We've been doing some hard core training with Sadie and it's either worked or she reached one year of age and decided to start being good! It's probably a bit of both, truthfully! But, I have been working with her extensively with a trainer who is tough! My friend recommended him when she met Sadie and learned about some of her antics.
Now this trainer is not for the faint of heart. He's a Vietnam Vet and tough! He doesn't care if he hurts your feelings or embarrasses you in class. He's there to make sure you get the most out of his class so in turn your dog succeeds in his class.
First, you had better be there early (I've never been so early for a class in my life and it's a 30-minute drive for me!); be paying attention; and you better have done the homework which is at least two 10- minute training sessions every day for the week in between your class. If you don't, and you're wearing a color like pink, he may yell at you and say "Pinky! What are you doing? We've been over this before!" Note: I never was called Pinky (because I knew not to wear this color to class).
I cringed each time he used Sadie as the example for next week's homework (he loves big dogs and had an affinity for Sadie) including trying to get
her into a stand then stay position. He tried. She sat back down each time he got her up. He was sweating and finally he gave up and asked me if I took my
dog to Bakers Square before the start of class!
This isn't your average training class. This is a class where your dog must have balls bounced in front of them while they hold a stay position; food put out that they have to walk by without giving a sniff; and live rabbits that they cannot chase while in a down position. Add in staying in a down while a towel or fake skunk fur on a stick gets dragged over your paws or kids' dancing toys are inches from your nose making a racket and you can see why this is a challenging class for most dogs. I thought, my dog will never do that! Sadie wants to eat the bunnies! But, alas, last week she stayed in a down and ever so gently smelled the bunny without so much as moving. Incredible!
She definitely seems to be more present in her own body and I have more control over her after taking this class. I think it's helped tremendously even though I definitely do not look forward to going! Last class on Wednesday. I can't wait!