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M&M's mom
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Hi,

Maizie is our first golden retriever, first inside dog ever, and I wanted her because I'd read and heard about how easy goldens are to train and how they love to please their owners...well, now I feel like we're failing puppy class because she is soooo excited that I can hardly concentrate to hear what the instructor is telling us.

She is 4 months old and we have to travel 45 minutes to the nearest class which is the 6-week STAR class. She got sick the first time and I figured she was nervous with the new situation, but she was worse, if that's possible, the second time. The instructor called her "our bouncy one." And I've read on here there's always another puppy in the class worse, but I think I've got the worse one.

We try very hard to make sure she has plenty of exercise every day, especially on the day of class. We don't feed her evening meal before class, partly to keep the chances of her getting car sick down and also to make her hungry for treats. By halfway through the class she doesn't even want treats anymore. They have no effect. The best trick she's learned is to spit Cherrios two feet in the air. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot more high value treats, but she doesn't even want those she gets so wound up. The instructor suggested rewarding with a toy but that didn't work either.

Also, I should say we work with her every day, but my husband and I are both getting frustrated with her energy level at times. We're trying a Easy Walk harness at the suggestion of the class instructor and that works better than a regular collar, but still she gets so wound up after about 10 minutes into a walk that she pulls and jumps and generally seems like she's going wild!!! She does good the first few minutes when the clicking and treating are coming quickly, but its almost like that even gets her wound up and so excited she starts taking the treats rough and acting like she's demanding them.

I'm wondering if this is typical puppy behavior or if we are doing something wrong, or if it is just some goldens are like this. I'm worried about her getting bigger and being too much to handle when she gets so excited and rough. Also, at times she seems timid when experiencing new things and I'm wondering if we didn't expose her to enough stuff early enough. She hasn't been around many other dogs. Should I really make a huge effort and get her out to all kinds of places and situations to meet dogs and people?

I'd appreciate any ideas and meanwhile I'm combing these forums looking for help. There's lots of great info here and I've learned a lot from reading them!

Mom of Maizie
 

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Kristy
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I appreciate your predicament... Both my current puppy and my previous one had terrible car sickness problems. I felt terrible taking them both to puppy class and no matter what I tried, it was a disaster.

You can try training your puppy with SUPER SLOW baby steps by putting him in the car and not going anywhere, feeding treats, showing him that he doesn't get sick every time he goes in there. Lots of people have given positive feedback on this method. I am going to confess that I didn't have the time and patience to stick with it so don't know first hand.

Traveling in the crate will at least contain the mess and make clean ups easier. My poor boy would get sick on the way, eat all his treats and then get sick on the way home. I know it is miserable.

Try making sure the treats you take to class are very, very high value stinky treats. Try things like liverwurst, gooseliver, (my boy LOVES bil jac brand frozen soft dog food, it smells disgusting and is hard to find but he does back flips for it). Mix it up, you can even try leftovers from your own plate, tiny little bits of chicken or whatever will get her attention.

As for the attention span, try treating her more frequently. And just hang in there, she will mature, don't give up. The reward of a dog who is well trained is such a great thing and will be worth every minute of time you invest. I know this is probably not practical, but is there any way you can get to class 30 minutes or more, early? Give her a chance to adjust and possibly settle some before the class starts?

Keep practicing at home every day, but also be sure to take her places in public to work on training as frequenty as you can. It might help make the class atmosphere seem quite so novel. Whatever you do, don't get discouraged, you're not the only one and this will surely pass. She should eventually grow out of the car sickness. Hang in there!
 

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Bella was an utter hellian our first puppy class. She was disruptive and wouldn't listen. By the end of the class, she was the star puppy. She had more focus and better parents than the other dogs, and even though Bella had the most energy, she really learned so much. The trainer got Bella to focus and with the right treats, we could too at home.

Be patient and keep up the training.
 

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Have no fear!!!! a high energy golden can be very difficult to deal with but you're not alone!!!!! Try the car trick that was mentioned above, it's great advice! When the energy level gets too high you need to correct or ignore... I recommend ignore, but if you need to correct make it short and sweet and do it with calm energy... If you respond to your dog with anger or frustration then that energy gets fed to your dog... I have a 12 week old pup and when he gets to an energy level I don't approve of I ignore him and when he relaxes I reward him with affection... He's learned he doesn't get affection or treats if he's too hyper and is correcting his energy level himself now!!!! You're dog is very smart and will be wonderful! Pups are very difficult in the beginning, but with patience and consistency you can have the perfect dog!!!! Also, if his attention span is short, try training more frequently for shorter times and ALWAYS end on a good note, even if it takes another 5 min... If he still has a high energy level when he's older I would enroll him in obedience classes and that way he'll get a work out physically AND mentally which is very rewarding for both of you! Best of luck! Hang in there!!!!!
 
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This is pretty typical puppy behavior. They have very short attention spans. See if you can take her out for a potty break mid way through the class time. 4 months is very young and she is just being a silly puppy. Be patient, be consistent, it will pay off as she gets older and will have a longer attention span and matures enough to listen better. But keep in mind, you may have several months of silly behavior before she starts to calm down even a little. Patience is the key.
 

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Sounds pretty typical. If she pulls on an Easy Walk, try a Gentle Leader. Tucker was the same way. Tucker also ignored treats. Can you go to class early? Just go and hang out in the parking lot. Start in the back of the car. Dont let her out until she sits or lays down in the back and settles. It may take awhile, but she will. I have waited 15 to 20 minutes for Tucker to settle when he was a pup. Then let her out on lead. Let her sniff, but just sit and wait in one place. Don't move until she settles, even if she pulls. She will eventually settle. Give her treats when she does. If she is overstimulated, she wont take treats. Do this routine everywhere you go. She will soon realize she won't go anywhere until she settles. You can work thru this! Don't let it frustrate you. Just laugh it off! Don't worry what others think. We have all been there! A smile and a laugh goes way further then frustration when working with a dog! Hope this helps...
 

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I think your puppy is completely normal. My puppy is also four months and also a bundle of energy in class. I just remind myself that I got a golden retriever because they love people and he will settle down. Mostly I try to not train him into any bad habits, because he learns really quickly.

We don't try to tire him out before class. Just the opposite, we try to get a good nap in before class. When he's tired, he just can't pay any attention to us at all. We know "a tired puppy is a good puppy", but I also think "a puppy that needs sleep is wild." Taking our puppy on a walk when he's tired is just asking for misery.

By the way, I did once have the worst dog in class. I took my husband's 8-yr-old black and tan hound to dog obedience class. Heel? hahaha. We got "Most Improved." I'm not kidding.
 

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High energy goldens are the most fun to train. Maybe your instructor is not the right fit? The OTCH person I have trained with for years has methods she uses to get the focus on you. Sometimes a gentle leader helps as it takes them down a notch.. My Basil was returned to me at 8 1/2 months getting carsick every time she went in a car... what fixed it was daily carrides. I am able to bring my dogs to work, so every day, to work she came. Now, she loves to go to work and doesn't drool or vomit. With the correct help, I have found my busier goldens more fun than the laid back ones!
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Nothing sounds far from the norm fortunately/unfortunately. ;)
Keep working with your pup and yes get her to as many places as possible to help make it a more normal experience. But be forewarned, that may not have much effect.
Some pups stress "down" and others stress "up". Time will tell for sure but it sounds like yours will be one that stresses "up". And they can escalate their "up" as you get frustrated. Try as hard as it is to stay even keeled. And yes I do no how hard it can be. (I have a 3 1/2 year old that fits this bill and I am still trying to remember this myself. :doh:) But it WILL get better with time.
As for the car sickness. My youngest (18 month old) suffers/suffered from this. I could not take her any where with out her getting sick - often just as we arrived. It was uncanny beause it did not seem to matter how far we traveled - 15 minutes, 1/2 hour or an hour and a half - just as we arrived it would come up. I gav her 1/2 (12.5mg) a "Less Drowsy" Dramamine (25 mg) tablet. I usually gave it the night before and it worked great. I tried weaning her off this summer and all went well. On our multiple hour trips I did not take any chances and gave it to her those times. But the last few weeks she has again started getting sick as we arrive, even on our 15 minute rides. So I am again giving it for all trips. I tried the ginger, ginger snaps and even fasting. But nothing worked for her.
 

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M&M's mom
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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you so much!

I really appreciate all the comments letting me know that Maizie is a "normal" puppy! It was soothing to me to read your replies and gave me renewed hopefulness.

I have been taking Maizie for drives a lot of mornings before I feed her breakfast. I live near an interstate highway, very straight driving, so we get on that with the windows cracked just a little and I've been playing meditation music for us. :D I've just tried going an extra exit every morning or two and she seems to be progressing, but that 45 minute trip to class is still a little too far for her stomach to stay settled. I will say we've seen some beautiful sunrises together because of this! LOL!

I also tried going early to class to let her settle in, but I didn't think to take it in slow steps like Phillyfisher suggested. We just went potty, then went right into the classroom where another class was being held. The instructor had me put her in a crate and I used most of my high value treats trying to keep her quiet for the 30 minutes before class. Next time I will try going early and just relaxing and taking it in slow steps, letting her have time to settle each step of the way. Heck, I feel like a new mom with some of the mistakes I've made with her like that!

I'm going to find the Bil-Jac food to try as treats. I think I know a store where I've shopped that carries it. And starting tomorrow, I'm going to take her more places. Even if she's beyond that magic window of time when learning new things is easier, I'm going to see if being exposed to more things helps. Today I had more people than usual at my house (usually just my hubby and I) and she did good with the frozen Kong and some other things I had ready, frozen banana, large carrot, bully stick.

Thanks everyone, for your responses. They really helped me a lot.

Mom of Maizie :wave:
 

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Kate
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I'm responding late here, but something I did to get my guy settled in was getting to class 20-30 minutes early. I called this getting acclimated and settled in. I still do this, though I'm fairly sure if we needed to go out on the floor right after arriving he would be over the top hyper but fine.

Treats - the number one thing to keep in mind is that you want the food you give your puppy to be easy to break into smaller pieces, and you want it to be something the puppy (or dog) can eat quickly so you can move on.

You are going to be giving a lot of treats through puppy class, so you want these treats to be something the pup's system can handle.

I would recommend using a regular collar and a comfortable leash.

The other thing is when you get to class, pick a place AWAY from the other dogs and people. That helps prevent some of the major clowning and acrobatics.

Also - pick 2 other days a week that you are going out to public places (pet stores) with your puppy to practice walking, attention, and even sits around distractions.

And remember it takes time before your puppy learns to be settled and sane in public. They have a lot of growing up to do... :)
 

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I took Brooks to obedience classes for the first time at 6 months. He spent the whole class trying to get to this one dog that he was in love with, but she (apparently) wasn't interested in having him near her. So I would get him to lie down next to me but then he would soldier crawl on his belly and inch over to her (the owner moved her dog so she was never by Brooks). It was hilarious, in some ways, but I spent practically my whole class trying to keep him from getting over next to her (she was a GSD).
 

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M&M's mom
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Discussion Starter #14
More good ideas and a little humor

It is good to remember that a little humor goes a long ways. Thanks for reminding me of that! I've been way too serious about this puppy class thing!! Also, I think I will look at more ways to get Maizie out and about, especially at times when I can take my time and enjoy introducing her to new places and the public. I haven't done enough of that I'm sure.

Mom of Maizie
 

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I found the best thing to do if your pup starts acting up is to move out of the ring and into a corner of the room where you can focus on your dog and have your dog focus on you. Work on somethng that your dog already does well this will give your dog a boostbecause you will be praiseing her instead of telling her no and trying to correct too much.
 

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I've been thinking about your post since I took Casper to the park today. I took him to the bicycle/walking trail near the city hall. We sat a bench about 20 feet from the trail. Whenever someone went by, I had him sit and let him lick on a chunk of hot dog (very high-value treat). After a bit, we moved to bench about 15 feet from the trail. When he finished the hot dog, we left. So we watched about 30 people go by. One jogger said "You have a good dog." I was so proud. He also did a good job with one woman with a dog decided to play fetch with a squeaky toy practically right next to us. Arg. By the time we left, when he saw someone he'd look at me and want to know where the hot dog was.

So that's what he can handle for now. Maybe next weekend, we can do 15 feet and 10 feet. And another good thing is I didn't reinforce any wiggly behavior, because I didn't let him get too close. Just close enough to care, but not close enough to lose it. He does get to meet people up close, too. My son is in college nearby and the college kids always love to visit with him. He also settles down pretty quickly, but the initial meeting can be pretty exciting for him. The college kids are really tolerant of puppy greetings. :)
 

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Kristy
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I'm going to find the Bil-Jac food to try as treats. I think I know a store where I've shopped that carries it....
Thanks everyone, for your responses. They really helped me a lot.

Mom of Maizie :wave:
The bil jac I use is frozen and thaws out soft... it can be broken off in chunks and then formed into little bite sizes. Hard to find, but worth the effort because my Mack loves that old stinky stuff :)

Glad the responses helped you feel a bit better, it's always nice to know you're not the only one ;)
 

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Kye & Coops Mom
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We didn't get Kye until she was 4 1/2 mo old so had lost the prime time with her. Thankfully her breeder had her learn all the basics, but Kye is more high strung and was a terror on leash. We found taking her early to class, but we stayed outside, walked around, met other pups, worked on basic commands seem to get that hyper out of her, so by the time our class started she was better (not good, but better). Kye was/is an in your face kind of gal, and thinks all the dogs want her in their face. She was way too much for many of the shyer dogs. We started moving to the end of the line where she must wait for her time. Lots of treats and worked on her watching me even for a second. Was a long haul, but the trainer helped a lot and even used Kye as the example, because Kye learns fast and trainer likes this. She is still a handfull so we are trying to bike ride (with her trotting) every day. It is wearing her out and she seems to love it. She is almost 8 mo old, so this has been a long 4 months, but seeing better results now that her brain is maturing.

I do think the more outgoing dog is a lot of fun to train. Kye learns things easily, but just as quickly will push to the limit. She keeps us on our toes and we constantly try to think ahead of her. I am hoping on our next class she will be one of the better dogs, not the class clown as she was called in puppy class! But she did win the certificate as the "Best Advanced" meaning to start at a low level she learned the most. So know the brains were there, just hard to get her to use those cells sometimes.

Car rides - is a work in progress. Both she and Coop get carsick on our rides to the farm each weekend. Kye is making it most times now, but little Coop...no. Hoping the more he goes, the better it will be.
 
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We had an issue with Tucker never taking treats when on walks due to over stimulation. What got us thru that was to take his meals and only hand feed him on walks. If he did not take food on walks he did not eat. He missed exactly one meal before he figured it out.
 

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M&M's mom
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I've been thinking about your post since I took Casper to the park today. I took him to the bicycle/walking trail near the city hall. We sat a bench about 20 feet from the trail. Whenever someone went by, I had him sit and let him lick on a chunk of hot dog (very high-value treat). After a bit, we moved to bench about 15 feet from the trail. When he finished the hot dog, we left. So we watched about 30 people go by. One jogger said "You have a good dog." I was so proud. He also did a good job with one woman with a dog decided to play fetch with a squeaky toy practically right next to us. Arg. By the time we left, when he saw someone he'd look at me and want to know where the hot dog was.

So that's what he can handle for now. Maybe next weekend, we can do 15 feet and 10 feet. And another good thing is I didn't reinforce any wiggly behavior, because I didn't let him get too close. Just close enough to care, but not close enough to lose it. He does get to meet people up close, too. My son is in college nearby and the college kids always love to visit with him. He also settles down pretty quickly, but the initial meeting can be pretty exciting for him. The college kids are really tolerant of puppy greetings. :)
I really think your post feels like a good reminder that I can slow down and accomplish more. Sitting a little ways from the path of people sounds much more delightful than my attempts to take Maizie on a walking trail near our house. When we are trying to move down the trail, she is pretty overwhelmed with new sights, sounds, and smells. We are hanging in there...slowly learning that we need to slow..way..down. Give Maizie time to adjust and get used to new things. I love the way your post helps me to realize what I've probably been doing and how to help Maizie deal with things better.

LOL! I have had such unrealistic expectations!!! Like expecting a 2-year-old to be able to read and spell or something!

Maizie especially will thank you,

Mom of Maizie
 
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