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Prayers for Grimm & I

3247 Views 49 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  DancingCavy
This is my worst nightmare/dream-come-true. I am to take Grimm to see/be seen/ participate in(?) a GROUP CLASS on Saturday at 3pm!
We don't know the teacher, either! DH forgot to tell her my German is limited, too!

I am frantic. (Grimm has had reactive on-lead doggy issues) The training went great at send-away to correct doggy reactivity onlead, but since then, we have been bombarded by off-leash aggressive dogs who race up to Grimm frontal assault or from behind. While he now will walk by other dogs with a stern "Leave it" "Heel" command, he is tense-- hackles up, glancing behind us to see if the other dog is coming. Very soon after passing the other dog, he is relaxed, hackles down again. There is no lunging, barking. BUT... I keep him moving, because he still wants to try his old habit of locking on visually.. I cannot permit that, as it can lead to explosion. I correct it when he starts the visual too-long-a-look thing. Usually, we can walk right by-- even though he tries to peek behind him and his hair is raised.

BUT.. this will be a CLASS setting. In a strage location. Everyone will have dogs, Grimm will need to down, sit, etc, and NOT glare or start the too-long a look thing. I feel I can correct him, but... this is scary as heck.

Another issue: Last winter we were at this same place. A woman allowed her intact 3 year old Giant Schnauzer male to lunge/bark at Grimm, who of course responded-- yanking the woman off her feet. I hope he does not remember this-- and instead remembers that I am in charge, moreso than then.

That is what this is about. Please pray that I can be the strong leader Grimm needs. I have used a throw-chain at Grimm's heavily furred neck (not often enough lately-- hence the visual locking-on attempts?) to startle him out of the behavior, as my hands are super-weak. It would not be allowed at this class.
Anyway, please pray that I can radiate enough strong leadership that Grimm relaxes... in a GROUP setting on Saturday!
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My Cyrus is Leash reactive as well. Barking lunging and very fearsome (under control now, thank goodness)

But in a Class setting he was Stellar!! Totally ignores other dogs..

The trainer was shocked to learn that he had issues. I hope this is the case for you and Grimm.

But remember to stay Calm, If it does not turn out well, you can always leave and try again.

No pressure, just enjoy yourself. Go in to this with the attitude that you will succeed and have a great time.

You and Grimm are GREAT. Believe in Grimm and yourself.
Queen of the walk is also Queen of the Group Class! You can do it Patti. Just go in with the same mentality that you use on your walks. You will take care of Grimm. If someone else is not controling their dog you need to be assertive to show Grimm that YOU will handle the situation. Should another dog bother Grimm like the GS did let the teacher know- trust me, teachers do not see everything.
Patti you and Grimm make a great team. You can do this. Have faith in your furbaby, he will make you proud.
I really appreciate the encouragement, ThreeDogs (Hi Stella!), Amaruq and Danielle. I wish I felt better about this. This is exactly what Grimm and I need-- a class, a trainer, a group. They may not be thrilled with my choke.chain method, I believe they are more positive-only.... I will have to see when I get there. I will do the best I can. I am really anxious that he will get out of control and harm me (drag me). He IS voice responsive.. I gotta remember to use my "Thundering PFUUUIII." Gotta be positive, firm, decisive, a real leader to Grimm, show him that he HAS a boss who can and will take care of anything.

Crap. We walked by 3 dogs today, Grimm walked right by-- tense, hair up, wanted to look too long-- but he did it with my commands. Then, tonight, a fireball of a feisty longcoat Dachshund exploded at Grimm, who exploded back-- until I PFUUIIII'd, and he dropped himself to the pavement, all embarrassed.. but still wanting to peek at the other dog. We heeled away nicely after that, even though he hoped to peek behind us, still, and I had to correct. SIGH. A group class.. what am I thinking?? I had better remember that I am Queen come Saturday!
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No matter what method you use to train your dog there will always be someone out there who knows better
or will disagree. you have to use what works for your dog.

If they don't like it to bad. You and Grimm are a great team.

As for the "what was I thinking" You were thinking that a class is going to be so much FUN!!! I love classes!!!!

I can't wait to hear how it goes.
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Thanks, ThreeDogs! I wanna have the kind of success you and sweetie Cyrus have had! I need a shot of courage to go to this class, though.. sure hope Grimm doesn't drag me like he used to. I can't drink alcolohol to calm nerves, but I have an orange popsicle I am saving for after the class. Please God, let it be a VICTORY popsicle!!
BE CONFIDENT. I agree with Ruq, Queen of the Walk is Queen of the Class. Plus, classes are fun! I love being able to work Ris around other dogs and it really helps her see that other dogs aren't that big of a deal. I think it will help Grimm a lot to realize that he needs to work even though other dogs are around and he'd rather play.
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Re: Prayers for Grimm & I

Paging HRH Patti, Queen of the Walk your royal personage is requested to attend a royal gala on Saturday. Please bring along your obedient servant the gorgeous sabled wonder dog, Grimm.

Remember what has got you this far.....ATTITUDE and CONFIDENCE. Turn both of these and queenliness on the other group participants. If another dog tries to bound up to you and Grimm, give them the same how dare you look and attitude. I agree with continuing to use the techniques that have brought success so far and continue with the same collar that is working.

Will look forward to hearing how the class goes and how many converts to the Grimm fan club there are afterwards

P.S. A wet noodle whack for the subject line...scared me when I read it!!!!
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OOOHHHHH Patti, did you loose your in control attitude.

Don't get up tight, just relax, if you feel yourself stressing out and tightening up take four deep breaths exhaling slowly then raise your shoulders up and just let them drop and a big sigh.

This might be a really good place to work with Grimm, timing your verbal corrections and praise. I see you are giving the verbal corrections and it seems he understands, just make sure you get the praise in the routines also, or you will end up with a pouty sullen Grimm.

LOL Nora!! Your post made me laugh-- but you are SO right! I gotta use my.... Queenitude! Is that even a word?

Jamie, CONFIDENT. You are right. I need to remember that!

Val, I do praise him-- I wait until we have passed another dog, his hackles are no longer up, he sometimes makes eye contact, and I say "Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine...." in a warm, soothing voice. That's the praise tone Grimm eats up, and it doesn't over-stim him.

Calm. Confident. Queen. I can do this. I dunno how yet... but somehow someway, I can, I hope!!
Re: Prayers for Grimm & I

OMG I thought you guys got hit by a car or were diagnosed with cancer.
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Yeah I freaked when I saw the subject!!!!

Hey Queenie YOU ROCK and Grimm rolls with YOUR punches!!!! Group class will be great!
What the heck is with all the off lead dogs?

And can you carry a walking stick? Nordic walking is pretty popular in Europe, eh?

I almost wonder what would happen (probably something along the lines of: oh, Patti was attacked by a dog based on Jean's advice) if you were to step up on one of those hoodlums and gave them the business-get AWAY FROM MY DOG kind of thing?

As for the class, fake it til ya make it, Queenie!

What I know now that I didn't way back was that I can stop doing things in a class if I am having trouble, or my dog is having trouble. Because the minute I am feeling lost, my dogs are like...oh crap...we are so screwed...can we get an owner who knows her left from her right?

Can't wait to get the write up on the class!
Re: Prayers for Grimm & I

Nah. You'll be fine. There is something about group classes that all of the dogs (except one, there is always one. But it won't be Grimm) that they're mellow, groovy, and totally in tune with their self-possessed wolf genes.

Trust me. We've taken thousands of classes. (ok, maybe not that many. Well, thousands of dollars in classes!
) I'm trying to figure out how I can take all those dogs and owners with me whenever Camper and I go anywhere and everywhere, because while he's pretty cool; in class, he is a model dog. Not like the crazy beat-up-the-policeman-at-the-airport super model, but the slink down the catwalk perfectly, while looking stunning, and never say a word model.

And when *I* mess up (which I do, and often) the instructor notices it, immediately (within seconds), rushes over and says things like, "you need to praise him 1.2 seconds faster, so that he understands that you're praising him for stopping, not sitting after the stop." Ah, ok. So next time, I'm blurting out the praise, and she rushes over and again and reminds me to keep my voice very quiet, a whisper, because otherwise it sounds like I'm yelling at him.

I love group classes. Get there early. Bring a note from U. that says, "My lovely wife does not speak German so well. Please be kind to her and sppeeeakkk sloooowwwlly ." And hand it to her ahead of time so that she can read it before the other students can read it. I like arriving at class ahead of time and hanging around after (if there's not other classes immediately before and after).

I subtly eavesdrop on the trainer's conversations with other students. There are often golden drops of wisdom being imparted in those conversations. I work my dog when I'm loitering, which gives the instructor time to watch me (which they'll kind of do even when they're talking to other students.) Then she'll have a better idea of how I interact with my dog when she has time for me. I often hear things like "I was watching you do X before class... so how about if you try it this way instead?"

I love tiny picky suggestions. The little things are often the keys that open doors, not just the big stuff. And I'll tell my instructor that. I want ALL criticism. I've developed a thick skin. Some students are sensitive, so some instructors hold back on the really picky stuff. Not me, and my trainers have told me it's nice to know that. So if you want that, say so. Or have U. put it in your letter.

Final suggestion, Grimm has a great Focus/watch/look at me command, right? Work on that like crazy before class. If he starts to get distracted in class, just give him that command. No reasonable professional trainer will be bothered if you're redirecting your dog back to you. A screwy distracted dog can be bothersome while the trainer is speaking to the group. An owner that's giving quiet commands to keep her dog on task isn't a problem. In fact, just the opposite. All the other owners will be soooo jealous.
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Re: Prayers for Grimm & I

Kathy, thank you for the enouragement!
Right now especially, it really means so much to me. Thank you! I will try my best.

I keep envisioning Grimm <span style="color: #CC33CC">EXPLODNG-- CONSTANTLY</span>.
I envision him dragging me across the class, other dogs scattering, owners screaming in fear, Grimm getting free, terrorizing villages, people with torches.. you get the idea. And all that before I even introduce myself in broken German.

Jean, I have no idea why so many ticked-off little off-lead dogs here. They all have free reign to blast up to other on-lead dogs and furiously detonate.
I think their highly exalted "lapdog status" makes the owners leave them offlead.

Lori, Thank you for the guidance. I am like you, I CRAVE criticism, cos I can USE it! Know? Each bit of info I do run through my own filters, but, I drink it all in-- anything that can help Grimm and I be a better TEAM.. I absolutely crave! I will re-read your post tomorrow morning before I go to the class. I need to try to ground and center myself.

Grimm's watch command is fine when another dog is not there. My biggest concern is the initial reaction of Grimm to "Hey, this is a new place, and.. hey!" a DOG! Over there! And, another dog.. closer! And one coming right at me?!" etc.

During this class, I cannot use the throw-chain tossed at his neck/shoulder to startle him for correction while I am there. I will only be able to use the choke-chain collar.... but, I also have my voice. I will use that, and my attitude, and leash corrections. "Leave it" and "Out" will be the order of the day... unless of course the above scenario happens, in that case, watch for us on the nightly international news!

Know what? I believe you guys. When a class gets started, heeling, sitting, downing.. if Grimm is doing those excersises, Grimm will "get it" that it is a class, and behave pretty okay. My angst is for the initial intro where we will NOT be heeling. Keeping him moving helps a little bit with being able to correct for the visual lock-on before the explosions...... a down-stay while we settle into this doggy-filled area will make him unreachable to me.
I do not know what I will do in the beginning. I will DEFINITELY get there early, though, Lori!
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Patti, a couple of thoughts/suggestions....envision Grimm being perfectly composed, sitting quietly at your side. I had a wise friend many years ago that always said "Thoughts, create." If you envision Grimm being as perfect as possible it will help to settle you and in turn settle him.

At the beginning of class during the getting settled phase will Grimm sit in front of you and give eye contact more easily that sitting or downing at your side? When Cain was younger and much more easily distracted I would use the front position to give him fewer options of where to look. Kind of hard to miss Mom standing directly in front of you gazing at you like you are just the most wonderful dog in the whole world.
Okay I am daffy about my boy! LOL Also sometimes I had to keep telling myself he is drop dead gorgeous because that was the only positive I could think of that moment.
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Re: Prayers for Grimm & I

But Cain IS drop-dead gorgeous!
Thanks for the suggestions. With him sitting directly in front, I cannot correct him should he decide to visually lock on to another dog and start a bad reaction. I will have to have him on my side in heel position. Man.. I will get there early. I will try envisioning him doing well. That would be easier if his hackles were not up and him trying to lock on visually to each dog on our walks. A few off-lead aggressive dogs per week, and this is the result. I should have been and should be more consistant with firm corrections for the initial trying to peek at the other dog, too. Seriously though.. I will try hard to envision success. Thank you!
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Patti, I am with Nora, envision Grimm being perfect..

I have learned that you get what you expect from your dog, so if you expect he/she is going to act up that is exactly what they do.

If Grimm does act up give him the big Voice and the stare that means that thunder and lightening is going to rain down on his head if he doesn't shape up.

In class every chance you get to praise for good behavior do so. That way Grimm will know that is what makes Patti happy. I think Grimm wants to keep Patti happy, but some times he is just Grimm (young workingline) that gets a little side tracked.

Val, are you inside Grimm's furry blockhead? I swear.. you always seem to have an incredible, unbelievable talent for seeing exactly how he thinks! You are really gifted this way!

Okay, envision good behavior. Remember The Voice. The stare. Lots of happy, soothing upbeat praise.. we can DO this.. we can WORK this!! Thank you, Val!! (thanks Cheyenne too.. I know you are there in the background, giving advice-- maybe even heckling LOL!)
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