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Pet tips
May 05, 2014, 05:00 AM By Scott Delucchi

When my last dog, Cooper, was a pup, my wife and I hired a personal trainer. We assumed the pricey, one-on-one instruction would be superior to a moderately priced group class. Wrong! For one, we paid for six sessions up front and the trainer, a dirtbag named Clint, skipped town after three. For two, he was all about intimidation which was the wrong approach for our dog (and most). And, while he may have scared our dog into responding to him, Cooper didn’t listen to us. There was that, plus his methods were, let’s say, unorthodox. At one point, he had my wife and I work with each other, on our front lawn, while Cooper was still in the backyard. One of us — me, I think — “played” the dog, while my wife was the owner. I slipped a collar and leash on and was instructed not to respond to a word my wife said, but move around the lawn. This, he told, us, is what learning is like for a young pup; the puppy doesn’t have a clue of what you want and doesn’t speak your language. We must have been a sight for our neighbors! Anyway, I joined PHS/SPCA’s staff, and then quickly enrolled in one of our group obedience classes. For half the money, Cooper learned a ton more. He listened to me through positive reinforcement and also learned to focus amidst distractions from other class participants. One-on-one dog training has its place for dogs that are overwhelmed or disruptive in a group setting. But, for most people and dogs, group classes are the way to go, given they combine training and socialization. PHS/SPCA’s group class instructors won’t make you or your wife or partner wear a collar. What you do on your own time, of course, is up to you! Consider our many summer school class options, including special classes geared toward kids.

Scott oversees PHS/SPCA’s Adoption, Behavior and Training, Education, Outreach, Field Services, Cruelty Investigation, Volunteer and Media/PR program areas and staff from the new Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion.

 

 

Tags: group, cooper, class, training, spca, while,


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