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First beg. OB class last night--Need some major work.

780 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Luvbirds
First off, I will never bring the kids again. Major distraction to everybody, dogs and human. They had agility equipment there that was way too much temptation for the kids and Jordan just wanted to play with them and the dog that sat the closest to the equipment when they were playing.

The trainer went from dog to dog and asked how Jordan did on the leash and I told him he was pretty good for a beginner and the only problems we had was pulling during distractions. So, he used him for an example and I was proud he didn't pull but when the instructer put him into a sit after the walk Jordan started getting ancy and obviously fearful of the instructor. He was unsure of the instructor so he didn't follow commands and the instructor was a little concerned about this turning into fear aggression if not put in check.

I take him places often but not often enough so I'll have to pick up on that much but when I do he is typically well behaved meeting people if I tell the adults to please start petting on the chest and then they can move to the head. It is a slow progress.

I need to find a way to have strangers work with him and be able to touch him anywhere so I'm thinking the best way would be to touch/treat train him. The problem is finding different strangers to be able to do this and actually take the time this requires, not just a quick meet on the street or in the parking lot.

The other suggestions were for everybody there and if they didn't have a crate they were told to get one which I completely agree with. He says when somebody comes to the door to crate them until they are well behaved with company. This is something we've been trying different approaches to since we got him. He is territorial and barks and growls at company and we started out with treats outside the door and having company give him treats while he acts calm with them when they come in. That wasn't working because he wasn't acting calm so we changed our approach a couple weeks ago. When somebody comes to the door we have him sit and we sit tight to his body while keeping him in his sit and then let him smell, get treat and go back to a sit. Usually by then he has had a couple treats, gets to know the people aren't a threat and he'll go on his merry way. So, my question is do we crate him until we're further along in his training and he has his sit/stay or down/stay or continue with what we are doing? This is the one thing I didn't get to ask the instructor before we left.

All in all I think we'll actually make something out of this little boy. He was playful to be expected but I was proud of his behavior when he did behave. He got along well with the other dogs and respected the older dog that didn't have interest in playing. He was friendly with the owners and did wonderfully until the instructor got a hold of him.

Any suggestions?
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When somebody comes to the door we have him sit and we sit tight to his body while keeping him in his sit and then let him smell, get treat and go back to a sit.
This hovering over him and sitting tight to him seems to me that you're sending him a message that he's right to be worried and that he needs some kind of protection from the arriving guests. It's like holding the leash too tight when someone approaches - it sends the message to the dog that you're worried so he should be worried, too.
If I were near I would help you out :( I know how hard it is to find people to help...

coco our lab mix is fearful...he use to just back up and crawl into his skin when scared and people would be able to come up to him and pet or we took him to training but he hated it. always frozed up and we feel we made a mistake putting him in training so soon. (we started right when he would allow us to give him a treat) but he is very fearful and this is probably more extreme than your Jordan :)

I think we should have waited to start taking coco to training class after we worked with him to build confidence to just be able to function in public places at his comfort level. I think the amount of stress he had from obedience class was actually a set back. He learned obedience...but he cant perform in the training facility since he whips his head around cause he is worried about the dog behind him, or jumps on me for security, or wont come when called very well cause he looked like he was lost and scared and leaned away from the trainer when she was holding his leash. Would freeze up while healing if a little more comotion than usually uprised.

but if Jordan doesnt seem TOO stressed about class and can actually function...its just with the trainer handling him that he is alittle fearful then I would create that as part of the training. If this is something you think you have to work up towards then start smaller but I was thinking having the trainer sit with Jordan and hold his leash before class while you are right by him....start for short periods of time...and release him with LOTS of Cookies!!! or better yet have the trainer give Jordan cookies too!!! :)

That is good he is playful around other dogs :)

In a CGC test part of it is where the evaluator holds your dog on the leash and you have to leave out of sight or out of the building. so its good you have recognized this as a specific area that needs attention :)

once jordan feels okay with being held by the trainer while getting treats and then you are right there with him and he gets treats after you release him they you can start playing games like
"pass the puppy" where you switch puppies with someone and just pet with them...and then depending on how many people your switching with return the puppy and COOKIES...but they also get cookies from the other people they switched with too lol might be able to switch puppies and train with them for awhile to get them use to being handled by different people...
Our trainer had us switch and Duchess was doing off the owner I switched with was baffled as to how that is going to work lol I just said to do things like you normally would she will stay by you lol. and then I had someone else's rottweiler and awesome in obedience and is now doing Open...but she was way too strong for me to control in the process of trying to get back to her mom! PUUUUULLLLLING and heading straight for mom. all the obedience flew out the door for the moment since she was seperated.
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Fear aggression ? I'm no expert....but how old is Jordan? I wouldn't put too much stock in was his first class, and he is NOT used to strangers. Just get out there and socialize socialize socialize!

I don't agree with the crating when people come in, my trainer had us make Petey sit and stay, ignore him after that and greet our guest, not let them greet him first, that immediatly establishes us and our guest as above Petey. Then let them casually greet him, only if he was receptive. For right now Petey thinks everyone coming ,is here to PLAY! I know that will change. Also...when we first got Petey and for a while, he would bark at people he didn't know. He hasn't been doing that anymore, not sure if it will start again or he has learned that for the most part people are ok. We do have a ton of traffic coming through our house, mostly males.

One day at a time....we can't train them all in one day.

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Good for you going to obedience classes. Jordon wil do nothing but get better.:)
Dogs do stress in these classes when they don`t understand what you want. Thats when you have to back off. Yawning--believe it or not is one sign. Sometimes they just shut down and refuse to do anything. All dogs are different and you will learn to read Jordons` signs. In the early classes I would not allow Tamora to visit other dogs. She would become too silly and I wanted her to know this was class--no fooling around. I can now say (my word is visit) and allow some interaction and than bring her back to attention.
I really don`t care to do this in classese though.

I wouldn`t bring kids to class either, especially in the beginning, thats too much distraction.

Last week we had a group of children (handicapped) they sat and watched and clapped for us. Our group of canines were wonderful. After our class all the dogs were taken over for the kids to pet if they wanted.
However, this class that I am in, we are now in our second session togeather.
My goodness the progress that has been made. Sit, downs, recalls, distractions, heeling--you name it. If you saw the first class and our present classes, well it doesn`t look like the same dogs.

As far as people comiing over I would crate and let Jordon view the company in the same room as your guests. Any barking or growling I would tell him to stop. If he seems comfortable bring him out on a leash to visit those that like dogs after a period of time.
Jordon will do nothing but get better. Keep a journal, I wish I had. Have fun!
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Ooops, forgot to mention. Training, cleasses of all kinds etc. are all confidence boosters. The more they learn, the praise they get from it all make for positive feed back to a breed that really wants to please--you just have to show them what it is. (many baby steps first)
You will end up having one very confident dog in himself and in you being the leader of the pack.:)
Greeting Company

Sounds like Jordan might be a bit unsure of himself in certain situations, but he is still a puppy so I don't feel that this will be a problem as long as it is still being worked on. Keep up with the classes, this is only the beginning and things will get better as time goes on.

I agree with Mary that putting him close could be be sending him mixed signals. Here is another idea for teaching him about greeting company. When someone comes to the door put him in a sit-stay, let your company in and have them completely ignore him (don't even look at him). If he starts to growl, bark or carry on, tell him 'thank you' or 'enough' or whatever you want to be a quiet/settle signal, and continue on with your company, you may need to repeat this a few times.

If he carries on for more than a few times, put him in his crate until he settles down and then let him out, again with the company ignoring him. When he is calm then the company can greet him with a brief calm hello and a pet. If he riles on approach it is the same thing - settle him. If he can't be settled he goes back in his crate. Calmly. This is done until he and the person(s) can greet calmly.

The point you need to get across to him here is that in order to have a pleasant interaction, everyone needs to be calm and polite, including him. This worked very well for my rescue boy, though we had to work on it more than some others I suspect. The nice thing is now we can welcome guests into our home in a relaxing and enjoyable manner for all.

Good luck with Jordan. He will be fine. :)

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Thanks for the great ideas. I didn't realize I may be making him uncomfortable by being too close during greets. I do believe that may be the case though. We are working on the sit/stays so I'll use that as sit/stay practice too and encourage guest to ignore him.

Jordan is 25 weeks now and I've seen a lot of improvement with just me working with him at home and around the neighborhood, parks and stores but my goal of course is CGC which is a far cry from where we are now. I would feel like it is such an accomplishment to take this little boy all the way there.

I do think with him it is a confidence issue. I think that the improvements we've made so far though are a good sign that there is only more room for improvement.
I wrote a long one and it was lost! =(
Here are some of the basic points I think:
Ignoring is a great idea. Don't have guests make a fuss. You don't make a fuss. It is natural for people to want to greet dogs when they first meet them, but for some dogs this is not okay. With a dog in my extended family, when I visit I ignore her for 5 minutes after I arrive, if not, she jumps all over me and can't contain her excitement. This also works for dogs that are way over the top when the owner comes home, just keeping everything low key and in some cases ignoring and not rewarding behavior when first coming in the door goes a long way. I believe in the book by Jan Fennel from the Uk (I don't agree with everything in there) she talks about this technique.

All the treats, extra attention, and focus on the dog when anyone comes to the door might not be good for some dogs, it might send the wrong impression. But then again it might work for him. Just depends, there are so many ways for different dogs to train them.

Some people have a dog bed or mat that is the dog's place. When guests come over, the dog is trained to go to place and stay there until released. Then after the guests are in and the dog has had time to settle, then introductions can take place in a low key way, with the dog approaching them if the dog feels like it. Or if the dog is super friendly, letting people go up to the dog. The message is you are the one that greets visitors and is in charge of who is welcomed into your home.

Def. keep up with the classes. He is young so you need to keep socializing the heck outta him. Take him everywhere you can and take yummy special treats for people to feed him if he is interested in meeting.

If you see he is getting stressed out, then just let him watch the world go by. Take him to get your oil changed, to kids games if you have kids that play sports, to drive-thru's, the bank, Lowe's and Home Depot sometimes in some places allow dogs, family get-togethers, friend's homes, the lake, the park, playgrounds, just everywhere you think you can. The more work you do now as he is a puppy, the better. Try for at least one new place a day. It will pay off later.

Don't let other dogs approach him in class, it isn't play time. Besides just saying hi is not recommended.
You can also use a good doggie daycare to help with socialization with other dogs. Make sure they are good though and know how to handle the dogs well.

With my wild child (not fearful, just over exuberant) I had to leash him when visitors came over and train him. I told him to sit (loose leash) made him sit or down (I wouldn't allow him to spin in circles and break his stays) and then invited visitors inside while they didn't touch him (he would get WAY too excited at first). Since he was on leash I had complete control over his behavior. After awhile since Dobes are so smart, he automatically did a sit when someone came to the door - regardless of leash or collar.

You can let them bark - but they have to be able to turn it off when you say so.

Good luck! Is there are class that specifically geared towards the CGC? That would probably help quite a bit with your specific training goals of wanting a CGC.
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Thanks. I haven't been using a leash but I think that will be my first step instead of using the crate. I'll also talk it all over with the trainer to be sure that we can be on the same page.

The OB class he instructs is geared towards meeting CGC criteria and he says that that is our goal. His profession is training dogs for households with handicap, autistic or traumatized children and breeds labs for that purpose, most he contributes, selling only very occasionally.

With the barking at the door, if he does not respond to my command to stop (I use "thank you" and if he doesn't stop right away I tell him "that's enough"), is that when I would crate him and/or if he does not maintain his sit? Will this help with his stranger anxiety as far as the people who want to touch him?

I loved the article, very well put and easily understood and definitely nothing I would have though of even though I do try hard to keep my dogs from being "rude".
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My trainer said never let anyone force themselves on your dog....let the dog get comfortable before you ever have them reach out to touch him. Only fair you like strangers touching you? ;-)
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