puppy class issue

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puppy class issue

Post by smudge95 on Fri Oct 02 2015, 15:11

advice please... I have been taking buddy to puppy classes for about 5 weeks with a one week break in the middle ( holiday) - it is on a weds night at 7.30 and is about 45 mins away from where I live

Ok - so when we get there he jumps out the car and pulls with all his might to get into the hall - when there he is fine with all the other dogs big and small no aggression no fear happily plays or sits and watches ... then when we start the class he turns into devil dog - will not focus on me for commands - ignores whatever I say ..if I try and put my hand on him to reinforce sit or down he goes to bite me ( not aggressively but enough to hurt if he caught me ) . he will not walk to heel he is pulling and lunging at the dogs watching crossing in front or behind me to get to the other dogs - he is a struggle to hold .

I have tried him on a half check , a full check a normal harness and a non pull harness all to no avail - the trainer asked me to take him out to settle him this week as he was pulling so hard his eyes were going bloodshot - the first week we went he was great not perfect but manageable as each week goes by he gets worse - he was walking ok at home only pulling if there was a distraction, and as such, I never took him to the class for this but to socialise him now he seems to have gone backwards and developed issues where he didn't have them before

My OH does not want to take him any more because his behaviour is not improving- he thinks we can do better at home as we were before, I am happy to train at home but then he misses the socialisation and at 7 months that is important to me that he mixes well with other dogs into adult hood to avoid any issues with other dogs later in life

There are no trainers close to where I live they are all 45 mins to an hour away - I think the evenings are too long we leave at 7 and do not get home till nearly 9.30 some weeks, and he gets over excited ?? I can find one or two that do Saturdays but I would have to take him on my own and he does not travel well in the car without someone sitting with him. car sick or hyper tried the crate and he bounced it so hard in the boot to try and get to me he cracked the back window .. so back seat it has to be with a harness - so I am a bit nervous to do an hour there and back on my own with him.

should I continue with these classes , is it a phase he is going through because of his age ? or are they just not the right sort of classes for him there are approx. 20 dogs pups and older some with issues - with one sometimes two teachers...

opinions please? - walking him is no fun at the minute neither are the puppy classes Crying or Very sad
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by Rachel_B on Fri Oct 02 2015, 16:32

I have just finished puppy school with Betty (14 weeks) the class had six pups and two teachers. Even then I had trouble keeping her focused, in the end I had to forgo her breakfast on training days so that she was really REALLY focused on her treat rewards.

I would say that the class you are in is a little big... I know it certainly would have been for Betty.

The time may also be an issue. Our class is in the morning, but I could see evenings being a problem as she is curled up in her basket by 7.30.

It does sound a little like Buddy may be too tired and over stimulated to respond well in the class.


Last edited by Rachel_B on Sat Oct 03 2015, 06:26; edited 1 time in total
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by Rachel33 on Fri Oct 02 2015, 16:53

I would say that it's overstimulation also, that is a rather large class. If it's the social side you're after, do your vets offer any puppy groups? Or are there any independent trainers or behaviourists nearby that offer socialisation walks?


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Re: puppy class issue

Post by smudge95 on Mon Oct 05 2015, 09:38

have been looking but there is nothing local to me - I have found one that does training outside and seems a smaller class but it is on a Saturday and I am not sure if he will travel in the car on his own with me - going to do a trial run and see - going to go this weds as one last attempt and see if anything changes but am doubtful it will
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by LizP on Tue Oct 06 2015, 07:46

How flexible do you think the trainer is, Carol? What I'd want to do in this situation is go for the introduction bit, when he's quiet, then leave. After a couple of weeks, stay for the introduction then a few more minutes while the others start, do nothing more than ask for his attention with the most amazing treat in the world, then leave. If you can do that, then build up to asking for a sit or whatever he will find easy, then build up, always with just oh so yummy treats.

If the trainers won't let you do this, then they are not worth going to. To be honest, I'm not overly impressed that they've allowed this to get to this point anyway, and that they're letting you use choke collars, not showing you how to get him to sit without pushing, etc. I appreciate that you don't have a vast amount of choice, so if you can use them to get over this hump and keep the socialisation going then do if you can't get him to the other one but if you can't don't stress too much. I think you can do better on your own.

What's the problem with the car, by the way?



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Re: puppy class issue

Post by smudge95 on Tue Oct 06 2015, 08:29

hi Liz - I am confident in using choke chains half and full as I have used them on many of my dogs over the years with no issues - he pulls terribly on a harness and does walk better on the half choke. Once he has mastered walking to heel I will use a normal collar for his walks
We had three weeks of watching the class where he was fine sat well and watched and socialised fine. I do not stay for the whole hour as it is because it is too long -I can see he is tired at a certain point in the hour , he just does not seem to like the environment - I think dogs barking make him nervous and last week there were quite a few barkers there.. The issue with the car is that he wants to sit with me.. I tried him in his crate in the boot but he threw himself around so much that the crate cracked my back window - he is now on the back seat with a harness clipped to the seat belt but even with someone sitting there he runs up and down and tries to get through the seats to me - have tried a guard but he made so much noise that it distracted my driving.. I have not tried it for a few weeks though and he is settling a little better when I put him in the car now he sits and waits to be strapped in so I am hopeful if I build the journey time up he will be ok with just me in the car .. I like the idea of classes in case I have any bad habits long time since I trained a pup:) I am going to do a couple of weeks home training and then see how he reacts in a class not necessarily this one and take it from there , the only areas other than socialisation I want to perfect is the "Down" and his recall as he has chase tendencies .. I can get him to sit and stay and he is slowly getting the walking to heel - he now sits at kerbs and when we pass a distraction I can get him to look at me as we walk past it so it is not all bad ...
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by LizP on Tue Oct 06 2015, 16:51

I'm sorry, Carol, I can't go along with the use of choke collars. I appreciate they might have worked for you in the past but please reconsider using them now. They work because the sensation for the dog is one that is negative to the point it outweighs the his desire to go forwards. I wouldn't like someone to use one on me!

As you probably know, my background is in training remedial horses. I've had this discussion with so many horse owners who want to use stronger (i.e. more painful) bits on their horses to slow them down. They too have used them for years but that doesn't make it right to use them now. Pain may make an animal less willing to do what it was doing that caused the pain but inflicting pain (or any physical discomfort) is, in my view, not an acceptable part of keeping or training, any more than caning children is an acceptable part of human education.

Many trainers, myself included, were initially taught to use methods of force and threat. Just because we learned that way, though, didn't mean that we had to keep on doing it. There is a kinder way that is equally if not more effective.

I hope that doesn't sound too preachy and judgemental. I've spent years trying to teach pain and violence free horsemanship and that's how I view dog training too.


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Re: puppy class issue

Post by smudge95 on Wed Oct 07 2015, 08:30

liz- each to their own - I appreciate many people do not like choke chains or crates but for other these things work.. Buddy walks much calmer with hardly any pulling on a half check -once he walks past distractions with no rush to get to them it will be replaced by his normal collar. I appreciate all the feed back and if I thought for one moment Buddy was in any pain or distress I would stop .To be fair I hardly have to check him when he walks on the half check because he doesn't pull he is much happier than when on a harness.
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by feefeemc on Thu Oct 08 2015, 14:25

Hi.  I take Elsa to puppy classes, she's been for 5 weeks now.  I think they're okay for socialisation and basic 'sit' and 'down' training but I find that Elsa loses concentration and is easily distracted by everybody and every puppy in the room.  The class is an hour long but Elsa only pays attention for about half an hour at most, then she just wants to play.  She is only 18 weeks old so it's understandable but she loves mixing with the other puppies and enjoys the socialisation. Big Grin
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by kattie on Thu Oct 08 2015, 15:35

hi have you tried using a slip lead instead of a choke?, works very similar just not metal and is a little kinder, i use them on mine and love them always recommend them to my cutomers Smile
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by smudge95 on Thu Oct 08 2015, 15:45

haven't tries a slip lead no- I do have one I think from when I had my grey hound.. Buddy is only on a half check and the collar is very padded so I think he is ok doesn't seem to bother him too much - he is just so excitable - he walks some days so well and others he is a steam train - he pulls like mad as if he is on a mission .. - will have a go at a slip lead though may solve my issue of him running around like a loon when I come in from work - my hubby can put him on that and make him sit until he is calm and I am ready to greet him.. thanks for the suggestion - will let you know ...
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by Mia05 on Thu Oct 08 2015, 15:58

Hiya carol im not a fan of choke chains either and they can cause neck problems later . I can sympathise you are trying for the best solution though.I would persevere with classes hen they are invaluable for socialisation as well as the classes id contact a behaviourist also to help you . In the time hes in the car run the engine to start with and play soft music as hes fearing the car by the sounds of it do you have anything with his or your smell you can use to travel in the car with as this may help too. When starting to travel in the car is there someone that can sit with buddy to reassure him but not too much and distracting him with a favourite toy. Smile hopefully someone will have better advice for you.


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Re: puppy class issue

Post by Rachel33 on Thu Oct 08 2015, 20:12

Fingers crossed he will settle enough to do the Saturday class. Little concerned about his severe reaction regarding being away from you, though? Are you his main feeder/walker/handler? Can't be nice for him, or you, for him to become so distressed. Bug isn't great in the car, but will sit on the back seat (attached to a seat belt clip), just whines loudly for the entire journey! Perhaps some exercises to build his confidence in being away from you may help?

R.E check chains/slip leads etc, i'm not keen on anything that tightens around a dogs neck. I personally have previously used half checks as I didn't know any better, and still use them on some dogs at the kennels for security reasons (the dogs that are aggressive/likely to try and slip their collars) but they are always doubled up with a harness so the chain doesn't ever tighten. In my opinion, there are far better options. The half checks are definitely not as bad as the full chains, but there are no two ways around the fact that both slip leads and half checks tighten around your dogs throat to prevent them from pulling on the lead - dogs pull on a lead mainly because they naturally walk at a faster pace than us, or because they're excited. So, ultimately, we're mildly strangling our dogs for carrying out a behaviour that is completely natural to them? If there weren't other options, I'd understand, but there are so many that are much kinder. I also found it so much harder to control Bug on just a lead/collar. I now use an el perro collar (wide and padded to protect her throat) and a trixie harness, with a double lead attached to both, and have trained her to "slow" and "wait" so that she knows what I would like her to do. The control that I have with this combination is amazing, and means I can handle her with ease if she tries to jump up/reacts to another dog.

I read this a few days back on another site, and it does make sense:
Open your hands with your thumbs touching each other. Place the thumbs at the base of the throat and with the fingers pointing back and surrounding the neck.

Now, take a deep breath, squeeze and pull back with all your force keeping your thumbs connected.

This is how many dogs feel when they are on the leash and they are pulling.

If you are still keen to continue with this experiment, put a choke chain around your neck, attach it to a leash and ask a friend to pull and jerk on it periodically. Welcome to the dog world!


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Re: puppy class issue

Post by kattie on Thu Oct 08 2015, 21:48

in order to the use the slip properly make sure it is nice and high up on the neck both underneath and on top, that will prevent the choking and give you more control, and also place on the right way round to make sure it releases. i love the slip leads but they are only effective if used correctly otherwise they can cause choking when they pull.
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by Rachel33 on Thu Oct 08 2015, 22:45

Everybody has their own views and opinions regarding training, which in many cases is brilliant, but I can't get on board with methods or tools that will bring harm or discomfort to your dog.

Slip leads are very old school, and some people swear by them, but in reality no matter where the slip lead sits, it's going to choke your dog - there's no limit on their tightening, and from an anatomical point of view they put too much pressure on all of those very important and delicate parts of the neck. It works in exactly the same way as a choke chain, it's just a different material. In all of my time working with dogs, I honestly couldn't name a single professional that would recommend a slip lead as a walking lead, we occasionally use them in kennels for transporting dogs from kennel to kennel for convenience, but only on well trained dogs that don't pull, I can't even imagine taking a dog for a proper walk using one.


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Re: puppy class issue

Post by LizP on Fri Oct 09 2015, 07:39

We use slip leads at Danaher for the same reason as Rach does, to have a back up in case a dog manages to get out of a harness (which does occasionally happen!).

I'm not at all denying that they work but as with any gadget you have to ask yourself how/why it works. Even though you may not get to the point of visible distress - it is astonishing what animals put up with - having something that tightens round your neck simply cannot be at all nice, even if 'nice and high'. Would you put that on a child? If not, can it be ok to put it on a dog?

At the end of the day, we can use all sorts of restraints and gadgets on our dogs. They can work, but all they will ever teach is what not to do. Call them what you will, they are force, they oblige the animal to do something or else. It is positive training that teaches what to do.

I've seen so many animals (again, mainly horses) who will obediently perform actions that have been taught with gadgets that the owners swore weren't uncomfortable or unfair and struggle to thing of one that really performed it's heart out the way that an animal who has been trained with positive methods will do. In other words, you can make them do all sorts of things with force, but why would you want to when they will do than and more happily for a positive reward?



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Re: puppy class issue

Post by Mistys Mum on Fri Oct 09 2015, 09:02

My training class won't let anyone attend if they bring a choke chain or slip lead. They have to be either on a harness and or collar. I sympathise with the pulling though, Misty can literally drag us down the street. She is so strong and can pull for England. We have been learning heel in our class and it's taking a while! I put her pulling down to sheer excitement. This was a dog who was never walked for her first sixteen months, she spent a lot of time in a cage so I think now she loves her walks and trips to the park so much she cant wait to get there. We teach her to heel by putting a treat in our hand, telling her oohh look what I've got, getting her attention then when she is level with our legs we say heel. Walk her for a few steps then when we see her attention slipping we give her the treat and then it's repeat,repeat repeat! I'm not saying it's easy as we find it very slow progress and our walks take ages now as we stop a lot when she pulls and just stand still so she comes back to us to investigate why we have stopped then we start again with the heel. Interestingly though in class when we do the heel on the long lead she is far more responsive but again I do think it will all come with time. Ah to have a dog that heels, that is the dream Big Grin
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by Mia05 on Fri Oct 09 2015, 09:20

I used to show mia the biscuit put it in my hand make a fist let her smell my hand then put the biscuit in the pocket of the same side walking her worked wonders Laughing was the smelliest treat possible and she paid attention the whole walk kept looking up at me . Done everything she was told i used crackerjacks the fish ones i think it was.


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Re: puppy class issue

Post by Rachel_B on Fri Oct 09 2015, 10:00

Mia05 wrote:Done everything she was told i used crackerjacks the fish ones i think it was.

I use those too... they work wonders but they don't half stink! Laughing
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by smudge95 on Fri Oct 09 2015, 10:59

hi all - many thanks for all your suggestions replies etc it is really appreciated that you have taken the time to share your ideas and thoughts._ I did post this once this morning but it didn't seem to work so will try again-
in answer to some of the questions asked - apologies if I miss any -
the Car
Buddy is happy in the car -I introduced him slowly but made the mistake of not doing it on his own but always with someone so going back to the beginning on that one -he wants to sit in the front not to be with me I discovered but to look out the window so I am going to put a cushion under the waterproof cover on the back seat and shorten his seat belt harness and hopefully looking out of the side window may help

Reaction to me -
I do have the strongest bond with Buddy but my OH is now getting far more involved in his day to day life so I am hoping this will help calm him a little when I am not about -he is listening far more to my OH commands now ..I think our bond will always be a bit stronger as I spend more time with him, just due to work hours.

Half check- difficult one as everyone has their own opinion on them, Buddys half check only closes to the same size as his normal collar it does not tighten to "choke" it is the noise of the chain I train to - he hears the links and the command slow and he is now starting to slow his pace and come back to walk to heel, I would never use a full check or a slip lead to walk him on . He now "watches me" when we pass a distraction with hardly any movement to pull .. I am waiting on a Mekuti harness to arrive and will move onto that now that his walking has progressed . I may however look at using a slip lead to hold him when opening the front door or the back gate as a quick restraint so we have no escapes..
Puppy classes
I have not given up on puppy classes however I do think that the one he is attending is not quite right for him, the lady who runs them overall is also a behaviourist and I am going to arrange a one to one with her to cover a few areas to ensure I am going about things correctly etc , and to discuss the puppy lass with her and see her take on his behaviour- he seems a lot better if she takes the class rather than one of her employees, the puppy classes I use do not treat train , I started treat training at home but found it easier to use praise and an occasional treat - Buddy doesn't like anything fishy ! odd dog!

As I said I really appreciate all your comments and experiences it is really helping me understand my energetic little bundle - buddy really has stolen all our hearts
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by kattie on Fri Oct 09 2015, 14:35

I do agree Rachel that everyone has there own methods, niether if mine pull on the lead and I show both of mine, the slip lead is required for my retriever boy when being shown. I walk both mine on a loose slip lead they walk lovely to heel and I never have to tighten the slip when  walking them in sits almost on there shoulders.
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Re: puppy class issue

Post by Jgoodwin81 on Tue Oct 13 2015, 20:32

Bolo was exactly the same at puppy school, every other puppy is perfectly sat and doing as their told and all he wants to do is play with them!...he will only pay attention if the treat is worth it....hot dog sausages are all we need, a sniff of those and he'll do almost anything!!
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Re: puppy class issue

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