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Should I persevere with my dog training class?

(11 Posts)
MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Thu 10-Nov-16 10:02:15

I have a young lab. He's lovely. Bright, keen, obedient and affectionate. Lovely to walk, great recall, fine with other dogs and people.

I take him to an obedience class. The trainer is lovely and very good. The trouble is he's like a different dog when he's there. Excitable, pulls, lunges at the other dogs, especially the girls that have just been in season.

This is obviously a learned behaviour, he sees the class as doggy youth club. My trainer just tells me to work him even harder, she says he's very clever and I should be training him really hard. He only exhibits this behaviour there though and to be honest I'm getting fed up of going.

We do training at home and out and about. I've done it all before with other dogs so I think I could keep it up. Just beginning to think the actual class is an unnecessary stress.

Thewix Thu 10-Nov-16 18:42:11

DEFINITELY persevere.
Our boxer was awful for around a year and we had to have 1 on 1 training!
But we kept at it even though it seemed to be making no difference and then one day he started to take it on board. Now he is awesome.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Thu 10-Nov-16 19:01:48


He does all the exercises absolutely fine. I can sit him up and leave him and control him from a distance etc. But then all of a sudden he'll lunge off, or chase after another dog, or just be generally bloody distracted when he's supposed to be waking to heel. I don't want to drag him round the class with a treat on the end of his nose, that's not how it's supposed to go! Yet I can handle him fine anywhere else.

AlwaysLookOnBrightsideOfLife Thu 10-Nov-16 19:30:26

How is he elsewhere when there are other dogs about that he doesn't know? Does he encounter strange dogs on a regular basis? Does the training course/group have some off lead play time?

Lots of questions I know, but the answers may give insight as to whether it's worthwhile persevering or not.

Booboostwo Thu 10-Nov-16 20:08:42

Well he has a problem listening to you in class and if you come across similar circumstances elsewhere, e.g. other dogs in park, you may have the same problem there. If I were you I'd keep going until he learns to concentrate even when there are distractions.

By the way what is wrong with putting a treat on his nose? It's the best distraction technique, treat on nose, gradually refocus the dog's attention on you and away from distractions.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Thu 10-Nov-16 22:15:51

Because I don't want to bribe him, I want to reward him.

It's an hour of close interaction with other dogs. It's an artificial environment. We don't see that many dogs elsewhere and when we do it's usually a fleeting visit, quick sniff and play and then on. He just gets so excited.

FluffyPineapple Fri 11-Nov-16 01:07:22

You need to perservere with the training class. There is nothing wrong with enticing your dog to do what is required by holding a treat to his nose. This action is how your dog will know what you expect from him.

Airfixkitwidow Fri 11-Nov-16 11:46:55

I agree that persevering with classes is worth it but it doesn't necessarily have to be the class you are currently going to. I have a giant breed leonberger who at 12 weeks was many many times bigger and bouncier than the other dogs training around in a circle in our local village hall. The other owners (and the trainer) were way and in some cases scared as she hauled me round panting and attempting to play. So, I asked around and found another class, held outside and intended for large bouncy dogs (mainly labs). This was a life saver as everyone was in the same situation. We've done the same course (kc good citizen) and enjoyed it. Definitely worth asking. Mind you we still balance treats on the nose but it does work. She does an impressive walking to heel now.

Booboostwo Fri 11-Nov-16 14:18:57

Bribing is a human term that has no equivalent application in dogs and therefore none of the negative connotations.

You can use a treat to reward behavior but you can also use a test to elicit behavior through lure and reward or as a distraction. Nothing wrong with either idea, just different tools for different situations.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sat 12-Nov-16 01:43:17

Well no, perhaps bribing isn't quite the right term. Luring, perhaps. Guiding him rather than rewarding him when he's figured it out himself.

I used to love my obedience class but lately it's the hardest part of his training. I'll keep going for now. It's just become more of a chore than a hobby.

We seem to do the same exercises every week. He can do them all standing on his head. He can do them anywhere. I'd just like him to be as chilled and calm at the training club as he is everywhere else. I just don't know how I change that mentality.

Blackbird82 Sat 12-Nov-16 02:17:39

Take him to a working gun dog class instead. It's what he was bred to do after all! If he's bright and enthusiastic he will do well and I'm sure you will enjoy it too. So much more interesting than obedience. Plus you can compete in working gun dog tests which is great as it gives you something to work towards.

If he's been around a lot of bitches in season at your training class then no wonder his brain is frazzled! I'm surprised your trainer allows that, it's very distracting for entire males. No wonder he can't concentrate. He's probably bored stiff with the same exercises and his hormones are going wild!

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