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Re: Why the personality change only in class?

Posted by:  Jane McClay
Posted on:  June 06, 2002 at 20:36:30

In Reply to: Why the personality change only in class?
Category:   General Training
Posted by:  Judy
Posted on:  June 06, 2002 at 20:02:37

Question:

: My 7 month old JRT and I just finished our puppy kindergarten classes (8 weeks). It was a frustrating experience for both of us! She was the only JRT (lots of labs and other large dogs). She loved all the dogs and was very distracted by them most of the time. One of the trainers brought in (at the 6th week) a prong collar for her to wear. We tried it and after that everything just got worse. She basically didn't want to do anything in the class. Also, the entire time she spent in the class (one hour each week) she was panting heavily and her ears were always back. She is never like this at home or even at the JRTCA trials we've taken her to. We practiced with her every day and she did very well at home, at the park, in front of other people, etc., but whenever she got to that class, it was like she had a mental block or something. We're going to start another basic obedience class in July at a different facility, however, I just wanted to know if anyone has a logical explanation for this behaviour and if so, is there something we can do to help it. Thanks.


Response:

My 7 month old JRT and I just finished our puppy kindergarten classes (8 weeks). It was a frustrating experience for both of us! She was the only JRT (lots of labs and other large dogs). She loved all the dogs and was very distracted by them most of the time. One of the trainers brought in (at the 6th week) a prong collar for her to wear. We tried it and after that everything just got worse. She basically didn't want to do anything in the class. Also, the entire time she spent in the class (one hour each week) she was panting heavily and her ears were always back. She is never like this at home or even at the JRTCA trials we've taken her to. We practiced with her every day and she did very well at home, at the park, in front of other people, etc., but whenever she got to that class, it was like she had a mental block or something. We're going to start another basic obedience class in July at a different facility, however, I just wanted to know if anyone has a logical explanation for this behaviour and if so, is there something we can do to help it. Thanks.


Response:

Hi, Judy,

A prong collar really does not belong on your average, 7 month old JRT puppy. I'm not sure why the trainer saw fit to use one, and I have to say that they are not as cruel as they look, but a person should be able to control a JRT pup without the use of a tool like that. They are quite restraining.

I have to sort of guess at this, but if my answer seems way off, please write back and give a little more information, and we'll try to help again.

If your puppy was drawing negative energey for some behavior that she was putting out there, that could be one reason why she isn't at ease in a training class. Puppies should be allowed to be somewhat nutty, and if anyone was impatient with her or frustrated with her, she will have picked that up and not known what to think of it. Jack Russells are not labs and golden retrievers, and quite frankly, they NEED positive obedience experiences much more than members of the retriever family.

Your puppy most likely was feeling very excited being surrounded but all those smells, and dogs, and smells, and emotions, and smells and people, and smells. She was probably thinking "yahoo! This is a regular nose buffet! I'm in heaven!" When you take a positive feeling like that and try to tell the dog "No! Stop being so happy and excited!" you're going to confuse them. A good trainer will help you redirect that energy, not squash it.

There are a lot of people out there who think that Jack Russells who are simply BEING Jack Russells are "bad dogs" but then there are those of us who know that all that "bad dog talk" is exactly why we love our terriers so much. They aren't "problem children." If I had half the gusto of even my most laid back Jack Russell, NOTHING could ever stop me!

I hope I've interpreted your post correctly and responded adequately, but if not, come on back and give us another chance. Explain what kind of training methods were used, and why, exactly, the prong collar was used on her on the sixth week.

Best wishes for successful training sessions at the new facility!

Jane