hheldorfer Posted January 21, 2018 Share Posted January 21, 2018 This was week 2 of obedience class with Nattie and I think we're going to be drop-outs. This isn't for lack of trying or lack of intelligence on Nattie's part. We've been practicing sit/stay/down/stay/come/"leave it" every day at home and Nattie is progressing very well. House training is also checked off the list - no accidents in the house for a month now. Crate is no longer wanted or needed because Nattie moved out of it on her own about two weeks ago and hasn't gone near it since. The class, however, is so unbelievably low-energy and boring that I don't know how anybody can stand it. [At this point you may want to grab a beverage.] The first class was VERY basic: Get your dog's attention. Teach your dog to sit. Teach your dog "leave it". So, okay, that was 15 minutes. And then there was the instructor, who probably hadn't been born until I was on my second marriage. I'm sure she has lots of experience with dogs but I think it's going to be a while until she has the chutzpah to effectively handle a class. I expected an alpha bitch instructor who would be enthusiastic but firm and have a lot of energy. What we got was a young woman who is relatively soft-spoken and not at all a take-charge kind of person; not exactly inspirational. So I took the first class in stride and figured it had been dumbed down for people who had no clue about dogs or training them. I kept a positive outlook. I bought a truckload of Charlee Bears. Nattie and I practiced "sit" and "leave it" until Nattie's eyes glazed over, at which point we started stay, down and come. She was doing great and showing some real excitement about learning new things. Today we arrived at class early so we'd have time to walk around and make sure Nattie's tank was emptied before class started. Before class starts the instructor has us let the dogs off-leash to run around for a few minutes. Nattie *loves* that part. She checked out every inch of the floor, greeted the other dogs and wagged her tail the whole time. Once we leashed the dogs and started class, Nattie's tail fell to half-mast. The instructor started droning on about "capture", which is to reward a naturally-occurring behavior when the dog does it. I admit I'm behind the times in this area. Color me stupid; I didn't think you had to reward a dog for playing with a ball. That was the first example she used, placing a ball in front of one of the dogs (a Lab mix) and treating the dog each time he looked at it or touched it. The instructor showed us what to do and cheerily said "Now I'll give each of you something to work with!" There are three dogs in the class. The aforementioned Dog 1 got the ball, Dog 2 got a mini-tire toy, Nattie got . . . a dish towel. Nattie stared at the dish towel on the floor. Following instructions, I tossed a treat on the dish towel. Nattie looked at me, puzzled. She wouldn't eat the treat. (I think she was still wondering what the dish towel was for.) The instructor came along and sprinkled the towel with tiny bits of cheese. Nattie looked at me, looked at the cheese and walked away. The instructor then told me that I should not feed Nattie before class; in other words, it was my fault that Nattie didn't want the damn cheese and had no clue what she was supposed to do with the dish towel. Nattie turned and stared across the room at the ball, her tail wagging slightly. "Why would any self-respecting dog settle for a damn dish towel when they could have a ball??" I thought to myself. Instead, I said "Um . . . I don't think a towel is going to do it for her . . . ". I asked the instructor what result she was hoping to get with the exercise. She said the point was to get the dog to lie down and, therefore, teach the dog "down". I said "Nattie already knows 'down'. We've been working on it at home." My comment was ignored and the instructor switched all the dogs from toys to dish towels. "Great," I thought, "now we've ruined it for the whole class." Sure enough, all the dogs looked confused - not to mention a bit disappointed at having their toys taken away. We went back to work, trying to interest our dogs in pieces of cloth on the floor. Nattie sat down three feet away from the dishcloth, looking disgusted. I tried calling her over to me and she ignored me. The instructor suggested that maybe Nattie's hearing needs to be checked. (You have no idea how hard it was NOT to burst into hysterical laughter at that comment. Nattie could hear me just fine; the problem was that the exercise was stupid and meaningless and Nattie knew it.) The instructor said maybe Nattie needed a "reboot" and suggested I take her outside and walk her around for a minute. Nattie trotted obediently outside with me and commenced an enjoyable sniff-fest. We returned to the class and tried again. The towel was still there. The cheese bits were still there. Nattie was overwhelmingly disinterested in any of it. She sat and looked at me imploringly. And that's the moment I realized that this class was so mind-numbingly boring that no Cairn should ever be subjected to it. I have read many posts on this forum from people who hired dog trainers or took classes, and one of the most oft-repeated comments is that you have to find a trainer/instructor who understands terriers. So very, very true. Our instructor apparently had little experience in this area. Cairns need challenges; chances to show their problem-solving ability. They need enthusiasm and excitement. Staring at a dish towel does not meet this criteria. After a solid half-hour of staring at cheese bits on kitchen linen, Nattie and I called it quits. I excused myself by saying that Nattie "apparently isn't into this" today. I doubt that we will be returning. In the meantime I found a local kennel club that offers Barn Hunt and Earthdog. The 2018 class/event schedule hasn't yet been published but we'll be keeping an eye on it. I have a feeling that hunting critters will be ten times more appealing to Nattie than sitting and staring at a towel. 1 6 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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