class we started last night specifically said clickers were not going to be used, and part of the homework was to load 'yes'. Just because they'd found most people had trouble juggling the clicker, treats, dog, and moving on equipment and timing got worse and more clumsy with the clicker than with their voice. Not relevant in normal obedience classes, though.
Exactly!
Maybe b/ I am a pack rat? But lugging around a doggy bag of toys treats poo bags and that throwing stick thingie, I would always lose the clicker in my pocket (I usu end up with like 8 pockets bet my coat, vest, pants)... and my timing sucks too.... so I ended up with using Yes as well....
 
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