Bad night at training :-( - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Bad night at training :-(

Hi everyone, I just wanted to share something that happened at obedience class last tuesday night. A little background on Marley: He just turned 1 a few weeks ago and is doing really well....when at home and with us. He's very easily distracted outside and around other dogs. We've been working on getting his attention very quickly when another dog is approaching and taking control of the situation. Sometimes he doesn't react (usually with a small dog, if they bark he doesn't pay attention. With big dogs he lunges and barks and gets very excited.) I take treats out on the walk and that how i try and get his attention and keep his focus on me rather than the other dogs. But it doesn't work all the time.

In our class there is only 4 dogs in total, including Marley. One of the women in the class has crutches on her forearms and goes through the course with those. Well, we had 10 minutes left of the class and the instructor told me to take Marley out to go to the bathroom. I walk back inside and keep marley right next to me right by the door. He was in a sit position and being quiet. The women with the crutches was about 20+ feet infront of me and we were both watching the training floor. About 20 seconds go by and her dog (a smaller breed, a terrier i believe) turns around and sees marley and lunges. the leash slips from the owners hands and as she tries to keep hold she falls down and the dog runs over to marley and i. Barking, barking, barking, growling almost. I grab marley with my hands under his chest and pull him close to me so there is no face contact. the dog never fully lunged to bite marley but he stood his ground 1 foot infront of us barking. the instructor ran over as fast as possible and grabbed the terriers leash and yelled over to me to take marley outside.

I took him outside and i was shaking. Overwhelmed. The second i walked a few feet outside, i broke down and cried. That's how upset i got. Maybe i overreacted but it just shook me up, i guess.

This is marley's 3rd class ever. (i know, i shouldnt have waited so long for training, but better late than never right?) Ive spoken with the woman before and she is very nice and has said to us "even when you have a rough class,just stick with it, it will do wonders for you and your dog" so i believe she is a good-hearted person. I guess im just really shaken up about it. I know things like this can happen. Im nervous for him to end up being even more reactive with dogs after something like this.
What do you guys think?

Jackie

Marley 6/17/10
*He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart*
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 11:48 AM
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Events like this are more common than you think. I have about 3 dogs that like to jump the fence here and bark at us. One is a little terrier and he's just like that.
They are fearless little critters; my dog thinks they are interactive toys. (Not really, but seriously she's so not afraid of them)

You really do just have to brush it off. If you're feeling overwhelmed at training, your dog will pick up on your insecurities. Basically, if you don't make a big deal out of some little dog blowing his yapper at you, Marley won't.

I think the fact that you can sometimes get your boy's attention around big dogs is grounds for a celebration. When you have a 'reactive' dog, you really have to enjoy the little accomplishments.
If you're having trouble getting his attention after he is already in the -zone-, try making weird high pitched noises, dancing, jumping, or blowing kisses; whatever works to get his attention, then ask for something simple like following a treat.
I think a sit is way too complicated at first, not to mention BORING. Marley is trying to say "HEY! Mom look over there omg omg it's a big dog!" While you're behind him trying to get him to sit and be calm. If I had to choose between a sit and another dog, I would choose the dog too!
When he lets himself be lured away, say yes! and give him treats and make it a PARTY! Give him a jackpot and keep stuffing his face for paying attention to you when there's a big dog around.
Eventually, you can ask for more complicated behaviors while there are major distractions, but start small.

Owned by Nini and McKinley.

Last edited by Tbarrios333; 06-27-2011 at 11:56 AM.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Tbarrios! It was definitely disheartening. I felt terrible for the woman who fell. She kept apologizing, and saw the teary eyed look on my face, then i felt bad. I want to try harder to keep my composure, bc like you said, i don't want my insecurities to rub off on marley. It's crazy how overwhelmed i allowed myself to feel. It's like sometimes the instructor will be saying things and all in the information is swirling around in my head and i don't even know what to do with it all!!

Jackie

Marley 6/17/10
*He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart*
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 12:06 PM
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Yep, I've been there. The first training classes are the worst! You feel like you're doing everything wrong and you have someone constantly correcting your technique; it is overwhelming.
The old adage remains - practice makes perfect. Hang in there!

Owned by Nini and McKinley.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 12:06 PM
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My GSD is 2 years old now and she has been to probably 4 or 5 training classes. Uschi is distracted very easily as well and very stubborn. And I can tell you there have been several times when I was at class that she was just terrible....wouldn't listen, wouldn't focus and just want to play. And I have been overwhelmed with all the information as well. What would help me is that I would take Uschi away from the group and work on her focus/attention and then I would give her some playtime. After we would return to the group, she would do much better. I think we have all felt the same way at some point in our training with our dogs, but they have bad days just like we do. I also have learned to have some really yummy treats handy to keep her focus on me and not another dog, person, etc. And really praise him when he does what you are asking. Hang in there.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 12:12 PM
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I think that you were quick thinking and responsible...and that you did a fantastic job by putting yourself between the little terrier and your dog.

What you did was prevent anything from happening that MAY have made your dog more reactive. Your actions were that of a great pack leader and he saw that for sure!
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
quoted byTbarrios333:
They are fearless little critters; my dog thinks they are interactive toys. (Not really, but seriously she's so not afraid of them)
Ha! Ha! I may have to steal "interactive toys" from you...that's great.

Hang in there! MarleyGSD....you are right. Better late than never as far as the training. The more you work on it, the more confident you become and the dog will fall into line.

I agree with Tbarrios333, a sit is pretty boring compared to another dog, especially a terrier lunging at Marley.
Keep on keeping on as they say, and sorry I can't come up with anything more clever at this point in my life.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 12:16 PM
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I don't think you mentioned how Marley reacted to the situation.

Hondo Von Dopplet L Bauernhof "Hondo"- GSD
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys so very much, all the feed back helps get my mind back to the right place. I'm definitely planning on henging in there with the training, i know the outcome will farrrrrr exceed any bumps and bruises on the way.

Lilie: As the terrier was lunging at us and barking, marley barked and just as that happened i scooped him up so he was only on his back legs. He continued to bark while i was holding him but no growling. I think it really startled him and man was he antsy after that (not surprised as so was i!) My boyfriend took marley back in after everything camled down while my teary-eyed sef stayed outside. He said marley did okay when he was back in and there was no more confrontation. Looking back now, i wonder if we should have even let marley back in for the remainder of the class because the situation was so fresh...?? I think moving forward, i should leave for the day (if any situation like that were to happen again.) Thankfully no one was hurt in the end.

Jackie

Marley 6/17/10
*He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart*
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 12:48 PM
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Well it sounds like Marley did alright with all things considered. You should be very proud of him. Sounds like you are doing a very good job.

Hondo Von Dopplet L Bauernhof "Hondo"- GSD
Lilie's Tug McGraw "Tug" - Golden Retriever
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