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It's definitely worth it to find a trainer that you and Willow connect with, if you can!
I am lucky I guess, most of the trainers and assistants at my training club are in love with Raffi. Maybe in comparison to many of the crazy doodles they see? Unfortunately today he did not live up to his star student status- he was barking and pulling at most of the other dogs today. So embarrassing! I'm pretty sure that he is off-kilter because my other dog is currently in heat. He's too young (6 months tomorrow) to be very interested but he has been super whiny, plus I have not been allowing them to play outside together.
You just described Peggy in last week's class. So! Embarrassing! And she fell to pieces at the groomer's, too.

Luckily, our trainer and groomer both definitely have a soft spot for her. It helps me to see her through their forgiving eyes.
 

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I’m having trouble because I live in a small town. The puppy class I’ve been taking her to is at the humane society. The other groups I’ve found mostly do clicker training. I tried doing it and having to always have a free hand for the clicker sucks. I’m just not into it.
Whenever people see Willow they ask what kind of mix she is and that she looks like a border collie. They don’t believe she’s a poodle.
I need to do something because I think she hit her teenage time early. She only will do what I ask if I have food. If we are in a new place or she’s fixated on something food doesn’t even work.(she gets fixated on things all day)
I’ve been trying tethering and she’s absolutely perfect. When she comes off the leash she forgets how to listen again. I guess it’s just going to be two years for her to get it right?
I agree that clicker training is hard for a beginner, especially with a puppy. We don't do it yet and our trainer doesn't even teach it at this level. We just use "YES" in place of a click. Much easier.

And what you're describing with the food? Welcome to poodle life! "What's in it for me?" is Peggy's response to most commands. We replaced many of her treats with a kibble she loves, so it's not been a problem nutritionally. The only real challenge is keeping our pockets stocked at all times.

The key, I think (assuming you're past the luring phase with that particular command), is to not show the reward until the behaviour is completed. That way if you DO find yourself empty-handed but needing Willow to listen, she'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Just don't abuse her trust at this age. A poodle never forgets. ;)
 
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