Yesterday's training class was just awful. You know that other dog that picked on Kosmo? He was there, but Kosmo was very out of sorts with things.
I told the trainer how his eye had been hurt (it's better now) and how I don't want Kosmo to have to be near that other dog and she kind of told me that he needs to get over it and go anyways. I felt like I was the one being picked on when the other dog did the damage!! He did have to use a long line yesterday and we didn't go anywhere near him, but the trainer kept telling me that I was making him scared..
Here's how it went: Kosmo would be OK and then if the other dog came within his sight he would freeze like a statue with his tail between his legs. We were practicing the "wait" command and I could not get him into a sit wait or a down wait with ANYTHING. His tail was between his legs and he kept trying to hop up into my arms. The trainer told me that he needs to "beef up" and get over it, and that I should have to force him into a sit stay!! She told me to push his bum down. So when I finally got him into a sit and walked away he got up and tried to run after me, crying. Then she made me do it again and again until he finally did what was asked. When he finally stayed and then got to come to me, he was shaking like a leaf.
I kept telling her "he's scared, his tail is between his legs" and she kept telling me "he needs to get over it. You have to be firm with it and follow through no matter what." So we obviously were having a conflict of intrest because I had this dog that has gone from the top of the class (consistently) to the one who hides under his chair, will not listen, and doesn't want to be around other dogs.
When the dog finally left, his tail came out of between his legs and she's like "see you have to show him that you're not affected by Casey." But the problem is that I AM affected by this other dog!! Kosmo is 12lbs, this dog is 120 on a bad day! I understand this dog is where he needs to be, but that doesn't mean that he needs to interact with Kos and be by him! When I look at Casey, I see a dog that could potentially hurt Kosmo very bad in a short amount of time, and it puts me on high alert to be within a leashes reach of this dog.
When we re-entered the ring, Casey sits near the entrance and Kosmo would go to the OTHER SIDE and then hide under my chair. When I touched him, he was trembling. We had to make our dogs sit as all the other dogs ran by and Kosmo tried to hop up onto the store's shelf! When I made him get down, he tried getting in between my legs.
I really feel like I was picked on all day in class yesterday. She is telling me that I am "encouraging his fear" by making sure that other dog does not get within reach of Kosmo and that "fear aggression" could potentially come out of that. She kept telling me that I was the problem!! I just wanted him to be happy and himself again. I kept telling him "kos, you're fine. Kos lets go.. Kos you want a cookie?" I didn't cradle him and say "oh my little baby it's ok you're alright" I just tried to change the subject and direct his scaredy cat ways to something else.
After this, the trainer made a point to talk about "fear" stages that dogs go through. She tried to make it like she wasn't calling me out, but she totally was. Kosmo has been so friendly with ALL other dogs, he still loves to play with them, but as soon as he sees that other dog, his complete attitude changes and his head goes down and his tail goes between his legs.
So guys, what I am I supposed to do in this kind of situation? I realize he needs to get over it, but I really don't blame him for being scared! Do you think he'll just get over it in a few weeks and move on? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!