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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our first class starts Tuesday (tomorrow) evening
and I have a question before we start.

Normally I feed Abby her evening meal around
5:30 -6:00 PM. This puts her last bowel movement
about 60 minutes later during our evening
walk. Im sure you see where I going here...

Would it be OK to skip that last feeding or do it
afterward so we dont have an "Oh Oh" during class?

Would going to class a little hungry (as if she isnt
always hungry) be good or bad? Just weighing
some options here...

Advance intel has us up against mainly Labs and
a scatter brain Golden Retriever named Izzy. We should
have a good showing. Shouldnt be much of a problem
showing up a bunch of goofy Labs.
 

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Don't feed her before class, wait until you get home. That way you won't have the poop distraction for both of you and she'll be very responsive to those treats if she's hungry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Don't feed her before class, wait until you get home. That way you won't have the poop distraction for both of you and she'll be very responsive to those treats if she's hungry.
Good...thats what I was thinking. Im getting nervous
already...she's napping.

Full report afterward...
 

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She'll be fine! The first night is pretty much mayhem for everybody. I'm sure you'll be surprised at how much she already knows and they best part is there's always a dog worse than yours. Abby sounds so much like Uschi and she wasn't nearly the worst. You might go about 20 mins early and let her sniff around, play with some other dogs and settle down a bit first. The place we go is completely fenced and there's also a smaller puppy pen that we let them run around in, it'll be good for her. And she'll sleep like crazy when she gets home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well we had our first class tonight. Quite a few dogs. About a dozen
I guess. It was sheer chaos.

We arrived early and walked around a little first to work off some excess
energy. She showed a lot of interest in the other dogs as they arrived
but was well behaved until a male GSD her age showed up. She
completely lost her mind. They barked at each other for ten minutes
straight. Fortunately they both got most of it out of their systems
before the class started.

The first class was pretty basic. Heel, sit and down. Abby already
knows that. Need work on heel. Abby did well during the class except
for trying to nip the male GSD in the butt as they were walking ahead
of us.

Abby got a little testy toward the end of the class. Just getting
tired I think. It was a long day. She is comatose right now.

One dog had an embarassing "Oh Oh" during the class but it wasnt
Abby. Some barky little Yorkie. It barked almost the entire class.

Most of the class was small dogs. Yorkies and a couple Westies,
a MinPin and a couple others I didnt recognize. The larger dogs
were a chocolate and a yellow lab and the male GSD. There
was also a Brittany Spaniel and Boxer. I dont think we will have
much competition for best in class. Maybe the other GSD or
the Choc lab. The yellow lab kept falling asleep. All the others
were pretty much out of control.

Im pretty proud of Abby. She did really well and didnt bark
nearly as much during class as the little noise makers. We
got some things to practice tomorrow. But I think we will
both sleep late tomorrow...
 

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See, all that worry for nothing! I knew she would do well, you've spent so much time with her. It's funny how the same breeds know and are attracted to each other. There's a 5 mo old black gsd at the training club we go to, he and Stosh are in different classes but they always play together first. Is it a 6 wk class? You'll be amazed at how much she improves over the next few weeks. She'll probably have her CGC in no time!
 

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See, all that worry for nothing! I knew she would do well, you've spent so much time with her. It's funny how the same breeds know and are attracted to each other. There's a 5 mo old black gsd at the training club we go to, he and Stosh are in different classes but they always play together first. Is it a 6 wk class? You'll be amazed at how much she improves over the next few weeks. She'll probably have her CGC in no time!
Well done! You'll be amazed how much calmer class is even in 2 weeks. Those that care enough to stay, practice and learn, will really start progressing.

Hopefully you continue with more than one set of classes. It's AMAZING how great the mental and physical stimulation and exercise help our pups in their lives. Their active brains need the learning and it's easier to keep it up when you know class is coming up!

Even if you move onto another venue like rally/herding/tracking or the-best-dog-sport-in-the-world AGILITY............. it's the learning and teamwork you are building with your dog that can be just so amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
See, all that worry for nothing! I knew she would do well, you've spent so much time with her. It's funny how the same breeds know and are attracted to each other. There's a 5 mo old black gsd at the training club we go to, he and Stosh are in different classes but they always play together first. Is it a 6 wk class? You'll be amazed at how much she improves over the next few weeks. She'll probably have her CGC in no time!

Yes its a six week class. The trainer also has a six week
advanced class that graduates from the beginner class
can take. Im thinking we should probably do that.

The young lady with the male GSD is going to come
a little earlier next session so our dogs can get a little
more familiar. I think they will become friends.

I would say that attrition is going to whittle the class
size down a little as we go along. I know one guy with
a Yorkie wont be back. His dog was terrible. Barked
and snarled the whole time and actually bit him when
he was trying to get it to "down".

Abby did pretty good considering the chaotic atmosphere.
Had some trouble with pulling when trying to heel and not
staying down when asked. She would down every time but
would bounce right back up. Gives us some things to work
on before next class.

I think the whole thing exhausted her. She slept
in the car on the way home and after having a small
meal at home she crashed out. I had to wake her up
to go to bed...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have a question for the group...Abby and I have been
doing a little bit of practice. We are good on most things
but walking at heel still has problems.

Main problem is pulling. She's getting bigger and
stronger every day and pulling harder. I've tried the
usual remedies.

I first tried just stopping. Let her pull and pull while I
hold my ground. She will stop pulling after a few seconds
and sit. When I start moving again she goes instantly
back to the end of the leash and pulls again. We've
repeated this scenario hundreds of times. Instead of
learning to not pull she has learned to wait for me
to catch up. Not too useful...

Next thing I tried was abruptly reversing direction
the moment she pulls. This works better and after
a dozen or so reversals she gets the idea and stops it.
But not for long. She really only stops doing it when
she gets a little tired.

Im sure we can work on this at our next class with the
trainer but I would kind of like to make some progress
on it before then. Yes...I know a prong collar would
probably help and ultimately that might be what we
need to do but I would like to explore other options first.
 

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I tried everything too, then went to a prong collar with instant results. I tried luring with a treat right at my side, turning in another direction, etc., but the prong collar worked the best for getting enough control so Uschi could even focus. I didn't use it forever, just until she learned what the heel position is- she thought it was 3 ft in front in the direction of any other dog she saw. I used it with Stosh too, both pups are really good heelers now, even off leash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I tried everything too, then went to a prong collar with instant results.

Well I figured this would be the response I get. And
at some point that is probably what we will do. But
for now I want to keep trying and use the prong collar
as a last resort.

We went on a 2nd short practice session this afternoon
and it was much better than this morning.

Two differences:

First...I kept it short. 10 minutes. She did very well.
This morning she started off fine but got worse and
worse as we went. After about 20 minutes I gave up.

Second...new treats. Yesterday I got a bag of
Snausages. Those soft smelly things. She loves
these things. She was actually watching me as we
walked for a change. This girl thinks with her stomach.

So for tomorrow Im going to try to get in 3 or 4 very
short sessions and take a long a pocketful of Snausages.
 

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Short fun sessions usually work better than the longer ones so 10 minutes might be her limit at least for now.

When do you give her and where are you holding the treat? I held mine in my right hand and put that hand just above my waist. Dogs didn't pull ahead because they couldn't see the treat. :) (eventually you phase the treat out)
 

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I didn't use the prong for long, just to get their attention. I use cheese sticks a lot for treats because you can hold it in your hand, let out a little of it for her to nibble and she won't gulp and walk away, it'll keep her attention- and mouth- in one spot longer
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
When do you give her and where are you holding the treat? I held mine in my right hand and put that hand just above my waist. Dogs didn't pull ahead because they couldn't see the treat. :) (eventually you phase the treat out)
The treats are normally in my shirt pocket and I give
on successful completion of something. Along with
a "Good Girl".

The trainer wanted us to work on automatic sit.
When walking at heel when I stop Abby should sit.
Not automatic yet so I have to ask for it. If she walks
for a bit half way decent and then sits when I ask then
"Good Girl" and a treat.

Holding the treat right in my hand at my waist sounds
like something to try. She is definitely treat motivated.

Stosh...cheese sticks wont work...I would eat them first.
 

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Some trainers recommend that you hold the treat in your mouth and then spit it out to the dog when appropriate. that way they remember to look at your face.
This is how we taught "watch me" but it really is weird the first few times you do it.
Don't use something you won't mind accidentally swallowing if you start to laugh or inhale by mistake. :)
 
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