I thought you might like to see what goes on at dog class. My friend took this photo a few weeks ago. Mr Spaghetti Legs is the white dog sitting closest to me, on the left of the photo, with the sweet, sweet expression (he loves his food) and Little Monkey is on the extreme right of the picture, at the back, in the red and black collars, looking anxious, and distancing herself from the crowd of dogs.
This is only a small selection of the dogs at class; just those who happened to be near enough to realise there was food being handed out, and to prefer that to play time. There are usually 20 to 30 dogs, all mingling, all off-lead, all getting along; which is amazing, when you think that most of them have problems of one sort or another. They are not the well-balanced dogs of the Dog Whisperer’s pack!
When I first got Mr SL and took him to class, he would follow me onto the field and walk part way with LM and me towards the group of dogs already there. Then he would turn round and head straight back to the car! This defeated the whole object of the exercise – socialising. So I started taking food treats as a means of keeping him in class. After no time, here he is, right in the middle of a lot of big, dominant dogs, and no-one is bothering anyone else. They are all focused on the food.
It’s not the same for my girl. I took this photo two years ago. She loves actually to go to class, and run round the field, but prefers not to join in. Even after taking her regularly for seven and a half years, she is still uneasy around the other dogs, though very much improved. But the old boy that I have had only 9 months fits in fine, because he is more calm and balanced. Poor old girl. I will be taking her to class till she’s 99!