Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dog parks and group classes

I read an article and a bunch of comments about how dog parks are great in theory but in reality not that great or safe for pups or people. And now I will not be taking mine to any dog parks.
Here is the link to the article- following the article are a bunch of stories and comments supporting what was said in the main article.

This snippet is from an especially touching story- I cried, no surprise there seeing as I cry at Lowes commercials, but still- about a dachshund attacked by a rottweiler at a dog park. "Grr the brown dachshund was just getting used to being around other canines at dog parks. He stopped soiling the ground whenever he was approached by a dog and wasn't afraid to sniff another mutt. Grr became that scared little dog again on July 2 when a hulking Rottweiler cornered and attacked him in a central Bakersfield dog park. Despite getting kicked and punched in his face, the growling Rottweiler only stopped after it fatally punctured Grr's throat. The dachshund would die about 31/2 hours later, according to Animal Emergency and Urgent Care."

So now, I mostly just intend to take mine to a regular large park (not a dog park) that I have previously taken them to, as well as a pet friendly beach (but I'll still be very wary there). And I'd like to take them to doggy day camps sometimes as well- just because I know that all the dogs there have their vaccines and have been evaluated and it's a safe environment.

Harley (hopefully) will start her training classes next Monday and Ace should begin the following Wednesday. I'm taking them to classes, not because I have doubts about my own abilities to train them, but because I can't provide them with the social aspect and the distractions that a group class can. Sure, I could train them outside where people walk there dogs, but the second one of my dogs barks, the other person usually freaks out and whips there dog away in fear of mine- not realizing that mine are puppies and just want to play. So then there goes a chance to train my dogs in the presence of another dog. And that's what I really want to work on- getting them used to being around other dogs and behaving "properly" around other dogs, so that when we do encounter another dog on a walk, they won't go berserk with excitement and unintentionally scare people off. That's something I don't think people realize- is that even trainers have issues with their own dogs. We're not perfect, our dogs aren't perfect. Although I want both of mine to be able to be demo dogs for the classes I teach, that'll be a ways down the road yet.

Speaking of classes, I came really close to selling classes yesterday- like 4 of them. I was very proud of myself for clearly impressing a couple people with my knowledge in different areas, and for "planting the seed" (to borrow the phrase from my area trainer) of training in a couple peoples' minds. This one couple in particular had come in a few days before buying a bunch of stuff in preparation for a pitbull puppy they were going to get in a couple days. Then yesterday they came in with said puppy (adorable, 7 weeks old- too young to be taken from mama in my opinion) and I spoke to them again about training. The first time I'd encountered them they'd seem at first against the idea of training them outside the home, since the man had trained all his previous dogs himself. But when I mentioned that the Advanced class preps dogs to take the CGC test and some landlords nowadays are lifting breed restrictions if the dog is CGC certified, their entire demeanors changed. They admitted to me that they weren't supposed to have a Pit and were going to have to "hide" her til they found a new place. And so when I saw them yesterday, they were very happy to see me again and genuinely seemed as if they will sign up for my puppy class a few weeks down the road since the pup is still too young.

Well shucks... time for work. But at least I'm teaching classes again tonight!!!
More cute pet parent stories to come!

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