I went to yet another trainer today just for an eval. I'm not a raving fan of what I read on feedback about his facility.... but that doesn't matter. Some good points were brought up today. I don't know if it's the ticket, but one thing is for sure. Grim is NOT engaging with me much. That was the difference between him and the dogs in class, and the difference between pretty much every other shepherd/handler team I've seen and Grim and I. I was told that I should leave him in his kennel all the time if I'm not working with him. He shouldn't be playing with the pug. I agree, the pug is MUCH more interesting to him than I am. I don't know if I like the idea of leaving him in his kennel all the time except when I'm working with him. Does anyone else do this?
The second point that hit home (and this isn't the first time I heard it) was that the whining and pacing was from not knowing what I want him to do. Also, because he's had 'unfair' corrections... like the prong while walking so he doesn't pull me, and then starting after the barking stuff he started being corrected on the prong to be quiet. I was told NO corrections unless he knows 100% what I DO want him to do, yet he's not doing it. So no more walks until he understands to stay with me. His barking and whining did start about a week or so after I put the prong on him for walks. I don't know if they're related or not. I was told the whining is anxiety from not knowing if he's doing something right or wrong and not knowing what I want him to do.
So basically, starting from square one. Getting him engaged with me and stopping all play with the pug. Any and all play comes from me. Even food and toys don't keep his attention on me at all. I can work him right now for a few minutes before he wanders off. However, he's not "all about me" like I see other dogs being. Part of this was my own fault because I let him and the pug play together when he was little because he was chewing me up so badly and wouldn't go for any distraction that I allowed them to play so he wasn't making me bleed.
I never thought it would hurt anything. He's used to being out of his kennel now a good part of the day, so I feel it would rock his world if he was stuck in there almost 24/7. However, I want him to be interested in ME, not the pug or whatever.
I think I'm going to get those DVD's that Michael Ellis did on Engagement, etc. and start working with him on that at home to see if I can get his attention. Until he's interested in me, he's not going to learn, either. Then the whining should stop because he knows what I want and he's not being punished for things that he doesn't know. Does this sound realistic to anyone? To go to classes with this guy it would cost $500 for 10 classes, with 4-5 being private lessons and the rest group to 'proof' the things learned. He's also 3 hours away, which I think is too far. I do think that until Grim has some foundation already going, group classes aren't going to work. Any thoughts or input on this?