View Full Version : timid girl

28th March 2008, 07:39 PM
Sunsine is almost one year old now and is in her second intermediate obedience class. She also does pet therapy weekly at the local nursing home. Recently she has become very afraid at obedience class and is transferring this fear into our therapy day as well. Wensday it took all my energy to get her happy about training but then we did heeling excercise inbetween other dogs and she instantly froze and refused to move.

I wonder if I am doing more harm sticking to obedience classes right now. We have an aggressive dog in our class that really seems to be triggered by sunshine and will lunge and bark at her when we get too close. I have ask the instructor for help to build her confidence as she has always been a timid girl, he tells me to keep bringing her out but each week she is getting worse!

I am waiting for her breeder to call me back with more help but I am afraid I am at a loss as to what to do. She does very well with her commands except the heeling. At home she pulls and now at class she is so scared it is hard for her to move. I hate to see her so upset but I don't want to stop classes as we were going to move into agility next.

28th March 2008, 09:35 PM
Personally I would find another training club with an instructor that was a little more helpful...every dog is different and a good instructor will know this. Perhaps the instructor should be working a little more with the other dog that seems to be a problem? sounds like the other dog needs the extra!
Please don't force her into a situation that she isn't happy with. Training should be relaxed, enjoyable and something that both of you like to do, look around for another club and tell the instructor why you are doing this. Please don't let this experience dent your confidence as a trainer either.
I wouldn't take my dogs where they were not happy and I firmly believe that tension travels down the lead....dogs are very sensitive and will soon pick up on your worries, you have a clever little girl to have learnt what she knows already so don't loose heart and give up the training. :)


28th March 2008, 09:40 PM
Sound advice from Alison, pretty much said what I was going to say!!

28th March 2008, 10:33 PM
I am really surprised that an agressive dog is allowed in the class. The obedience/agility training facility that I take Dixie to will absolutely not allow any dog in their classes that is agressive. They tell all owners that rule right up front so there is no misunderstanding, and they enforce it. If the instructor does not take care of the situation, I would take my dog elsewhere asap!!!!! Good luck, I hope you find the right place where Sunshine can feel safe and confident. Judy and Dixie

29th March 2008, 06:51 AM
Thanks for the advice...sunshine has done very well in training class up until this one. She isn't the most confident dog but once we get going she is tail up and happy so to see her terrified has me very concerned. As I said I hate to see her so unhappy. I don't want her to end training on this down slide, should I ask the trainer if we can just skip training excercises that require interaction with the other dogs for now?

29th March 2008, 09:03 AM
For a little one of her age I personally would want lots of different interactions with other dogs in her life at the moment. At this age she is learning social skills etc which will help for her whole life time. Perhaps you should ask the trainer to remove the dog that is causing the trouble? or for you to be placed into another class where you feel she will be happier? do others feel upset with this other dog in the class, if so then perhaps a few of you together could voice your concerns with the trainer.

Myself I would also have a quiet word with the owner of the troublesome dog and let them know how you feel....they might listen and if responsibe enough they might seek some extra training themselves to help with their own dogs problem. Maybe they don't even know the problem they are causing to your dog and the upset and concern to you.

If after all this you still don't feel happy there and Sunshine is miserable then to continue there wouldn't be the best thing to do. As long as you get her out to meet other dogs on a regular basis, encourage the return of her nursing home visits, perhaps start the agility (which on it's own is a good form of training with control) and give her lots if interaction with all sorts of things then to have her happy again is more important.

Training classes are just as much about teaching the owner to train their dogs. After the class training should practiced and learnt at home all week. A class is usually only once a week but training is lifelong, daily, hourly, part of a dogs life and also it's owners. If Sunshine has achived what she has so far then you have a good grasp of training and what it envolves, keep the work up at home and in the park etc, practice what you have already learnt, build your confidence up again and hers.

Enjoy her! all we really want are nice mannered, well behaved socialised dogs....sounds like you have that already :)

Hope all goes well for you both,


2nd April 2008, 11:29 PM
You might also be interested in this book -- widely used in the US for shy dog training. I've been to a couple of Dee's seminars and sheis a great trainer and specialises in shy and also difficult dogs:


3rd April 2008, 05:52 AM
thanks for the tip Karlin...Just for an update, tonight sunshine was fabulous. We kept a big distance between us and the aggressive boy and it worked out well. I am so proud of my little girl. She has been doing so well I hated to see her scared but tonight she reminded me how great she is. We had fun and I guess I will just keep plugging along.

We also went up to her breeder's house yesterday to show her what a pretty dog she turned out to be (sunshine is turning one). Secrectly I think being around all the other cavaliers help her and gave her a boost of confidence!

4th April 2008, 04:07 AM
I am so glad things are improving for your little Sunshine. judy and dixie