We took Cholo, our 12 week male choc lab, to his first day at pre school. It went horrible. It was a very reputable training school, and there were about 10 dogs there. All he did was play fight with the other dogs, and was probably the most hyper one there. He had a few choking sessions because he kept pulling on the leash, but i wouldn't let him go. I'm not sure if he learned anything that day. Most of the other dogs were so calm and were listening to their owners, but mine...oh boy...very discouraging.
Cholo seems to lose all focus once he sees other dogs. I know he's still a puppy, but is there anything that can be done to stop him from being so hyper? All he wants to do is play, and that's it. I'm so tempted to feed him Ritalin (j/k)...anyone had this problem? Any tips you can provide? I know it's his first class, but I'm starting to feel so hopeless.
Yes, I know it was horrible.....I had the same thing once! ;D
When Tucker was 16 weeks, we went to puppy class. Tucker's a very quiet, calm, laid-back dog; been that way since a puppy. We got to puppy class, and he pulled (trying to get in there fast) so hard on the leash he was choking and gagging....nice first impression.
There were about 15 puppies total. The first night, once he dragged me in, he proceeded to barkbarkbark while the trainer's talking (and he's NOT a barker!), pull every which way he could to get to other puppies and people, and grabbed treats out of other owners' hands. So many of the other puppies were sitting calmly...to say I was embarrassed is an understatement. :-[
....and he was already trained to sit, down, stay, and other things before we even went to this class! :-\ You wouldn't have known it that night!
It was the excitement of the first night. He calmed down some after that, but at the rest of the classes, the owner of a Boston Terrier and I would get there early...Tucker and this Boston became buddies, and we'd let 'em play and roughhouse to get some energy out before class started. Through the rest of the classes, he did great, but he was still excited all the time to see the other puppies and people.
Oh, and when I'd talked to the woman in charge of registering...she said bring treats like Cheerios to class....ok, so I did. Wrong move! Here we are with our blah Cheerios, and other owners had cheese popcorn, hot dog slices sprinkled with garlic powder, bits of beef, boiled chicken.......take something other than your puppy's regular treats, something good like these foods, and keep them just for class. It holds their attention. Luckily, some other people gave me some of their good treats that first night, and I took special great ones for him after that.......it helped keep his attention, boy!
My secret for class was to have Ender enrolled in doggy day care that day so he would spend literally 8 hrs straight playing with other dogs and then be all calm *cough* obedient *cough* during the class. Everyone was so impressed
EVERYONE's first day is horriable!!! Relax, everyone in that class was once in your position. They probably smiled and remembered when that was them. Everything you experienced the trainer was expecting, and should of informed you to take the first few classes lightly.
Shannon and I found the best way to break the dogs need to meet everyone else was to allow them to meet 5 mins before class. It greatly helped the focus because they had properly been introduced. Also, give your pup as much dog to dog contact as possible, over a 6 month span, you will notice how your dog is MUCH more casual with introduction, the need to pull will drop off...If you have the same situation with humans, try to get them in contact with as many people as possible as you work on the manners, and it will curb over time...
Good Luck and stay relaxed, you have a puppy! Its not going to be an obedient dog over night...
Good advice all round.
I would exercise him before class and make sure you have a reaaally tasty reward for marking good behavior. My dogs go crazy for bits of chicken or cheese. The smellier the better.
Does your trainer allow the pups to run around with each other before class? as brianttu pointed out, this can really help settle the pup once it has all that initial excitement out of its system.
well, we actually got Cholo to meet the other dogs 15 minutes before the class started, but it just carried on throughout the class. I don't think the other owners wanted their dogs to play, and i was kinda shy to ask them if they can just let our dogs play around. Well, the playing continued throughout the whole class. Would it be a good i dea if i were to just let him free in an off leash dog park? Or would that just teach him to be more aggressive/playful?
Be careful with the dog parks... at this young age, before your pup has all their shots, it can be risky.Originally Posted by gelsbabe
I would suggest finding out if any of the other owners would like to have a puppy "playdate" before the class where you can let your dog get out some of the excitement. Is class the only opportunity your pup has for socialization? Are there any dogs that you know in the neighborhood he can play with on a regular basis?
That being said, your trainer will most likely have the class work on "pay attention to me" exercises here pretty soon. Remember your pup can "sense" your nervousness so try to remain as calm and in control as possible. I found out that the more I worried about Ender's behavior in class, the more he misbehaved.
At home... work on SETTLE and Sit/STAY. Your pup should learn pretty quickly that classtime is serious and lots of treats will be coming his way for good behavior.
Don't be afraid to use treats to get him to pay attention to you in class... especially if he is food motivated.
My little saint, Lexie , is still really rambunctious in puppy school. She will graduate next week from PetSmart's 8 week class and she's on week 3 of Sirius puppy school and she still goes nuts in class. Last night she was a little terror at the beginning of class; she was jumping, barking, and pulling on the leash. She finally mellowed out, but she still had periodic outbursts.
Last night I had tried to get her to play with her favorite puppy friend, Beau, before class, but his owner's back was hurt so she didn't want them to play. I do see a huge difference in her behavior when she's exercised before class vs. not. For the Sunday class we are playing most of the day and going out for walks and she's much more mellow at school. On Monday nights we're not so lucky since I basically come home from work and we go to school, so she's much more hyper (plus there are more dogs her size in the class to play with). There are many days after puppy school that I get into my car and just shake my head.
Do bring the best treats you can get. Lexie loves hot dogs and they're so inexpensive compared to commercial treats (Safeway just had a sale, 10 packs for $10). She also loves the Dick Van Patten Natural Balance dog food (comes in a roll like a sausage); it's a good price and you can chop it up into training bits. String cheese is also a great treat, I carry a hunk of string cheese in my hand as we walk, it helps with "watch me". I'm going to try to BBQ some hamburgers for her this weekend before class to see how she likes those.
Have hope!! Even though Lexie is going nuts when she gets into class with other puppies, her in public manners have REALLY improved. I was able to walk her all over PetSmart on a loose leash having her "watch me" and she ignored everything around her. In general she's doing terrific on a leash and it's getting easier for me to break her puppy frenzies. "Look" and "watch me" commands are really helpful when you get around a lot of puppies in class, work on these two commands during the week, they may help you to break the crazy puppy behavior. I use a treat between my thumb and middle finger and pass it under her nose and then point to my nose and say "look". We work on this several times per day for a few minutes and then throughout the day I tell her to "look" and give her praise.
It will get better
Don't feel bad. As you can see from the replies, alot of us have been there - nature of the beast, er...lab, I mean. That being said, like Lindsay (Ender's Mom) said, we figured out that a tired lab was a much more behaved lab. Our sweet Lola was by far the worst in her class (at puppy graduation, the instructor thought it would be cute to take pictures of all the pups in this little graduation cap...Lola ate the cap). On obedience class days, Lola goes to doggy day care to get the socialization that she craves and the exercise that she needs. Makes for an easier training class later.
Good luck and stay with it...it will be worth it.
Dominic & Ellie<br /><br />
Thank you all for the encouragement...it really helps knowing that there are those who go throughthe same experiences. There's really no dogs in our area that Cholo can play with...so obedience school is the only time he can see other dogs. Even on our walks, i hardly see any dogs. I should work on the watch me command more often i guess. Our first day at puppy school was more of a SIT, COME, and SETTLE. Cholo did the sit and the come, but when it camme to SETTLE, no dice.