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Old 11-15-2012, 07:28 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I agree with everyone else. I would NEVER go back to that class and I would sure as heck be letting the trainer know why I wasn't coming back. There is no way those bigger dogs should have been allowed near Sadie. Don't feel bad for crying, my eyes teared up when I saw her picture by the fence.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:18 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Is it possible to lodge a formal complaint against this "trainer"?
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:21 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I also agree that the trainer was at fault and I would never take her back..just seeing your pic of how terrified she looks made me cry. If it was Petco or Petsmart, I would demand my money back..I am glad she is okay..I never get my Malts around larger dogs...never have and never will..
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:31 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I ran into the same type situation. It was supposed to be a small dog puppy class. Well, a 4 month old lab pup is NOT small. Young and uncontrolled paws flying all over. Spookie was 5# or so. This was at a highly respected dog training facility in my area. We did not go back, I let my feelings be known, still do. I did my own thing with her, she is fine anywhere now.
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:44 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I am probably the least confrontational person ever so I don't want to get into some argument with this lady about getting my money back. However, I am definitely going to write her an email today and let her know that I was very very upset by what happened and reluctant to come back to class. Maybe she will realize how wrong it was? She did seem distracted by the little Boston Terrier puppy, who admittedly was very cute. I mean if I were her and there was a little tiny puppy in the same class as big stupid 50 pound dogs, I would watch the little one very carefully!!

I'm also reluctant to completely pull her out of this class because there aren't many options in my area and price range. There are plently of one on one trainers in my area, but they charge upwards of $90 for one session! I absolutely cannot afford that even if it would be a great option for her. There is also a puppy "boot camp" where they take the puppies for a week and train them for you, but I have ZERO interest in that. It's hard enough leaving for work in the morning, never mind shipping her off for a whole week.

I think Sadie will be fine in the class if we just don't participate in the off leash play time. The trainer can say whatever she wants about "learning to socialize," but I'd much rather my dog not be horribly traumatized every Wednesday night. We can watch from the other side of the fence until its time to learn on leashes.

Sadie has a vet appointment tomorrow afternoon to get her last round of shots, so maybe I can ask the vet about it as well. She would probably have a good recommendation for me.
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:48 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Barb, how did you address this with the trainer?? Like what did you say? I am trying to figure out how to make my feelings known, but I am always (stupidly and unnecessarily) worried about being confrontational / rude.

The whole point of going to the class was to have Sadie learn to be social. She is so shy around new dogs / new experiences, so I was hoping that this would help her come out of her shell.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:00 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Long story, I had been on the board of directors at USDTC. And an agility trainer. This guy had been in my class. I just told him what I thought. That this class was advertised as being for small puppies. Not all size puppies. And that I did not appreciate 2 lab pups, a golden pup, and a 5 yo Aussie in this class. The Aussie had major issues. I still have friends there and keep up. I hear stuff at the dog park too. I will not recommend this place anymore, some things haven't changed.
I wasn't nasty, just the facts.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:00 AM   #28 (permalink)
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I am so sorry you and Sadie went through this. How scary. The whole point of puppy class is socialization, and negative experiences are just not good. Not to mention that she could really get hurt by the larger dogs.
This happened to me and Daisy too. She was the only little one and the trainer thought it was a good idea to let the group of big dogs gang up on her. She hid under a chair for the whole class and I was terrified that she would truly be hurt. She is such a happy outgoing little dog and to see she so scared was heartbreaking. The trainer was more concerned about letting the big dogs get to interact with a little one than about Daisy's safety. We never went back.
We found a great class through our SPCA (the MSPCA- Conn. must have one too). I explained to the trainer what had happened and she was horrified. She was very sensitive to keeping Daisy safe and making sure she was not scared. When we had off leash play time, Daisy would be in a large pen so the big dogs could run by and say hi, but she was safe. Some weeks there would be another little dog, and they would get to play together in the pen. She ended up having a great time, and we went back for obedience classes too.
I think is is hard to find classes with other small dogs in New England. Everyone seems to have Labs or Retrievers! But I would definitely try to find a trainer who is sensitive. I would call and speak with the trainer before signing up for a different class. I think it is important to find a good class for Sadie to overcome the negative experience. They are such sensitive little dogs. It is so fun to see them have a great time with the other dogs.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:36 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Kaitlin,

It is your choice, of course....

But I really would not go back to that class, even if the trainer "realizes" what happened was a mistake.

With my experience with trainers who allow that to happen in the first place - she won't. She will tell you she has handled hundreds of puppies and that you are coddling Sadie too much and THAT is why she is so traumatized.

She will put it on you.

And if you pull Sadie from the play part of session, she will basically ignore you and not give you two the full attention.

If she does say, "Oh I never knew..." Then she is way too inexperienced and I wouldn't trust her to train my puppy. Because if she allowed that to happen and you have GSD (and similar size) puppies in your class - Sadie could get hurt with certain exercises you do in class. All because she is an inexperienced trainer.

Years ago I had a rescue lab mix. I had her in puppy class. She had a traumatic background. This was back when the penny can (horrible penny can!) was still in use. I told the trainer I did NOT want her to use it around my puppy or with my puppy. She was skittish and we were there for the socialization.

But the moment my girl jumped up on her to greet her (which was HUGE because she was so scared of strangers!) the trainer shook that dang penny can and scared the pee right out of her She cowered every time we went to class. So I stopped going.

Finding a good trainer takes time. Sadly.

I'd really suggest if it is limited - training her on your own. It isn't worth risking her socialization or temperament for a class.

Because this is her crucial age where things like this MATTER. If she has another bad experience it could traumatize her to the point that it becomes an ingrained fear that lasts her whole life time.

And you will be anxious and on alert every class, and she will pick up on that.

I am not a confrontational person either. But I am the voice for my dogs. Sometimes that means just leaving and finding something else that works.

Maybe instead of puppy class - you could find a dog daycare that separates toy breeds from the others (Camp Bow Wow is one).... and take her there for socialization

hugs to you and Sadie...
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:13 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Oh my gosh! I feel so bad for you and sadie. Dont go back there..... mabey see if you can private lessons??????
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