Jack & Maggie at School

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jack maggie in fieldSlimDoggy Jack & Maggie had their first ‘socialization’ class last week. Our main purpose in enrolling them was for both of them to get more comfortable around other dogs. Maggie, coming from a breeder farm, was around other dogs all the time, but judging from the bite wounds on her head, she was low girl in the pecking order and while she enjoys the company of other dogs, she doesn’t really interact with them. Jack, on the other hand barely tolerates dogs – he’s not aggressive with them, just doesn’t seem to like them and basically ignores them unless they get too close and in his face and then you hear the low warning growl (And he’s fine with Maggie – totally deferential to her). He prefers the company of people, well, of me truthfully…

I wanted both of them to be a bit more comfortable and while Jack may never want to go romp with his buddies at the dog park, I think Maggie would enjoy it as long as she feels safe enough…so off to school we went.

The class is taught by our dog trainer Barbara Johnson, so we knew that she would understand our dogs and their individual quirks. We get to the class and there are 5 other dogs there – various shapes & sizes. Another Lab, a boxer, and lab-pit-mastiff cross puppy! Jack & Maggie were the oldest there as most of the other dogs were under a year old. Some had some basic training, some had none at all. It was pretty rowdy and a bit overwhelming for our two senior citizens.

Turns out Jack & Maggie were the superstars of the class! We’ve worked with them plenty on the basics since they joined the family and they are solid on their sit, stay, watch me, down…the commands that most of the class were just starting on. My proudest moment came when Barbara started the lesson on sit and called Maggie to her and our little fearful Maggie May walked right up to her, sat down and got her treat! Of course it helps that both of them are EXTREMELY food motivated and they knew that Barbara had treats to dispense!

Jack, getting a little ahead of himself

Jack, getting a little ahead of himself

Even Jack did me proud. At first he showed his complete disinterest in anything going on by sitting with his back to the room staring into my face. The message was clear: “I want nothing to do with all these dogs or people, please pet me or take me home”. Once we pulled out the treats though, he was ready to show his stuff and even with the commotion around him, he did very well.

Before class, Barbara took the dogs outside in a fenced area for a bit of a romp. We took Maggie out, but Jack stayed inside with me until he’s a little more comfortable. Maggie had a good time, but she gets easily overwhelmed in situations like that and scooted behind Steve frequently. After class, we stayed behind and let Jack wander the room with Maggie and another Lab to see how he would react. He did great. The other Lab, being just about a year old was a bit puppyish and Jack gave a few very low growls when he got too rambunctious – but his normal avoidance behavior eventually worked into a few sniffs and while they didn’t ‘play’, with some practice this cute little pup may entice him to romp a bit.

All in all it was a good session and we came away feeling great about their behavior. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera…I know, dumb mistake…so I didn’t get any pictures, so you’ll just have to enjoy these other pics of the two of them. Next class, I will remember.

I recommend working with a trainer and attending these types of classes for you and your dog. Socialization is one of the most critical responsibilities that we have as pet guardians and not enough of us take it as seriously as we should. Many communities have organizations that provide these services. Look into it, you will be glad you did.

Been to training or socialization classes or planning to go? Add your feedback below.

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PS. I know there’s no mischief here as they were pretty good, but at the end of the night, poor miss Maggie had a little accident in the room. Too much excitement and not enough potty breaks.

Monday Mischief

So, we are joining the Monday Mischief Blog Hop hosted by Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog, Luna Dogs Life and My Brown Newfies


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31 Comments

  1. Good students! Do want pics pls

  2. This is great! I volunteered at a training class today for the California Pit Bull Rescue organization, and Kayo and I did an intensive training program over the course of 3-4 months. I agree that socialization is key and people underestimate its importance. One of the things I love the most is the “peeling off the layer” effect that happens when your dog goes through training. You suddenly start to see the confident, happy dog that was in there the entire time. Thank you for sharing!
    BoingyDog recently posted…My First Day of Volunteering with Pit BullsMy Profile

    • We’ve seen that with Maggie…she’s so proud of herself when she does her training, she really loves it.
      mkob recently posted…Jack & Maggie at SchoolMy Profile

  3. Glad to hear Jack and Maggie did so well. Oh, how I wish classes were available near us. Know our dogs would benefit. (This would be a mark in the negative column for living in a very rural area.)
    Sue at Talking Dogs recently posted…Monday Mischief: Vole Hunting with Rudy and RosieMy Profile

    • That’s too bad. We live in a semi-rural area and it is a hassle to drive 15 minutes to get to the grocery store.
      mkob recently posted…Jack & Maggie at SchoolMy Profile

  4. Sounds like a class mom would send me too since I prefer to hang out with people or just my sister and a couple close friends. You really need a second person with the camera. It is so had for mom always trying to concentrate on us and do photos when we are out! I went to a birthday party yesterday and hung out under the bench most of the time while my sister romped around with the other dogs but I was happy to be near mom and the other people.
    emma recently posted…Advanced Counter Surfing 301 | GBGV | Monday MischiefMy Profile

  5. I should look for a class like that for Kelly. I’ve never seen one around here. I’ve often wondered if her relationship with other dogs is something that could be trained or if it’s just her personality. Either way, we could learn to handle situations with dogs better when they come up.
    Peggy Frezon recently posted…dogIDs Collar with Engraved Nameplate GiveawayMy Profile

    • And it’s probably even more for ME, so that I’m comfortable when we run into other dogs…because they just reflect my behavior.
      mkob recently posted…Jack & Maggie at SchoolMy Profile

  6. Good luck in your class, Jack and Maggie! Sounds like fun! πŸ™‚
    Coralee and Finn recently posted…Monday Mischief: No More BooksMy Profile

  7. Your fur babies are doing so well! I’m glad their trainer already knows them and their personalities. πŸ™‚
    Flea recently posted…Funny Bone Monday, 30My Profile

  8. Great job guys!! I’m not surprised your humans are so proud of you!

    I agree with them about how important socialization skills are – I was lucky that I started on them as a puppy, Mum took me everywhere she could and introduced me to lots of doggies as she was hoping I could be a therapy dog – on our visits there are other dogs there and we all get on great!

    Keep up the great work,

    Your pal Snoopy πŸ™‚
    snoopys recently posted…Monday Mischief – Do you have an embarrassing friend too?My Profile

    • Hey Snoopy, that’s the best, when you get them as pups – we did that with Sally and she was great with everyone!
      mkob recently posted…Jack & Maggie at SchoolMy Profile

  9. Good job, Jack and Maggie! Does the training offer tips for Mom and Dad too?

    • Absolutely…it’s really mostly train the people so that they can treat the dogs right πŸ˜‰
      mkob recently posted…Jack & Maggie at SchoolMy Profile

  10. Good doggies! I have a trainer coming to our house this week to work with Rita directly. After he sees how she is with strangers and strange dogs I want to see if he thinks she would be okay in class. She happily runs up to other dogs/people when we are at the off-leash park, but does NOT like strangers when on-leash (I think she thinks she has to protect me when we are connected). Hopefully he’ll give her the all-clear to join one of his classes.
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…Monday Mischief: Hold On To Your Pups, People!My Profile

    • Leashes are funny things…good luck and keep us posted!
      mkob recently posted…Jack & Maggie at SchoolMy Profile

  11. What a great idea for a class…it can be hard to find pups to play with and a dog park is not a great learning environment…I joined the doggie social club on meetup so Gizmo would have a chance to make friends and it’s been great for him to have a chance to be with large dogs and learn that he can play with them
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Wahl Doggie Deodorant & Odor Neutralizer Reviews & GiveawayMy Profile

    • We find dog parks are great for dogs who are ALREADY socialized…but not so great for dogs who aren’t. Looking forward to getting both Jack & Maggie to that point through this class.
      mkob recently posted…Jack & Maggie at SchoolMy Profile

  12. That class sounds like lots of fun – getting to play with other dogs and getting lots of treats.
    Bongo recently posted…Floor CompetitionMy Profile

  13. So glad Jack and Maggie did so well! I never thought too much about classes, since all of our dogs are older, so it’s good to know that they can be for older dogs too. Our two girls could definitely use it. Kobi is the only one who is really social and outgoing. We socialized the girls a lot when they were puppies, but then slacked off, and it shows. I will have to see what we have for classes around here. Can’t wait to hear more and see pictures too!
    Jan K recently posted…Black & White Sunday – Hidey HoleMy Profile

    • It’s fun to watch them master new things and get over fears. I was just beaming with pride when Maggie walked right up and sat for Barbara. No mom at graduation or a dance recital was prouder πŸ˜‰

  14. Sounds like a great day at school.
    joann stancer recently posted…Monday Mischief ~Sticky MouthMy Profile

  15. Sounds like a great class. I’m really good with other doggies, but if I got to play and got treats for it, then count me in!!
    Misaki recently posted…Ball skillsMy Profile

  16. Good job Jack and Maggie!
    Holly recently posted…Monday Mischief: HouseguestsMy Profile

  17. Golden Congrats! How can you leave the house with no camera? Yes it is important to attend “socialization” classes. It is a must for every dog owner. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar
    SUGAR: Golden Woofs recently posted…Red White and Blue Icy Refreshing Dog TreatsMy Profile

  18. I am glad the class went so well. I am a firm believer in these types of classes. Even if the dog is only comfortable working obedience and not interacting with others, they are still very very important. Obedience work can bring s shy dog out of it’s shell.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Blind Work For FreighterMy Profile

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