Obedience Class - Story & Advice - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Obedience Class - Story & Advice

So Bane just has his first obedience class (we skipped to advance since he already knew all the commands for basic) He is learning place command with a few other dogs as distractions.

Background story on Bane (Almost 7months) is that he really wants to play with literally EVERY dog/puppy/animal/moving thing he sees. And we never let him meet up with dogs on leash (except the first week or two before I read more into training). When we walk him we bring snacks and toys to distract him when he sees another dog (if we forget we just run in the opposite direction). He knows "inside" for his crate and we can tell him that from any part of the apartment and he will go in and stay until we tell him to come out. (Sometimes he will sneak a paw out or two)

So during the first class he broke his collar (TWICE) trying to initiate play with other dogs. (We had on his flat collar instead of prong for the first class because he was doing so well) He does do the place command when we lead him to his little cot. And he does hold his down/sit for (most of the duration) However he is mostly looking around at other dogs while performing these actions and barking trying to get them to pay attention to him.

He definitely wasn't the worse dog (proud of him!) but he was the worse barker. And loose leash walking was an absolutely nope with all the dogs around him (we cheated and used "focus" to get him to walk at the right pace) I was wondering if anyone had advice on how to keep his attention on us during the classes and not the dogs or is this something that will come with more classes and time. And also if this is normal for his first class or is this too much to ask of him since he is still a puppy.

R.I.P. cute etsy collar.

Edit: Here is a picture

Last edited by le.tetrish; 11-15-2016 at 11:26 AM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 12:01 PM
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Sounds like it's just a puppy thing.Not much impulse control for more than a few minutes and the movement of the other dogs is just too much for him.Especially for an hour long class!If it was me I would take him outside before he gets wound up and frustrated.Let him chill then go back for however long he can handle.
It's just like teaching anything else in that you set him up for success.For instance,if you were teaching "stay" you wouldn't expect duration and distance immediately.Baby steps.Careful with rewards and treats!Try to be aware and not reward when he's overexcited.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 12:21 PM
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Last night was Enya's first time in a large class of dogs. Now she was the fastest to sit and down on command, did it pretty much instantly when told, and didn't have to go into a sit before being told to down, her down is to throw out her front legs and drop. So that was awesome, so proud of her! However, walking next to me with all those dogs around? Walking in front of and behind her? New smells all over the grass? What she knew went straight out of her head. She's four months old and pulled like she had no idea what 'with me' meant. She's on a flat collar and, for me, she'll stay on one. Part of our class is walking through cones, with spots for sit, down, etc., so there was 'down' time while we watched others. As we're all about five to ten feet from each other, she practiced downing in place. She did pretty well. Of course there were no sticks so at one point she decided to get up and try to dig up the root of a tree she was lying on. We moved to a new spot.

It's pretty normal for the first few classes for a puppy new to it all to pull and forget all they know. It's exciting and so many new sights and smells. It's kind of like expecting a four year old child to be perfect and remember all the rules when he walks into a toy store with animation all around him; he wants to immediately see all of them.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! That's definitely reassuring and they do get a break in the middle of the class (thankfully). I'm hoping the class will help him with wanting to play with every single dog. And will definitely focus on rewarding the right behavior next time around. (Thinking back we may have rewarded a few times when we shouldn't have)

He will have to use the prong now since that's the only collar we have now that the flat one is broken. He snapped the metal! Once was the metal ring and the second time we attached it to the belt clip area and he broke that too. To be fair it didn't seem that strong so we will be investing in a much stronger one next time.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 12:47 PM
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Some dogs need a prong and some don't. All dogs are different. Just make sure you use it correctly. He's a very handsome boy!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 01:40 PM
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Since he wasn't in classes earlier to get used to working while around a bunch of dogs, it might take a bit for him to become accustomed. If it gets to be too much, pull him to the side and work on him focusing back on you, using the class as a handy prop (move back far enough that he's able go refocus back to you). He'll get there.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 01:50 PM
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Yes it is sort of a puppy thing, but not entirely. The more you work on focus and engagement in different environments, the easier it will get. I just finished a CGC class with my 7 month old puppy and she spent most of the class easily focused on me. I signed up for the class to get her working around dogs in a controlled setting since she was finding dogs very distracting, and I also rarely allow her to meet or play with other dogs. Of course the last week of class she was more focused than the first week, but even the first week wasn't too bad. Since I brought her home I've made focus and engagement the priority with her and we practice in many different environments.

You can do it! The class will help. Don't feel like it's cheating to use a focus cue, if it helps your dog be successful then that is a good thing. I'd still work on offered focus and engagement as well and it will get easier over time.
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