Saturday, May 12, 2012

TRAINING Part II

A few months after our first attempt at puppy school, we decided to get serious again with training Gypsy. It isn't like she was a bad puppy. She was house trained in the blink of an eye. Sandi taught her from the beginning not to mess around with the cats.
Sometimes I think I'm a cat!
The cats walk by her from time to time and give her a sniff and then walk away in disgust. Anyway, we found a guy that said he was an experienced dog trainer and had a class beginning shortly. We sent him a deposit check and were told to show up on the first day of class with a good strong leather leash and a choker chain. We were told to meet him in an abandoned parking lot.I guess that should have told us something right? Gypsy and I arrive at the abandoned lot at the designated time. I put her on her industrial strength leash and choker and she hops out of the car.
This is going to be FUN!!!
The closer we get to the instructor and other pups, the crazier Gypsy is getting. Happy feet and jumping all around. I can hardly control her on the leash. The instructor walks over and asks if he can show me how to get Gypsy under control. Hey, that's why I'm here right? So he grabs her leash and gives it a mighty yank. Gypsy's head violently snaps to the side.
OUCH! WHIPLASH!
Gypsy was stunned. She just sat there quivering and looking at the teacher with a "what did I do?" look on her face. With that he said, sometime you have to just get their attention and walked off. Unlike the first class we took, this guy didn't want us to bribe the dogs with treats, he wanted us to show the dog who is boss with plenty of "corrections" meaning a good strong pull on the choker. Gypsy and I would go off during the week and do our homework. Basically it was walking and sitting. I have to admit, I was buying into the guys method. While I didn't give the violent corrections he did, I would give her a quick yank on the leash to get her attention. I did see progress in Gypsy, when we were off doing our homework, she would do just fine walking and behaving like a little trained dog.
What do you think I am, stupid?
It was when we had her out in town or other spots where she would see other people, dogs, or little furry things she would again go out of control. I have to admit, a few times when she would go nuts I gave her a major "correction" like she got from the teacher on the first day of class. I was becoming frustrated.
Hey, what's up with that Dad???
So, Gyp and I went to class for the next several weeks, meeting the other classmates in a variety of abandoned parking lots around town. One of the owners was a young guy with a pit bull. The pit bull was about as excitable as Gypsy and the guy had difficulty controlling his dog most of the time. The guy was a pretty laid back dude and I could tell he didn't like "correcting" his dog. One day they showed up late for class. He brought his dog up next to me and Gypsy. He leaned over and told me he was way to hung over to be at class today. He looked kind of rough this day with red, glassy eyes. We were practicing walking, turning left, turning right, and having the dog sit. Gypsy was doing this with ease. My friend with the pit bull however was having great difficulty. His dog was all over the place and not even beginning to listen. I think he was a bit too hung over to do much with the dog too. Anyway, the teacher was obviously frustrated and grabbed the guys leash and gave the yank of a lifetime. He lifted the pit bull right up off the ground until all four paws were off the ground. He kept the dog suspended, all his paws waving in the air and gasping for breath. All my hung over friend could say was "Hey Dude, what are you doing?"
That was the last class we attended.
Sure I want a well behaved dog that listens to me. But I don't want that behavior as a result of fear. I think dogs naturally want to please us. Especially Stand Poodles. It is up to us to show them what we want and guide them. I tossed out the choker chain. Sandi and I would rethink the training thing one more time.

See how nice I can sit?
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