Signed up for classes
Yes I did...
I am not a very social person I prefer being with Murphy (or which ever dog is sharing my life) and just us being out together with my camera..
For this reason Murphy hasnt met enough people and he is not used to strangers so he barks at people sometimes.
Like any parent I know my baby needs to be socialized and we did try when he was little but as he arrived in September and the winter set in early there were not many chances to meet and I hate the idea of dog classes for me thats the worst social contact but Ive bitten the bullet...
I heard about some very small classes (groups of 4 or 5) being run at a local dog rescue center, all the profits go to the center so that they can help more dogs. So Ive signed up and Murphy and I will join the next group in about 8 weeks time.
My stomach is already in a knot but this will be good for him and the money will help other dogs so I have to be brave.
Am I the only one who is so averse to human company?
Oh, I'm sure you're not the only one! And this is an excellent idea. It's fine for you to keep your distance from other humans--you know they aren't a threat, you just don't want to hang with them. But Murphy has to be taught they are not a threat, and this class is an excellent way to teach him that, as well as how to be ok with other dogs around.
I'm a very social person now, but when I was younger I was so introverted that if I was out walking and saw someone I knew coming my way, I would cross the street to avoid having to interact with them. So I do get it. This is another reason you have chosen the best possible gathering to socialize Murphy. It's about dogs! And if you do interact with the others, I can almost guarantee they won't be asking about you, they will be asking about Murphy! How old is he? Where did you get him? Not only that, you don't have to come up with small talk with the other humans--how old is their dog? Where did they get him/her? What kind of treats do they give him/her? The conversation practically runs itself! And it's not a cocktail party, the talking will be minimal since you will be learning how to interact with your dog. And he will be learning that the other humans are not only not a threat, they aren't even paying attention to him--win win all around.
Don't be knotted up. You can do this. I think you cleared the highest hurdle just signing up in the first place, knowing your aversion. Hey, you can always work on the reward system for yourself--get through this and when you are out the other side, do something nice for yourself! Something to look forward to.
I do talk to people , I used to work as a home carer too I just dont function well in group settings and I dont suffer fools gladly..
But youre right this is for and about Murphy and him having a stress free life. I dont like the idea that people stress him out although he has been very good this week with all the visitors we have had and my grandchildren who are far from easy (my grandson is severly autisitc) but Murphy has coped rather well. I just want him to have the best life possible and that means covering all bases.
I hope you do enjoy the classes. My Bennie needs socialized, too. I'm hoping to start classes soon.
I'm very much an introvert, but find I do better when my dog is involved. After many classes with previous dogs I was actually hired to assist with both beginning and advanced dog classes. I taught positive style dog training for many years and also took therapy dog classes.
I wanted to volunteer in my community, but could never have done it alone. Thanks to my two late therapy dogs, I was able to volunteer hundreds of hours.
I hope you find classes as fun as I did. It is such a pleasure to work with our dogs.
Good luck to you!
Here are a couple of pictures of my therapy dogs. I hope you don't mind.
Bonnie with approval of Bennie dog and SamCat
our first class was on Thursday evening, there is just Murphy and 3 other dogs. One east European rescue Layla, who is dog reactive, one small furry about the size of a rabbit and one small terrier mix who has the nightmare owner..
She does not give simple commands she has huge long talks with her dog so, it runs to the end of the lead yapping and lunging and she says in a candy sweet voice 'oh you wanna play, do you, you wanna play with the big doggies, oh no, not yet, no playing with the big doggies yet darling, maybe later, yes thats a good boy, good boy..........
Then she announces to everyone that her dog is so friendly and just wants to play.. I can see Layla is ready to eat her dog the small furry one is huddleing near to its owner expecting to get eaten and Murphy lays down on the floor waiting it out... I was just proud of him for not reacting by barking or responding.
Luckily the trainer stepped in and gave the lady and her dog a task which stopped them.
All the training is about getting the dog to focus on you and is treat rewarded. Murphy has never had so many treats but he didnt understand all of the games , after all why would he take his eyes off the prize and look at boring old me? But we got on quite well and we have been practicing at home.
Now I just have to convince OH (and hope he remembers) to use the same techniques..
So next week I wont be so nervous and hopefully Murphy will remember what its all about.
Thankyou all for the encouragment.
I am a social leper I just dont do social full stop.. No BBQ's , no works outings, no group classes, and when I did a dog walk for charity with my little dog Remy there were about 50 people who all seemed to know someone else in the group I just felt so isolated that I wanted to turn tail and run half way through.
So I have to admit that these classes are as much for me as for Murphy because I do manage to talk to other dog owners on a 1to1 basis just never while theres a group. The worst thing is I actually like being alone so Im in no hurry to seek people out. This leads to Murphy being even more used to it just being family around him and makes him more warey of strangers. A bit of a catch 22..
Anyway I will make this a weekly update in the hope that other people might be encouraged and also to let you know that outward apperances are deceptive, to the outside worlds I might appear perfectly happy to be around people and quite social but inside Im dying and fighting the urge to run away..
Totally get you on this. I'm not the biggest fan of people, but my boy has anxiety issues. I have taken him to multiple sources to try and get him "help" (including an animal psychic) but finally found nose work to be a good outlet for him. We go to the community center once a week where classes run from 6pm - 9pm with a revolving door of strange people with their strange dogs. But rule number one: any dog not working has to be crated!
My boy will never compete - anything new kinda messes up his focus - but he has made huge huge improvement on his reactivity issues. Not so sure the same can be said for me. hahaaa 😉
In a still photo he actually looks like he 'knows' what he's doing.
Wonderful photo.. Indeed sounds as if we are both on the same track ie; anything to help our dog and its great to hear that you have seen improvement.
I think Murphy would love nose work its what he is bred for and he loves tracking moles but I dont really want to encourage that side of his personality if I can help it.
Im hoping the classes works in getting him used to focusing on me instead of whats going on around us, yesterday there was a man with a funny walk and Murphy refused to walk on until the man was totally out of sight.
Hopefully it will help him be more social and less nervous of odd people , because lets face it there are a lot of them around.. (myself included)
Brick is a catahoula and he does have a high prey drive - but thankfully he is insanely food motivated. He does still chase the occasional rat - but that's usually a pack thing, my girl goes after a critter and he follows her lead. Because of all the nose work training he will now "alert" to things that are out of the ordinary. If my girl kills a squirrel and leaves it, he will sit next to it until I see him. One morning he refused to come in for breakfast - which is so far outside his norm that i raced right out into the winter chill in my pj's and mud boots to find him sitting next to a dead gopher (can't be certain, but i think the gopher might have expired from natural causes)
He has learned impulse control because it's the ALERT that pays. Who wants to suck on a dead squirrel when mom's got the good stuff! 🤣
I will say that it took months, probably close to a year, for him to accept strange things happen during class. We share the community center with a kids' karate class and he hates kids almost as much as he hates noise. I used to stand watch in front of his crate door to make sure the kids never came near him - and now, two years later - he can quietly watch the kids run around the lobby without reacting. Nose work is a job to him - and the way he gallops around the room - i know he enjoys it, lol, but he does take his work seriously.
Good boy found a nest that the wind blew out of a tree. Good boy waited for mom to see him.
(in contrast, if my girl had found the nest, if she hadn't been busy chasing a squirrel, she'd have chewed it up. chewing things up is kinda her thing 😉)
Second class last night.
Id been away in Germany all day so Murphy was a bit distant ,,like .'oh so now you come back and just expect me to be nice...'
The small furry dog has grown a bit so we could see its face, but now it could see Murphy it barked and growled.. He made one little growl and then ignored it ( Im so pleased)
I did get slightly told off...I couldnt help giving Murphy the odd cuddle or pat when he got things right but as the trainer explained he was waiting for the treat that comes with a successful response so it was stressing him.. (note to self; Must be more attentive)
Another proud moment, one of the owners had bought her husband along but he didnt get involved he just lurked on the edge of the field.. Now this is a huge red flag for Murphy , strangers are a danger sign to him he sizes them up before defending our space but apart from a very intense stare and a snort he pretty much ignored the man and the trainer congratulated us both in the calm way we had coped with the situation.
Now its practice at home until next week luckily I only go to Germany once a month so he should be more relaxed next week.