On Saturday morning, Blitz totally knew what was happening. He is SO clued in to routines and to us. As soon as we came back from our morning walk and he got his pumpkin but not his breakfast, he started to get excited. Not the usual, running back and forth to his food container, but running to the door. Then, when we went outside, he went straight to the car, which he doesn’t normally do, and jumped enthusiastically into the back seat. Unfortunately, it was already hot and he was overexcited. He’d had quite a few treats on our morning walk even though he didn’t get breakfast, and I’d given him his ginger capsule but I’d forgotten and given it to him late. So he got carsick. :( When we got to the place and I opened the back door, he was standing there with his head hanging low. I begged him to get out so he could throw up in the street, but nope. Luckily, I was standing right there when it happened so I could remove the sheet covering the back seat right away and saved my upholstery, and he wasn’t sick on the way home, which was my big fear.
Anyway, after that rough start, the puppy class got out late and he was not able to tolerate waiting in the area with other dogs coming and going, and there was quite a lot of barking and lunging and hysterics on his part. As soon as we got into the place, though, he went charging to the area where classes are held, totally ignoring a puppy we had to go by, and he did great in the class. We reviewed leave it and watching other dogs walk around, and worked on sitting by the owner’s left side, not just in front, which Blitz already does. (He pretty much already does all the commands we have tried, with some consistency though not perfectly. His issue is the other dogs, and class has been really helping.)
I couldn’t believe the behavior of one of the other owners, though. He has already shown himself to be a bit of an odd duck. His dog (min pin named Barley) is mostly beyond the level of the class and he insists on doing his own thing and not listening to instructions, so even though there are things his dog needs to learn, he is mostly there on his own agenda and doesn’t necessarily listen to the trainer. In the middle of class, one of the other dogs got overheated and the trainer had her move into the shade near Barley, so Barley’s owner moved over next to us. The trainer was suggesting he could stay where he was, but he came next to us, and then increasingly encroached on our space. Barley has demonstrated some dog aggression and is not a good energy dog for Blitz.
When they got too far into my space, I leaned over and said, “Excuse me, Barley’s owner. I don’t know your name. (He didn’t respond with a name.) Excuse me. My dog is reactive to other dogs, so could you please be aware of how close your dog is and give us some space?” His reaction was to approach Blitz with his dog so they could meet! He explained this was helping my dog. (I’m sure he had the best of intentions, but seriously WTF?!) Of course, Blitz started snarling and lunging (as did his dog), and all the other reactive dogs in class started barking and lunging, yet the guy continued to be in our space until the trainer solved the issue by asking him to take his dog across the room and have him practice meeting a different dog over there.
Later in class, he randomly walked his dog through the center of the room, passing close by all the reactive dogs and setting them off. This in spite of the fact that the trainer has explained that watching other dogs walking nearby can be challenging for some dogs and that any walking into the center of the room has been done in a very managed fashion as part of the class work, and with warning given to all owners so that we can work with our dogs.
Well, this guy is obviously clueless, and while I was a little angry (especially since I made a great effort to speak up to a stranger and set some boundaries for my dog, which is incredibly difficult and terrifying for me), I mostly just shrugged my shoulders at that point because he obviously just has no idea what is going on.
I do love our trainer. I loved the way she dealt with it and managed to communicate with me that I am doing the right thing and that she thinks this guy is bizarre without coming out and saying it. She and I are totally on the same page and have a similar deadpan sarcasm that we instantly get so I’m really grateful for her.
Edit: I forgot – our homework is to go to the county shelter or a dog boarding place where the dogs bark all the time, and work across the street on our commands in the context of barking dogs he can’t see. I actually think Blitz will do well with this because we’ve been doing similar work for a long time with local dogs behind fences, but it will be interesting to try in a new context. 17 months ago