TL;DR: class was difficult and draining and I felt defeated, but perhaps I shouldn't. The post-class fallout from too many treats and not enough water was a rude surprise but one I can address--I have 5 more days to find a ratio of kibble to treats, and he will be starving b/c class is at night and I won't feed him that day or do a ton of treat-based training (actually, I just use his planned meals' kibble at home; in a distraction free environment, it works great!) I'll also take in a water jug and set my stuff up in our little corner before I get him out of the car next time!
35 degrees and everyone and their mother is outside today.
We had our first training class on Thursday evening. Exhausting and a little depressing. Jett spent the entire time behind solid screens and ate about 30 oz of treats over the course of 45-60 minute session. There were a lot of other dogs in the class, none of whom were reactive. 2 trainers. I got a lot of one-on-one attention and Jett did well after initially being super reactive--until he was full. So the last 10-20 minutes or so were tough. The trainer helped but I still felt defeated. Maybe b/c I was so tired from trying to keep up with his reactivity for so long. He actually did much better exiting the facility and getting to my car (we exited behind solid screens, our own little exit path, so he didn't see any other dogs on the way out). The facility was large, clean, and comfortable and had lots of the solid fencing/screens to move around as needed. The hard part was I could not always hear the instructions (b/c Jett was barking) or was too engaged in giving him treats to pay attention. Thankfully the 2nd trainer could help me catch up. We had already started on a cue word and "leave it," 2 weeks prior, so he knew those. "Settle," I didn't even try, and "down" was minimally successful with the trainer, but we didn't have much time for that one so I'm working on it at home.
The big problem was that he ate 'way too much rich, rich food and had no water. He drank madly when we got home and peed in his crate while I was asleep. I'm going to consider moving his crate to my room. I use an alarm to walk him at night, but 2-3 times now, schedule/weather changes have put us "off" and he's peed and/or pooped in the crate. Anyway, he still (36 hours later) had a lot of diarrhea from all the rich "high value" treats. Better this afternoon.
So, today I took him to PetSmart with my older dog, Radar, who is not people reactive and is dog reactive if up close (we will be working on that!) I set up camp at the very end of the sidewalk, pretty far away, on the edge of another store's parking lot. Clear view of entrance to PetSmart and part of parking lot with a huge pile of snow acting as a screen for some of the space from lot to doors. This actually went pretty well, and I had blended 10 oz of treats with Jett's daily kibble (4 cups). I figured I'd need something in the "high value" treat range, but b/c he was hungry, I didn't need any more than. So it was about 4 cups kibble to 1.5 cups treats. I'm going to play with the ratio to find something effective but not so rich it triggers diarrhea. Radar was awesome--absolutely zero barking. Jett did much better than Thursday night at class!!
One thing (of course). I had picked a spot as far from the entrance as I could. A few people parked at the 2nd business and walked past us--in the parking lot, not on the sidewalk (parking lot was less snowy than this end of the sidewalk, by the way, so easier walking). Jett would bark at them initially but was easily refocused on me and the food. One woman, however, came charging up the sidewalk from behind us. She had every right to do so, of course. Jett started to lose it, so I held him close. He acted like a vicious attack dog and was clearly way over his threshold at her passing. He settled down almost immediately once she was relatively distant (store entrance). I felt bad that I exposed him to this, and am considering how I can place us next time. Normally I would be well away from any sidewalks, but snow was piled up on the median between the two parking lots, where I was taking him before the weather got so bad. I picked what I thought would be the least trafficked area and for the most part, that worked.
Radar, Aussie/BC mix, b. 2/27/2012
Jett, GSD foster pup, b. 7/15/2018