Tonight was Jack-Jack’s 4th puppy class (we missed the second one when I was out of town for work). I had in the back of my head the various tips that people sent me when I asked for help last week, and I changed my plan of attack slightly. I got to class early, and picked out a spot in the far corner of the room, away from the entrance. I got Jack’s attention focused on me with the use of food and the Watch! command, and kept his attention with food. Pretty much a stream of very small treats as the other dogs came in. I lost his attention once, and he barked his head off for about 10-15 seconds, until I was able to get his attention back on me. Definitely MUCH better than last week! Although there was some noise, there was no growling or posturing at all. Some raising of the hackles, but to a much lesser degree than last week.
He wasn’t as focused on me for the entire class . . . in fact, he attempted to play with another dog! I know the teacher would have liked me to get Jack focused back on me, but I was so happy to have him showing positive interest in another dog that I allowed it for 2 seconds and then got him back with me. That was most definitely a big step for my little man! Unfortunately there was no off-leash playtime this week, as it might have gone better than in previous weeks.
I appreciate all of the advice, and will continue working diligently on his reactivity and fear. As I said, he’s excellent with people and new situations, it’s primarily other dogs. In the show ring he’s fine – very natural and showy and confident. It’s just in these face to face interactions that his feathers get ruffled.