Training class nightmare

Discussion in 'Labrador Training' started by Nibbler's Mum, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. Nibbler's Mum

    Nibbler's Mum Registered Users

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    so we started training class again two weeks ago - today was the second week cos of the snow. Just feel hopeless. Kept Nibbler out of the main ring where the good dogs are. Watched class from afar. He is just so excited compared to the rest of the dogs that I think are older. He had a lunge at another dog - only interaction with trainer was him saying impatiently “Is he always like this” -then quickly moved on to talk to someone else- thing is he isn’t usually in a field with going on for twenty five other dogs. Left in tears before the end and thinking of not going back even though I’ve already paid upfront. Going to practice with him at home and he gets it but just can’t focus on anything when there are so many other dogs about. Think his hormones raging at the moment too which added to his excitement - would getting him neutered help him to concentrate? He is one this week.
     
  2. Beezette

    Beezette Registered Users

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    I feel your pain. I was in two minds about going back to our classes because every time the trainer looked our way was the time someone else’s blanket was being grabbed or another dog was lunged at. And the trainer would shout across “don’t let him do such and such”. We’re not letting him. We’re trying to get him to stop and focus. You just happen to look over every time there’s a blip and point it out to everyone :(
     
  3. Peartree

    Peartree Registered Users

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    My dog who is now the easiest and calmest lab with super heel work spent a lot of the training lessons in the far corner of the field watching the other perfect dogs. We went as far away as we could and just waited for him to be able to give me some eye contact which I rewarded with a clicker and food. At the time I remember thinking that it was all so tedious and a waste of time, but you are teaching them to have self control and to focus on you in the midst of distractions.

    Don’t worry about the trainer - get what you can for your dog out of the lessons that you have paid for.

    Keep training and you will get there. Stop training and you won’t get any better.
     
  4. Naya

    Naya Registered Users

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    Doesn’t sound like a good trainer in my opinion. I would look for a much smaller class if possible. All of the courses I have done have between 5-8 dogs max. They are a bit more expensive, but worth it as less distraction and more help from the trainer.
     
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  5. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    I think it's probably got more to do with him being young in a stressful exciting environment and with you feeling upset by rude irritable trainers than his testosterone. Yes he might he experiencing a high now and he might he finding focusing hard but a lot of young dogs do and trainer are supposed to recognise this and help. As Rory matured he was a bit of a silly around this age but I found this evened out and he calmed down a lot. Rory is quite a stressy dog so I did not neuter him then as it might have made him more nervous and sensitive. I let him be and after he went through doggy teenage stuff I didn't because he was lovely gentle dog. He's very mature and sorted now at 4 and just seems to get better. It just sounds like the class is too big and too busy for nibbler A lot of young dogs would have problems with this sort of class I'm sure Rory might have done. I probably would have a chat about the class with the trainer and if I felt they were unsympathetic not go back. Don't feel pressured to neuter your dog,. It's not something that you want to rush once it's done it's done. I'm sorry it's been so tough for you both training is supposed to be fun and challenging for you and your dog not upsetting xx
     
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  6. pup-pup

    pup-pup Registered Users

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    Jubilee and I had a similar experience when she was one. I kept going and she didn’t get any better. I was always hopeful going to class but by the end was stressed and embarrassed and probably disappointed. I don’t think it hurt her, but she must have been very stressed too.

    I kept training on our own and tried agility when she was two. After the initial excitement wore off, she did very well and was able to be off leash around other dogs and people. I think some of it was training, but most of it was maturity.
     
  7. Jojo83

    Jojo83 Registered Users

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    @Nibbler's Mum please don't feel hopeless. You have a pretty normal adolescent dog that struggles when confronted with such a huge level of excitement - many dogs of a similar age would be exactly the same. I'm certainly not impressed with the trainer's attitude - he should be helping and advising on ways to help you and your dog. The group is far to large to manage control and for anyone to really learn anything. A well run class really shouldn't exceed 8 dogs and handlers and that really is the maximum number. Try and treat this just as a learning exercise in impulse control. Walk around the edges of the fields c&t for calm behaviour. Stand at a distance and watch the other dogs and gradually over the weeks reduce the distance ensuring you stay under threshold and keep c&t for calmness at a high rate. An over threshold dog will not learn anything in a class so use the time go help him learn to manage his emotions which is probably more importent than anything the trainer is doing:)
     
  8. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    Gosh, I see a lot of red flags in your post.

    I will not start in order of red but in order of what I think may be the biggest flags. 25 other dogs? Really? And it sounds like only one trainer? Yowser, how could even the best trainer address all "good dogs" if there are 25 of them?

    saying impatiently “Is he always like this" Is this class for dogs already trained or for dogs who need training. Maybe you are in the wrong class? Or maybe the trainer is not up to the class. Older dogs with more training may be beyond you and Nibbler right now. Or, again, maybe the class was structured wrongly from the beginning.

    Hormones at one year of age? Sure could be but a decent trainer should expect that of a one year old and know how to guide YOU. Or, could be just a young dog needing help which it really sounds to me you are not getting. To me this does not sound like a good class at all.
     
  9. Valkyrie

    Valkyrie Registered Users

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    I agree with several other posters no dog class should have 25 dogs unless all are full trained and you are drill team work. That is a lot of dogs and should have at least 2 trainers if you are going to have that many dogs.

    My suggestion is that you don't just work at home but out in public go to a park or some place where there is distractions going on so you can work on getting him to focus on you. Do not just repeatedly say his name either give him a quick tug on his choker say his name use your word you are going to use for focus and the instant he looks at you treat him and praise. Walk him don't worry about healing right now you want this guy to work on focus first cause it sounds to me like he is highly excitable. Once you get that focus under control you work on heeling and sits/stays and downs and whatever else you hope to do him. Don't give up on him.
     
  10. Nibbler's Mum

    Nibbler's Mum Registered Users

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    He seems to have a good reputation- people do travel from a wide area to see him although he is local to me. People come from all over Scotland.When he does interact and problem solve with other dogs in the group it all seems good . I think I will go And give it another week and see what happens but do what I did today and stay around the edges and observe and come away when it gets too much . I’m not the only one doing this there are 6 or 7 other dogs and owners. Nibbler does spend most of his walks off leash too as he goes out back gate straight into fields. He is mad for a ball and carries one at all times on walks - this helps him pass other dogs with few problems. Has almost perfect recall with a ball or if I lose ball a pouch of pedigree chum in my pocket. He has had quite a bit of street walking onlead over winter though and isnt too bad .I wouldn’t dare take a ball tothis training cos he has too much focus on a ball but that is what motivates him.
     
  11. Naya

    Naya Registered Users

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    Please don’t tug his collar as this could harm their necks.

    One trainer had me just sit next to Harley and every time she looked at me I rewarded her. This really helped when we started training in different environments as she knew that looking at me would get a reward.
     
  12. Nibbler's Mum

    Nibbler's Mum Registered Users

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    Yes that was what we were doing - treat for every time he looks at me and he was doing this when facing away from distractions. He has a harness so no neck pulling. He isn’t as interested in treats as he is in a ball though.
     
  13. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Longest on the Forum without an actual dog

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    I agree with the others who say don't lose hope. You've landed in what sounds like a not very good class environment for you or Nibbler. 25 dogs in one class is insane and from the limited info you've given just sounds to me like a cash grab by a not-very-professional trainer. The good news is that unless you are in a very remote area, there are going to be other other classes and trainers out there to choose from. I don't think it's unusual to have to give a couple tries before finding a class and trainer that you like. An idea if you have the time is to have a call around and pick a couple that sound good to you and ask if you can visit an ongoing class (without Nibbler).

    And don't worry about the 'good dogs'. I've said it before here on the Forum, but I've been to a LOT of dog classes and as younger dogs in lower level classes it is almost always the Labs who are the problem children. Then you get to the more advanced classes and those same problem children become model canine citizens. You are dealing with something that is VERY typical for the breed. I had Rotties who were often used as demo dogs in class - it wasn't that I was better trainer/puppy parent than the Lab people - I had a breed that was inherently very calm and focused in comparison at the same age, that's all. Please hang in there and cut yourself a break. You'll get there. :)
     
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  14. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Moderator Note: I have removed some comments from this thread. I would like to remind all members of the following rule:

    This forum supports and promotes positive reinforcement training. Members may not advise others to use painful punishments on their dogs, nor promote the use of punishment in dog training by posting anecdotes or images which endorse the use of such punishment.

    We don’t want to create a situation where people cannot even mention the word ‘aversive’ or discuss the way in which aversives are generally used in dog training. But if such discussions are dominating the group or creating bad feeling, moderators may remove the entire thread.

    Please note: Moderators have the right to remove any content they deem inappropriate or in breach of these rules, without explanation. Members that repost deleted content will be banned from responding to the thread in question.


    If you are unclear about the rules, you can read them in their entirety here: https://thelabradorforum.com/threads/forum-rules-please-read-before-posting.1599/
     
  15. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Registered Users

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    @Nibbler's Mum I agree with everyone here that the class of 25 is a LOT of dogs in on space. I am novice dog owner and it seems just as we are taking one step in the right direction we hit a challenge that takes us three steps back.
    I have also been the owner and dog standing on the outside of the class (trying to stop my tears) because Harley was just over stimulated and wasn't able to respond and focus on me as I needed her too. I have also, since, learned a few tricks to get her attention faster that I didn't know before. I have been very lucky with trainers who have been incredibly patient and willing to let me step out of the classes and back in when I felt we were ready.

    In the class I was most recently in we had a very large, young and boisterous Rhodesian Ridgeback, and a sensitive Doberman and a very large Bullmastiff. The Bullmastiff was very well socialised and the only reason we avoid her is all the GOB (yuck) but the other two dogs were still having some difficulty with their social interactions with the other dogs. What our trainer did week after week is just give them some extra space and ask everyone walking their dogs passed to give a good amount of room. What we did was reward our dogs for not joining in when one of these dogs barked, lunged or did something that wasn't part of the training class. So two objectives were being met, 1. the more challenging dogs were getting a chance every week to train and no one made a song and dance about their behaviour - it was gently re-directed and 2. the dogs that were more focussed and calmer had the oppurtunity to proof some training amoungst dogs that were louder and more boisterous.

    What I am trying to say is that at some time, in the not too distant past Harley and I were the distractions that others were using to proof their dogs training with and now other dogs do that for us. Our trainer always says that we are at training for a reason, if our dogs were robots and we knew everything there would be no need for training class and the class environment is as much of a training tool as the heelwork.

    So I think a smaller class would be nice, just for you, but don't give up on yourself and Nibbler. Things will change and you will be the one standing with your labrador leaning against your leg watching some poor soul trying to get their dogs attention.

    Oh and I know he likes Pedigree Chum but try cheese - it made the WORLD of difference in our training.

    Good luck, keep it up and it will get better and then you will be able to tell your embarrasing training stories to other newbies and have a good laugh. :p
     
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  16. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    If a ball is what he finds most rewarding then I would take a ball to the training class. (I assume he’ll hand it back to you when asked - if not, train that first.) Keep the ball in your pocket, ask for a simple behaviour and reward with the ball. After a few seconds, take the ball back and try a repeat. I’d be very happy if anyone I was training wanted to reward with a toy. I think ‘look at me and we’ll do something fun’ has to be more powerful than just ‘look away from those exciting dogs’.

    You most definitely shouldn’t feel upset by your dog’s behaviour at this class. You are there to learn and I think it’s dreadful that you’re paying for training that you’re not receiving (at the moment it sounds as if you’re paying just to have access to the grounds!) I’d be tempted to ask for a refund!

    Your dog will improve with time and practice. Build your bond by playing together, at first well away from others and then increasingly nearer. As you become the centre of interest for your dog he won’t have the same desire to be off with other people and dogs.
     
  17. selina27

    selina27 Registered Users

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    I agree with others that it is totally wrong to pay up front and not get the training you require, and that 25 in a class is too many. And certainly agree with the sentiment that most us have been the one with the over threshold young Lab in the class, but that in time someone else takes that mantle!
    I've had a variety of trainers/classes with Cassie who's nearly 2, before finding a group class that I'm happy with and we are progressing I'm happy to say. The trainer in question is calm and treats all dogs and handlers with respect and the right level of humour. If Cass has one of her "outbursts" the trainer quietly tells me how to deal with it, if I need her to, and then we just resume our work, I'm never made to feel I'm failing and have a bad dog, just a lovely young Lab who needs to be managed until she grows out of such behavior. I travel an hour every other Saturday, it's worth it to me. It's quite ok for me to take my clicker and practice LAt and so forth.

    I find that hand touch is really helpful in distracting settings, especially when other dogs do the weaving in and out stuff.

    Oddly enough the trainer I liked the least was the force free class I went to, I liked her methods but not her interpersonal skills. My lowest point was the week when Cassie did a huge wee the size of a small lake, having been too distracted beforehand, it took forever for me to perform a routine with a mop amidst much tutting and over use of the kitchen paper provided. To make matters worse Cass then headbutted me somehow bringing tears to my eyes :)
     
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  18. Pilatelover

    Pilatelover Registered Users

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    @Nibbler's Mum just wanted to add my support and keep going you will get there. :) What a dreadful situation for you both to be in. I remember when Mabel moved from puppy Foundation to bronze class and she was bouncing about on the lead. I kept away from the other 4 people in the class and still got some tut tuts. The trainer stood in the middle of the room and said may I remind you all that Mabel is 5 months old your dogs are all aged between 3 and 6 years old so there will be a vast difference of behaviour, smiled and never said another word. I have stuck with this trainer he is the most positive person I have ever meet. Personally I’d start looking for another trainer over the coming months.
     
  19. heidrun

    heidrun Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Walk away from that trainer even if it means losing your money which you have already paid for the course. 25 dogs in a group lesson? That is outrageous! You or your dog can't possibly learn anything in a group that size, but it could potentially cause you a lot of problems.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  20. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    I have walked away from a large class with my rescue boy Charlie, it was too busy, too many dogs, Charlie was constantly over threshold unable to do any training. It did him no favours. As @heidrun said it could cause you more problems in the long run which it did for Charlie, it took a long time to undo the problems and one of them I am still working on :( x
     

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