Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Puppy Training

As you probably already know, we send our puppy to Doggy Daycare a couple times a week.  We've considered it a benefit as she is getting socialization, along with structured play time (not to mention she is so tired when we pick her up...and like they always say "a tired puppy is a good puppy").

I had been thinking about taking puppy training classes for about a month, so when the daycare posted that a new class would begin in January, I jumped on it and enrolled immediately.  This was perfect timing as our precious puppy was beginning to become very disobedient.  Everything she had learned (sit, shake, come, etc) had become impossible!  Not to mention that she was quickly growing and it was becoming harder and harder to walk her, because she is 50 lbs of pure muscle pulling me in every direction.  I should have known that my "bragging" about how well she does on a leash and how we did "absolutely no leash training...my dog is the smartest dog ever"....would somehow bite me in the a$$ one day!

I was counting down the days until our first puppy training class.  You would have thought I was a little kid on Christmas morning based on my excitement as I drove to class last Monday evening.  Then we parked and got out of the car....My bubble burst just as I opened the back end of my SUV and she jumped out all the while barking her head off at the people who parked beside us.  This was just the beginning of the worst night ever!

Class was to begin at 6:15pm, but most everybody was excited and had arrived early.  We all wanted to be the "teacher's favorite"!  Unfortunately, the door was locked which left all of us (and our dogs) waiting outside.  The second indicator that this was not going to go as well as planned happened next.  My dog wanted to "play" with a few of the other dogs, so she continued to bark and get down on her front haunches in the play position.  Once my dog started barking and bouncing around, it caused all hell to break loose with a few of the smaller puppies.  They were terrified of this big lug (my puppy) and they started to bark, growl, cry...it was so loud!  Of course, my dog was the instigator to all of this madness and the evil eye was given to me by multiple people.  Great, we haven't even gotten inside the door and already I'm hated by a majority of the group.

The events that took place over the next hour will be something I will never forget.  First of all, I should have known better than to take "training classes" in the same room that my dog attends daycare.  From the time we arrived she just wanted to play.  Pulling, choking, and doing her best to get to the toy corner. At one point we were split into groups, larger dogs in one corner and smaller dogs in another corner.  She continued to pull and I continued to hang on to her with every ounce of strength I could muster.  And faster than you could blink, her collar slipped off her neck and she took off running towards the "toy corner".  It just so happened this is where the group of smaller dogs were grouped together.  Thank goodness for quick reflexes by one of the trainers.  She was able to grab her and take her to the ground while the other trainer slipped the collar back around her neck.  It was at this very moment that my first tear formed.  I was humiliated to say the least.  My normally well-behaved dog was a monster and I had no control over her.

This was probably the image those little puppies saw as Lainey was charging towards them!!!

We somehow made it through the whole class and as soon as I reached the door to exit, I burst into tears.  I was humiliated, disappointed, furious, and physically exhausted.  I cried the entire ride home.

Then to further frustrate me, once we arrived home and I started telling my husband about the events that had taken place, my devil of a dog slipped back into her angel persona.  This led my husband to think that I was over-reacting which led to even more tears.  My monster dog was acting like a perfect little puppy.

......to be continued with Class #2 

1 comment:

KT said...

Are you taking her to a positive training class?

Also, any trainer worth their salt should be giving you tips during the class, helping you to control your dog.

According to our trainer, dogs (especially puppies) can act the complete opposite way from how they act at home. For instance, we did a class on "drop it"- or tried to. All of the puppies were completely uninterested in their toy- odd behavior for Buster because we brought his favorite toy in. So instead the trainers just told us how to practice the command at home.

Make sure to do your training homework every day- that way your "monster" will turn into a well behaved large puppy!