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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I took Rocky for his first training session Wednesday evening and it did not start out well at all.

This is the same trainer I took Newlie to at the beginning. My friend went with us and when we pulled in the driveway, the clients before us were still there chatting with the him. The trainer is involved with a Great Dane Rescue and also has one or two of his own Danes, one of which was in the yard off leash. There was also a life size statue of a Great Dane in the yard. When we got of the car, Rocky walked up to the trainer and greeted him, but when he saw either the Dane or the statue of a Dane or both, he started acting like a nut. The Dane had not done anything so there was no provocation. I had Newlie's prong with me, but I wasn't sure if it would fit Rocky correctly so had not put it on him, but I managed to keep hold of Rocky anyway while the trainer put The Dane in the house. I don’t quite know how it happened, but I was left standing there with the leash wrapped around each leg like I was wearing a holster. I apologized to the trainer profusely as I had never seen anything like that from Rocky before. I took Rocky to the trainer for just basic obedience and to exercise his mind.

Things got better from there. The trainer had me walk Rocky around the backyard on a short leash. He said he did not want to put him on a long line at this point because he is a big boy and he didn’t want him getting a running start on me. He told me to walk around and said that anytime Rocky got a couple of feet away from me to turn in the opposite direction while giving him a leash pop. We did this for some time. After a while, the trainer brought out one of his smaller dogs and although Rocky initially seemed interested, he did not react badly. We were able to walk past the smaller dog after a bit without much attention being paid. We also practiced sit and down and wait.

The trainer also has some agility equipment in his backyard and he took Rocky up and down the A frame four or five times and then had me do it. Rocky did fine.

As we were getting ready to leave, another client arrived with her smaller Great Dane. Again, Rocky seemed interested, but after I reversed direction several times, we were able to walk past the dog with no problem.

I guess there is no real way of knowing what set Rocky off initially. Whether it was the new environment (full of unknown doggy smells), the fact he was on a leash and the Dane wasn’t, whether the statue freaked him out, whether he imagined that he needed to protect me, whether he was scared himself, I don’t know. I wish I was clearer in my mind about it. The Dane was the first dog Rocky had seen since I have had him that was bigger than he was. Maybe that was it. He played with a Great Pyrenees mix at the shelter, who was roughly his same size, and the neighboring dogs are both a little bit smaller. Rocky is at the fence touching noses with them every day. He and the female Lab (his girlfriend) both stand on their hind legs on either side of the fence, she licks him and he mouths her. They kind of look like they are hugging.
 

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It happens. It's part of why we take them to training. Actually you couldn't have asked for a better setting for this behavior to happen. Now your trainer knows just what she is working with and what to help you work on.
Sounds like Rocky recovered his senses well and made improvements by the time your session was over. I'd call it a good session in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It happens. It's part of why we take them to training. Actually you couldn't have asked for a better setting for this behavior to happen. Now your trainer knows just what she is working with and what to help you work on.
Sounds like Rocky recovered his senses well and made improvements by the time your session was over. I'd call it a good session in the end.
Yes, the rest of the session went well.

I really want to nip this in the bud. I know what it is like to have a reactive dog, (even one that was selectively reactive), and that was specifically one of the things I did NOT want this time. The anxiety, the hypervigilance, the reluctance you feel to take him places. It is discouraging..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have to brag on my boy. We have been practicing what we learned in training last time. The first several times we did, we stayed pretty close to home, but Rocky seemed to have already gotten the idea that he was supposed to stay close to me. It is something I am having to adjust to as well, he walks so close that I am always afraid I am going to step on his toes. In these practice sessions, we did not run into any dogs, but there were neighbors (that he knows) and a teenager going by on a bike. He stayed right by me.

So, last might, I took him for a walk around the block, about a half a mile. The first quarter of a mile, he required no leash pops at all, just stayed right next to me. I could even see him correcting his own speed every once in a while. The last part of the walk, I did have to correct him several times, but not for anything major, he would just attempt to mark things. We passed some people and he stayed put. We even passed some people with their dog, on the opposite side of the road, and he did good. He knew that the dog was there, and was interested, but no whining or crying or pulling to get closer. He also did not react much to other dogs barking at him from their own backyards.
 

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I’m glad a good Bragg!!!! Rocky could of felt and smelt some tension from you in your first training lesson. It is good you are doing private lessons. I remember trying eating peppermints or halls to cover upy smells of nervousness.
 
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