28th May 2011, 04:25 AM
Behavior class with big dogs?
Nalu went to puppy class but spent a lot of time cowering under a chair or behind me in fear of all of the big puppies. I'd like to take her to a behavior class to get socialized but I worry about her getting injured by big dogs - especially her eyes. I live in a rural area where big dogs are very common. Should I just have the trainer work with her alone?
28th May 2011, 05:13 AM
I had the same problem, the big dog puppies were just to big and scary for my pup. I was fortunate that I am a member of a cavalier group that meets once a month so we socialized there. Honestly though I don't find any issues with waiting until the cavalier puppy is a little older for puppy classes. IMO you will do more harm with placing your pup in a situation that is overwhelming for her. I would however take her to as many places as you can while she is young and let her experience different things in the world.
28th May 2011, 10:39 AM
I remember Maddie's first puppy class - she was shaking like a leaf all the way through. The next week she dragged me in, and she hasn't looked back since. She's wary of bouncy big dogs, but that is because she knows how small she is so it's self-preservation, she is happy to say hello though if they calm down.
I would suggest talking to the trainer and see if you can socialise Nalu with some well behaved adult big dogs? You don't want her to be fearful of them especially if there are lots in the area you live, but puppies can be far too clumsy and bouncy. A steady older dog who has good doggy manners would really help.
28th May 2011, 12:10 PM
It s really, really important for small dogs to meet big dogs and vice versa. Puppies do not tend to be worried about size too much -- if a pup is cowering it is a sign that the class is really important for him/her and really needs this socialisation now in puppyhood.
It is also important for owners to just let their pup be and get a chance to adjust -- exactly like the shy child in kindergarten. If mom rushes in, protects the child, and tries to manage the whole process the child doesn't get confidence -- pups like people need the time to assess the situation and with each class, a pup almost definitely will grow more and more confident and soon be tumbling with the rest. Puppies play hard *as a norm* -- let the instructor determine if things are too rough (a good trainer will just split up any situation that gets too overexcited).
To be honest: most big dogs are a lot less aggressive and gentler with small dogs than small dogs can be with big dogs or with each other -- cavaliers are generally gentle and low key but most smaller breeds are far more active/yappy/aggressive (it is part of their breed personality to be so).
I have never heard of a cavalier having eye damage from playing with other dogs. Cats can be another matter. It would be sad to limit a dog's life due to worries about whether they may get hurt in normal play, so I'd just let them be.
In memory: Lucy
30th May 2011, 06:14 PM
Nalu did graduate from puppy class last year, and unfortunately she only interacted by barking rather than playing, . Since then she's been around other dogs but shows no interest in them. I was imagining the upcoming behavior class could be full of large uncontrollable dangerous dogs that would hurt Nalu but I will rest those worries aside and talk with the trainer.
30th May 2011, 07:29 PM
We took Bentley to a 5-session obedience class. Basically all he learned was "sit, stay, down, leave it-take it" etc. He was so hyper each time that it was an awful ordeal for me. He tried to mount the other puppies the first couple times, I guess to prove his dominance?, could hardly be contained, got easily distracted, etc. We skipped the graduation ceremony, partly because he was definitely not ready to show any kind of proficiency in any area. We do have the hand-outs that we can use to further train him at home. We had company this past weekend and he went nuts again, just from the excitement. We have some work to do!