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Discussion Starter #1
We had our 2nd training class last night. It went
reasonably well although we did have some problems.

Before the class she played some with the male GSD
she was barking at so much last week. They were
mixing it up pretty good. The male kept trying
to jump on her and do the dominance thing. Abby
was pretty much...No way Mister...put him in his
place several times.

The class was smaller. Lost 3 from last week.

We did good on the things we had been practicing.
Walking at heel...sit...down.

Where we messed up was a new thing the trainer had us
doing. Everyone has their dog in a sit and we take turns
walking our dogs around the other sitting dogs like
a slalom course. Too much distraction for Abby. She
kept spinning around and going for the other dogs.
I pretty much lost control of her.

The trainer saw we were having trouble and came over
to talk to us. She suggested the training collar (choker)
I was using was too big. It was the one I had for my old
dog. She put a smaller one on Abby and gave me some
instruction and we tried again. Went better but still a
little ugly.

After the class I returned the collar. The trainer said it
was an 18 incher and I probably needed a 20 for Abby.

My question is how are these things measured. Is the 20
inches the length of the chain alone or does it include
the rings. The one I have is probably a 24. I should just
probably take Abby to the pet store and try em on
there...

Overall the class was fun and we were both tired by
the time we got home. We both slept late this morning.
 

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I know this isn't exactly what you asked, but if she's having trouble weaving through all the other dogs, it may be too advanced a step for her. I don't know how old she is, but this is only her second class. I'd rather try it with the dogs spaced out further so she's not so close to them, or try walking her in a big circle around another dog first, or just walking her parallel to the row of dogs at a distance that she can still focus reasonably well on you. Once she's mastered walking nicely on a loose leash under less difficult and distracting situations, THEN you can progress to more advanced and challenging situations. At least, that's how I would train - there's no point in trying something that's so hard for her that she has no chance to succeed. JMO.

Don't be afraid to speak up and discuss it with the trainer and suggest reasonable alternatives to the exercises she's having the class do. If Abby is out of control and lunging towards other dogs, she's being more of a distraction to them too, so it's in everyone's best interest to make special accomodations when necessary until all the dogs are up to speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Actually we already did some of the things you mentioned. Right
before the doggie slalom we did the walking along in front of the
other dogs. Most of the class did OK with that.

I think better than half of the class had problems with the doggie
slalom course. It was the last exercise we did for the evening.

The upside is I got some info from the trainer about what I was
doing wrong and that the training collar I was using was too big
for Abby.

BTW Abby is a lttle over 5 months...
 

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I was going to say, that's asking a bit much for her 2nd class. I think we just had sit/stays next to other dogs and the trainer had an advanced, non reactive dog weave in and out before we tried doing it with our dogs later, probably 4th class I think. But hey, good job so far!
 

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Hey, that's what classes are for! You do well on last weeks stuff (if you practiced) and have problems with the new stuff (if it's challenging!).

I'd just make sure I remember as much stuff from class as I can, practice a teeny bit at home, but mostly practice IN PUBLIC! Only as challenging as your pup can still succeed though. I use the Main Street shopping area where I live. But also out in front of Home Depot/Loews is good. The local park if it has busier areas....

I'm not really a fan of regular choke collars. Prong Collar Info

How to fit a Prong Collar

I use the smallest links I can and still have it be strong enough to work on my dog, so the size down from what the Doberman is wearing. Much easier to size properly with smaller links.

Will your instructor allow you all to use the prong?
 

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I also don't like the choke collar and prefer a light prong collar- so does my vet who's a chiropractor and says there's less chance of strain and injury with a prong. So glad you and Abby are jumping in with both feet- I guess that's all 6 feet! But she hasn't done anything half way yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Will your instructor allow you all to use the prong?
Yes...although she prefers we use a traditional choke
collar. Ive never used a prong before and dont really
want to change midstream unless we have to. Abby
still pulls like she thinks she's a sled dog and Im the sled
at times. But she IS getting better each time out.

The weaving exercise was at the end of the session
and was a preview of what we will be working on next
week. This weeks focus was on sit stay and down stay
and doing turns while at heel.

Abby did the turns great since we had already been
doing that at home. The stays she has a problem with.
She seems to have springs in her butt. As soon as she
sits she springs right back up...

I think we would do better with a class full of big dogs.
Its the little bouncing yapping yipping fuzzballs that
get to her. They irritate the heck out of me as well...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So glad you and Abby are jumping in with both feet- I guess that's all 6 feet! But she hasn't done anything half way yet.
No sense in doing anything half way. I already told
the trainer we would sign up for the advanced class
if she runs one. She only does the advanced class
if enough graduates from the beginner class sign up.
I cant see many from our class signing up though.
There are a few I dont expect to finish the beginner
class. We already lost two in one week.

Im really very happy how she has come along. I dont
expect a whole lot since she is still really a puppy.
But considering where we were just a couple of months
ago she is doing great.

Also...I believe we have already achieved the major goal of this... bonding...
 

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That's great! Guess you'll have to look for a different school or trainer- see if there's an obedience training club in your area or even a gsd club. There are some hunting clubs around here and while they primarily teach labs and hunting dogs, they do have some basic training classes- there wouldn't be any bouncing balls of fluff in those classes!
 

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Abby did the turns great since we had already been
doing that at home. The stays she has a problem with.
She seems to have springs in her butt. As soon as she
sits she springs right back up...
There's a technique for teaching stay that I learned years ago and have used for three dogs. It works VERY well, and by the age that your Abby is, Halo had a nearly rock solid stay under most circumstances - at home, out on training walks, and in a busy class full of puppies. I posted about it here: http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...basic/127273-training-issues.html#post1723463

I agree about the little dogs, I think it's more of a challenge because they tend to trigger prey drive. If you start practicing this at home now and spend some time on it every day she'll have a big head start for next weeks class.
 

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That's exactly how we were taught to do it too, keeping your body right in front of hers and having her look up will naturally keep her bottom on the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
There's a technique for teaching stay that I learned years ago and have used for three dogs. It works VERY well, and by the age that your Abby is, Halo had a nearly rock solid stay under most circumstances - at home, out on training walks, and in a busy class full of puppies. I posted about it here: http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...basic/127273-training-issues.html#post1723463
Thanks for the link. I read the entire thread. I think
it will be helpful.

Abby and I had a pretty big day yesterday. At the
suggestion of our trainer I went to get her a smaller
training collar. But I wasnt really quite sure what
size I needed. And google searches just confused
the matter all the more.

So I took Abby with me and took her in the store
to try a few collars on. This was her first time in public.
It was a local farm store. I got a dirty look from a couple
store personnel when we walked in and one of them
started to say something but I interrupted and told
him "Im shopping for her", pointing to Abby. They didnt
say a thing.

Abby was perfectly behaved except for the fuzzy rabbit
she grabbed off the shelf as we walked by the toys.
I bought it for her. Also got a collar that fits perfect.
Got one with smaller links than the old one I had.
One of the Internet references I read suggested that
smaller links slide easier and are more effective than
the ones with large links. We shall see.

We did two practice sessions later in the day and
Abby was almost perfect. During the 2nd session we
walked about 1/2 mile at heel with no pulling.

Funny thing is I think she is beginning to like our
practice sessions. When I put the choker on her and
get everything set I have her in a sit. I can tell she
is anticipating that first heel command. When I give
that first "Heel" she bounces up and down the first
few steps before she settles into stride. This is something
new she just started doing. Maybe its because she knows
a tasty treat is coming.

We have some really nice weather in store for this
coming weekend so we are going to try and get lots
of practice in...
 

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That's great! I bet you thought this day would never come- she was just messing with your mind. When I start our training sessions, I act like it's party time and say 'let's get to work' and clap my hands and get excited, and that's how I end it too. Has the trainer talked about a 'jackpot' reward? I'd break up the treats into smaller bits and when she does something especially well, you give her one treat after another so she knows it was a big deal. It's a small amount of treats but she gets lots of them. If things aren't going well, I'd cut it short and give her a command she knows just so it always ends up positively. What a good girl Abby's turning into. Any recent photos? Her face always cracks me up
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's great! I bet you thought this day would never come- she was just messing with your mind.
You got that right. After having her just a couple weeks
I was convinced I had made a mistake and even
considered returning her to the breeder. Im glad I didnt do that now.
It took a while for us to bond but its getting better each day. She is
still stubborn and moody but nothing like before.


Has the trainer talked about a 'jackpot' reward? I'd break up the treats into smaller bits and when she does something especially well, you give her one treat after another so she knows it was a big deal. It's a small amount of treats but she gets lots of them.
No. But sounds like a good idea. If there is one thing Abby likes its treats.

What a good girl Abby's turning into. Any recent photos? Her face always cracks me up
Last picture I took was a little over a week ago.
I should carry my camera more often. I will see if I can get some good
shots this afternoon.
 

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You certainly aren't the first to be overwhelmed by a gsd pup, even those of us who are experienced can have those 'what the heck was I thinking' days.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What a good girl Abby's turning into. Any recent photos? Her face always cracks me up
Here is a photo I took this afternoon. We had just finished a short
practice session and did some tennis ball chasing to work off some
excess puppy energy.

 

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Oh, what a difference! I hardly recognize her!! She looks so much more mature and composed, no more wild eyed, tazmanian devil look. She's such a pretty girl, you must be so proud of her. Those ears still make me smile
 

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Discussion Starter #18
She has done a LOT of growing the past 3 or 4 weeks. I dont
notice it so much since I see her every day. My aunt came to visit
yesterday and she hadnt seen Abby in over 3 weeks. Her first
word was "Wow!".

Not only does she look more mature she is beginning to act it as well.
Dont worry though...she still has those Tasmanian Devil moments.
She had a serious case of the zoomies in the house this morning.
Not sure what set it off. Every time she hit the hallway she slid on
the hardwood floor and crashed into the wall...

Our third training class is tomorrow. We should do well. We've been
getting some good practice in...
 

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Just look at the difference between that picture and the avatar picture. She's looking so grown up! I know she's put you through a lot but I also know that you'll be so glad you didn't give her back- we've all had those dark, exhausted, bruised hours
 
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