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Beckie will be 3 in may and went to her first formal class. I wanted something not too physically challenging for me, where she would have fun and that would help the winter go by faster. The class is called « play and focus » and is once a week for 4 weeks.

The trainer is someone with 30 years of experience, probably old school even though she teaches without punishment. We were to bring a lot of tiny treats and we had an assignment prior to the class (making your dog sit and give you eye contact to get a treat) which we did and Beckie knew how to do.

So while waiting to go inside the class with the other dogs, I gave Beckie treats when she was giving me eye contact. She was really good at ignoring the other dogs most of the time, of course at 7 pounds she is the smallest and was sometimes a little scared, but not too much.

When we went in the class, she was doing well also. Before it started I had her walk around and she was prancing, tail wagging, very happy. She responds well to my happy voice.

Then we started the exercises and she was good for the 2-3 first ones but after a while, she’s so small, she had too many treats and did not want them anymore. Also we were to have the dog lay down and then try to lure it forward to make it crawl. On top of not being hungry, she was scared and didn’t want to do it.

Since I needed to sit myself, I picker her up and went on the bench. Then I cuddled her and kissed her. The trainer came and I explained she was scared and didn’t want to do it. She said maybe next time don’t feed her amd work on it at home. She also said I was reinforcing her fear by petting her, and telling her she is a good girl for being scared. I just smiled but this is bs and old school thinking. I will pet her as much as I want to when she gets scared. I’m not going to argue with her, it’s only 4 classes. And she wasn’t being nasty over it either.

Anyways, I went back to the training area and since she didn’t want to eat, I used my praise. She responded very well and I succeeded on making her crawl a little bit.

Then the last exercise, we had to make the dog weave through our legs. Since she wasn’t interested in food, and wouldn’t follow my hand (she was scared of that too), we failed at that completely so I just played with her instead.

We sure won’t be the stars of this class but we certainly had fun !

My goal this week is to get rid of the fear and have her follow my arm/treat so she can succeed in the next exercises. I’m kind of apprehensive and thinking this might be a total disaster and it will just end up being an expensive experience of being around other dogs, lol !
 

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It sounds like it was mostly fun and that Beckie did just fine given that it also involved a new place, new people and new dogs. As long as you both had fun you are stars in my book!
 

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It sounds like a fun class. I think you did the right thing with Beckie. She isn’t used to going to class in a strange building with other dogs and people. The goal is having fun, not being the star. If you practice several times each day in short sessions she will learn these tricks and the teacher will see you are doing a good job.

I break treats into really small pieces for Babykins. I teach beginning agility and I’m constantly telling students to break treats up smaller so their dogs don‘t get full too quickly or fat.
 

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I agree with everybody. It sounds like a fun time for the most part. One thing I use to do to get my dogs to play weave through my legs was get them revved up with a squiggly toy to jiggle in front of them. I don't know if that would appeal to Becky but it's something other than food that works well and gets their enthusiasm up. I think it's a great place to have some fun, practice a little focus and get her use to going to a class.
 
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You are Beckie's expert and her protector, as well as her social manager and education director. Highest marks in all categories to you Dechi ??! And sending continued fun vibes for the next class!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
break treats into really small pieces for Babykins. I teach beginning agility and I’m constantly telling students to break treats up smaller so their dogs don‘t get full too quickly or fat.
The bits are so small they crumble if I try to make them smaller. Beckie is a nibbler, she likes to eat a little at a time, many times a day, so I think she has a small stomach. Next time I won’t give her anything before we start class. I wish I could be in your class. ;-)

Thanks for the encouragement everyone ! I haven’t recuperated physically from the class and thought about quitting but it’s only 3 more classes so we’ll tough it out. :)
 

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The bits are so small they crumble if I try to make them smaller. Beckie is a nibbler, she likes to eat a little at a time, many times a day, so I think she has a small stomach. Next time I won’t give her anything before we start class. I wish I could be in your class. ;-)

Thanks for the encouragement everyone ! I haven’t recuperated physically from the class and thought about quitting but it’s only 3 more classes so we’ll tough it out. :)
Peggy gets only half her breakfast before class. I know she's much bigger, but it really does help. Makes her response time super snappy, like she wants to work.

Hope you're feeling better tomorrow!
 
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