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Opinions please

May 8th, 2007, 01:05 AM
Hi Everyone,

I have learnt alot from reading the posts here and would really value your opinion. I have my almost 5 month old shih tzu enrolled in puppy classes and I am getting the sense from the trainer that she doesn't approve of my dog's behavior. My dog during class behaves like a really good dog (or at least how I think she should act). We start the class by sitting on the leash and giving the dog enough length to sit or lie down. We then ignore our dogs. Neesa will either lie down or sit there by my side and not move (which is what the whole point of the exercise is). SHe doesn't bark or try and jump around like the other dogs, she does what is expected of her. Play time, she takes her time to decide if she wants to play with the other dogs or not, but she is always focused on where I am. The instructor has me move around constantly so that Neesa will focus on the dogs instead. I know my dog will play with other dogs, she has played with many in the neighborhood and with other family members dogs. The puppies in class for the most part are quite a bit larger than her or ALOT more hyper than her. She seems to have skipped the puppy stage and prefers to play with older dogs who know when to stop (ie: chase and stop, chase and stop, I chase you for a bit, you chase me for a bit, we take a breather and start again). She will play with puppies, she just doesn't seem fond of ones who charge at her, pounce on her without warning, are really, really high energy etc.

Tonight, the larger puppies were being quite rough and mine and a couple little pommeranians were kind of on the outskirts, sniffng each other but for the most part they weren't in the middle of it. My dog would occasionally check to see where I was. The instructor asked me is she was always like that. I kind of got the impression she thought there was something wrong with my dog because she wasn't in interested in rough play.

The next exercise was drop the leash and have your dog follow you. My dog does this anyways, and again the instructor made a comment about I won't have to worry about my dog not doing that. She knows my dog comes to work with me and made a comment about that too, that she needs to learn to be by herself. Well, she does stay by herself. The instructor is also showing us how to handle our dogs for grooming. Again made anothe comment because my dog will claming sit there and let me handle her paws, teeth, ears etc. Well, she's a shih tzu, I have been working on this since the day I got her. She will be high maintenance in the grooming department, of course I want her used to being handled.

Again, I get the impression she thinks I am doing something wrong. I don't know if it is because certain things I have already started getting my dog to do before the classes started and most of the other people in the class haven't. My dog knows sit, she knows her name, she knows it is not acceptable to grab onto another dog and not let go, she knows when it is playtime and when to stop. I have been teaching her leave it for a little while, she has to sit and wait at dinnertime until I tell her to go ahead. Don't get me wrong, she has issues that we are working on (House training is a little slow but I knew that was a possibility when I got her, she barks a little too much but we are working on that, and she jumps up, but is quickly learning she can't do that).

My dog is just more interested in me than anything else. I don't see anything wrong with having a dog who will check to see where I am, will come back if she is too far, doesn't want to play with every dog she meets (she checks out the dog before she decides if she wants to play with them), sits and waits for whatever until I tell her it okay etc. Is this not the whole point of training your dog? Am I expecting to much of her to by having her somewhat behave at 5 months old? We have worked on sit, leave it, manners, combing etc etc since the day I got her.

Opinions please, because I am starting to feel like I am doing something wrong here and that is the last thing I want to do. I thought the whole point was to have a well behaved dog who listens to their owner.


May 8th, 2007, 08:53 AM
Brenda...your not doing any thing wrong .Seems to me that your dog doesn't need to much training.If your not happy with the trainer approach her and tell her how you feel,discussion clears the air,I once took my Dane to classes and the trainer put us next to a about tiny and the giant:D but my dog was very well behaved so that chi was quite safe BUT the trainers dog "Dobie", tried to get my dog every time the trainer turned his back.That would have been quite a Brawl:D Some times the Trainers need to know what there doing,your dog sounds like a well mannered and smart dog, not all dogs wan't to be grabbed by other dogs,thats a sign of his/her intelligence.

Ford Girl
May 8th, 2007, 12:03 PM
From what you posted I don't see an issue at all, on your part. Make the most of the class you paid for, talk to the trainer before or after class, ask them to make an assesment flat out so you don't have to "get the feeling". Your trainer shouldn't make you feel like you are being judged, they are there to help you, you are the customer.

If your dog already knows most of the content, your trainer should recognize that and give you more adviance tasks to try or develope on what you already know, most classes have a general guidline, but they should address each dog individually. This is what our trainer does even before we start, so that you are enroled in the class that will best suit the level your dog needs. :)

May 8th, 2007, 01:46 PM
The trainer hasn't really said anything terrible that I can tell. Were you hoping for more praise from her for the things your dog is doing well? It might not be in her nature. Easy dogs in the class don't usually get the attention the client thinks they deserve - everyone paid the same amount but often the out of control dogs get all the attention because they need the most help. This is one reason we do privates only - everyone gets just what they need, we can quickly advance through the classes according to the needs of the client/dog and their money is well spent.

Her one concern about your dog not playing with the other dogs or keeping too close a watch on you is that it could be a sign of insecurity. 'Velcro' dogs can have their own set of issues and the trainer might just be asking so she can get a feel for what your dog is thinking.

May 8th, 2007, 11:00 PM
Thanks guy,

I was just afraid maybe I was expecting too much of my puppy too soon. I get the impression the instructor prefers the more unruly, larger dogs (she quite frequently makes comments about the "foo foo dogs" in class as she refers to them).

I really signed up my pup to socialize her and to learn the stuff I don't remember as it has been so long since we had a puppy. Alot of the people in class are 1st time dog owners so I am guessing that could be it too. She just seems surprised that mine knows how to sit, not jump etc. But I thought it would be good to teach her these things from day 1 of getting her (same with leave it. Neesa is familiar with the phrase as I have said it since getting her if she touches stuff she shouldn't, which made it alot easier to teach her the real leave it when the instructor gave us this exercise in class).

Mydogs, thanks, Neesa definately knows which dogs she wants to play with and which dogs she doesn't. I was hoping that was a good thing as I didn't want her running up to just any dog. It could be she has learned to be cautious from our older dogs. The border collie has growled at her once and that was enough for her to learn he doesn't play. Our great dane lets Neesa get away with alot when she plays with her. Mikala is an awesome dog and will lie down and let Neesa jump on her etc, but does let her know when it is enough. Same with our terrier mix.

Ford girl, we try and get the most out of each class. I look at it as getting her used to being in a class setting when it comes time for the more advanced ones.

Tenderfoot, I think I was more worried I was doing something wrong with my dog by having taught her certain things already. I am not too concerned with getting my money worth and really don't mind that the more difficult dogs get more time. I just didn't want to do anything to harm my dog and was getting the impression from the instructor that teaching her these things already wasn't the right thing to do. I went into these classes with the view of further socializing her, getting her used to being in a class setting, and to help me teach her what I don't know(which really is a lot). I figured by working with her from the day was what I was supposed to do (I think I spent TOO much time reading posts :laughing: , searching the internet etc before I got her). I agree with what you said about trying to see if my dog is insecure. I would probably be concerned if she was like that all the time, but it is mainly in the class that she kind of watches from the side lines with the 2 smaller dogs. At home she will more than happily play with the neighborhood dogs, famliy dogs, etc. She does stop and check occassionally as to where I am, but I think it is more a case of is she looking and can I get away with getting of the lawn (as the goal is to teach her she is not allowed to run off the front lawn).

I just want to what is right for my puppy and was worried that maybe I was teaching her stuff too soon. But I was under the impression that is was never too soon to start.


May 9th, 2007, 09:38 AM
Hi Brenda - I think you have new mommy syndrome.;)

You are doing a great job and might just be over thinking things. Your dog (at 5 months) could have a 30-40 word vocabulary! They are sponges right now and learning all of the time so better to be teaching the good stuff NOW. You really can't teach things too soon.

I think your trainer might be lacking in social graces, she should be complementing you for your great efforts - heck its making her job a lot easier. She might not be keen little dogs, but it is her job to teach you how to raise a great dog not pass judgement on your choice of breeds. I have even heard of some trainers who basically insulted all the terriers in the class saying they were not trainable. RIDICULOUS! and not professional at all.

Who knows perhaps you have unsettled her because she realizes that you have a clue about what you are doing and isn't clear on what she can offer you. Stranger things have happened.:confused:

May 9th, 2007, 11:28 AM
Thanks Tenderfoot.

Yep it is a case of new mommy syndrome. But it is also a case of I grew up with a couple of nasty, badly behaved dogs over the years, have a couple of unruly dogs in my neighborhood and really dont want to make the same mistakes. Plus Neesa come to work with me (in a group home) and the boys really love her (actually get upset if she is not there), so I read alot before I got her and work really hard with her to teach her manners and boundaries, while still letting her be a puppy and have fun:) .