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UGH! Puppy class was a DISASTER!

Discussion in 'Puppies 101' started by Sandy in CT, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. Sandy in CT

    Sandy in CT Premium Member

    Aug 5, 2018
    I am going to talk to my trainer today to see what she says - she is in Brodie's agility class with her two dogs. Last night was a hot mess. 12 dogs in the class - all social distanced of course. We were late, I should have showed up a bit earlier to let Deacon sniff a bit more, but considering our class, maybe it was a good thing we were the last ones in the door.

    Everyone was set up in a large oval throughout the space, more than normal social distancing - we took the last spot nearest the door and the chair section of the class. Just so happens a MONSTROUS puppy who apparently does NOT like dogs or people was not allowed to join the class because of how he was behaving, but allowed to sit back there and watch until the last part of class where they bring out 2 puppies at a time to play together - if the puppies seem to mesh well. We were closest to that dog. His head was larger than Deacon, I swear! He barked, aggressively, nasty, I wanna eat you up barks and just terrified Deacon. I sat on the floor and he sat in between my legs safe and sound. I reassured him at first by petting but then left him to just sit and watch.

    Introduction (these are all puppies by the way, most Deacon's age) - there was an Anatolian Shepard puppy - 50 lb ball of fluff. An Irish Wolfhound who's head was at my hips and weighed in at 50 lbs, an Australian Cattle Dog, a spaniel, 2 black labs (one older, oldest in the room and VERY hyper and barky). 10 others on the floor and that one Cujo sitting in the back.... and Deacon -all 8 1/2 lbs of fluff.....

    He did fairly well with the pass the puppy where puppies are passed from group to group -some folks had one or two family members - they try to encourage parents to bring kids for the pups who are not exposed to kids. He was NOT a fan of the texture of the ribbed floor - haha! There were people he seemed to really like and warm up to; the group right next to me, one man who laid down on the floor next to Deacon, a woman who he seemed to like.

    We did not do the puppy playtime. Even though Cujo left, those dogs were so much larger, more hyper than Deacon, and really played hard. We watched, that was enough for me. At times, Deacon sat facing the door - like 'get me out of here!'. Jane did bring the smaller lab puppy over so she could sniff Deacon but Deacon literally refused to check out her! :) Deacon has such confidence in our life... much more than Brodie ever did, yet when Brodie was this age, while he did not like little dogs his size, he LOVED big dogs. I hate to give up puppy class because it is safe exposure to vaccinated dogs his own age and socialization is SO hard to deal with now. Will talk to Jane at class today and see what her recommendations are. We have not done the Home Depot, Lowe's trips yet because Deacon just got his rabies last week, trips are in our future but no 'boots on the ground' until he is fully vaccinated.

    He did come home, immediately flipped back into confident Deacon and played with Brodie way past his usual bedtime.
    Darren, RikyR, Ann and 4 others like this.
  2. SheepOfBlue

    SheepOfBlue Premium Member

    Oct 15, 2009
    That was a LOT in one night he was just being sensible and checking things out.
    Piper's mom and Sharon7 like this.
  3. Sandy in CT

    Sandy in CT Premium Member

    Aug 5, 2018
    The facility owner actually said we were failing at socialization; I bit my tongue HARD on that one. I was pissed. She knows we worked tons with Brodie. Deacon happens to be a lover, not a fighter. We like that he has a boisterous playful side but then has a serious 'hey, I will just sit here and check all this out' side. He can shake a toy and growl or grab one of our dogs by the neck and pretend that he is going to eat them up, or he can kiss the makeup off your face. He LOVES his kitty-cat! He explores, but then can just lay down and chill. Goes along with the history of his name - he has two sides to his personality!
  4. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    What a crock. Any chance to find a better class -- and get a partial refund?
  5. Sandy in CT

    Sandy in CT Premium Member

    Aug 5, 2018
    I didn't pay last night... :) I will talk to my trainer in agility class today and see what she says. The owner, well... she was a professional handler, now retired but is an AKC judge... opinionated, not necessarily correct! Ha! No other classes unless I drive over an hour in the other direction - so it's this or nothing. My trail trainer who I do drive an hour for isn't doing outdoor training right now due to all of our snow. It's 4 weeks, I will probably stick it out for now. My goal with Deacon is to do the 2 beginner classes after this, get his AKC Good Citizen, do a few Rally classes with him to keep him occupied while he's growing then get him in to agility. This class is just a blip on the radar - just wish it was a better experience. I will play it by ear if I keep going, after talking to my trainer, but may never let Deacon 'play' with any of these dogs. They are big, goofy, rough and tough pups - he's my gentle midget.
  6. Margi

    Margi Premium Member

    Nov 2, 2012
    Corona, AZ
    Heh I would have said "and you apparently failed at diplomacy" before any tongue biting could have occurred!
    This class sounds far from ideal for a sheltie pup, I dunno if I would go back, the owner's snarkiness not withstanding...
    Chris, RikyR, Sandy in CT and 4 others like this.
  7. Calliesmom

    Calliesmom Moderator

    Mar 29, 2008
    very interesting.... Cranberry did a puppy class at Petsmart with a good trainer, Jocu did a puppy class with a local trainer person, Destin went straight to obedience/agility with no puppy classes. None of the puppy classes that we went to encouraged or really allowed puppy playtime. that should definitely be an optional item as not all breeds play the same or as you've pointed out are the same size at the same age.
    definitely let Deacon do it his way and if he was ok with the other people, that's socialization......
    Caro, Margi, Sandy in CT and 3 others like this.
  8. trini

    trini Premium Member

    Nov 13, 2013
    upstate NY, USA
    Sorry this happened. If it was me I wouldn't take my tiny puppy back to that particular class/group of pups...and the trainer who didn't win any brownie points with her attitude. Although socialization is important, a bad experience can do far more damage than less socialization. Deacon is tiny and could easily get hurt even in regular play/interface with pups who are so much larger than he is. Whatever you decide I hope it works out better than last night's class.
    RikyR, Margi, Sandy in CT and 4 others like this.
  9. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    Gloria had a similar experience I believe, with Liam and it was not a good situation either. I don't think I would go back either. I wonder if you could reach out, through your vet's office, (maybe put up a notice that you're looking for puppy playdates) try Nextdoor or other social media. I would not go back to that class myself. I think the impact of frightening experiences for Deacon would be not worth it. He sounds like a grand little guy. Too bad there weren't more smaller puppies in that class.
  10. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

    Aug 28, 2011
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    “I would have said "and you apparently failed at diplomacy" before any tongue biting could have occurred!”

    Love that response!

    I have learned the hard way... If a class feels wrong, it is wrong!
    I have horror stories about Liam from puppy classes, beginners obedience, to CGC classes! Make sure BOTH of you are comfortable in the class! What I learned is to back out of a class if I felt it was making negative associations! I would sit in on classes prior to signing up to see their techniques!
    I have been in over crowded classes with out of control aggressive dogs that scared Liam half to death!
    Eventually found a class where there were ONLY SIX DOGS! The trainer immediately picked up on his fear! He hid in a corner and the trainer said, don’t force him! With gentle guidance from sensitive trainers Liam passed the class with the highest score!
    Take your time and find the right fit! You will both be happier in the end!
    Sorry your first experience was such a negative one!

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