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Discussion Starter #1
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
 

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Some dogs need these training collars and some don't. My boy definately needed it at right about the age yours is at. I went with a prong first and now we are moving down to a slip. My dog was completely oblivious to corrections on a martingale or any type of flat collar. He still is the social butterfly and will at times ignore a correction with the slip. Its really about the dog, you might be spinning your wheels if you don't get one of these tools. They tend to stop listening at this point and without someway to control them you won't have any success in training.
 

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Does he know how to down? I would have put him in a down when he was trying to get at the other dogs and while you were doing your paperwork.

If they will let you use a prong, I would use that over a slip.
If you are going for your CGC in this class, then try to fade the prong after a few sessions. Once you have corrected your pup for the unwanted behavior, the lightbulb should click on. Can you use food or a ball reward in class?
I would wear him out a bit before class, so he's more settled or at least get there a bit early,walk him around the parking lot while you play(tug is a great way to begin a training session) with him/other dogs going into the building would be a great distraction to work through, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you both.

He does know how to down, but I'm not sure he would've held it or even focused long enough to hear me. I always make him sit and wait before entering/exiting a door, and I literally opened it and they were right in front of us. . The entry table is right up against the wall there.

I would rather a prong as well. He is longer haired so I am not sure how the slip will feel through and with his hair.

Next week I'm getting there way early.

What about a Martingale, I wonder?
 

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My 6 month old long coat female also gets very excited by other dogs. She wants to PLAY! After a little time she will settle down, but walking into an area with new "friends".....well, she won't listen (no treat or toy will pull her attention away), just pulls towards the other dogs. On walks it has been a problem too when we meet other dogs.

In our puppy class the trainer rec a "gentle leader". Though it did help with pulling, it rubbed her hair on her nose, so I only used it a few times. A new trainer who is coming to our house gave me a martingale to use. As our first session was in a monsoon, I tried it out without him later in the week.....it did nothing. On our next session he tried it and agreed it wasn't enough. So right now, when I know we will be seeing other dogs I am using a "Holt" (used to be called "halti" sp?). Though it does go over nose, it is padded and has extra straps to spread out the pressure. She hates it, but it helps. Trainer said to use it for now and he predicts will be able to go back to flat collar later.
 

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I know the feeling of watching the light go out of her eyes. :(

I would work on building his focus. The problem isn't that he understands what is expected and is just blowing you off. The problem is he doesn't know he is supposed to be focusing on you and doing what you ask him too.

Have you tried doing LAT? Then once he's calm and not pulling, letting him meet the other dog? Calm = Greet. Pulling = Sit/LAT

I would talk to the trainer and ask them what other methods they teach. You are obviously uncomfortable with that and that says alot about what you want.
 

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My 6 month old long coat female also gets very excited by other dogs. She wants to PLAY! After a little time she will settle down, but walking into an area with new "friends".....well, she won't listen (no treat or toy will pull her attention away), just pulls towards the other dogs. On walks it has been a problem too when we meet other dogs.

In our puppy class the trainer rec a "gentle leader". Though it did help with pulling, it rubbed her hair on her nose, so I only used it a few times. A new trainer who is coming to our house gave me a martingale to use. As our first session was in a monsoon, I tried it out without him later in the week.....it did nothing. On our next session he tried it and agreed it wasn't enough. So right now, when I know we will be seeing other dogs I am using a "Holt" (used to be called "halti" sp?). Though it does go over nose, it is padded and has extra straps to spread out the pressure. She hates it, but it helps. Trainer said to use it for now and he predicts will be able to go back to flat collar later.
Are you using these type of collars just to get your dog to not pull? How about when you use a regular collar - will he have learned not to pull or is it just the collar that stops the pulling?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Well, that's the thing. I am working on LAT, but I'm having a bit of trouble in the sense that in a situation like today, where we're 6ft apart he is over his threshold. Not always...like later in the class he did not. However, he was wearing the slip collar, and I don't know if that's why. He was always good in his prior classes, but that was a couple of months ago almost and we all know there's a big difference between 4.5 months and 6.5 months.

They use positive reinforcement, said I could use my clicker in class as long as no one else complained it was distracting. I think they just thought I needed more control in the beginning--the door to the building is a single door. You are in very tight quarters when coming in and out.

I was thinking if I got one at all, I could get a prong. I know I couldn't use it on the test, but I don't care. The point of the test is whether the dog can pass it or not. I want him to be able to pass it off-leash. (I know they don't do it, but that's what I eventually want out of him) I still am kind of worried because I agree---I KNOW he's not doing it because he's blowing me off, it's because he's not that solid yet.
 

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I think I would have pulled him back away from the dogs and let him look a little until he calmed down. I am NOT anti-correction. There is a time and place for one. I'm just not convinced he knew what was being asked of him?? I think I would work on teaching him focus and impulse control.

I'm a little biased in this situation because I trained Jax with compulsion out of ignorance and have really had to work on getting her trust back and building a working relationship.
 

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He is still 6 months, you are expecting waaay too much out of him! Give him time to be a puppy and enjoy it. Don't worry if he isn't solid, there is plenty of time to get there. I would train him with another dog(maybe someone in class will meet up with you a time or two for a bit of training) try to proof a behavior or two, don't expect too much or push at this age. Work on engagement and focus with positions at home and that foundation should carry over in public as he matures.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Lol. I don't think I'm being clear ;)

I agree wholeheartedly, but they said I needed one for the class. There isn't an option to back him away and let him look if there's dogs right in the door--- you'd just have to stay outside and shut the door. It's a big metal building, no windows.

I sincerely appreciate your help --- maybe I'll just try to get there early so we don't have that issue, work with a dog I can find, and try it again. They didn't say I couldn't come without one, but they inferred it. Guess I'll find out.
 

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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.

You shouldn't need either for the test. Even if you did have a slip collar on him during the test, you can't give a leash-jerk correction.

I'd use a prong to get the control you need in class while working on the engagement and focus. You then gradually wean him off the training collar to a flat collar.
 
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