Just Labradors banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,586 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I realize I have just showed up and I've been a bit of a bummer with all my fungus-whining posts. So I thought I'd post about something that may be a little more fun to read about. :p

One thing I've been doing recently is assisting a Level 1 class at the club. One of my co-workers had signed up with her dog, a year-old yellow Lab. You know I couldn't resist the opportunity to see that show every week! :D

I'm really enjoying doing this. You forget how far you've come with your own dog until you spend a little time with people who are just starting out. Oh, I so remember that feeling. I am very sympathetic. But at the same time, it's sort of fun to watch :p Oh boy, all the tense, stressed out faces!

I have been giving it some thought, and do you know what I think the number one problem is in our class?

Owners expecting too much. :eek:

Case in point: Last week one of the students came in before class and was talking to the instructor and me. This man has a Sheltie. I have decided that Shelties are so smart, they train themselves. It doesn't seem to matter what kind of handler is on the other end of the leash. The Sheltie is smart enough for them both.

Anyway, this guy starts telling us about how his Sheltie sometimes won't come when called. "If we have him off-leash and a kid goes by, or another dog, we call and call and he just ignores us and won't come back! What do you do about that?"

I was like, "How old is your dog?"

"Six months."

I couldn't help but laugh. "Oh come ON, don't you think you're expecting a lot?!"

He laughed too and seemed to feel better. We talked about training recalls, proofing, etc.

I really do think the biggest problem people have is coming in SO serious, and expecting that they will take a class for eight weeks and then have a perfect dog. For us, training is just a way of life now. Use it or lose it.

Kevin made a really good analogy about this the other day: He said, "That's like thinking that you will go to the gym and work out for eight weeks, then you'll be *in shape* and never have to go back!"

I liked that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,276 Posts
That is a good analogy! Good work Kevin :)

We're in puppy class with Charlotte now, and it *is* fun to see the first time puppy owners!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,457 Posts
Oh boy, does that comment ever bring it home! Use it or lose it is sooo right.

Bill had the boys at the park the other day. This is a small (3-acre), private park at the boarding facility we use. People must pay to use it and you cannot go in if someone else is there with their dog(s) unless the say it's okay. Usually, we are the only ones who use it except for some training classes on weekends.

There is an inverted V jump that can be adjusted for the amount of slope. It is normally left pretty close to vertical, like a tall, two-sided teepee. The boys found something under it that had them both very excited, so Bill went to check it out.

It was a small animal of some sort. :( Bill called the boys out and Buddy backed off. Champ would not give up. Nothing Bill did, including a swat on his butt, got Champ's attention away from that animal. Champ has had obedience training, he knows 'leave it,' 'come,' and 'off.' However, the commands obviously have not been reinforced enough so that he responds in every situation.

Back to daily training sessions!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,258 Posts
So true Connie!

I find with new students, many of them come to class and expect, in one class, to have their dog running agility courses like they see on T.V. Once they realize all the training that is involved, a lot of folks don't come back.

I wish there was a way to eliminate this type of student from the get-go as I often feel I've wasted a lot of energy in a first class. I usually can tell who will and who won't return though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,276 Posts
So very true, sometimes I have to remind myself of that, Gracie is 7 months old and of course she won't come if she is off leash, running away chasing another dog:). I love the gym analogy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,586 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Tonight was fun! :) We had a smaller class because of the weather, so we got to do some different things.

One thing I have been noticing is that everyone seems to be relying very heavily on the leash to keep the dog walking with them. We do a lot of walking around the ring, and everyone is just walking along like they're auditioning for Dawn of the Dead, some of them occasionally muttering "good boy," others holding treats out in front of them at arm's length and never giving them to the dog. Come on! Animation! Talk! Treat! Something!

So I proposed that we have each person come into the ring with their dog, one at a time, remove the leash, and their job is to walk a Novice Heel pattern (not formal heel, just the pattern) and they have to keep their dog with them. Hoping that this would help them understand that they have to use their bodies, their voices, their treats, whatever, to keep their dog focused on them.

You would be really, really surprised at how well it went. Most, if not all, of the dogs actually did better without the leash.

I can remember people saying to us that Angus looked better off leash than he did on. I got to see what they were talking about tonight. Sometimes I think the leash actually encourages them to pull.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,257 Posts
<Dawn of the Dead>

Heh.

I'm always amazed at how SLOW people want to walk w/their dogs. Of COURSE the pooch's attention wanders! You've got this 6 m.o. Great Pyr, and you're walking like a turtle.

We constantly are reminding our students: MOVE IT OUT! LET'S GO! DOG SHOULD BE TROTTING! LI'L FASTER, FOLKS!!!

That and TALK TO YOUR DOG!! GIVE the dog a reason to WANT to stay w/you. And something beyond the bait (which our classes don't use anyway). Chatter. Praise. Happy-voice. Excitement. Interest.

All valuable in keeping your dog engaged and with you, physically and mentally.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top