Rocket has gone through several good classes , a puppy class, and two basic obedience/clicker training classes. He will be 7 months old the 15th of Jan. He doesn't pull while walking, unless he gets very close to a dog or something really exciting. He has only worn a flat buckle collar.
Today was the first day of a new training club we're trying. It's been operating for over 50 years, offers AKC obedience, agility, flyball, herding and tracking. We are in the 2nd level obedience with a CGC test at the end. There were about 5-6 trainers there, with under 15 dogs.
Rocket's last class ended the week of Thanksgiving, so while he has been out and about since, he hasn't been in a class setting with 10-14 dogs since November. He is not a dog aggressive pup, but has occasionally barked at close dogs (out of frustration or excitement, I think).
Today when we walked in, he was totally excited, there were about 4 dogs all within 5-6 feet and I had to hold his leash tightly and try to hold him back, because Mr. Social Butterfly wanted to see everyone. A couple of the trainers helped me with him while I was turning in paperwork. But he was pulling. Then, we had about 3-4 minutes in the ring while she was talking, and we had to go around in a heel to see how the dogs were. Rocket wasn't pulling while walking, but he was walking ahead of me, and as we passed some dogs he started pulling to go over there. His focus was everywhere but me. I had cooked chicken breast and string cheese, but he could not have cared less. One of the trainers went and got a slip collar and put it on him, saying he needed it. The next time around, he started to do the same thing and she was walking beside me and instructed me to correct, which I did. After the 3rd time, he didn't pull anymore.
It seemed a bit to me, though, like a little light went out of his eyes. I haven't done any corrections really (save one big body block and push when he jumped up on my slider and I saw it flex, and he went to do it again--) with him because of his age, and I don't feel that he is so solid in his training that he knows what's expected of him and is refusing. I am really trying to build his focus, but in some situations I think he is just overwhelmed and over threshold. He just seemed like he lost a bit of happy, and I'm really trying to build our relationship. I am concerned that the choke corrections will interfere with that. I don't know--opinions?
I asked about a prong, but they said you can't use it for the CGC test, so they want me to buy a slip. I have to admit, I was hoping not to use either. I did read a recent thread here from last month about slips vs prongs, and I don't know what to do. Should I go ahead and get one? SHould I just work extra hard and continue with the slip? FWIW he always settles down and is fine after the first 10-15 min of classes, and I can control him physically still. They did compliment him on his behavior after class, and when we did the stranger hold and walk away, he did not whine or move. Just broke his sit.
I'm totally confused now as to what to do.
As always, I seem to write a book. Thanks for reading, LOL