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Well Tucker fail his first obedience classes! The instructor said he needs to take it again before he can advance to the next higher class. It’s not that he isn’t smart enough, it’s because I’m not. He’s just so out of control all the time. It’s taken 6 weeks for the instructor to be Albe to touch him. I have similar problems with him. When I take him out of his kennel or crate he is just so wound up you can hardly get a leash on him. He still try’s to bite and flops around like crazy. I hold him down to the floor and tell him enough and to settle. If he doesn’t then back in the kennel he goes. Then when he settles enough I bring him out again. I keep him on a thirty foot lead and he’s all the time jumping up on me. I hold him down on the ground again until he settles down then let him up and he’s at it again. He got pretty good recall and has learned a lot of different things. I just can’t get him to settle down. Tucker is 19 weeks old. Am I asking to much of him?

 

 

 

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He might be a bit young to start obedience classes, for one thing,  So yes, your expectations may be too high for now.  He is an infant/toddler.  They don't go to school....It took me two years to get Ruby's attention.(Ages 1 to 3) She repeated Rally I four times before the lightbulb went on. (age 3) She is now 15 and still acting like a puppy.  Enjoy!  My training club offers a Puppy PreSchool class for dogs Tuckers age, but it doesn't involve any real obedience, just "pre-obedience using toys and food."  A real obedience class at this time probably put him over his tolerance levels.

 

Kathy Robbins

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Quinn was still pretty wild at that age. What approach to training does the instructor use?  I did lots of fun, short training sessions with Quinn, mostly clicker based. He was always learning, especially foundation skills but it was all a game to him. That remained his attitude his whole life and he was always keen to do anything I asked.

At 6 months, he decided I was important to him and that was a game changer as far as wanting too please me and building an attention span. We started more formal obedience training at 6 months as well, but I still kept things light for him. 

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They call this agility 1 so I guess its not a true obedience class, but they learn the basics sit, stay, down and a few tricks. The trainer has us using 50% treats and toys to do the training with lots of fun and games. She does shaping, impulse control, lots of praising, petting, loose leash walking, etc. She does not do clicker training. The class is 1 hour long and it ready does seem a little too long for him. Theres 3 or 4 other classes going on at the same time so it can be pretty distracting for him. He is really wild!

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It sounds to me like he is failing before he can even begin by being well over stimulated with his brain shut off before he even gets out of his crate.  How is he when he goes into his crate?  Do you take him into the lesson in his crate?  At what point does he start to show signs of over stimulation/bratty behaviour?  Does he have to be in his crate when he is not in class?  Also, where does the training take place?  My obedience club is in a fairly large grassed area. A smaller inside area would probably contribute to being over stimulated from the beginning.  Is his crate covered?  Can he see and hear other dogs?  It sounds like the trick to getting him through this may be stopping him from getting so overstimulated in the first place, rather than working on trying to calm him down once he hits the heights, so to speak.

Sorry for the twenty questions, but I don't think this is either of your fault.  It is a problem to solve and gathering information is the first step.

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Yes, hard to say based on Internet description but sounds like he is just overloaded with stimuli, which makes it pretty hard to focus and learn.  Can you use the class to work on him focusing on you and practicing calm behaviors? You might even need to work in the parking lot for a while so he learns he needs to earn the fun and excitement, not just crash headlong into it. 

Susan Garrett has a book called Shaping Success that I found very helpful raising Quinn. She had an over the top dog and had to really break down tasks so he could be successful. I forget how long it took them to get inside the training building, but they did eventually get there and her pup was paying attention to her.

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At 14-15 weeks (I'm guessing you started this at least a few weeks ago)and his first class I'd have been putting him in a puppy kindergarten and certainly not a beginner's agility setting. As Bordercentrics says, it's a pre-school kind of thing focusing on socialization and some basic introductions to training methods, including impulse control. A good puppy K is short to accommodate their limited attention spans and limited to only a few puppies so that stimulation can be kept under limits. I can't imagine putting a puppy of that age into the class you describe.

If this were me I'd be chalking this up to a learning experience and looking for a good puppy K to go back to the basics.

Wishing you well.

 

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At that age, Tess was a little wild shark. She was learning all the time but was waaay energetic and everything stimulated her. Se began to settle somewhat about 6/7 mo. She had a month crate rest by that time (post-op) and I thought that helped (poor pup) but maybe she would have settled anyway. She's now 5yo and a wonderfull dog. I think he's just too young, give it time, he'll get there.

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9 hours ago, Lawgirl said:

It sounds to me like he is failing before he can even begin by being well over stimulated with his brain shut off before he even gets out of his crate.  How is he when he goes into his crate?  Do you take him into the lesson in his crate?  At what point does he start to show signs of over stimulation/bratty behaviour?  Does he have to be in his crate when he is not in class?  Also, where does the training take place?  My obedience club is in a fairly large grassed area. A smaller inside area would probably contribute to being over stimulated from the beginning.  Is his crate covered?  Can he see and hear other dogs?  It sounds like the trick to getting him through this may be stopping him from getting so overstimulated in the first place, rather than working on trying to calm him down once he hits the heights, so to speak.

Sorry for the twenty questions, but I don't think this is either of your fault.  It is a problem to solve and gathering information is the first step.

Yes he is way over stimulated all the time. He is great about going into the crate. The lesson is 1 hour away so yes he’s in a crate all the way there. I arrive 1 hour early to give him time to go potty and to ajust to his surroundings and to socialize a little. He starts his bratty behavior immediately.. He  does not have to be crated when not in class. His training takes place upstairs away from the other classes but he can hear the other dogs excitement. It’s a large inside area. His crate is not covered. He is overstimulated the minute he comes out of his crate. I take him for two walks a day a half mile apiece. He is constantly running as fast as he can all the time, that’s we’re we practice recall. He loves that! 

 

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8 hours ago, GentleLake said:

At 14-15 weeks (I'm guessing you started this at least a few weeks ago)and his first class I'd have been putting him in a puppy kindergarten and certainly not a beginner's agility setting. As Bordercentrics says, it's a pre-school kind of thing focusing on socialization and some basic introductions to training methods, including impulse control. A good puppy K is short to accommodate their limited attention spans and limited to only a few puppies so that stimulation can be kept under limits. I can't imagine putting a puppy of that age into the class you describe.

If this were me I'd be chalking this up to a learning experience and looking for a good puppy K to go back to the basics.

Wishing you well.

 

Yes GentleLake’s he started at about 14 weeks. We have been to 6 classes. There is no puppy kindergarten classes that I have found here. It’s just Tafffy my older BC, Tucker, and myself. I socialize Tucker as much as I can so I thought if for nothing else the socializing of the class would be good for him. I believe that alone has been. 

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He's 4-5 months old. 


There's an hour drive there. 

You arrive an hour early. 

It's an hour long class. 

Honestly?  If my 18 MONTH old was expected to handle that, his brain would be fried.  Heck, end of his one hour class after a 45 minute drive he would be kind of frantically barking and unfocused and this was literally *last week* (just finished). 

Work on making him not happy and excited about his crate, but relaxed in it.  At least the crate in your car. 

After being in this class 6 weeks he probably does not need an hour to acclimate.  Scratch that, at least. 

And if you have to crate him in your car with a chew so he will calm down and NAP. 

Or give him a break for a couple of months.   Honestly he sounds normal.  Just over tired and over stimulated.

 

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I agree with the above posts that he is over-stimulated and over tired. The long drive to get there is not helpful, although I realize there's nothing you can do about that.

I knew a woman with a foster dog who behaved like that when brought to class. She used the class time simply and only to work on that. The minute the dog got frantic and barky, she took him outside and did whatever worked (I did not see what she did) to get him calm again. Then back in, and he started up, so back out again. It took weeks of this, but eventually he did start to behave better in the classroom, because he wanted to be where the other dogs were and when he did not behave well he was removed. Don't know if this is helpful or not, just thought I would drop it in.

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25 minutes ago, D'Elle said:

I knew a woman with a foster dog who behaved like that when brought to class. She used the class time simply and only to work on that. The minute the dog got frantic and barky, she took him outside and did whatever worked (I did not see what she did) to get him calm again. Then back in, and he started up, so back out again. It took weeks of this, but eventually he did start to behave better in the classroom, because he wanted to be where the other dogs were and when he did not behave well he was removed. Don't know if this is helpful or not, just thought I would drop it in.

I've done this exact same thing with my reactive girl. Sometimes no matter how the classes are structured, you have to do what's useful for your dog rather than trying to keep up with the class itself. ;)

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I've posted about this recently in another thread, so apologies for being a broken record.  But my absolutely bestest dog ever in the whole wide world started in puppy obedience classes at 6 months and he was horrible :o.  I spent pretty much every minute of every  one of the ten fifty-minute sessions off away from the rest of the class just getting him to lie down quietly for a few freakin' seconds.   Then we took the class again.  Lather, rinse, repeat, except by the end of what was now 20 weeks, and with a pup that was now 10 months old, I could get him to hold a down in the middle of the room for maybe 20 seconds while the rest of the class worked around us.  Then we took the class again.  Lather, rinse, repeat, except by the end of what was now 30 weeks, and with a pup that was now a year old, I could get him to walk around the room with the rest of the dogs on a (usually) loose leash without lunging (except for when he would) at all the other dogs. 

Oh, and there was that time when he was maybe about 5 months old, and one lovely early spring morning when we were out in the yard he decided to go gallumping off after something that I didn't think he should go gallumping off after.  So I quickly grabbed his collar.  His response was to throw a truly epic tantrum - screaming bloody murder, flailing around, biting at my hand, screaming bloody murder, scratching at my hand, screaming bloody murder, bucking like a rodeo bronco, and did I mention screaming bloody murder.   This lasted for at least 5 minutes, and my hand looked like I'd been in a cat fight with tons of thankfully superficial scratches and nip marks by the end.    I didn't try to "dominate" him, or "alpha roll" him or any of that nonsense, but I also refused to let go because I didn't want him to think this sort of behavior would ever get him what he wanted. This was a lovely early spring morning when everyone was outside, and he could no doubt be heard by anyone within about a 1/2 mile radius.  It's a wonder  no one called animal control or the police. 

Anyhoo, this hooligan turned out just fine - a joyful, courageous, brilliant, steadfast, absolutely dependable, rock solid friend and working partner that I could take anywhere, and that I still get teary eyed writing about  a decade after his passing.  

As others have said more succinctly, take your pup to class (but I agree with others - arriving an hour early is unnecessary and is demonstrably not working) and work on what your pup needs to work on and don't worry about how nicely all the other pups are behaving.  Your pup just has more imagination than they do.

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He does sleep in the crate all the way there. Wish there was a class closer but there's not. I will try getting to the class on time or maybe a little bit late. There is another border collie in his class the same age and for the last 2 weeks only 3 others were there in his class. Tonight is the last class. I told the instructor I should wait until he matures a little first and her reply was no you should keep coming. But then again they get paid for every dog there! I will try and be a little more understanding with my pup and let him be a puppy for awhile longer. Thank you for all the support.

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Maybe there some misunderstanding here. It is an hour drive there, and Tucker is crated and usually sleeps, but if he doesn't I give him a Bully Stick to chew on and he has his toys in the crate.. After we get there he comes out of the crate and we walk around on the grass and play until class is going to start. There are other dogs there he likes to see and does get to play a little with them outside. Granted he is his crate 1 hour there and 1 hour home but he does not seem to mind that at all. He always like going for a ride and is the first one at the door of the truck. I believe the class portion is way too long for him. I can see his disinterest about a 1/2 hour into the class. So while I think the over all experience seem good for him the length of the class is too long. 

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I might have posted a similar thing with regards to classes a while back. All the other pups (none were collie types) plodded around sensibly being gently lured into different positions while my boy was a complete uncontrollable fireball. It was embarrassing. 

Anyway, after getting advice from here and reading lots and lots about border collies I realised the poor thing was so over threshold that he was never going to be able to tolerate being touched by others or 'settle' there. At the time I wanted to go straight onto the next set of classes, because I knew he was so clever and might improve, especially if they started doing harder stuff. But we didn't and I'm glad.

Instead we've been practicing calm behaviours in less stimulating environments. We've been visiting parks and watching quietly other dogs (at a distance but gradually getting closer) playing fetch, running around etc. We've practiced our loose lead walking in car parks and our 'tricks' at the side of the road while cars and bikes go past. Sometimes we go somewhere just to watch. I'm trying to think about all the different elements of a class and practice them one at a time.

And I'm starting to feel now that we will be able to join a class again at some point. I'm noticing now that he is more able to focus on me when there's other stuff going on around us. But I might ask if we can just go to watch to start with, just lay calmly in the corner being ignored to see if we can stay calm, and if we can't we'll leave before he loses his head. He's coming up for seven months.

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If you feel he is getting some benefit from being with the other dogs there, continue going to the classes, but do not necessarily expect to improve skills while there.  Take what is taught in the class away and practise at home, in far less stimulating circumstances.  Maybe work on focus exercises, building a bond while distracted, during the class time.  I must say that with one of my dogs, I was often working at least 30 feet away from the rest of the group, dog on a gentle leader, with a handful of treats, trying to keep his focus on me, even if that meant my hand was constantly getting mugged, for months on end.

If you feel that he is starting to get bored at the half hour mark, perhaps talk to the instructor and see if there would be a problem with taking him outside, playing with him for five or ten minutes, giving him a change of pace before coming back in and rejoining the class.

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My first BC was a nutcase in class. I think she found the pace boring (3 minutes of practicing sits, then listening to the instructors...booooring) She also (in classic female BC mode) had zero interest in socializing with those other puppies in the free-play session. When she was ON she was amazing, totally focused, put the other puppies to shame. When she was bored and/or over-stimulated, she was a nightmare. We started feeding her, pretty much the entire time, tossing a treat for her to catch every 5 seconds when we weren't working, and we changed it up a lot, sits, down, etc. 

 

My new puppy also came to me with some reactiveness. So when taking my classes with her, I let the instructors know that I would probably not be following along in class, but I would stay out of the way, and keep quiet. ALL I DID with her was sit in the corner and pay her for looking at dogs and people without losing it. Then eventually paid her for looking away from dogs and back to me. We MAYBE did a couple sits, or a nose touch. Now she is in agility and nosework and lays there completely calmly when the other dogs are losing it. 

The biggest change happened when I recognized that we didn't need to work on the stuff in class...while we were in class. We practiced at home, and focused on being chill in class. I now have a dog that really enjoys other dogs and people, but isn't obsessed with them, and works like a champion. 

Hang in there, and adjust your expectations and plan! :) 

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9 hours ago, GentleLake said:

I've done this exact same thing with my reactive girl. Sometimes no matter how the classes are structured, you have to do what's useful for your dog rather than trying to keep up with the class itself. ;)

Yes GentleLakes I agree.

2 hours ago, Lawgirl said:

If you feel he is getting some benefit from being with the other dogs there, continue going to the classes, but do not necessarily expect to improve skills while there.  Take what is taught in the class away and practise at home, in far less stimulating circumstances.  Maybe work on focus exercises, building a bond while distracted, during the class time.  I must say that with one of my dogs, I was often working at least 30 feet away from the rest of the group, dog on a gentle leader, with a handful of treats, trying to keep his focus on me, even if that meant my hand was constantly getting mugged, for months on end.

If you feel that he is starting to get bored at the half hour mark, perhaps talk to the instructor and see if there would be a problem with taking him outside, playing with him for five or ten minutes, giving him a change of pace before coming back in and rejoining the class.

This is what I have been doing lately for just a few minutes 3 or 4 times a day. He learns easily, its his biting and over-stimulation that bothers me the most. It seems it's the only way he knows how to play. It takes the fun out of it for me. I just have to keep in mind, he's a puppy.

 

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1 hour ago, Shandula said:

We started feeding her, pretty much the entire time, tossing a treat for her to catch every 5 seconds when we weren't working....

That's largely the idea of Emma Parsons' Click to Calm program. I didn't quite understand at first what a trainer was doing in a private lesson w/ a very difficult dog I was fostering years ago. We were standing there talking, he explaining a lot of stuff about how dogs learn, etc., all the while tossing treats to Annie as she wandered around the room after them. It wasn't until a while later that it dawned on me that he'd only toss the treats when she was relaxed and had dropped her anxious pacing. He was rewarding to those instants of more relaxed behavior in order to encourage more of them until the anxiety was draining away. She finally got to the point where she was full and tired of the constant movement and went off to lie down on her own. That's when he jackpotted her with some boiled chicken!

1 hour ago, Shandula said:

My new puppy also came to me with some reactiveness....ALL I DID with her was sit in the corner and pay her for looking at dogs and people without losing it. Then eventually paid her for looking away from dogs and back to me. We MAYBE did a couple sits, or a nose touch.

And this is essentially Leslie McDevitt's Look at That protocol, especially the middle part allowing the dog to look at the scary thing she'd normally react to to see what it is, then take her attention off and look to the handler for guidance.

If you think about how much scarier something is if you try to ignore it and not acknowledge it at all, you can see how it makes dogs more reactive when their handlers expect them to do that. Being allowed to see it and then look away from it makes whatever that frightening thing is loose a lot of its power, especially when looking away calmly is immediately reinforced. It helps the dog change its emotional response to the scary thing.

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Maybe take an online class so you can teach the basic skills at home, and later you can take him to school and he will already have an understanding of how to learn. My pup was home schooled, two or three times a day we would work together for 5 minutes, it was in a calm environment and he had the chance to learn about learning. Even though he is a relatively calm dog school would have been to much for him when he was little.

 

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  • 5 months later...
On 10/8/2018 at 9:02 PM, Shetlander said:

Quinn was still pretty wild at that age. What approach to training does the instructor use?  I did lots of fun, short training sessions with Quinn, mostly clicker based. He was always learning, especially foundation skills but it was all a game to him. That remained his attitude his whole life and he was always keen to do anything I asked.

At 6 months, he decided I was important to him and that was a game changer as far as wanting too please me and building an attention span. We started more formal obedience training at 6 months as well, but I still kept things light for him. 

@Shetlander, this was my experience as well. As my Quinn has gotten older it's become more apparent that he's decided I am important and he wants to please. 

@NW_MONTANA_BC, how is Tucker doing now? 

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