Merlin is the middle child amongst my three. Blue gets lots of attention from everyone as he's been around for 16 of his 17 years at my place.
Panda..spent hundreds of hours with this boy...so that leaves......
I signed him up for obedience classes. Not to sound big headed but I've taken beginners obedience at least 9-10 times with various dogs so kinda bored. ( Some of you may remember I do quite a bit of work regarding dog behavior teaching myself.)
I signed Merlin up for intermediate as he knows his signals and I've modified what I use in my household with my three. However at the class tonight -( intermediate) were two pit bulls and one bull mastiff (not that there is anything wrong with these dogs) but Merlin barked and barked in return to their barking at him. The woman asked that I go inside to her husbands class- beginners. (This was within the first 10 mins) I'm not sure if I'm a bit peeved or not.
A little annoyed that I spent $120 to take a class I already know, but on the other hand ..the whole purpose of me taking the class with Merlin was to spend more one on one time with him. I wanted to socialize him more with other dogs once again and give him 100% of my attention which I dont' get a chance to do with the other two always around. We always take walks with either Blue, or if we go to the woods offleash then Panda is also along.
Sooooo I admit I'm a bit annoyed as part of me feels it made it easier for her as the pits (one in front of Merlin the other behind) kept barking at him and he barked back in return. On the other hand every dog in the beginners class Merlin instantly liked and he may be the star pupil as he's taken the course before. So what do you guys think I should do...stick with the beginers or insist on the intermediate?
I'd appreciate feedback.
Marianne and Merlin
|I'd be down right mad at what they did.
Why was Merlin singled out when the other dogs were barking too.
You paid for the intermediate class, you should be attending the intermediate class.
I understand you wanting to spend time with Merlin..... and classes sound like a lot of fun.
Is there another intermediate class he could take? If not I would get my money back and go somewhere else.
|Id probably have thrown a hissy fit and asked for a refund and pointed out in blunt terms that maybe the teacher was the one needing training not the dogs.
If the pitbulls were also sent in Id understand, kinda. But to single you out because you're new to the group is unfair if someone else started it
|I think next time I would go to class as usual and if the same thing
happens and she asks you to go say, Thanks for the thought, but I
think it is someone else's turn this week, and smile sweetly. If I were
in that situation I would also point out that you have probably taken
this class more time than she has taught it - but then thats me,
and I know you are nicer than I am!
Poor thing! I am angry that you paid for the class and you aren't getting
what you paid for! Shame on the instructor. You'd think someone
teaching that class would be a little more insightful with the dogs!
|Not Fair!! BUT on the other hand I would be grateful to get away from the Pit Bulls, especially when it comes to off lead work I'd always be nervous of an attack situation no matter how well the pits are trained. So is there another itermediate class going on that does not have them in it? If so insist on that one, otherwise let merlin be king of the class and work his way up quickly then to more advanced classes, then you can showoff your clever boy and zoom ahead of the field
If I was Merlin I would be barking back too if they were barking at me
Funny how many dogs bark at big hairy ones, we get that a lot at dog shows, think all the hair they don't know if it is a dog or not
Thanks for the feedback!
I honestly don't know how I feel about the situation as I keep going back and forth from being annoyed to being okay about it. Am I just annoyed because I do know these classes so well and am miffed my boy was singled out? Hmph....my boy! My hackles went up..lol as I'm not sure if she determined in those first 10 mins that Merlin wasn't up to speed of the others or if she honestly felt he would do much better without the two pitbulls siblings constantly barking at him. Husband and wife each had one. The Bull Mastiff was just a big sweetie pie.
I have to be honest and say that the male Pit especially, appeared dominant, as is Merlin, so may have been the reason for all the yapping. It did concern me as soon as we stepped out of the van the Pits immediately targeted him amongst all the dogs in the parking lot for the barking. While Merlin is dominant he is not aggressive and there is a difference but a part of me suspects the Male Pit was a tad aggressive from my observation of the interaction.
Dogs know which others may be a challenge to them in terms of heirachy, and Merlin is a dominant dog which is why I think he was targeted.
Ironically Merlin has a habit of getting in other dogs faces and barking too which is why I thought he needed to go back to obedience in the first place. Although there was no barking at all from him in the other class.
(Think all three are equally quilty although Merlin was fine until they started it) LOL Boy do I feel like a kid saying that!
True, I could probably teach the classes myself but the main reason I put Merlin in the class was more for socialization and spend one on one time with him. On one hand, the other class only had the two pits whom were siblings and the Bull Mastiff and Merlin. So only four dogs!That class was held outdoors so may work to my advantage as although tonight was a beautiful evening our West Coast weather tends to be very rainy and muddy and means if he was doing a lot of downs..kinda get yucky every Monday.
The indoor class is held by her husband and has aprox 10 dogs. Merlin did his work and because he's taken it before he did well. He liked all the other dogs in class and we were even approached by someone after the class who I knew previously from a dog park. Merlin and her previous senior dog used to play with each other.
Sorry I keep harping on this as I keep going back and forth but should probably call the woman directly tomorrow and let her know my feelings. Maybe I'm just a bit bugged that she thought MY MERLIN BOY was a bit slow? If that's the reason then as his mom I'm peeved..but if she did it more for his wellbeing than I'd be okay with that.
Thanks for listening and offering advice. Much appreciated!
I hope I haven't offended any Pit owners, as I love all dogs but did worry about the male in this situation.
Marianne and the boys
|Oops me again...should also mention the last time Merlin took an obedience was when he was a pup and he's now 2 1/2.
|I guess you need to stepback and look at the situation with a dispassionate eye....... Do you think Merlin will benefit from the beginner class? Will your "goals" be accomplished there just as easily as the intermediate class? Sounds like there were 3 or 4 dogs with a problem, but the instructor couldn't move all three back to beginner. Did the other dogs stop barking when Merlin was gone?
When Tasker was young we started an obedience class and were "driven out" by a similar situation. There was a rotweiller that was aggressive and dominant and every time he came near Tasker, Tasker would lay on his back with his legs in the air. The rot would growel or bark and Tasker would cower. The class was a disaster, the instructor did nothing to intervene and finally we dropped out because I was afraid of the rot, Tasker was afraid and neither of us were learning anything.
Is there another intermediate class you could try?
|LOL I know exactly how you feel, Marianne!
I also think you need to re-look at your goals. Do you get more out of the intermediate class, or the same stuff only harder? If so you can talk to the beginning instructor and ask her if it is OK if you kind of do some things on your own, and get ahead..like do some off-leach work etc.
I think it may be a bit distracting for Merlin if he had to deal with those dogs barking and carrying on every week. Not a good social experience, I would think.
Which one would you think HE would prefer more?
|Marianne...I totally understand where you are coming from. That instructor would have gotten a piece of my mind. I can be very protective of my baby and anyone I hold dear.
However...I think you should stay in the beginner class, or go somewhere else.
Since a large part of taking a class to begin with was to spend more time with Merlin...I think the beginner sounds like it would be more fun for the two of you. With the two pits (and the unlikable instructor) in the advanced class, it seems like it may be a bit stressful for both you and Merlin. While the beginner class may repeat what you both already know, you can both build your confidence and have fun because you aren't stressed that he isn't learning or obeying.
What ever you choose I am sure Merlin is thrilled you have you to himself
Oh boy - can I emphasize with this situation. I signed up Cassiopia for a class....and the teacher's son brought in an untrained pit bull. The pitbull immediately targeted Cassiopia for some reason and barked and lunged at her. Cassiopia who is dominant, barked back and tried to lunge at the pitbull. After 30 minutes of non-stop barking and lunging at each other, we left the class. In our case, the teacher did attempt to difuse the situation - without any success. And since I was not confident that the pitbull's handler (80 pounds...maybe) could control the dog, we decided to drop that class.
However, like you I signed up for the class to get Cassiopia some more socialization with other dogs. In this case, the teacher and I talked and arranged for Cassiopia to join a different class.
If possible, try to determine what you want out of the class and talk it over with the teacher. Hopefully the two of you can come up with a plan that will work out for Merlin.
Jennifer, Baxter, Cassiopia and Sharkey
|Marianne, since the goal is to spend more time with Merlin have you considered agility? That would be new and different for both of you and you might enjoy it.|
Thanks to everyone for offering their opinion! I'm actually not feeling as upset today as I was yesterday. In someways it's like being in university and asked to take a elementary school class. Your pride is hurt (in this case mine maybe?) but don't think this will harm Merlin and he probably needs a refresher.
Bestdogs, I had considered agility - as Merlin did this too last year and was pretty good at it. That trainer out of all the ones I've had was far superior than the others but unfortunately he moved about an hours drive from me. When Merlin and I took his courses it was with only one to two others in attendance and not the regular obedience classes but what the upright felt it was important to learn in their household. We also had a chance to do agility too. I had forgotten about these yesterday when writing my post as I kept thinking of the regular obedience classes Merlin took as a pup. At that time I was concerned about Merlin running away from me offleash and we worked on his recall and he's pretty good but can use so more work if he's distracted by other dogs.
I hadn't actually planned to get Merlin in obedience at first, but rather called to enroll Panda in Musical Freestyle which supposedly was to start in April. However I found out it doesn't start for another 6 wks and as an afterthought I decided to enroll Merlin. I will call her tomorrow and see if that is a possibility to switch classes. If not, I realize after listening to most of you I'm still getting what I wanted and that's spending some one on one with Merlin. I think if we stayed in the intermediate class I would be a tad concerned for Merlins safety and that wouldn't be fun for either him or I. Thanks for your opinions!
I'm thinking I would love to clone me...three of them...one of me...my work is never done!
Marianne and the boys
|Marianne - As far as I have seen in the classes that Q and I have gone to, beginning and intermediate cover pretty much the same things. The dogs just have to be getting better at it. Because your goal is socialization and quality time, aren't 10 pleasant dogs more social than 4 - of which two aren't very pleasant? Work on making Merlin do his thing perfectly.
Things could be a lot worse. Q was "expelled" from her first obedience class for barking. When we adopted her from the Humane Society we got a free seminar at which their head obedience instructor explained that dogs should be trained by positive reinforcement. They didn't use choke collars and the like. First night of class Q started barking at the other dogs. No problem, said the instructor, we just crate them when they bark and soon they learn not to do that. Fine - into the crate goes Q -- bark, bark, bark. The crate jumps around the floor. No one can hear a thing. This goes on for three weeks. She also popped her gentle leader and attacked another dog at recess. Finally, one of the staff suggests that we move to a class with a more experienced instructor (We were expelled), which we did. This was the positive reinforcement man. His solution was to feed her all through class to keep her distracted. When we completed the class, he took me aside and said: "You take that dog over to PetSmart and get her a prong collar!" So much for positive reinforcement!
We eventually did growley dog class (for agressive dogs), repeated beginning obedience as a "normal" dog, and did intermediate and advanced obedience. We are now doing agility. I still have to watch Q around other dogs, but life is much better.
Count your blessings!
Karen & The Q
|Hi Marianne, I've just read this set of posts. I think that working in a more positive environment that is fun for both of you is what will be best whether it's first level or agility. I will need a class for Willoughby when we're settled in Surrey and will look to you for guidance. I would be very uncomfortable in a class with agressive dogs whatever they might be as Willoughby is my baby and I couldn't tolerate the risk! sorry: lost my password:again! Cheers,Lynda|
|Beginner class sounds like the more fun experience.|
|Thanks for the opinions and you guys are right ..I'll stick with the beginners obedience as ha! - our weather has changed once again from sunny to rainy! The outdoor people are going to get soaked..while I'll be warm and dry inside. Better still, Merlin will be reasonably clean.
Isn't this awful but been so busy in the evenings - haven't had a chance to call her.
I really appreciated everyone's thoughts on this.
Marianne and the boys
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