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Old 04-30-2012, 10:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First Puppy Class - Issues

Sorry for the length, I really need to vent

Yesterday was Delgado's first puppy socialization class, and there are six dogs in his class including him

After the first obedience period ended the "socialization" period started and well, it all went He's been around dogs his whole life both at the breeders and my house and he's normally very respectful of other dogs and just wants to play. I've never seen any extremely dominant or extremely submissive behaviour from him, he's always just been a happy go lucky playful puppy with any dog he meets

We were told to sit in the chairs and we were not to touch or talk to any of the puppies while they played, so the trainer could observe them. After a few moments of playing Delgado goes up the dominant puppy in the class and tries to play but instead gets growled at and the puppy slammed him with his chest a few times, so Delgado put his head down and avoided eye contact and when the other dog didn't give up he ran away.

Suddenly 4 of the dogs ran up and ganged up on him and were pinning him in a corner for a few seconds, the entire time I'm looking from the puppies to the trainer and she's just watching them and not intervening. Thankfully the session ended just moments after the "pack attack" and we took the puppies back to our chairs and worked on obedience again.

Before the second socialization period started she came over and told me I could block the other dogs just using my hands gently if they were ganging up on him again. Immediately after the puppies were let loose the same pack ran up and ganged up on Delgado again, and I had my hands full pushing puppies away, none of the other owners were helping, and finally the trainer comes back and tells me I should walk away and hopefully that'll get Delgado to come out and get him away from the pack. He tried a few times but they kept hitting him back and he started to growl so I intervened without the trainer's consent and took him to the other side of the room and didn't allow any puppies near him until the session ended.

At the end of the class she came up to me again and told me there was another trainer doing the second class and that she would place a note in my file that Delgado was "nervous" and needed a one on one socialization rather then the group

Now I'm really upset, the fact she allowed Delgado to have to growl and *I* had to intervene was careless in my opinion. I'm upset with myself for allowing her to control the situation where she was obviously failing and allowing Delgado to have to be put in that situation

I'm going to go early next week and talk to the second trainer about either doing a one or two dog play session or just skipping it entirely and having a play session outside with just me and him.

Honestly, should I even try the group socialization again, or just one other dog, or just skip it entirely and just do the obedience? The main reason I paid to do the classes was the socialization aspect

Any opinions or comments would be welcome
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My Pack:

Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
Loker Delgado Von Stalworth - Male GSD - born Jan 26, 2012
Koda & Zazu - 5 year old male cats
Alex - Male Cocker Spaniel (rescue) - RIP Cuddlebug 2007-2010
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Our first puppy class (STAR program) there was "puppy playtime" offered after class, we went one time and skipped it moving forward, I did not see the benefit for us personally.

There were puppies of all different breeds, small & big. It was a mess, my boy appeared like a mad puppy. LOL and all the gasping from the other owners turned me off. There was an Australian Cattle dog who matched the energy level of my puppy and they had fun but knocked over and scared some of the other puppies. Some of the owners were treating the playtime like they would kids on a playground.

My boy is now two and we have been in group training classes since he was a puppy, it's nice that he can work around other dogs but knows there's no greeting and I like it. The only dog he plays with is our neighbors lab, who I trust. One day we will add another and he will have a playmate all the time
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Courtney View Post
Our first puppy class (STAR program) there was "puppy playtime" offered after class, we went one time and skipped it moving forward, I did not see the benefit for us personally.

There were puppies of all different breeds, small & big. It was a mess, my boy appeared like a mad puppy. LOL and all the gasping from the other owners turned me off. There was an Australian Cattle dog who matched the energy level of my puppy and they had fun but knocked over and scared some of the other puppies. Some of the owners were treating the playtime like they would kids on a playground.

My boy is now two and we have been in group training classes since he was a puppy, it's nice that he can work around other dogs but knows there's no greeting and I like it. The only dog he plays with is our neighbors lab, who I trust. One day we will add another and he will have a playmate all the time
He's in a large breed class, there's two GSD, a lab, a St. Bernard, and a large terrier, and also a smaller Shiba Inu (sp?)

I brought his blanket and he sat or lay on it while not working and he was very calm and watched the other dogs but mostly ignored them until the play time
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My Pack:

Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
Loker Delgado Von Stalworth - Male GSD - born Jan 26, 2012
Koda & Zazu - 5 year old male cats
Alex - Male Cocker Spaniel (rescue) - RIP Cuddlebug 2007-2010
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm sending you a PM.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I had a similar experience with Masi when she was young, very similar

It did NOT go well, and I 'knew' in my gut this was NOT a good thing for my , up to that point, very social, happy girl. After the 3rd week, I pulled her from the class. At the 3rd week, she did NOT want to enter the building, she became very defensive, and I was seeing behaviors out inpublic that I did not want to encourage. So I pulled her.

Took my 9 year old aussie who can hold her own has good calming signals, she finished out the session with no problems.

I could KICK myself for even letting it happen once, it took me a few months to deprogram into this 4mth old puppy, that not every dog was 'out' to get her.

What I'm saying is this, if you like the class itself, have no problems there (I had probs in class to), stick with it, but forego the free for all thing..just leave when class is over.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow. This makes me really angry! The trainer should have had the other owners step in! I wouldn't trust this trainer and would not return!
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
I had a similar experience with Masi when she was young, very similar

It did NOT go well, and I 'knew' in my gut this was NOT a good thing for my , up to that point, very social, happy girl. After the 3rd week, I pulled her from the class. At the 3rd week, she did NOT want to enter the building, she became very defensive, and I was seeing behaviors out inpublic that I did not want to encourage. So I pulled her.

Took my 9 year old aussie who can hold her own has good calming signals, she finished out the session with no problems.

I could KICK myself for even letting it happen once, it took me a few months to deprogram into this 4mth old puppy, that not every dog was 'out' to get her.

What I'm saying is this, if you like the class itself, have no problems there (I had probs in class to), stick with it, but forego the free for all thing..just leave when class is over.
The obedience part is fine, the school itself has a good reputation which is most of the reason I was so shocked. I think this is the only class that specifically has playtime so after this one the next level probably just has obedience. There is another school which I'm looking into which was recommended

The thing that sucks is the "socialization" time is included in the class itself, so I'd just get up and leave when she mentions that and come back when it's done. I'll talk to the second trainer and see what she says and maybe try the first playtime, but if it goes wrong even once I'm taking him out of the play times

I may try the one or two dog playtime, there's one dog in the class he likes, and one more I think he would so I might ask to have them have just one playtime with the three of them and try that. I do want him to be comfortable in a pack of dogs, but a bad pack can cause more problems then help and I think that's what I'm stuck with in this class
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Shanna

My Pack:

Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
Loker Delgado Von Stalworth - Male GSD - born Jan 26, 2012
Koda & Zazu - 5 year old male cats
Alex - Male Cocker Spaniel (rescue) - RIP Cuddlebug 2007-2010
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jennyp View Post
Wow. This makes me really angry! The trainer should have had the other owners step in! I wouldn't trust this trainer and would not return!
I know She really seems like she has no idea how to deal with dog behaviour! Hello, is that not majority of what dog training is?! She's been a trainer for over 20 years!
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Shanna

My Pack:

Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
Loker Delgado Von Stalworth - Male GSD - born Jan 26, 2012
Koda & Zazu - 5 year old male cats
Alex - Male Cocker Spaniel (rescue) - RIP Cuddlebug 2007-2010
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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How old are these puppies? Sorry, but you're already labeling them as a bad pack which is probably not true. They're just acting like they would if they were all litter mates. I think you should've definitely stepped in sooner, but your dog might be on the timid side. This exercise in socialization didn't cause it, your dog was more timid. You probably only saw him one on one and so you thought he was fine, but in a big group of dogs he might be the more submissive one. I don't think this will affect his behavior towards dogs, they are still all young enough to where it was probably all play. I'm surprised any kind of growling was allowed, as this is usually a sign of fear in a puppy and not dominance.

It's a very delicate situation, pulling him away from dogs like that can teach him that no matter what mom will save him and so he can react however he wants and you'll step in to protect him, but it can also teach him that its not proper behavior around dogs. If all the puppies are around the same age, the older ones will be more "dominant." They just know better, they've been through it, they have more confidence.

Also, I don't know your dog, but I know mine bounced back from things like this without any problems. We had one really barky/dominant type puppy in our puppy class and so our instructors stopped allowing off-leash puppy socialization (part of that was that the owner was proud of his "dominant" pup and wouldn't listen when they told him that its not good behavior, didn't see that guy after the puppy classes were over). If you're truly worried about your dog having issues later I would stop with the socializing in that environment. Clearly other people's dogs developed issues that later had to be worked through due to these kinds of experiences.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shade View Post
I know She really seems like she has no idea how to deal with dog behaviour! Hello, is that not majority of what dog training is?! She's been a trainer for over 20 years!
Actually it isn't. Dog training is making a dog do what you want from it. Most trainers are not behaviorists and unless they've gone through a certain behavior (most likely with their own dog) they don't know how to fix it. Behavior modification is not the same thing as obedience training.
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