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Thread: My First class was a Nightmare!...

  1. #11
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    I think it is very dangerous to keep this dog in a group class. The club risks much bigger problems that not being PC about a breed ban, if the dog attacks another dog. The fact that it already went for the cocker is a sign that it simply cannot be in a general class.

    Please do not risk other people's dogs in order to help a dog that needs one on one work. The club can surely offer a home training class if it wants to work with the dog or wants you to work with it -- but this is a situation that is NOT a basic obedience training situation and such training would still not make it acceptable to be in a class with other dogs. I have seen exactly such dogs being worked by Dee Ganley, Tara and Lisa, and it really, truly requires specialist handling with NO other dogs there, and many months of training in most cases. many will always need to be walked on a muzzle, some even wearing the calming cap. It really horrifies me that the club expects the dog to be including in ageneral class. Please at least have someone in the club ring a certified APDT trainer for advice before proceeding in this direction.

    A waiver would NOT be good enough in a case where poor judgement could be proved. The cocker's owner making a statement would be enough to convince any judge that the club did not take adequate care amd is fully liable. Also, the fact that the dog was never professionally assessed before being allowed in the class. Simply signing a waiver doesn't release trainers or instructors from a provision of care towards clients.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  2. #12
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    Cindy - It could be that no one has complained because you had control of the situation at that class. They may assume that the owner will be required to seek the help she needs in a different setting and will not be at the next class. I know you want to help this owner and dog but the safety of the other participants should come first. Do you have Dog Shelters in your area? They may know of trainers that could help with the behaviour this dog is exhibiting. I'm sure they see a lot of dogs with issues that need help before they can be rehomed.
    Mom to Candle and Ally

  3. #13
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    If I may jump in.......

    That waiver would not protect the club against an attack by a "known" vicious dog....last nights' attack proves that it must not be back in the class.

    The rotti might also consider attacking the child to get at the Cocker.

    When a person attends an Obedience Class, they are not expecting to put their dog at risk of death or dismemberment.

    I don't envy you, as you don't have the ability to call the shots...you don't have to continue with the class, given the murky legalities.

    Good luck.

  4. #14
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    Thank you everyone for your concerns. I agree with all of you. It's not safe to have the dog in the class.

    Since we don't have more appropriate courses available and I can not simply turn a needy owner away, I had a brainstorm and contacted the club's chairperson for our anti-BSL committee. She is working closely with community members who are knowledgable and responsible rottie & pit owners. So with her connections, we are currently trying to find someone who would be willing to work with this dog one on one.

    Wish me luck!
    Cindy
    Cedar (tri), Willow (blen), & Holly (ruby)

  5. #15
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    You see - this sort of thing is my exact fear in classes! A dog like that often picks up on others nervousness - and that just draws attention to your dog at the end of the leash you hold. As an owner who has been in obedience class my first reaction is to run and find another class. I want to enjoy my class not fear my and my dogs life.

    But on the flip side, as you said the dog is nice with people - it just is dominate with other dogs. My dog was like that - in a much much gentler way mind you. But in class she always pulled to other dogs, got in their face (but she didnt bark or get aggressive). The trainer said part of the reason was me. I expected her to, I got tense as we came close to another dog - then she sensed it so she reacted appropriately, as I gave her the impression another dog coming close made me nervous.

    In fairness to the owner, she has a nice dog - but I think she is a littel overwhelmed by her dogs size and sensitive that people are nervous of it - thereby increasing the dogs nervousness. Isnt that what classes are about - as you say help an owner understand their dog and be responsible by going to class so as to not have a dog that scares people?

    Since my new puppy is a smaller breed this has been on my mind - i keep looking for classes that might be restricted to size - i dont know if such a thing exists but perhaps some option there might be a good idea for someone to consider. That dog needs to be in a very small class - like 4 dogs of similar size to start and help build the owners confidence. then move up to more dogs varing sizes. but in an ideal world it probably doesnt exist - cause that wouldnt operate a profitable dog school.

  6. #16
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    I just checked into the policies at the training place we go to. They do not allow aggressive dogs (that means aggressive towards dogs or people) in the regular classes.

    They do in-home training for aggressive dogs, the trainers have CPDT certification, and for the ones who are people agressive, they assign both a trainer and a case worker. The case worker is a behaviorist veterinarian. There is also a special waiver that aggressive dog owners must sign - it is different from a normal waiver.

    IMHO it would be very unwise (both legally and ethically) to allow this particular rottweiler in a normal obedience class. I personally would not attend the class, even if it meant forfeiting my fees.
    Cathy Moon
    India(tri-F) Geordie(blen-M)Chocolate(b&t-F)Charlie(at the bridge)

  7. #17
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    I have no experience with dog training classes. But after reading the posts on this thread, I can't help but wonder, why isn't the rotti wearing a muzzle of some sort? Would that be sufficient to keep the other dogs safe? Or not?
    Mum to Tucker, born May 14, 2005

  8. #18
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    Hi All,

    Karlin has pretty much described what we do with aggressive dogs and made the relevant points but I feel it important to say that no one is doing the Rottie or the other dogs any favours by allowing this dog to stay in class. That cocker could now develop behavoural issues because of this and I bet he is very sore even if there is no sign of damage.

    Also I have to disagree that aggressive dogs improve in a class situation. I believe aggressive dogs learn to stop barking or growling because they are reprimanded for doing so. When dealing with a large breed or guarding breed all you are doing is taking away any signals that the dog intends on acting aggressively so you end up with an aggressive dog minus the communication signals and body language which equals one seriously dangerous dog.

    Consider this. Each time the dog growls he is reprimanded so next time he won't growl he will simply shut up and watch as the other dogs get closer. Everyone thinks he has made great progress until a small dog gets close then bang ... dead dog or serious injury at least.

    1. Get a muzzle on this dog asap
    2. Create a safe area, an area where he can work behind a panel
    3. If there are hooks on the wall or a pilar that the dog can be tethered to use that as a secondary fix
    4. Make sure the lead is strong enough and the collar is on correctly
    5. Warn everyone that he needs his space

    Each time he looks comfortably at another dog, feed
    Each time he acts relaxed, feed

    Desensitisation and counter conditioning is KEY along with self control exercises.

    He needs plenty of space, time and a calm secure environment to work out these issues and finally if he is entire neuter ASAP

    I hope this helps. I wonder if Dee Ganley is giving any seminars or workshops near you. Check her site www.deesdogs.com it would be benefitial to go.
    Tara Choules (MAPDT 00852, CAP 1&2, HNC CBT)
    Zak, Beau and Boomer (Cavaliers dressed as Sausage dogs and Schnauzers)
    www.DogTrainingIreland.ie
    Online Store www.dogtrainingireland.ie/shop

  9. #19
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    I see she is female.

    I would ask if you could work the dog before or after class for 15 minute sessions. If that is not a possibility then I would ask the owner to come early, have the dog in a relaxed position with plenty of space and the owner with tons of treats and keep feeding the dog high reinforcers for appropriate behaviour.

    You will also have to classify the aggression. Is it fear based? Probably not since it went forward to another dog. Is it predatory aggression? May not be since she gave lots of barks and warnings...

    Also remember it is YOUR reputation at stake. If a dog is seriously injured or worse in your class it will stay with you forever. If you want anymore help on how to help this dog then email me. I have email you back a list of self control exercises so that while you are teaching the class other exercises the Rottie owner can be doing these. This will keep the dogs attention, allow her have fun around the other dogs and be safe.
    Tara Choules (MAPDT 00852, CAP 1&2, HNC CBT)
    Zak, Beau and Boomer (Cavaliers dressed as Sausage dogs and Schnauzers)
    www.DogTrainingIreland.ie
    Online Store www.dogtrainingireland.ie/shop

  10. #20
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    As I said earlier, I'm making arrangements for the owner to work with someone else on an individual basis. I've found someone who is experienced with rotties who is willing to do one-on-one training, so now I'm trying to contact the owner.
    Cindy
    Cedar (tri), Willow (blen), & Holly (ruby)

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