Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

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Lawsyd
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Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by Lawsyd » 30 Sep 2015, 06:09

So Sooty was booked into the first of her puppy socialization classes yesterday evening & it didn't go well.

The classes are run on a rolling basis so that on any given week there are some new dogs (two of us last night) & some dogs who have been going for a few weeks.

The evening was a disaster we think. Sooty had been a bit bolshie all day - having been a bit more bitey and cloth-eared to commands than usual. While waiting for the class to begin Sooty was straining on he lead to say 'hello' or to play fight with every dog that came in.

The two of us who were newbies were taken for an induction with an instructor. The induction consisted of 'unlearning' basic commands such as 'sit' that Sooty has learned verbally over the last 4 1/2 weeks & to try & relearn them to a clicker command. All this while other, more experienced, dogs were working elsewhere in the room - dogs doing work that Sooty found more interesting. The whole session was extremely stressful for Sooty, myself and Mrs Lawsyd.

It was so bad that we have all but decided not to see out the rest of the course. Are we giving up too soon?

I must admit that I found it strange to be taught clicker training because dogs cannot attend the course until the all-clear has been given after puppy injections - say 12 or 14 weeks. I would have thought that by that stage the vast majority of puppies would have learned vocal commands off their owners? So why try & unteach something that the puppy already accepts as normal.

Help please (whether you agree or disagree with me)!! It might just stop a puppy & two loving owners going insane. :(

harleyboy53
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by harleyboy53 » 30 Sep 2015, 07:30

Morning,i agree with all you comments.The word socialization is the key.When I ran this type of class the whole format was based on puppies getting to know each other.Formal training can begin at a later date.However each trainer running these classes will have different opinions.I just feel that puppies need to be socialised at a speed that they and most importantly their owners(for whom this is often their first dog) are comfortable with.It appears that your class is being run on a very structured basis.What to do?Perhaps check with local vets to find another class or as I am doing with my puppy just go to as many places that you can think of where your puppy will meet other dogs and all the sights and sounds that are out there to enjoy.Good luck and remember confidence is the key

Doodle Dee
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by Doodle Dee » 30 Sep 2015, 09:04

My hand coordination never worked with the clicker. I couldn't click and treat at the same time, the training class I went to used the clicker but wasn't regimental with it. So I found hand signals with my voice and constancy worked as I was the bad trainer her not her the bad trainee! Now she is 3 she seems to understand if I cluck she gets a treat (self taught).

I think you should train her with whatever method you are comfortable with as long as it is consistent. She now seems to be recalled with the whistle. How that came about I have no idea!

Go figure with these dogs
Lulu & Dx

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Oscar2011
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by Oscar2011 » 30 Sep 2015, 19:37

I can remember it well, :roll: , Oscar was the only puppy in the whole class who barked. I too remember it as being quite a stress, and remember going home feeling shattered. Clicker training is something they seem to promote at all puppy classes, but I think it is something that is rarely carried on for long afterwards. The most valuable thing we found though was being able to let Oscar run a muck with other pups of all shapes, sizes and breeds, that alone is worth the money, training in front of all the other dogs didn't work too well, but the leaflets we were sent home with allowed us to carry on the training at home which worked, things just seem to go better at home when hoomans and dog too is less stressed. These days though we very rarely have to command Oscar to do anything, he just seems to know what is required and when :D . Good Luck.

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Bid
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by Bid » 30 Sep 2015, 21:08

Did they explain beforehand that they use clicker training?

If it were me I would carry on with the course, and use it as an opportunity to put all your training into practice with distractions. I so often get people saying "He does it OK at home", but you need to practise training where there are other interesting things about, so if you've paid for the course, why not make use of the opportunity.
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Liz!!
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by Liz!! » 30 Sep 2015, 22:56

There is no reason not to say a command as well as clicker train - what on earth is this about?

How does the dog know what you want if you don't say 'sit'! you just click on the sit and reward immediately. Unlearn a sit? That's bonkers!
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Bid
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by Bid » 01 Oct 2015, 00:08

They don't know what sit means to start with - you either lure them into a sit and reward, or you wait until they sit and click/reward. The word comes later.
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marymuffin
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by marymuffin » 01 Oct 2015, 08:45

Clickers, what a nightmare, I couldn't get the hang of it at all. Dexter was at his I'm going to steal everything stage, the clicker and we had a few, never lasted long before being pinched, hidden then destroyed, so I gave up with clickers and classes that went the same way. Sometimes I wish I had persevered then I remember the dread of going to class and am glad I didn't, but another class without clickers and toys and favourite mats yes. I should have tried another class. Dexter is now 3 [ last Sunday} and reasonably well trained, and calming down. H and D
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Lawsyd
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by Lawsyd » 01 Oct 2015, 10:39

Thanks for all of your replies. I'll try to respond to some of the main points raised.

It would seem that 'clicker, but no verbal command' to sit works as follows. Hold a treat just above the dog's snout & start moving the hand downwards - the dog will then move into the sit position to earn the treat. A similar maneuver can be used to get the dog into the lying position. As I said in my original post, this method seems OK to us if a puppy hasn't had any command training whatsoever but our Sooty (as I assume had happened to the other puppies) has been receiving verbal command training since the day we brought her home from the breeder. so the clicker method just confused - and ultimately frustrated - Sooty.

We also thought it strange that the two new dogs were being inducted in a corner of the main room. It was hardly surprising that an intelligent & inquisitive breed such as a doodle would get bored & become more interested in what was happening elsewhere in the room.

Ironically, we took Sooty to a large local park yesterday & she learned far more in an hour playing and interacting with other dogs.(sometimes off lead) than ever she did in the formal class on Tuesday night, so it seems that we are going to cut our losses (we had to pay the full course fee upfront) & not take Sooty again.

harleyboy53
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by harleyboy53 » 01 Oct 2015, 11:39

Good to hear that you are happy with training now,have a look at my post in general discussion (6 months old off lead)might be helpful

suzi23173
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by suzi23173 » 01 Oct 2015, 11:40

Whatever you're doing, if she sits when you say "sit" you did it right.
There's no need to re learn or be made to feel your way was wrong if it works.
Clickers are fab and are great for teaching news things or odd things such as parts of a sequence to perform a longer trick. You click and treat at the point the dog did what you wanted or you can just say "yes!" So she knows the thing she got the treat for was what you wanted. Some say don't say the word until the action is learnt but I found it impossible and said it all at the same time with no problem caused.

It's also not a way of life. You can train her to do one thing without and then another with a clicker. Once they do the action on command you don't need the clicker.
It's just another tool in your box of tricks.

As for the puppy class- don't give up but maybe change. The first one I went to had a useless woman and I felt it was a waste of time. The second was better. Tess was an absolute nightmare. I wanted to strangle her quite frankly she was so bad. Pulling and scrabbling to get to the other dogs- what she needed was socialisation as much as the formal stuff.

Don't be afraid to be sceptical about trainers if they don't make sense to you and your dog. There are brilliant ones but there are also useless ones or ones who's philosophy and approach is wrong for you

You're not the first doodle owner to have the liveliest (and cleverest) pup in the class!
Keep at it- it's worth the effort in in end. Xx
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Suzi and Tess.
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Helen & Rigby
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by Helen & Rigby » 02 Oct 2015, 21:01

Our puppy classes were not fun. The trainer took the opinion that because rig is a Labradoodle there was no chance of him learning anything. He was too interested in the smells in the field and wanting to play with the other puppies which was discouraged. If I had known then what I do now I would have changed or scrapped the idea.

I would say go with your gut feeling.

I follow a few trainers on YouTube, and have learnt clicker training from 'kikopup' rig is a fast learner and I have taught him to walk loose lead with a clicker and tiny bits of sausage. Victoria Stilwell and zac George are also positive trainers that have numerous videos you can watch and then teach your pup at a speed that suits you both.
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olly
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by olly » 09 Oct 2015, 11:43

We have just successfully completed an 8 week puppy class. :shock: The trainers were really good and encouraging. I didn't agree with everything that they said. They work on the principal that you can't say no to a dog, you ignore the negative and praise the positive which is an excellent in theory but when you have a puppy with all 4 paws on the dining table or trying to get onto the work surfaces I feel that ignoring the issue isn't an option, I will admit that I said no and removed the little darling! :oops: :roll:
I took the positives, and there were many, and worked with them and I have seen a distinct improvement in my two. We have signed up to do the Good citizen Bronze award. I hope that isn't a step too far for them we will soon see.

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Bid
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by Bid » 10 Oct 2015, 00:12

Well I sort of agree with what they say, in that it is far easier and more effective to tell your pup what you do want them to do than it is to tell them what you don't want them to do. They don't understand "no", so when your dog is counter surfing, use a command he knows to get a behaviour you can reward, such as "leave it!" or even a basic "sit!"
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Liz!!
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Re: Puppy Socialization Classes - A Disaster!

Post by Liz!! » 11 Oct 2015, 23:19

You do need to say no - just as with a child. Think of it this way -giving praise when something is done correctly is fine - but your dog will NEVER learn what you don't want unless you at least say no when they do something incorrect. In fact, they won't even know the meaning of the word, which could be very tricky.

But also, if you praise, praise, praise but only when the dog does something right, they can become anxious - because they start to think they are only loved if they do everything right.

Best way is loads of praise for doing right, a 'no' when they do something incorrect (certainly no shock collars or hitting noses or yanking leads), but when you have said 'no' give them a love shortly afterwards.
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