What a RUFF weekend!

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Buddys_ Mama's picture
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I took Buddy to a puppy kindergarten class on Saturday. We were so excited (me and the kids) to take him there and socialize him but it really was not a good experience (for any of us...). First we get there and there's 5 or six other puppies and owners waiting outside for the earlier class to end. Buddy is leaping at the other puppies in play but the owners are pulling them back away from him making him leap further and it's obvious after I say his breed that they recoil in horror. Ugh. Meanwhile, there were 2 German Shepherd Pups and a Bull Dog Pup that noone had any issue with. This was probably because those pups were not feverishly LUNGING at the rest.

We were outside for sometime and at one point I had to walk away from everyone because he was just so crazy. Finally, we were called in the room he was panting loudly and you could tell he was in a sort of frenzy. I gave him some water and tried to talk him down. The next thing I know, he is in the middle of our circle Pooing! Not just pooing but leaving a mound of mustard colored diarreah! I wanted to die! The trainer running the program smiled and said not to worry but I could tell she was clearly annoyed. I started to get some paper towels and such but she said that she would take care of it. While scooping at what Buddy left for us, she did NOT address why he did this or what I could've done to make things easier for him or how to socialize a new pup to the group... wth? For the rest of the class she pretty much ignored us. She worked with all other pups and their families individually for a few moments. Not us.

Despite her, we worked on all the stuff she was teaching, stay, look, lay down... he performed wonderfully for us and by the end of the day we had given him almost the whold bag of treats! Still every once in a while he would notice the others and whine and pull. She would stop talking and look at him like he was 'interrupting' her... really? She could've helped me deal with the situation but made matters worse by ignoring him.

We got home and he slept for quite some time in his crate. I took him out and more diarreah. At about 11pm I went to check on him and he had thrown up in his crate. It seemed he was so worried about it, scratching to get out and sitting behind me looking at my face... thankfully my daughter helped me clean it all up and I took him out again. More diarreah. I was so worried for him that I ended up sleeping on the floor next to his crate.

I knew that if he still had diarreah on Sunday, we would go to the vet. Thankfully he had normal movements the whole day. I certainly don't want to give up training with him but I also don't want him having diarreah and vomiting for the entire balance of the day. Any suggestions on how to make it easier on him and me? How to positively socialize him?

 

Any help is greatly appreciated. :)

 

DJ's Dad's picture
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Buddy is still a baby, so dont expect too much in the way of 'calm' behavior just yet.  I'd suggest exercising him at home for 15 minutes or more just before taking him to class next time.  Give him an opportunity to get all excited, then calm down a little and do his 'business' at home before going to class.  Let me assure you that Buddy is not the only puppy that has ever eliminated in a class and wont be the last, but you're losing valuable instruction time every time the instructor has to stop and take the time to clean up from any puppy that messes in the floor.  Dont feed him for at least couple of hours before he goes to class. A pup that is a little on the hungry side will be more apt to do what is being taught just to get that treat you're offering, anyhow. 

If you're using training treats, cut them REALLY small---the size of a pencil eraser .  That way, you can treat him often during your class time without filling him up. 

If you know that he lunges towards other pups, keep him distanced enough from them when you first get there so that he cant do that.  Let him have time to calm down. Pet him and tell him what a good boy he is ONLY when he's calm...never when he's all psyched out and jumpy.  You can take one of his favorite toys with you to get his attention focused away from the other puppies so that he isnt barking at them, too. Puppy kindergarten is so much fun for the pups, and should be fun for you, too---so dont stress about it, just enjoy it. 

Maybe your instructor felt that some of the other pups needed more help than Buddy did, if he was doing such a good job in class.  See if things change during the next class with her attitude towards him.

You said ..."Still every once in a while he would notice the others and whine and pull. She would stop talking and look at him like he was 'interrupting' her... really? She could've helped me deal with the situation but made matters worse by ignoring him." 
Actually, ignoring him when he was whining is what she was supposed to do as a trainer.  Dogs dont like to be ignored, and his whining and pulling was an attention-seeking thing he was doing.  We all have gone through this with our puppies, so please dont think I'm not on your side, here.  You'll find out that ignoring him when he's whining will get much better results than trying to hold him, pet him, talk him out of doing it, or any other attention that you give him while he's showing behaviors that are not appropriate.  You could be redirecting his attention with a toy or a treat to get him to stop whining and pulling, also.  ASK your trainer before classes start,or after class is over about some tips you can do to get him to stop whining.

Buddys_ Mama's picture
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I totally appreciate the help. :) What I meant by ignoring him was really, well... ignoring me! lol. I sat there squirming and uncomfortable, trying to keep him in place and I'm sure my nervousness affected him as well. I am sure Buddy is not the first to have an accident at a class but she never even spoke to why this may have happened or what I could do to help him feel more comfortable.  She didn't even address it at all. I am obviously very green when it comes to puppy rearing but willing to learn everything I can. I know it is not an easy thing and I'm ready to do the hard work but it seems to me that an experienced trainer would have helped ME deal with the situation at hand even it was to tell ME to ignore what he was doing. Am I completely off-base here?

DJ's Dad's picture
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No, you have a valid point.  After all, you are paying just as much for training as the other people are, and should have 'equal time' and proper instructions. I'm thinking that maybe she's like so many people that 'teach' things to other people---they have gone through this so many thousand times already, sometimes they forget that everyone doesnt automatically know what's going on, too.  Tell her exactlty what you wrote here---that all this is somewhat new to you and that you want to understand more about what to do/what not to do/ and WHY things happen.  Most instructors/trainers will do what they can to help you if they know you are needing help in this area.

Just FYI---puppies tend to pee and poop after they eat and after they get excited or stressed.  So, what you can do to try to avoid this from happening the next time is exercise him before class begins, try to get him to go potty before class, and keep calm and upbeat about class yourself---he's going to pick up on any anxiety or stress you might have and end up feeling the same way and not even know why.  No food or water until class is over--just really small training treats during class time.  He'll be fine. 

I have always asked questions in class---and I didnt care how many people around me thought it might be a goofy question. 

Buddys_ Mama's picture
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Thank you so much for your kind words and suggestions. I hope I can get over this and take him back next week. I am however very tempted to find another class altogether. Thank you again. :)

DJ's Dad's picture
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That's another option for you, as well.  If you dont feel comfortable with this class & trainer, find one that you are comfortable with. 

jpdobie's picture
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Kevin had an awful first day at his puppy class.  I was so horrified by his unusual behavior.  He ripped a hole in my shirt, ripped my hand open, and during puppy playtime scared the bajeebies out of the other puppies and therefore their owners.  As you said, he got bad looks because of his breed and erradic behavior.  I hadn't exercised him well before that class and made it my mission to do so.

We've since had two more classes and he's done wonderfully.  We go for a HIKE before class for an hour.  He still gets excited and finds some sort of energy for class, but it's much better.  Now I feel very comfortable in class and I've bonded with the other owners and puppies.

During play time, Kevin gets very vocal.  He barks and growls.  I've heard a lot of his noises and his play growl is much different than his protective growl (which he has already!). During the first two classes, we had substitute trainers - not a fan.  This past Saturday we had the actual trainer and I loved her.  I told her about the growling and she watched him during play and made us all feel more secure about it.

Just talk to your trainer.  I feel like there should be some pow-wow time to sit and share.  That's how I got "closer" to the other people in class.  

But biggest thing is EXERCISE like Paul said.  I'm lucky because Kevin poos well before class starts.  The trainer should offer a potty break, though.  Especially for smaller breeds.

Good luck and don't worry!  It'll get better!

Jessica

tess's picture
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There you have it.  You couldnt have gotten better advise from anyone else here. I also have a new puppy and I skipped puppy kindergarten and went straight to obedience class and lets just say I wasnt too thrilled. I was stressing about the collar that the trainer wants me to use instead of paying attention to the lesson. Well after a week of working with the flat collar that I want to use, Im going to switch to the choke collar.  Its easier to correct his behavior. My point is give the trainer a chance and work with your puppy. As for the people cringing when you tell them Doberman, dont worry about them.  Those same people are going to be envious when they see how well Buddy does in class.  Its a known fact that the Doberman breed is one of the smartest and quickest learners. Good luck with Buddy.

 

Tess

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Tess is right---if there are people in your class that are a little unsure JUST because he is a 'DOBERMAN', by the time you're done with all your classes, they will be won over and will love him, because they'll see how smart and cute he is, and that he has a sense of humor (dobie puppies can be clowns)  Happens 99.9 % of the time. 

Buddys_ Mama's picture
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Thanx all, I do feel better... I just wish I knew how to approach other dogs in a friendly, calm way and although I know Buddy is just trying to play, it appears that he is trying to pounce on all the other puppies there. lol  I will excersize him before next class for sure and try to feed him earlier so he'll be able to eliminate before we walk through the door.

Really though, I want to know... do I just let Buddy run up to the other pups and see what happens?

DJ's Dad's picture
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...Really though, I want to know... do I just let Buddy run up to the other pups and see what happens?

NO!  Never allow that.  The main reason being, you dont know how the OTHER dog will react to him.  Some dogs really dont like other dogs just rushing up to them, some dont like being touched by another dog.  Some get defensive when approached suddenly, and that can turn ugly. Personally, I get a little annoyed when people allow their dogs to rush up to mine (even though mine is very friendly to other dogs). Now is the ideal time to teach Buddy respect for other dogs' space.  If you and the other owner BOTH agree that your dogs are friendly, you can allow them to meet and greet....but dont let him get in the habit of envading another dog's personal space.  That's a hard habit to break.  He will be a much better adult if he learns manners now, while he's still little.

When you're about to approach someone with another pup before class (or any time you have him out and about), try not to tense up yourself.  A trainer told me once "your emotions go straight down that leash to your dog.  If you're tense, your dog will get tense, and if you're calm, your dog will calm down, also"....it's true. Just walk him up slowly, and if he starts to get overly excited, just walk him around in small circles till he calms down. Give him a 'sit' command'.  Make sure he's taken his energy levels down a notch or so before approaching. 

Puppies are a lot of work, as I'm sure you're finding out!  LOL

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At my last puppy class we worked on teaching the puppies to sit at a short distance from each other and only approach each other when given permission.  Maybe that will be something you'll work up to in class.  It sounds like you're in a larger group and I'm sure it's hard for Buddy to contain himself.  I still get a little embarrassed at class before it officially starts because Kevin whines and barks to get to the other puppies.  I actually try to arrive as "late" as possible so when we get there there's no idle time.  Once we're started it takes a good long 3-5 minutes for him to focus on me, but once we've got eye contact he goes into work mode.  (Of course on our leashed walks through the woods outside of training environments his demons return... I jokingly tell people I'm exorcising him - get it? - like exercising but the getting-the-demons-out-type).

Anyway,  I'm a beginner like you which is why I want to share.  It'll get better. I know Kevin is far far farrrr from perfect, but the little improvement I've seen in his in-class behavior after 3 lessons gives me the ability to reassure you.

Keep us updated. :-) 

Buddys_ Mama's picture
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Thanx guys... I will definately heed your advice.