View Full Version : Just starting Canine Good Citizen classes - wish us luck!
1st February 2008, 04:24 PM
Daisy and I are just starting Intermediate Obedience class on Feb. 1. The testing in the last class qualifies you for the Canine Good Citizen certificate.
I hope Daisy does well, but the description of the testing is pretty daunting. It requires her to do the very things she has the most trouble at -- not being distracted by strange people and other dogs. In fact, that is the very reason I signed up for the class -- to address this problem. She is just overly friendly and gets absolutely manic when she's around other dogs, to the point where I worry she is going to get attacked just because of all the overexcited energy she is projecting. She leaps, lunges, and chokes herself from pulling at the leash, and she has lately even started barking while doing so! Very embarrassing. I think people think she is vicious or something! It's the exact opposite. She wants so badly to play with every dog she meets that it is ME she is struggling against because I am holding her back.
The other two dogs in the class are both boxers, and both owners say they show some dog aggression, so I'm actually kind of worried. I am definitely going to have to keep our distance from them.
Wish us luck! I think we will need it. Daisy is a pro at sit, stay, come (when not distracted, that is), etc. But her Achilles heel is when she meets a new person or dog and just goes schizo. So this class will definitely be a challenge!
We are knocking around the idea of getting a 2nd Cavalier (I hope I don't jinx it by writing this! I'm so excited! It would be a rescue for sure.) Do you think that having another dog around all the time may help curb her extreme dog-excitement? I know she would LOVE a playmate, but do you think that would reduce some of the frenzy over strange dogs because they wouldn't be that big of a deal then? Am I dreaming?
1st February 2008, 05:39 PM
From one Daisy to another, our Daisy,s just completed the Kennel Club version of the Good Dog Award scheme ,but i http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2043/2186224158_3e13811604_m.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22730263@N07/2186224158/) still say shes still just as bonkers.
4th February 2008, 05:10 AM
Good luck! Sometimes they know they are being tested and they are model citizens for the occasion.
4th February 2008, 09:05 AM
would you please tell me what is the classes about? what is the age requirement?
i hope you do well!:dogwlk:
4th February 2008, 12:47 PM
I loved our class. There is some off lead work, recall and down/stay and I wouldn't be happy doing that with aggressive dogs. Sometimes we did recall with 3 dogs at a time (funny one time when they all ran to me!), they were chosen to be compatible, in our case, 3 of the smallest dogs. Our tutor never let other dogs do recall with a Staff or one Rottweiler which was unpredictable.
4th February 2008, 12:50 PM
would you please tell me what is the classes about? what is the age requirement?
Here's are the requirements. http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/408
We started at 20 weeks old. I think our tutor was happy to start at 16 weeks.
4th February 2008, 07:52 PM
Ours you can start at 12 weeks - once you have covered the two weeks after vaccinations. I remember Oakley sleeping through most of his first weeks! Pity he doesn't do that now!
Anyways - well done - you'll enjoy it
Merlin has passed his Gold and is now doing an acreddited version "platinum":D
Oakley is on his 3rd attempt at Silver:(
4th February 2008, 08:59 PM
i will look into the requirements
Lexie in CA
5th February 2008, 04:13 AM
Good luck to you and Daisy. I'm looking into doing thta for my Lexie as well.
5th February 2008, 05:22 AM
Thanks, everyone! Our first real class was tonight. She did extremely well except for a few episodes of barking, lunging, etc. at other dogs. I told my husband when we got home that she was the best in the class and the worst in the class, and that's exactly how she was!
The teacher is pretty intense, I have to say. She wasn't there the first class meeting because she was sick, so I didn't know what to expect. I had told the first (substitute) teacher last week that the major reason we were there is to get Daisy to calm down around other dogs and have some manners. I even asked her if I was in the right place to accomplish that goal. She said yes. Daisy is very good at all the obedience commands, and when I have her attention, she can't be beat. I keep her attention about 95% of the time, but that other 5% -- watch out! When she walks by another dog, unless she is really focused on me, she just goes nutso!
The teacher stopped class to yell at me at one point, telling me how dangerous that is, and that it is like letting your dog run out in the middle of the road because she will be attacked one day. I told her "I KNOW! That is EXACTLY why we are here. I don't know what to do about this problem!" It kind of irked me because I told the first teacher upfront that this was our major problem, and anyone could see that it is a problem. I'm not stupid. This teacher's answer was "You just have to get her in a sit immediately, no matter what you have to do to get her there." That's not exactly that helpful, since I don't know how to "get her back" once she goes off the deep end that way. And yanking her back just makes her that much more manic. Another lady in the class asked me what kind of collar I was using, and I told her it was a regular collar because choke collars were especially bad for Cavaliers because of their tendency toward SM. I don't know what the teacher will say about that. I don't want to hurt Daisy by any means, but I have to get this issue resolved. It's major trauma time any time we go for a walk and pass another dog. I think I may have to call the Dog Whisperer.
I guess I'll try to talk to the teacher individually before class next week. I know Daisy looks like Cujo when she does that. And Lord knows I know that she has got to stop it. If I saw someone else's dog act that way, I would definitely wonder about the owner and the dog. She has only recently added the barking to her frantic behavior around other dogs. I think it is pure frustration that I am holding her back from meeting/playing with the other dog. People probably think she's vicious and nothing could be further from the truth.
We got her at 12 weeks, and she was around lots of Cavaliers for that whole period, including her littermates, mother, and other adults. So she should have learned some doggy manners, but apparently it didn't take or she's forgotten. I do wonder if we should get a 2nd dog, one who is very playful, to let Daisy drain energy and get some playtime with one of her own kind. She just wants to sniff, chase, play, etc. with other dogs and it drives her crazy when she's not allowed to do it. (Plus because I would love another dog!)
Oh well, for a first week, I guess it went pretty well overall (barring those few episodes, of course.) Way better than the first several classes last time.
Time will tell, but I am not optimistic about passing the CGC test. That's not my major goal, but it would be nice. But you never know, when she's "on" she's "on."
5th February 2008, 12:58 PM
You might want to use a soft harness on her, rather than a collar. My Geordie behaved the same way at first in training, and back then (2004) I hadn't joined CavTalk and didn't know to use a harness to prevent neck injuries. I think that all the jumping/lunging while wearing a collar may have contributed to his recent diagnosis of SM.
Also, is the trainer having you walk Daisy within reach of other dogs that could harm her? If so, I would find another trainer. If one of the dogs hurts or scares her it will only make the problem worse. In fact, I would refuse to work with a trainer who yelled at me, period. The same goes for anyone who would try to make me be forceful with my dog! She will respond to positive reinforcement over time, so maybe things are moving too fast for her.
I would look for ways to help her get over her frustration with being leashed around other dogs (a form of barrier frustration).
If possible, find a nice cavalier play group for Daisy. I've found that Geordie is less stressed when running loose in a secure area with other cavaliers. Then you could leash her after she calms down in the group. Another option would be to find someone with a toy breed to walk dogs with.
5th February 2008, 04:28 PM
Yeah, I wasn't too happy with the yelling either! I am going to talk to her before class next week and see what she thinks and then decide what to do from there. I suspect that she will want me to use a choke collar, but we'll see.
I have several different types of harnesses (believe me, I've tried everything anyone has ever recommended because her pulling is so bad), and Daisy pulls like the dickens with all of them except the Easy-Walk, and that one is so annoying to use that I hate it. (She's constantly kicking the leash snap with her knees, stepping over the leash, etc. and in order for it to stay on her, I have to adjust it to be very tight and then it still pulls way to the side and looks very uncomfortable.) But I may try it out next week and see if it helps. At least when she pulls, she will be pulling herself to the side, instead of straight ahead.
I do think that Daisy would do better off-lead. She just really wants to socialize and play. But off-lead, she charges at other dogs and then stops short and sniffs noses. She did this with my brother's dog at Christmas. When Daisy first saw her they were both off-lead, and she charged up on her like she was going to eat her (which scared us all to death), but after a while, they were play-fighting so sweetly together. In fact, the little shih tsu was more the instigator of the playing than Daisy was. Daisy isn't aggressive, but her over-excitement makes her seem that way. And I know it is going to get her into big trouble some day (as well as make me old before my time.)
I put her in doggy day care one day (this was one year ago, when Daisy was about 9 mos. old). I called during the day to see how she was doing and the lady said that "Like most Cavaliers, she is a little shy and seems to want to hang out with me more than the other dogs. There are a couple of Jack Russells here who play too rough for her." That upset me because she has never shown any fear of other dogs (I almost wish she would sometimes if it would stop her charging.) And heaven knows she's never had a shy bone in her body. So I never brought her back. Maybe that was a mistake. Maybe she would have learned how to interact with other dogs if I had kept bringing her.
Anyway, thanks for all the advice and well-wishes. I'll post about her progress as we go along.
5th February 2008, 04:56 PM
I'd never use a trainer who would use a choke chain. Now I know a lot of you don't like them but I use a Halti, Dylan doesn't pull at all in his. I hated the idea at first but he can open his mouth fine, it doesn't rub etc. Everyone uses them in my class. I had the Mekuti harness which I found wonderful, for a while, but the pulling started again. None of the dogs in my class pull at all, only Dylan so when he was big enough to have one that fitted, I got him one and have never looked back. I have a double ended lead and one end goes on the Halti, the other on the harness (it has a loop at the front).
6th February 2008, 04:11 AM
Libby and I have completed our first class. We are currently in class working for our CGC and TDI.
Have you tried working with a clicker. They are amazing. There are 2 commands that might help. Watch me or leave it.
I would also not want to be in class with someone that yells. Been there done that with our lab. I found I was so nervous by the end of class. I wouldn't use a choke collar and in fact for testing on the CGC, you have to use a regular collar.
One way to keep her attention on you when walking around another dog is to keep her chewing on her treat. You can use dried chicken, cheese, hotdog until she gets totally focused on watching you.
6th February 2008, 05:06 AM
I'm definitely not going to use a choke chain. I may try some sort of harness next week.
Thanks for all the advice. It's also very good to hear that Daisy is not the only Cavalier that has had this type of problem. Sometimes I feel like I"ve got the only one!
I'm trying to remain optimistic because she was 90% better even in this very first class session than she was in her last 2 obedience courses. It's just that every once in a while, she'll focus on a dog rather than me, but she only did it about 3 times during the class. But on the way out after class she was nuts because there were all these people standing with their dogs waiting for the next class right by the door. It was like running the gauntlet with Daisy. I wanted to say "Just move already." But of course it is my problem, not theirs, so I didn't say anything but just pulled my jumping, twisting, barking dog out the door!
But given the fact that she was generally very good during class, maybe we'll get to the point where she won't go berserk at all during class. I think I'm going to have to really watch her and the second she even looks at another dog, pull her back and get her attention back with a treat. She's very good at the Watch Me command except when she's in the midst of one of her frenzies over another dog. But I can usually prevent it if I time everything just right. She's a pretty intense dog and is always focused on something very intently, and it is usually on me, but every once in a while... Her intensity makes her very easy to train in terms of learning new things. I'm amazed at how fast she picks things up. She is unbelievably food-motivated, so she just focuses so closely on me to figure out what she needs to do to get the treat. If I can only direct that intensity away from other dogs.
Anyway, thanks again!
6th February 2008, 01:02 PM
It's also very good to hear that Daisy is not the only Cavalier that has had this type of problem. Sometimes I feel like I"ve got the only one!
Geordie has always been 'different' than my other two cavaliers when out in public. He is fine at home, except that he barks if he sees someone out the window, while my other two are happy to observe quietly. It was just recently that Geordie was diagnosed with bilateral PSOM, SM, and slight hydrocephalus. I now believe that his behavior problems are associated with the slight hydrocephalus and the PSOM, which I don't know how long he has had. He had the surgery for PSOM last month, and tomorrow I'm going to talk to the neurologist at OSU about how hydrocephalus is treated. As far as the SM, a small dose of Prilosec daily keeps him symptom-free.
I have always felt there was something wrong with him, but could not put my finger on it. Just to set your mind at ease, you might want to take Daisy to a neurologist to find out if there is an underlying problem for her behavior. I wish I had known more about Geordie's neurological status when he was younger.
6th February 2008, 05:55 PM
Don't scare me like that, Cathy! I live in mortal fear that Daisy will start showing any signs of SM! I'm so sorry about you and Geordie having to go through all that. His picture in your photo is absolutely angelic. He looks like the perfect Cavalier gentleman with that great sweet but elegant face!
Daisy is a real love around people and has never barked or shown fear or aggression at any human. The only time she ever barks is at a moving toy or balloon, or occasionally at other dogs. And if I am able to let her approach the other dog, she is very friendly to them, if somewhat pushy and overexcited. It's just when I hold her back from approaching them that she goes crazy and starts all the bad behaviors. I honestly think the frustration and craziness is directed at me for holding her back rather than being directed at the other dog, but I know it doesn't look that way to the other dog owner.
She is calm and sweet 98% of the time, and she is always enthusiastic to meet her next new best human friend at all times. We always say that if our house was ever broken into in the middle of the night, she would never utter a peep, but we might wake up when we hear her tail thumping against the side of the crate!
12th February 2008, 04:59 AM
We just got back from our 2nd class. Daisy did really well. In fact, she was the best heeler and stayer in the class. She got lots of enthusiastic compliments from the teacher, too! So that made me feel good.
The teacher told me that every time Daisy starts going bonkers lunging at another dog to walk her away from the direction she is lunging and keep walking that opposite direction till she is calm and watching me. Then I could walk back and join the group. I think with time and repetition, this should work.
When she first got in the building, she was barking like mad at all the dogs collectively. I sat down with her and distracted her with treats until that earlier class had all gone. Once our class started she was much better.
The bad part is the teacher told us tonight that you are not allowed to use food for the CGC test. I said "OK, we're done." I think it would be pretty miraculous if Daisy could withstand all those distractions WITH treats, so the thought of her walking by undistracted by other dogs and people without using treats seems out of the realm of possibility. That's OK, though. I wanted to do the Intermediate Obedience to get better leash control with Daisy. I didn't even know it was tied to the CGC until the first class session. That's the icing, and I'd definitely settle for plain cake!
BTW, I'm practicing putting a photo in this message. I've never tried it before. If you see it below, then I've gotten it figured out. If you don't, I'll try again later.
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