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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, tonight I went to one of our local obedience training clubs. I sat in the back and just observed the trainers, the people, the dogs, the methods et cetra. For the most part it was chaos. At least for someone that had nothing to do but to watch. In one ring there were the Novice and noobs, in a far back corner were the puppy classes beside that were a few girls with massive dobermans working on their stackings. And beside me were all the intermediate class awaiting for their turn on the floor. There were so many dogs and ppl, that the trainers had to yell so that their class could hear them.

Best part, there was a lady evidently from the local paper taking pictures, she was moving in and out of the rings on her own, until in the middle of a class, she tried to step over the gates and got her goot stuck and then SPLAT! Yep, she met the floor, thankfully she wasn't hurt, but the entire building was looking at her!

I spoke with one of the trainers after the class was over. (I found it odd that no one in her class asked her any questions when she gave them the option. Their loss I guess.) Any way, we talked for about 15 minutes, she told me about her experience, what their obedience club was all about and about the other trainers and their credentials. I have to say she was a very, very nice lady.

However I told her that I was thinking about doing a class, which last for about 5 wks. However my issue was, that in the past 2 weeks my 4.5 month old has developed dog agression issues, evidently from a past almost attack from the local pitbull. She stated that it should be an issue, and that I could keep her on a gentle lead, and if need be to bring a muzzle just in case. She also stated they will probably put me over into the puppy class to start out and then once done there go for another 5 wks in the novice, however my 4.5 month is 3 times bigger than everyone of those pups I had seen tonight. I thought, god, if she does have dog agression issues, she would snap them up quick. So, I guess it will be an experience next week. Hopefully everything goes well.

Also, btw, the local dog, or the pitbull she had a run in with a few weeks back for the second time, came up on the deck earlier today. She was up on all fours, hackles raised, ears up and mouth barking! She didn't move from her spot until I walked towards the door to see what was going on. When I opened the door to peak my head out I noticed the dog coming around the corner of the neighbors garage, and Nuhkia tried to dart around my legs out through the back door. As she was going off behind me in the house, the pit had no idea where the dog was or the bark was coming from, and ended up putting it's tail between it's legs and ran back to it's house.

So, I don't know if she is being this way because the dog tried to grab her a few weeks ago, or if she is actually exhibiting fear agression and I'm taking it as dog agression.? She had also lunged at a dog we met on our walk last week, a full grown lab, that seemed very nice and socialized.
 

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First night with dogs at our classes is always an exercise in controlled chaos. We do hold an orientation the week before classes actually start to give handlers a chance to meet us, ask questions about the class, let them know what to expect, etc....but that first night is always a riot. I tell folks to look around them; look at the way the dogs are behaving, remember how they feel this night (confused, awed, etc)...then I ask them to do the same thing on graduation night when they are more relaxed, the dogs are behaving better, etc....this always gets big smiles when they realize how far they've come!
 

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If that pitbull is running loose in your neighborhood, the first thing I'd do is protect my puppy and NEVER let her in the yard without me there to protect her.

Second is she's had one bad meeting with one bad dog.

How many hundreds of GOOD meetings with GOOD dogs has she had to put it into perspective?

Stuff like this


And this


I think going to the classes early to watch and talk to the instructors was a great idea. I think I'd actually arrange to have a private with them and your puppy to get a better evaluation too. Using a muzzle should be the last resort (may add more stress to the situation) and may not be needed.
 

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I think you should find another instructor. My dog is the same age as yours and barks. When I couldn't find a local puppy class I started her in a regular obedience class. Only the one group was there but it was in a retail space with customers coming and going with the class in the middle of the open store (not a petstore). Instructor had no way to deal with my barking puppy who was overstimulated. Wouldn't give me my money back that first night or even apply it to her private sessions. So I have spent the class for the first two sessions walking around the store. My husband stands with the class and absorbs as much as he can.

In frustration after the first class, I posted on this board for a puppy class anywhere around me and got a fantastic lead to a trainer about 35 miles away. Had first class with puppies last night and my puppy barked as usual. But this savvy instructor who owns GSD simply put my puppy behind some movable partitions that I could she over but my puppy could not. We are in a large room with just the class of about 8. Everyone is spread out. Instructor demonstrates, we practice, she walks around and works with each of us. She has an assistant as well who does the same thing. Its wonderful. At the end of the class the others took their dogs to the middle to mingle.

Plus this new instructor is very encouraging about my puppy - says the barking and such will pass and is typical of many GSD. She even said she likes puppies with a little moxy. The other instructor told me I probably had a shy sharp (i.e. was fearful with aggression issues) dog that would never be good around other dogs. Had me very upset. This new instructor is super. Thanks goodness for this forum.
 

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I was curious where this was at? Since I'm in central Indiana as well :)

I hope the class works out well for you! I agree with Maggie about it being one experience, and just make sure your dog has plenty of positive meetings and avoid the bad when you can. I also dislike muzzles and feel they make he situation worse, especially in any fear aggressive type situation (similar to leash aggression.)
 

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...as I stated in a previous post Dobby and I attended our first puppy class last night and found it wonderful and positive.

A great technique she showed us (happened to be three GSDs in this class, what are the chances?) was to kneel and hold our pup infant style (belly up and cradled) supporting our arms with our knee so the pup could not do a flip and fall and get hurt from our arms. She instructed us to hold the pup until it stopped barking and squirming as a calming technique. (not a death grip or too tight) The minute the puppy calmed put them down. Dobby and I had practiced this already because our vet told us to do this so it wasn't necessary after one time.

But the other two GSDs (go figure) needed this at various times. She also said to do it repeatedly until they figured it out. By the end of the 55 minutes of easy interaction and puppy play the other two GSDs and a hyper little mix were much calmer and easier to redirect.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Otto's Mom, while I could still pick Nuhkia up and maybe do that without loosing an eye, she is over 30lbs now and it would be a little umm funny to see I guess. There are times when she is flipping out, but at home it's easy to control the situation, however out in public, she listens to me like she's deaf! In time I guess...

Lin, I am just north of you about 15-20 minutes. I at the southern tip of Anderson, by edgewood. The place was Anderson Obedience Training Club held at the local National Guards Amory. I don't know a lot of people around here, so it's not easy asking for advice and being able to take a persons word for it, not knowing their background in the breed or dogs for that.

If you know of anything around the Indianapolis area that would be great. I travel into the city a few times a week depending. :)
 

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Yea...I wasn't thinking about the size....Unless you are body building....

My 3 yr. old male GSD is leash aggressive toward other dogs and we are currently going to private lessons to try and cure his behavior. His is strictly fear because if off lead or even when strange dogs visit he is totally fine with them.

We have decided it is mainly anxiety and are working on that first. I hope you get this worked out because I hate it that it is so difficult to walk Otto. We do everything together when I am not at work, hikes, car rides, we even take him to the beach, but he becomes a screaming, lunging idiot when he is on lead and sees another dog. It scares by-standers and ruins the experience everytime.

Keep us posted on what they do at your obedience class to help.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well tonight we had our first experience in obedience, within a class room setting. At first I thought there were going to be issues. She wasn't up for any dogs approaching her, seemed to be more ok with the ppl.

We stepped into the ring and begun the class, to my amazement, she wasn't as crazy as I had expected her to be. She basically acted like any other normal 4.5 month old pup would. However I believe with my training at home she seemed to do a little better than some, however a few of those others were high energy breeds, so that's to be expected as pups I guess. lol

We worked on our sits and downs. That was ok, we worked on our sit stays and down stays, those were ok. We worked on our recalls, not to shabby for a first go within class room settings, and we started to work on our finishes. Now it's up to me to keep this up through out the week without boring her!

After class had started she could careless about the other dogs around her. She would use her nose here and there while in a sit or down position, however for the most part she was more intrigued with watching the older advanced dogs doing agility in the next ring. I do believe one of my main targets will be teaching her to make eye contact alot more and to watch and listen for my cmds.

I would have to say today was a good day. Oh and I met a new lady tonight who is crazy over GSD's and has 2 of her own. A big white male adult, and a 4.5-5 month old female I believe she was. Definately a good experience.
 
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