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Old 02-04-2013, 04:38 AM
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I think I found a trainer for us

Good luck with the new trainer! I have a fearful dog, a rescue, and the good news is if your dog is taking treats, that's a good sign! My pup won't have anything to do with treats when she's afraid. She goes catatonic, but she's coming through better and better each day!


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Old 02-05-2013, 01:27 AM
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Feeling discouraged and bummed

We had two incidents today. Nothing major but they are bothersome nonetheless.

First, when the dogs were being fed, Tucker went after Bella's food. There was a gate between the dining room and living room that wasn't closed. He backed her away from her bowl which meant she was trapped in her crate. The private trainer wants us to supervise the dogs when they are eating to be sure Tucker doesn't get pushy, but DD forgot and also forgot to close the gate. Big fail.

Then, at her basic obedience class tonight, Bella went after another dog (no contact--lunge and a bark). While she was still aroused from that, the older of the two trainers walked by, very close to DD and Bella and Bella lunged at her. . The trainer lost it and yelled at my DD who had the leash at that time. As DD took Bella outside, I spoke very calmly to the woman who had yelled and who was starting to speak strongly to me. I said, "You know, she's a student, too." DD was very upset and got into the car. Main trainer had me take over Bella for remainder of the class. The secondary trainer went out to the car and more or less apologized to DD and also delivered a little dog training lecture at the same time. Truthfully, I think she felt bad but didn't want to lose face either.

The main trainer wants me to use a different collar with Bella. We used a borrowed prong on her for part of the class but I'm not sold on that for her. I'm thinking of using a martingale collar. Basically the trainer wants us to be able to control her quickly if she lunges again. If anyone has suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

I'm wondering if we should continue with this class. I've always felt it was too crowded, and for a fear-reactive dog like Bella I think it feels overwhelming and intense. I think I'll call the trainer and see what she suggests. It's just sad. Bella was excited to get there tonight and then it all went south.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:15 AM
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Grrrr!
I hate that happened! So disappointing!
Sounds as though you handled it well.
You always give the best advice and support here.
FWIW, we used a prong collar with Phoebe. It worked well initially, but makes no difference now. I personally hate the thing.
Keep us posted!
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:39 AM
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I am sorry to hear the problems you are having with Bella. A fearful dog can be difficult to deal with. From what you described, the group obedience class may be too much for Bella to deal with. We took a class at Petco where there was a tense dog, but it was a small class, so it was easy to keep the dogs and people separated. If the class is too crowded, might be best to give Bella (and you) a break for now.

All obedience classes we have taken have required that we us the Gentle Leader, but I do not know if that would give you more control.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njoyqd View Post
Grrrr!
I hate that happened! So disappointing!
Sounds as though you handled it well.
You always give the best advice and support here.
FWIW, we used a prong collar with Phoebe. It worked well initially, but makes no difference now. I personally hate the thing.
Keep us posted!
Dale
Thanks for the kind words--that helped! I'm going to call the private trainer and tell her what happened last night. I think it's probably best to take Bella out of that class at this time. We will work on basic stuff at home, perhaps with videos and a book or two.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:54 PM
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I agree about it being too much. It's probably best to find a trainer that can work with you and Bella privately. I know how you feel, my boy, Diego, is unsocialized and is pretty reactive to other dogs on walks. We are going to JaneTrains, and just today, Diego kept walking with me while a small dog was chasing us. This woman is the real deal, you could give her a call to talk about everything and see what she suggests. Each half hour is $15.
I really feel for you! It is very depressing when you feel hopeless and can't do anything about it. I didn't think it was possible to train Diego to walk beside me instead of pulling my arm out. He used to be a sled dog! It'll be better once you see progress, I felt so relieved when I did. Like a heavy weight was just lifted off of me. Hang in there!

And have you ever tried the SENSE-ible front clip harness? That's what I use and I love it. It gives me a lot of control. I use the gentle leader when we go somewhere with a lot of distractions. This is only my opinion, but I wouldn't use the prong if I were you. Harnesses are a lot safer. I even bought my other golden a back clip.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:02 PM
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Hi hi!

Oh, there are times that I too feel so lost about what to do when confronted with something new.. like adapting your house, routine, ways etc to a new dog. Hang in there. I always feel, during a bad week, that I don't know what to do, that things will not change.. but then after a month you see how much actually does change when we try new things and we learn so much in the process. If I think a year ago when I first got my very first dog I didn't even know breed names! We learn and adapt to make their (and ours) lives enjoyable.

I am volunteering at the public classes at the sf spca and when we have a medium reactive dog we put visual barriers. Having the trainer yell at the dog or person would never ever be an option. We try to make sure they are below their threshold. If Bella is barking she is over her threshold and my impression is that if she keeps repeating this she will learn that: class situation = scary dogs too near me. I would probably suggest a "reactive rover" kind of class. Or private (that would be my personal choice at this point).

Also, Grisha Stewart is coming to the bay area soon to give a workshop on BAT. (so nice!)

Also: book "Mine" from Jean Donaldson. (ah, you probably know that one.. ). Oh, also to gain confidence, nose work! Sniff!! haha

You are a really really good dog mom!! Taking care of your 3 adorable fluffy balls and adapting to accommodate their histories. You are such a good example!

Have a wonderful day!
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:32 AM
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So I spoke with Martina, our private trainer, today and told her about Bella lunging at the other dog and at the second trainer during Monday's group class. She completely agrees with me about pulling Bella out of the class for the last two sessions. Ive thought from the beginning that the class is too crowded. Now that I've seen Bella in that setting, plus have a better understanding of her issues, it's the right thing to do. I'll ask the trainer to send me the handouts and I'll work on the stuff at home. too bad, but better for Bella.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:57 AM
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I think you'll feel a lot better going to a private trainer instead. We're all hoping it gets better for you! It really does sadden me when I see amazing owners like you discouraged because I feel this way a lot. But the training will progress. Even if there are a few incidents here and there, Bella won't lose the training. I've talked to my trainer so much about this, I always end up thinking once something goes wrong everything's ruined, and that I'm a sucky trainer.

Many hugs to you!
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:06 AM
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thanks for your post, Kathleen.
I am kind of going to the same issue myself with my dear almost 4 yo Golden Lilly.
We just hired a private trainer with her submissive - aggressiveness towards other unknown dogs....
Lilly got out (we took her out) of her 'impulse control' class as well, just like your Bella - because of aggressiveness to another dog - a lots of similarities.
Anyway - you are definitely not alone here and I love this forum, because of all the very valuable help and support you find here.

All the best to you and your crew including your new member Bella!

Heike
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