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  • Gerry Moss

121 Training v Group Classes

Have you thought about what you are trying to achieve with the training services you want?


Some of us want to achieve very specific goals and targets within our training, be that working on loose lead skills, recall or teaching a dog not to jump up, whilst others are looking for on-going training with a variety of activities to keep their interest, a social training situation or practising training skills in and around other dogs.


For some owners who have been struggling with an issue for a while like lead pulling by the time they seek help they are already at the 'end of their tether'. Joining a general 'obedience' type class, which does include loose lead elements may not be hitting the mark for such a customer in dealing with their problem. The results and change that they need to see may not be so rapid which can lead to a frustrated owner. This owner may be better off with some targeted and specific loose lead practise at a time convenient to them via a 121.


At Jay K9 we also offer group classes and workshops to work on specific issues like recall or loose lead skills, so if this is an option that's available to you should you take it?


Group classes often work out slightly cheaper, our up coming recall workshop costs the same as a 1 hour 121 session, the recall workshop will provide you with 3 hours of contact time with a trainer, although there may be 5 other customers there. This can have both pros and cons, sometimes it's great to be part of a group who are all struggling with the same training issue, so there is the moral support and the social aspect of a group class. For some of our learners they work best when they are able to see things demonstrated, a group class allows you to watch others and learn from what they are doing. It can also give you the opportunity to have a broader view e.g. Your dog isn't responding to the recall sound at all (so training targets this area), another customer's dog is responding to the recall sound and running back but only to about 2 meters from the owner and then turning tail to run off again (their recall problem is slightly different and they'll be given different training techniques to work on this).


Your training needs may be very specific to something that's occurring at home, for you a 121 at the home is probably going to give you quicker results. Asking you to come to us and describe what's happening is going to be wasting time. Sometimes part of the solution may be about changing the environment slightly and without seeing that environment we could be missing out on easy wins, this is why we see home visits as so important to what we offer.


Other things to consider are how you learn best? For some owners they will definitely make better progress in a 121 environment over a group class whilst others it's the opposite way round - be honest with yourself about this.


How does your dog work around other dogs? Are they in the best place for learning? We assess dogs that we don't know to check their suitability for class, but if your dog is nervous around other dogs placing them in close proximity and asking them to perform sits and downs etc. may not be the best way to see progresses (although eventually our goal may be to get them happy in a group situation), but if you've come to us with a loose lead issue really the focus is on teaching that dog loose lead skills and to start with this may not need other dogs to be present. If you come to us saying your dog walks on a lovely loose lead when you are alone together but as soon as they see another dog they start to pull, then yes you are going to need to work around other dogs in appropriately designed exercises.


The solution may be a combination of 121s and group classes, which is why we offer this flexible approach when it comes to booking into some of our classes, with a pay-as-you-go option. As with all our training it's about having a flexible approach that works for the individual dog and owner.


For further info on our group classes or 121s please get in contact with us.

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