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Starting Training But Have Small Fluffies In Class. Advice Please!

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Guest Ames

Hi everyone,

 

So here we are 7 weeks in with our new hound (who did 6 week foster care prior to that) and we have enrolled in basic obedience. We had our first class today (with no dogs) to discuss the training, expectations, meet others etc. It's a small group of four and it turns out two are small fluffy dogs. I think one is a papillon.

 

I was really excited but now I'm just nervous. Our hound is from a reputable adoption program here in Australia and has been assessed as 'small dog friendly'. He's currently happily living with our miniature schnauzer and it's all going fine apart from the occasional over-boisterous play We don't know if he is cat safe, but we walk past our cat on the front verandah every day on our walk and he shows only passing interest, even when it scurries away.

 

I'm left wondering if there are 'small dogs' and then there are SMALL dogs. Sure our schnauzer is little but he's not that small and fluffy!

 

The trainer is very professional (DELTA certified) and described the set up spread out in the area on separate mats and no interaction between the dogs (at least to start). She has asked if our dog can come muzzled the first session (which I'm fine with) but I think it has ruffled me and the other dog owners a little. I don't even know if I can give him rewards through his muzzle and am considering leaving the group and waiting for a group with large dogs.

 

Am I overthinking this or is it good to be cautious? Do I watch for general prey drive behaviour or is it different with small dogs? (I don't think I've seen any as yet, maybe alert ears).

 

I also think I've lost a bit of confidence as he also passed a resource guarding assessment prior to adoption but we've since had two incidents where he has stolen something (an avocado peel and a banana peel) and has growled and guarded these. I guess I'm left wondering how much trust do you put in the claims made by agencies and assessments.

 

Anyway, if you made it this far thanks for reading my ramble! If you have any advice/opinions I'd really appreciate it.

 

Many thanks.

 

;

 

 

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Even if there are little fluffies, generally everyone is going to be on leash with their owner and separated from you and hopefully all in control. The first class will likely be overwhelming and loud from barking. I don't like the muzzle comment though, but yes you can feed through it, they can also drink through it. Do you know why they requested that? There shouldn't be dog to dog interactions really, it should be you getting to know your dog and asking for commamds. I put Ryder through a class and I understand everyone does it differently but, just stumped on that.

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I'd wait for a different class. Maybe after 3 months with you. In the meantime do some basic training at home.


 

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I'm with Ducky on this one. Sometimes these classes are really stressful for the dogs & many owners of small fluffy dogs don't understand how the greys react. It isn't fair to only muzzle one dog & not the others, as I've seen many smaller dogs be more aggresive than bigger ones. Good luck.

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Classes: You can pretty easily give treats through a basket muzzle -- string cheese, jerky cut into thin strips, hot dog slivers are easiest. I might muzzle for the first 10 minutes and then take it off once you see how things go. All dogs should be on leash and the instructor really should have control of the class .....

 

I've had very high prey, non-cat/non-small-dog-safe greyhounds in group obedience classes with small squeaky fluffies and no muzzle. Did I have to keep a good hold on the end of my leash in case somebody squeaked and my dog forgot himself momentarily? Sure. But even my most excitable no-smalls hound did fine, maybe an instant's excitement and then forgot about it.

 

As long as you let the dog guide your expectations and the class uses entirely positive methods (no punishment), I don't think it's too soon to take him. Sometimes folks and their dogs get frustrated because everybody else is sitting (or staying, or whatever) and their dog is not. Don't fuss over that sort of thing. If all that happens in the classes is that he gets used to being around others without paying them too much attention, that's a win.

 

For resource guarding, do a search in this forum on "trading up." We use trading up to learn and practice a "drop it!" command. Keeps things very positive, and you end up with a dog who will cheerfully look up from dang near anything.


Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I would try out the class. You are going to run into other dogs all the time in public, so having a structured and controlled class to build your confidence and test things out is ideal imo.

 

I think grey prey drive gets a bit overblown sometimes. The vast majority of greyhounds are fine with small dogs, and even other animals. Sometimes they have never seen them and get excited or scared at first (and react accordingly), but very few greys will actually attack other dogs once they have been introduced and properly socialized to them.

 

Try not to worry so much about the other people in the class or how your dog performs (they aren't always obedience champs). At this point, socializing and being exposed to new situations is more important than learning to "sit" or shake a paw. You can always quit if things really don't go well. :)

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You are in Australia, right? Is the green collar program still in effect? Isn't it something like your greyhound earns a green collar when they are proven safe with other dogs,otherwise they are to be muzzled?

 

IMHO it's best to train with every type of dog. Distractions are great,as a team you will learn to navigate them. Remember instructors are to be spoken to,questioned and are there to help everyone. Stick with it, safety first.

 

As to the guarding of food work directly with the trainer. You can receive specific exercises to work thru this.

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I am a dog-training junkie. I've been in classes with reactive dogs, human-aggressive dogs, and dog- AND human-aggressive dogs. It's always worked out fine. (Granted, my trainer uses visual barriers to limit arousal levels and is good at tailoring activities to the dog's abilities. In some cases, the entire goal was to get the dog to be able to work and focus with the visual barrier removed.)

 

Given that there are only four dogs in this class, and the trainer started out with a no-dogs class, I think you will be fine. I would ask the trainer why she wants your dog muzzled to start with. It may just be to get an idea of how he initially reacts so that she can determine how best to structure the class (distances, exercises, etc.) It may be that she thinks that you will be calmer and more secure if you do, which will make your dog calmer. But seriously, you will be working with your dog, and the other owners will be working with theirs, and there won't be much interaction at all between the dogs. And this is a very good way of dogs learning to be calm around other types of dogs. It will be as good for the pappillion to learn to behave around large dogs as it will be for yours to learn to ignore small dogs, so I think it will be a great opportunity for both of you.

 

Post back and let us know what you decide and how it went!


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My blog about helping Katie learn to be a more normal dog: http://katies-journey-philospher77.blogspot.com/

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Guest Ames

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your various thoughts on this.

 

Yes, I would like to at least try the first class and see how we go. The muzzle is just a precaution for the first class or first part of the class until everyone is familiar with our big boy. The trainer hasn't trained greyhounds before and fair enough too, greyhounds are very much only racing dogs where we live and people aren't used to seeing them as companion animals. There's also been a recent blowup in the racing industry over live baiting which dragged racing and unfortunately greyhounds through the mud- suffice to say some pretty nasty footage was playing nationally.

 

The other people in the class are very friendly and open to us so fingers crossed it goes well. I'll keep you posted.

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Hope it goes well!


Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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If he's greenhounded he should be fine. I took my high prey non greenhounded deliberately yo a mixed breed class specifically to work on her. It is absolutely possible to treat through the muzzle.

 

Though, personally, I wouldn't muzzle unless everyone else was assuming that legally you don't have to. People need to learn that greys aren't dangerous and by muzzling a greenhound you kind of undercut that.

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Hi. Structured basic obedience classes using Positive Reinforcement are a great way to build a better two-way (dog-owner) relationship. Practicing at home at the dog's pace is the best part. Most of all have fun, and stay safe. :)

 

The 'official' green collar assessment here is only (I think) done through 'official' GAP centres. Most private rescues are separate from GAP. Different local councils each have different rules about muzzling and my local council (near Brisbane) doesn't generally require muzzles, but my particular grey must wear a muzzle in public. I'm comfortable with that.

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Guest Ames

Yes I agree Brandiandwe. He is a greenhound and apparently the only one in town. No pressure!

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Where are you? I'm in Sydney, and obviously we've a Queenslander here too, but I'd be surprised if you were the only one around.

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But it's not JUST your dog that was asked to come in a muzzle, right? Your post made it sound like all the dogs were to arrive wearing muzzles. Personally that makes no sense to me and I'd find another class. It's one thing to muzzle your own dog if you are unsure of prey drive because he is new to you, but if someone told me to muzzle my dogs to come to a class - my dog safe, cat safe, rabbit safe dogs - I'd look elsewhere. You might at least ask what the rationale is and see what the trainer says.


Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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But it's not JUST your dog that was asked to come in a muzzle, right? Your post made it sound like all the dogs were to arrive wearing muzzles. Personally that makes no sense to me and I'd find another class. It's one thing to muzzle your own dog if you are unsure of prey drive because he is new to you, but if someone told me to muzzle my dogs to come to a class - my dog safe, cat safe, rabbit safe dogs - I'd look elsewhere. You might at least ask what the rationale is and see what the trainer says.

 

No. It's just the greyhound. Because most greyhound owners will own a muzzle here (because most dogs are adopted out with one because of the laws) and most other owners won't own one. So it wouldn't surprise me at all that the grey was being singled out. However, my response would depend on which of my dogs we were talking about (were I the OP). If it was Hermon, my greencollared dog, I would refuse to muzzle him regardless of what someone requested. Because he's been thoroughly assessed by a qualified animal behaviouralist. That's why he has his collar. My two others, I would muzzle because they aren't safe. Benny, rest his soul, got his collar late, and beforehand, although I knew he was small dog safe, he would be muzzled because that's the law.

 

Now, if the OPs grey is actually a Greenhound (which I haven't seen confirmed), then the dog doesn't need to be muzzled as long as its wearing it's green collar (and is in the state in which is was assessed. Please don't get me started on this). If it isn't green collared, then it needs to be muzzled regardless of whether it is small fluffy safe or not. If the trainer wants a greenhound to be muzzled, I'd be politely telling them about the process of assessment, and then walking away.

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Sorry, yes the second response from the OP that I missed made that clearer. The original post made it sound like all dogs would be muzzled.

 

Honestly, if my dog did not have to be muzzled for legal reasons (I.e. It was one of these green hounds, which I think OP did confirm in a recent reply), I would likely look elsewhere if I was being forced to muzzle my dog. *I* may CHOOSE to muzzle the dog if I don't know for sure about its small dog reactions, but that would be my own choice and precaution as a responsible owner. To me, if this hound has a green collar (or whatever it's called) and was suggested to be small animal safe by the rescue, and LIVES with a smaller dog already, then it is just unfounded prejudice on the part of the trainer to ask the greyhound to arrive muzzled. If it was brought up as an inquiry/suggestion... ("How is your hound with small dogs? Oh, you haven't had him very long and you're not totally sure.... Fair enough. Would you be opposed to bringing a muzzle to be worn for the first few minutes until we can be sure everyone is going to get along?") that's different... but as an assumption about the breed? I'd be looking elsewhere. I don't appreciate assumptions/generalizations about my dogs.

 

Kind of off topic, but my FIL once suggested my DBF and I move to Aus for a few years on work placements. You know, see the world, have an adventure. I quickly shot that idea down. There is no way I could move my RABBIT SAFE dogs (never mind cats and small dogs... they live with three rabbits) to a place that thinks they are a menace to society without a muzzle strapped to their face. Australia seems like such a fantastic country in so many respects that I cannot understand where this prejudice came from. I mean, if they're so vicious how does every other country in the world manage to deal with them without muzzles? So strange and such a shame. I just don't understand it. I definitely plan to vacation in Aus some day, but work placement is off the table sadly.


Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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Chances are yours would be passed as safe anyhow. They'd just need to go through the process and away you'd go. It isn't that big a deal. The bigger issue I'd have would be bringing the dogs through quarantine which is incredibly strict, time consuming and expensive. i completely support the process, but for a few years for a work placement, it probably wouldn't be worth it.

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Guest Ames

"How is your hound with small dogs? Oh, you haven't had him very long and you're not totally sure....

 

This is basically how it went. The goal is to be without the muzzle and I'm fine with it at first because I haven't seen him meet any (really) small dogs (other than my own) even though he is Greenhound certified. Australia's muzzling law in very old from the days when greyhounds were only racing animals. Different states have different exemptions now available for companion animals. It's slowing changing. I quite like the Greenhound program though- it's rigorous, professional and has legal weight.

 

Don't move to Queensland krissy... it's illegal there to keep rabbits as pets!!!

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Don't move to Queensland krissy... it's illegal there to keep rabbits as pets!!!

 

Add that to my list of reasons I'll never move to Australia! The major reason actually being that everything there seems to be out to kill (or seriously hurt) you! ha ha. At least so it seems from "72 Dangerous Animals: Australia". ;)

 

Yup. Canada may have some horrible winters but there's only a couple of venomous snakes in the country (none of which are really lethal)! And insects don't grow to be the size of dinner plates. :POed:ohno:ph34r I believe I will stay put. Actually, the huge spiders are enough of a deterrent any time I even think about how nice it would be to do a vacation! I'd probably be at serious risk of dying of a heart attack in Australia!

Edited by krissy

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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Guest Ames

UPDATE: So the big guy smashed it today! Muzzle when we joined the ring then off as he didn't bat an eyelid at the long-haired chihuahua or pallion across from us. Of course, teaching the sit was first up but we did some classy downs instead. Feeling very proud and confident now I've seen him around little, little dogs myself. Very good, calm class and very happy we went. Woot!

 

My new challenge is remembering to close the treat bag on my hip which he's tall enough to raid while I'm not looking.

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Congratulations. You did great, both of you. Now you can feel more save around him. Have fun with your class.


Sorry for butchering the english language. I try to keep the mistakes to a minimum.

 

Nadine with Andy (Riot Officer), Paddy (Zippy Mullane), Saoirse (Lizzie Be Nice) and bridge angel Colin (Dessies Hero).

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Good job! So glad it worked out well for you.

 

I cannot for the life of me manage a treat bag. My trick is to forget to close it, so when I bend over all the treats drop on the floor. The dogs don't mind a bit :lol . I usually end up going back to my jeans pocket.


Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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