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First obedience class didn't go well!!

January 10th, 2007, 09:14 PM
:confused: Cody, my six month old Cocker Spaniel, started his basic obedience training last night. Much to my surprise, he was very aggressive with the some of the other dogs. The class itself went fairly well, the instructor warned that the first night is usually pretty unorganized until everyone gets used to each other. After the lesson, they offer a "playtime" for the dogs. I thought Cody would love this, but sadly he did not react well. Everytime a larger dog came near him, he would growl and snap at them. He was better with the smaller dogs. I kept him on his leash for fear of him hurting another dog (or himself!). Was I expecting too much for the first night? Do you think he was just overwhelmed by all the new experiences? He has had very little contact with other dogs, other than just meeting them during our walks. The training centre offers a puppy playtime at certain times. It is restricted to puppies up to 8 months of age only. Do you think this would help him with his socialization skills?
I am a first time dog owner (and loving it!), so I'm not sure if I am overreacting here!
Appreciate your advice!!

January 10th, 2007, 10:35 PM
I'm not an expert, but I'm sure others here will have good advice for you!

But I just wanted to comment that we've had a few puppies like this in some of the obedience classes that we've taken. Depending upon the reason, ie, fearful agression, dominance, play, etc, the trainer would do different things. But broadly, she would do a gradual build-up with the dogs. The first few weeks, the puppy was kept on leash and a little separate from the other dogs. Within sight, but out of reach. She and the owner would then correct or encourage accordingly whenever the puppy growled or cowered. Each week, the puppy would be brought closer and continued to be taught appropriate behavior response. By the end, one puppy was transformed and would play wonderfully. She learned to overcome her fear and learned her place among the other dogs. The other puppy also showed improvement, but not quite as drastic. That one remained a bit prickly to the end. I think he was a bit older though.
Anyway, all that to say, I would recommend talking to the trainer and see if she has any advice or experience with behavior training. And if she thinks it's a mild thing she can help with in the course of this class or if she thinks it's something more severe that would be better addressed with behavior modification training. She can't devote full attention to just one puppy of course, but our trainer made it work no problem in our class and really helped shape the puppies development in a positive manner. Maybe yours could do the same!

January 10th, 2007, 10:52 PM
My Meiko was the same way in his class, to the point where he had to be muzzled.:sad: It broke my heart to see him like that, but really it was for the safety of himself and the rest of the class.
He was , and still somewhat is, quite dog aggressive.
The first class was the worst though, all the dogs were kinda freaked out by each other and some of the more " friendly" ones just wanted to play...
By the end of the classes my boy was better in general but still not allowed to be unmuzzled.
I dont have any advice as you can see.:o however i just thought i would share my experience with obedience classes.:o

January 11th, 2007, 08:30 AM

I would say that is totally normal...My Chocolate Lab Winston was an absolute nut! It was really good for him & me though...Winston was always the example in class!! He was always the most hyper dog! But the play time and the socialization part really paid off after training...In puppy class Winston was so hyper playing that he scared all the other puppies back to their parents and was waiting in the middle of the room for someone to come and join him!! NO one did on that occasion.. After a few weeks they become much more adjusted! I am not usre what classes you are taking but take more than just a puppy class! Puppy classes tend to be for socialization, grooming etc...The disciple starts then but really makes more sense when they continue on! It pays off ten fold! I would never regret taking him because it really teaches the owners along with the dog!

P.S Winston's first classs was really embarrassing! He prounced around the room being crazy & then proceeded to poop in the middle of the room!!

Best of Luck!

January 11th, 2007, 10:53 AM
with my dog, our first obediance class was a disaster also. My dog was the one afraid of all the other pups and she would hide under my chair and snap at the other dogs. There was an older dog.....nine months old and the rest were little pups, and the older dog tried humping my dog and all heck broke loose. I kept with it though, and a little 3 month old dauschand (sp??) helped my dog meet and greet the others. She just found a buddy and they were like mutt and jeff together. I took three rounds of obediance ( sort of like grade one, grade two and grade three) but i am happy i kept with it, the socialization helped alot. My trainer kept me with the smaller dogs the first round, even though my dog towered over the other pups she was more comfortable and then we progressed to other dogs her size and larger.

January 13th, 2007, 01:26 PM
Has your dog been around other dogs that were much larger? It sort of sounds like the dog is afraid of the big guys because he thinks he might get hurt. :confused: The good news is, with increased exposure to large (and of course friendly) dogs, your guy will learn that there is nothing to be afraid of.