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Frist puppy socialization class. Concerns (long)

794 Views 12 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  DaySleepers
Let's start with some background. I adopted my girl (american pit terrier) about 2.5 months ago from a animal shelter. I had planned on a older dog next year but enter a global pandemic and me off work with 3 teenage children one with autism all day every day. She is my first dog ever, so I know I took on a challenging breed to start. That said I am a bit of an over thinker/ planner/researcher and none of the major breed complaints (prey drive, gameness, energy lvls, possible da) was deal breaker, especially when she bonded with my autistic son immediately. Being home with nothing better to do and a dog that was clearly going to be hard for me to physically force to do.. anything.. as an adult I focused on training especially leash manners. She was tethered to me her first 2 weeks at home and has had consistent (positive) reinforcement to be aware of me at basically all times. Normally I would have enrolled in classes, but they were canceled, so I researched training strategies and landed on a strict nilf policy with positive reinforcement and redirects. She is very clever and eager to please. (One of the traits that made me decide to adopt a pit terrier.) She knows all the basics now to be in public in dog friendly areas, shes still a little over excited and licky (not bitey or da, just pulls to get to people after eye contact/ consent and after intro will raise herself carfully on her hind legs to hand height if peting stops) but she's not even 5 months so yea I'm very happy with our manners. Now classes are open, I tried to get her in a socialization class with older dogs, but they said I had to be in puppy obedience classes first. I was mostly ok with that thinking they would have similar temperamented dogs (she s alot, and training is high energy and often loud) then I found out my mom was in the same class. Her chug is 3 weeks younger then pepper, but has never even been taught to be on a leash correctly, mom uses a retractable (shudder) much less manners. He minds me better then her when I am over (which is rarely because I cant watch the way she handles him and there was an incident). I'm the one that taught him his name and to sit - the only command he knows reliably even in his home.
Now to the questions. Is this normal. Having such a range in dogs be in the same class ie. Size, 10-35 lbs; energy lvl pepper can play/run/wrestle for an hour and still have enough energy for a light traing session, copper (the chug) doesn't even make it around the block before its nap time. training level/ needs cooper is way excitable and needs soft low tones (part of why mom has issues with him) pepps needs high energy praise/ reinforcement as she is only treat motivated when I under feed, and not always even then. Add to all that Cooper is also bitey, especially with with mom (she was bopping his nose till I ratted her out to the trainer lady), although not usually with me. I give him treats and praise pets for sitting on my lap and being good. I DID get bit by him one time while pulling him off pepper (the last time I brought her over and the incident refrenced above) when she was tryng to back away behind me. mom just watched. Pepps has to pay enough attention to me to respond to call off commands (I can't move her if she digs in) to meet other dogs, but he ignores mom whenever it suits him. So not cool (side note why can her ankle biter get away with that when my pit would be villinized) leaving a nasty mark (it looks like it ll scar) and a bruise that took 2 weeks to heal.
If this is a normal range (assuming that these are the extreme ends of the class), how do I avoid being a distraction with our high energy training, and keep pepps from picking up bad habits (like over barking).
I had assumed it would be more like high school with segregation based on skill level/needs. We met an older dog and my girl obeyed both me and her signals in an intake while cooper jumped all over tgat poor dog and had to be handled by the trainer. I just cant help feeling like I'm going in so that pepper can learn division and cooper is still eating paste.
Maybe.. ok prolly I am over thinking this cause, well, I over analyze everything. I am aware I am new at this, I believe I can benefit from more points of view, it's the stark contrast that has me confused as to how this is going to work. I want to trust they have this, it's just not my strong suit. I could really use some tips/reassurances that this is normal.
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One of the things you have to accept when you get a pit or pit mix is that a lot of people are going to look at your dog askance whether she's behaves perfectly or not. I have Rottweilers. That's just part of owning certain breeds, and you're better to accept it and handle and protect your dog with it in mind. I've experienced prejudice in a training class, although the instructor didn't act on it, just made a few snotty remarks. I ignored her, proved her wrong, but if she'd tried taking my dog and doing anything I didn't like, it wouldn't have happened.

I'll admit I look at pits askance in spite of having a breed that's also often prejudiced against, not because I don't know a lot of pitties are lovely dogs, but because a high percentage of the ones I've encountered are owned by irresponsible, macho jerks. When I did rescue work it helped me understand the anti-Rott prejudice because I encountered some of the "You got any big Rockwilders" crowd.

I've attended puppy kindergarten at 2 different training centers. In the one, the puppies never interact, they're on leash with their owners, everyone learns certain training and handling techniques, and puppies are exposed to various strange things they probably wouldn't otherwise meet. For instance, the last time I was there, they had, among other things, a short agility tunnel and a kid's wading pool filled with crushed cans. Puppies aren't forced to do anything with those strange obstacles but encouraged to and praised madly when they do.

The other class divides the sessions into two parts. For the first part, the puppies are let loose together to interact. The play is supervised by training assistants who make sure no puppy is picked on, etc., while the owners go off to a classroom for a lecture on training and puppy care. For the second half of the class, the owners go back to their puppies, and there's regular training instruction. They don't present puppies with unusual things but concentrate on showing owners how to train - sits, downs, recalls, leave it, etc.

I don't think I'd go to the second class for puppies again (I've done it a couple of times) unless the instructor agreed I could skip the classroom part. Once you've sat through the classroom instruction, it's been there, done that and boring. While I think playing with other puppies is good, especially for ones like mine that don't get around other dogs much, I don't like leaving my puppy for others to decide what supervision and handling is needed. And at least one of the training exercises involved treatment too harsh IMO. I simply refused to do it. (That's your responsibility as the owner. If something strikes you as wrong for your dog, you don't do it. You don't let the trainer do it. I walked out of a training class once when the instructor insisted on something I didn't like.)

Your post sounds like a lot of your problem is your mother's dog. That's also your responsibility. If another dog is causing a problem, get away from it. If someone gets their nose out of joint, too bad. You wouldn't let someone run roughshod over one of your kids, would you? If the trainer is taking your dog from you and doing something you don't like, speak up.
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