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Old 11-27-2012, 06:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Maya's first obedience class

Hi all, I wanted to get a bit of feedback from yourselves regarding Maya.

Basically she is just under 13 weeks old, and I took her to her first class last night. Let me start by saying that I do a few sessions of training with her each week, so she knows the commands sit, down, up, off, and no. When training she tends to be quite good, she keeps her attention on me (except for when there are distractions) and will be happy with the treats I was using last night (chopped up tinned ham).

Last night was a terrible experience, she would not focus on my in the slightest and did not seem even remotely interested in the treats. The trainer said that I am going to have my work cut out for me, then when I told them that Maya's grandfather was a police dog, they had an expression as if to say, "Ah ok, now that makes sense." They then said that she looks more motivated with tug toys, rather than food, but to be honest, I think she was just more interested in being somewhere new, rather than what was going on.

When we started doing a bit of agility, she loved it, took to it like a duck to water, and by the end of it, was happily running up and down the pyramid, without any help from me. The trainer said that she is very feisty and was very vocal around the other dogs, and said that I have to work with her so that she does not develop dog aggression, they also said that she was exceptionally confident for her age and that they can help us take her to any training level, and it was up to us how far we wanted to go with her, schutshund training, agility training, ect.

What I would like some advice on, is first, motivating her to work for me, and second, is the trainer tickling my ears to get my money, because based on last nights performance, it seems as though each session is going to be a case of me simply trying to get her attention. The trainer did say that next time, make sure she is starving for food.

Thoughts? I looked through her lineage and by the 5th generation, practically every dog has some sort of working tittle such as schh3 or ipo3, ect.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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TEE HEE ... welcome to puppyhood! Is she your first?

13 weeks is still a baby. I would be AMAZED if her focus was on you 100% of the time in training. The world is hers to explore, and dang it ... she's thinking, "quit shoving food in my mouth, I WANNA go over THERE, and THERE, and HERE, and THERE!!!"

Get my drift?

Distractions are normal at this stage, and to be expected. The length of time that she "ignores" you is what I would think about more than anything at this stage. For example, when she's not focussing on you, can you get her attention back quickly or in 3 minutes? (And quickly, can be 2-6 seconds!) Don't forget, it's all new, and puppies experience things so much differently than we do.

She COULD be more motivated by toys than food. I've never rewarded Kyleigh with food. She's never had a "food treat" as praise. She could care less. She loves loves loves that stupid mallard duck that quacks ... OMG ... she will do ANYTHING for that dang duck. Thankfully, they always seem to have them at the pet stores!!!

Feisty and vocal = dog aggression? WOW .... better watch out then, because Ky's gonna eat you!!! My goodness ... what a thing to say! Kyleigh is very feisty (to the point there were times when she was a pup that I would shake my head and say WHY OH WHY didn't I get a hamster!!!) Feisty is good - it shows a dog with confidence, and you will have a great bond with this dog as she matures.

Vocal ... I don't know very many quiet GSDs LOL Kyleigh sounds like a baby lion when she plays with another GSD ... but is super quiet when she plays with her lab / husky friend.

Your pup is very young, and while you can certainly see some characteristics that will follow through, I wouldn't worry too much about feisty / vocal.

Kyleigh will be 18 months this Friday, and if all her "puppy traits" were still with her now, I'd have traded her for a hamster about 6 months ago!!!!

I say, have fun with your dog, and if the trainer sounds pushy, then back away and reassess YOUR dog. You know her best!!!!
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyleigh View Post
TEE HEE ... welcome to puppyhood! Is she your first?

13 weeks is still a baby. I would be AMAZED if her focus was on you 100% of the time in training. The world is hers to explore, and dang it ... she's thinking, "quit shoving food in my mouth, I WANNA go over THERE, and THERE, and HERE, and THERE!!!"

Get my drift?

Distractions are normal at this stage, and to be expected. The length of time that she "ignores" you is what I would think about more than anything at this stage. For example, when she's not focussing on you, can you get her attention back quickly or in 3 minutes? (And quickly, can be 2-6 seconds!) Don't forget, it's all new, and puppies experience things so much differently than we do.

She COULD be more motivated by toys than food. I've never rewarded Kyleigh with food. She's never had a "food treat" as praise. She could care less. She loves loves loves that stupid mallard duck that quacks ... OMG ... she will do ANYTHING for that dang duck. Thankfully, they always seem to have them at the pet stores!!!

Feisty and vocal = dog aggression? WOW .... better watch out then, because Ky's gonna eat you!!! My goodness ... what a thing to say! Kyleigh is very feisty (to the point there were times when she was a pup that I would shake my head and say WHY OH WHY didn't I get a hamster!!!) Feisty is good - it shows a dog with confidence, and you will have a great bond with this dog as she matures.

Vocal ... I don't know very many quiet GSDs LOL Kyleigh sounds like a baby lion when she plays with another GSD ... but is super quiet when she plays with her lab / husky friend.

Your pup is very young, and while you can certainly see some characteristics that will follow through, I wouldn't worry too much about feisty / vocal.

Kyleigh will be 18 months this Friday, and if all her "puppy traits" were still with her now, I'd have traded her for a hamster about 6 months ago!!!!

I say, have fun with your dog, and if the trainer sounds pushy, then back away and reassess YOUR dog. You know her best!!!!
Thanks, a lot to think about there.

I re-read my post and wanted to clarify a bit, Maya is not used to being around other dogs, she had her last vaccination at 10 weeks, and was allowed to go on walks at 11 weeks, so she has only been able to go out for the past 10 days or so. She has met a few dogs, but other than those, and her litter mates, she has had no other dog interaction apart from last night, and last night she was barking and growling at all the other dogs. I had her leashed and took her to meet the other dogs and although she was extremely well mannered (bit of sniffing), given the option, she would have stood at a safe distance and just barked and growled, so from that point of view, I can see where the trainer is coming from with regards to "developing" dog aggression.

This is my first dog ever, I have always wanted one, but circumstances have never allowed, and now they do.

I suppose I am panicking a little, and she is very young, and it did not help when one of the people there was an experienced trainer that had a puppy the same age, that was a lot better behaved.

I want the best for my puppy and I believe this includes socialisation and training at an early age, for example, right now lol. If Maya is capable of reaching high levels of training and dog qualifications, such as schutshund, I think its my duty to get her there.

I have actually tried a new strategy to training, by training her in the morning, before breakfast, that way i know she is very hungry and wants her "rewards" for training. I tried it this morning and seems to have worked. I am going to do this everyday, and hopefully I will get 100% of her attention during training.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You wrote: I suppose I am panicking a little, and she is very young, and it did not help when one of the people there was an experienced trainer that had a puppy the same age, that was a lot better behaved.


Of course you're going to panic! It's normal ... I remember what I was like with my first dog ... OMG ... world go away, I need to make sure my dog is PERFECT LOL

The trainer's puppy - same age, a lot better behaved? See, my first question would be ... how tired is that puppy? How much exercise did that puppy have BEFORE the trainer brought her to class? That would make a huge difference ... b/c then she / he can brag ... see how calm my puppy is? Well, of course he's calm, you ran him for two hours, then brought him to class - I'd be wiped too!!! LOL (I'm a bit of a cynic!)

Is your trainer familiar with GSDs? I ask this because I've been to a number of trainers in the past, and now, having my first GSD, I can see how they would have made wrong assessments, judgements on Ky's behaviour.

While all dogs are just that ... dogs ... there is a reason for breed specification - some breeds will do things that other's simply wont' do ... or will do them at 100000% while other dogs do them at 5%.

Most GSDs are aloof, standoffish to strangers. That's not a bad thing, it's part of the breed - you're not in my pack, so I'll just watch you. A lab? LMAO ... now that dog is genetically programmed to come over and lick you everywhere, and show you where all the silver is hidden.

These are generalizations, but each dog is different. I've read a couple of posts from people that have GSDs that LOVE people ... nothing wrong with that.

Kyleigh is aloof and prefers to watch strangers. I had company over on the weekend, family that Ky had never met. She watched them for about 5 minutes, and then I brought her around to "meet them." 1/2 an hour later she's on her back, showing my cousin her tummy begging for a tummy rub!!!!

Just enjoy ... and wait til she's starts teething!!! LMAO ... make sure you have loads of stuffed animals to keep popping in her mouth. They're not called landsharks for nothing!
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyleigh View Post
You wrote: I suppose I am panicking a little, and she is very young, and it did not help when one of the people there was an experienced trainer that had a puppy the same age, that was a lot better behaved.


Of course you're going to panic! It's normal ... I remember what I was like with my first dog ... OMG ... world go away, I need to make sure my dog is PERFECT LOL

The trainer's puppy - same age, a lot better behaved? See, my first question would be ... how tired is that puppy? How much exercise did that puppy have BEFORE the trainer brought her to class? That would make a huge difference ... b/c then she / he can brag ... see how calm my puppy is? Well, of course he's calm, you ran him for two hours, then brought him to class - I'd be wiped too!!! LOL (I'm a bit of a cynic!)

Is your trainer familiar with GSDs? I ask this because I've been to a number of trainers in the past, and now, having my first GSD, I can see how they would have made wrong assessments, judgements on Ky's behaviour.

While all dogs are just that ... dogs ... there is a reason for breed specification - some breeds will do things that other's simply wont' do ... or will do them at 100000% while other dogs do them at 5%.

Most GSDs are aloof, standoffish to strangers. That's not a bad thing, it's part of the breed - you're not in my pack, so I'll just watch you. A lab? LMAO ... now that dog is genetically programmed to come over and lick you everywhere, and show you where all the silver is hidden.

These are generalizations, but each dog is different. I've read a couple of posts from people that have GSDs that LOVE people ... nothing wrong with that.

Kyleigh is aloof and prefers to watch strangers. I had company over on the weekend, family that Ky had never met. She watched them for about 5 minutes, and then I brought her around to "meet them." 1/2 an hour later she's on her back, showing my cousin her tummy begging for a tummy rub!!!!

Just enjoy ... and wait til she's starts teething!!! LMAO ... make sure you have loads of stuffed animals to keep popping in her mouth. They're not called landsharks for nothing!

Thanks again, I will try to relax a little

Here is the website K92000.com and this is the page that gives you details about the instructors Our Instructors | K92000

Notice that Caroline Slater actually competes with German Shepherds, and has extensive and impressive experience. She did say that all of the traits Maya was exhibiting, are exactly what she would want from a working dog, and only said that I need to watch her "Feistiness" so that it does not develop, and make sure I socialise her a lot.

The only thing that bothered me slightly, was that she kept saying things like, "Your dog REALLY needs this" and "These classes will give your dog a purpose". Maybe I am being pessimistic again, but I hope these were true and from the heart rather than sales pitches. Im sure im just being pessimistic, but some people have done worse for a dollar.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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anyone know how to edit?

I forgot to mention the trainers dog was very energetic, he was, like Maya, very interested in everything that was going on, however when the handler wanted the dogs attention, he got it.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Since you sound like you have a great trainer (and I can't judge by what's written ... as we all know, anyone can post anything they want on the internet!) she might very well be awesome at it ... and sees something that your dog would excel at ... hard to say.

Hopefully others will pop in here about your trainer with their feedback!

Good luck
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is very normal especially since your puppy hasn't been out and around other dogs. It is hard to keep a puppies attention 100% of the time even for those of us who have been training dogs forever. Some are very easy. Others not so much.

I would make sure she is hungry for class and you may have to find something different to use for your motivator. I tend to use sharp cheddar cheese, but others use Zukes (they stink) or other stinky things. I also will use toys, but more to interact with my puppy than as a motivator. Also remember that if you want her to pay full attention to you, you must be giving her total focus also. If she is the center of your world, you will become the center of hers. This can be tough for first time handlers because they are trying to listen and learn plus most are nervous in the new training environment (took me years to get comfortable giving lavish praise in public, LOL).
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This can be tough for first time handlers because they are trying to listen and learn plus most are nervous in the new training environment (took me years to get comfortable giving lavish praise in public, LOL).
Oh Yes, this!!!!

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took me years to get comfortable giving lavish praise in public, LOL.
And THIS!!!! I remember the first praising my puppy for peeing outside ... the non-dog neighbours must have thought I was nuts ... now, I could care less what people think about when I am praising my dog!!!
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhczth View Post
This is very normal especially since your puppy hasn't been out and around other dogs. It is hard to keep a puppies attention 100% of the time even for those of us who have been training dogs forever. Some are very easy. Others not so much.

I would make sure she is hungry for class and you may have to find something different to use for your motivator. I tend to use sharp cheddar cheese, but others use Zukes (they stink) or other stinky things. I also will use toys, but more to interact with my puppy than as a motivator. Also remember that if you want her to pay full attention to you, you must be giving her total focus also. If she is the center of your world, you will become the center of hers. This can be tough for first time handlers because they are trying to listen and learn plus most are nervous in the new training environment (took me years to get comfortable giving lavish praise in public, LOL).
exactly what I wanted to hear, thanks.

Coroline (female trainer) also said to make sure that I keep her very VERY hungry for the class. Bother trainers also said to try different foods, problem is, she is very food motivated at home (no distractions) regardless of the treats im using, cheese, tinned, chopped ham, although for Fridays class I am going to bring a variety of treats and see which works the best, including liver.

Im also going to bring a few of her toys to see if that helps. I also find it very difficult to praise/correct her in public, so I will work on this too. Thanks for the advice
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