We have a fantastic obedience class / situation. They run a reasonably priced, casual class - come as often or as little as you like. Absolutely not looking to change - I really love the set up and the people. They're great.
However, our actual class sees me leave the house at 10 on a sunday and by the time I have a coffee on the way home I dont get back til just after 12 - so it eats a lot of my sunday. I'm also about to go back to uni and coming into winter I have been looking for alternatives to our class- other times, other days of the week, evenings, under cover, etc etc - you get the drift.
So our usual was closed for the long weekend and I took this as a perfect opportunity to try somewhere different... It was a totally horrible experience. Well over 24 hours later - I'm still thinking about it. As we walked in there was a huge dog barking away - tangling its self up and just being a bit menacing - turned out it belonged to one of the instructors. My initial thought was "oh the other people have much better behaved dogs"... I should have gone then. All the instructors where wearing name tags from different places (e.g. from other volunteer jobs they have - which is a huge personal peeve of mine).
The "trainer" I had was just not my cup of tea - lecturing and dropping in totally pointless anecdotes. When I was asked how old Scott was I responded "Senior" (which is my standard response - as I don't know) and I was pushed to answer. There was 8 of us in the beginners class and I would say 3 of the owner/pet combos were in quite series need of some one on one time but the owner just stood at the front of the class, demonstrating with a bag she had with her ("pretend its a dog") and calling us out one by one to practice the command (e.g. Halt & Sit). I was SOOOOOOO bored, then when it came time to offer a drink to the dogs she also made a huge fuss with one poor owner getting really wet trying to scoop water out of a bucket to her toy poodle x.
Then there was the poor guy who was taller than me with a Chi x - who was told to never crouch down to his dog because "he's the boss". The poor guy had no idea how to make the dog sit, or to make it stay in sit and she couldn't or wouldn't give him some one on one while the struggled through the class. I really felt for them.
But the icing on the cake for me was 2 things - being constantly reprimanded for not holding my leash correctly ("hold your dog correctly, darling") and when practicing "stand" (actually halt & stand) - which I have never tried with Scottie I kept stuffing it up and he kept sitting - so she told me to move one hand to his flank to stop him from sitting but I must have scared him because he yelped - not really sure what for or why. But she went bonkers telling me to never use force or physical means to get an animal to do something. It just really rattled me - if you saw Scottie and I "working" together you'd know that the only physical force is him yanking on my heart strings. He does as much as he pleases and when he's done he "cutes out" and we finish (and yes - I know its naughty but its also totally 100% ok with me).
Anyhow, suffice to say we won't be back to that class. I will freely admit that it was probably just a personality clash on my behalf but I'm so glad I have options.
As I said, I wasn't shopping for new, just extra or something to help ensure weekly classes can continue when my schedule gets really stupid but it won't be on the list. Also makes me realise just how amazing our current providers are.