Hey everyone,

I signed Judge up for an obedience class. It’s all levels/ages and all breeds mixed together. He’s doing alright with training 1 on 1 as far as at the house and on walks in our neighbourhood but I noticed he is super A.D.D (pyr thing I know) when we are in public so I figured we needed a class in a neutral as well as distracting area.

We had our first class yesterday. It’s at the trainers house. She’s located in the country. She is a Siberian husky breeder who does confirmation, agility as well as dog sledding with her dogs. She also teaches competitive obedience, confirmation, rally etc.

When we got there Judge was overly excited. So many sights, sounds and smells he was overwhelmed to say the least. He was trying to pull me everywhere! I was getting him in check the best I could before class started. The trainer asked me if we could use a pinch collar to start off just to “soften him up” so he would be more receptive to the correction in his choke collar. She explained the proper use to me as “you won’t be giving him a correction. He will be correcting himself. Just hold the lead with this much slack (insert her showing me) and put your hand in your pocket. If he tries to put his nose to the ground just shrug your shoulder up quickly so that he feels the resistance and he will correct himself.” I did as she said and within 2 laps around the ring of heel he was acting better. She instructed me to switch the lead to his choke collar (it was on right above the pinch collar) since he was being good. In her words..” he’s showing correct behaviour he has earned the right to use the compfy collar. If he starts reverting back to bad behaviour and not listening then you put him back on the pinch until he earns his right again.” It was soo eye opening! I didn’t like the idea of a pinch collar especially since I’d had no formal training on using one. It would have NEVER been something I would have just picked up from the pet store and started using on my own. I’m not saying I’m running out and buying one this instance nor am I endorsing them but I believe in the right situation and under the correct supervision it is a valuable training tool in my experience.

Let me tell you Judge did in fact lose his privledge of the compfy collar by throwing a full blown toddler temper tantrum complete with legs in the air and growl/whining. EMBARRASSING. The trainer kinda chuckled and said “it’s always the biggest and strongest willed dogs that throw the temper tantrums. I had one last class too. It’s their last resort after they realize they cant boss you into getting their own way by throwing their weight around.” She instructed me to just keep walking and he will follow. Which he did indeed. After that he started refusing treats in protest (which he has done before) so I switched treats out with pats on the head (another currency he accepts with glee). The last 15 mins of class he was just plain exhausted and was panting a storm up. It seemed I had won the “battle of the wills”.

Honestly for the 1st class I learned a lot. Now it’s just a matter of small training sessions until the next class on Thursday which I am excited for! I’ll keep you all updated on his progress!

Oh And another thing that was interesting is that when the trainer was putting his collar on she mentioned she had a dog that looks very similar to him in her 4H class. I asked her “is his name Sparky?” Sure enough she knows and works with Judges full blood brother from a previous litter. He is a 4H obedience winner and is trained by a 10 year old. Sooooo maybe just MAYBE Judge is trainable by a 27 year old