Group training classes are beneficial for several reasons. They socialize the dogs and bring handlers together to help one another. They allow people to observe others and practice in a supportive environment.
But the most interesting benefit of group classes is how dogs learn from each other.
A new dog brought into the group, one who has had no formal training, often seems mesmerized by the other dogs as they go through their paces.
Soon we see the new dog “sitting” when the other dogs sit and “down” as the pothers lie down.
The new dog will walk calmly on a loose leash if he is following another clam dog.
The new dog is eager to learn and will pick things up quicker when in the ring with other dogs.
The very excitable dog will often relax when other dogs are going through their turns. After about five minutes of greeting and playfulness, young dogs will often lie down all together and wait their “turns” to do a behavior. Watching seems as much fun to the dogs as when it’s their turn.
Owners are often surprised to see their dogs behave better in the ring surrounded by other dogs than at home. But it is just the sense of security of being amongst their own and learning by observation that is the key.