Having Trouble Getting My Dogs Attention At Behavior And Training Classes

Discussion in 'Training Challenges' started by kimw30, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. kimw30 Well-Known Member

    I have a rat terrier dog and she is going to behavior and training classes and it is hard to get her to pay attention at the classes she will not do anything the trainer tells her to do not even giving her dog treats will help her. she wants to pay attention to the other dogs, do you think bringing a toy would get her attention. she is hard headed.
    MaryK likes this.

  2. Mr-Remington Experienced Member

    How does she act in the class? Is she excited or nervous or does she show agression at all? Most of the time when my puppy won't take food with other dogs around its because he is focused on the other dog(s). I have to be so many feet away for him to focus on me and the food. She mind just be at point in training where she can't focused on you long enough to think about food, because she is too close to other dogs. I know in another thread you said she barks at other big dogs. is the class only little dogs or a mix of both? From the sounds of it she is over her threshold.

    If thats why, then you should start training her from a distance from dogs where she can focus on you and not the other dogs. One thing I do with my puppy is have under the threshold and when she looks away from the dog click or say "yes" And give her a treat.When she looks at you more and more, she understands that looking at you is a good thing, try asking her to look at you longer and longer over time. This has taught my puppy that he gets rewarded for paying attention to me, and now he looks at me as something better then the other dogs around him. This is always good to practice even if it isn't her problem.
  3. kimw30 Well-Known Member

    She wants to get to the other dogs in class, she wants to pay them attention and not me. I think it is a mix of both she is excited and then she will act like she is nervous because she will shake and try to hide up under the chairs. She barks at the other dogs and tries to go to them. It is mostly big dogs in class, they are 2 smaller dogs but she doesnt bark at them it is the bigger ones she barks at and wants to get to them.
    MaryK likes this.
  4. Mr-Remington Experienced Member

    Definitely try the exercise that I told you about in my first post. It should help a lot, it seems like like a it's more of a fear based reaction. My puppy was the same way when meeting new dogs. It took me two months with the exercise I told you about before I could walk him past a dog on the street. You want her to look at other dogs as a positive thing instead of something scary.

    If it's possible introduce her to the dogs one at a time so she knows they aren't going to hurt her. But again you don't want to push her over her threshold so only do that if you know she won't be terrified or agressive. Please do let me know how it goes when you try the exercise.
  5. kimw30 Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for the information and I will try the exercise and let you know how it goes.
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  6. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Mr. Remington brought up some good points and gave you some good suggestions. How far are the other dogs from you when you're in class? If possible, move as far from them as you can, give your girl as much space as you can from the other dogs, and see if it makes any difference. That she's shaking and trying to hide tells me that she's just not comfortable in that class - be it the other dogs, the trainer, or all of it. When dogs are stressed/anxious, they won't eat, no matter how good the treat. When you call this a "behavior and training class", what are you learning in it? And is it positive reinforcement based? I find it unsettling that your instructor hasn't suggested that she's uncomfortable and that she may need to step back from the rest of the class, have more space and time, and do simple exercises (like practicing being calm in the class). Practice "watch me" at home (with her giving you good eye contact) a lot, so that when you get to class (and she's got space from the other dogs), you can ask her to "watch me" (you) and it will be something she'll do quickly. Some good eye contact with you will hopefully be the thing that will then help relax her if/when she gets nervous - but it needs to be a behavior that she learns and defaults to.
  7. kimw30 Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for the information, The other dogs are pretty close, like I am setting in this chair with Prissy and they are in the next chair. Basically he is just teaching them to do sitting and stay and leave it and next week he is suppose to be teaching them to go in there crate and teaching them to be friends to each other, but I am worried about that because they are all big dogs except 1 dog and he is about the same size as her and she likes him, The trainer says next week all the dogs got to play with each other and be friends, but I dont know how that will work with her because she barks so bad at the big dogs there and 1 tries to jump on her and the owner has to pull him back but when she starts barking at them I pick her up. I am trying everything yall said to do. She will look at me at home when I tell her but it is just in class she wants to look at the other dogs and bark. She basically pays attention at home unless she sees dogs. I think she is scared of them and I think she is scared of the class, I think it might be that she is scared of the class because she has been really sick and the place I am taking her for training is a drs. office but the dr. isnt doing the training but she has had to go to the dr. there alot and every time she would have to go I would have to leave her over night there for treatment so I think she is scared I am going to leave her so I think that is why she shakes and tries to hide sometimes. I think she is afraid they going to get her and take her to the back
    MaryK likes this.
  8. MaryK Honored Member

    I find it a little unsettling also that the trainer hasn't noticed, or really helped, with Prissy. I would NOT allow her to participate in anything you feel may upset her further. I suggest you politely refuse and explain why, after all she is your dog, and you have a right to say no to anything you feel will be upsetting to Prissy.

    She needs more space between her and the bigger dogs. Just say, politely, to the trainer you're going to keep her at the back/side wherever to give her more space. Then use your clicker and cue click/treat all the time. I would start at home using a relax cue "relax' and just quietly stroke her, then when she's relaxed click/treat. Take that into your classes and do the same thing. Don't try to 'make' her be friends with the bigger dogs, she's definitely scared, and it's not helping her to be so close.

    You could well have a good point that the training is also done at the vet's place. As she's had to spend time there, it would be very unsettling for her to go, even though she's not there for treatment. Use the 'relax' technique to calm her down BEFORE she has to actually enter the premises.
    madeleine, Dogster and southerngirl like this.
  9. madeleine Experienced Member

    What happened? Did you get even a little bit more foccus from your pup? And have you said something to the trainer about it? I'm really hoping things are good now for both you and your dog!
  10. Emily Marston Well-Known Member

    Give her cabana. I have the worlds most unatentive cocker spaniel. She even fell asleep at her old obedience classes. No matter what she's doing, cabana will make Bonnie stop in her tracks. Otherwise, try one on one training at home. Some dogs just can't work well around other dogs.
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  11. madeleine Experienced Member

    What is cabana?
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  12. MaryK Honored Member

    Cabana is an Italian Sausage, usually quite spicy with a relatively strong smell, which dogs LOVE!!!!!!!!:)
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  13. madeleine Experienced Member

    Oooh okee :) should do wonders hearing that!!!!!
    Thank you MaryK for explaining :)
    Dogster, southerngirl and MaryK like this.

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