Last night, we started the basic obedience class (again). We’re taking it just as a refresher while we take the intermediate and to remind Moby of certain behaviors that we may not practice as much as we should.
We have a pretty big class (8 total) and the sizes and types of dogs are a wide range. There’s everything from a small (I’m guessing) min pin that weighs in at probably 3 or so lbs to a tall mixed breed (again, guessing) boy that is just a bit smaller than Moby.
Of course, everyone is usually very excited and wants to socialize at the beginning of class. We usually sit off to one side so that we only have a dog on one side of us and not both. Though Moby usually calms down pretty quickly, it’s easier for me to handle him knowing I only have to watch out to one side for someone coming at us. Moby hasn’t been aggressive, but he is reactive, especially when on a leash – something that we are working on.
He did great during class and was used as the example of “down” (since we already knew how to do this) so I was very proud. Towards the end of the class, we had about 10-15 minutes to practice in our own areas and he did great concentrating on me and not all the other dogs around. At the very end of the class, our trainer (who I LOVE and who had helped us work wonder with Moby – including conquering his fear of the dog door) said that we could have play time. Everyone would stand up, drop the leashes and let the dogs play.
Right away, I knew we’d leave. It’s not that I don’t think Moby could handle it. It’s that I don’t KNOW if he could handle it. And I’m choosing to set him up for successes, not failures. He loves to play with Boney and Allie, but with both of them, we went for a long walk together before we introduced them. With several people and dogs in a small confined space, I just didn’t feel like that was the best scenario for us. And because he was the biggest, oldest and definitely strongest, I just didn’t want to take that chance.
On the way home, I felt bad. I felt like I was the mom that made the kid leave early. I wondered how he would have handled it. But I also know that I want him to go to class and know he’s there to learn – not to play. That we can play at home. I want Moby to have other friends, but I want to introduce them in a way that I know he’ll succeed. Of course, I had to have second opinions from Joe and Emily and both reassured me that I did the right thing for Moby.
Moby didn’t seem to mind at all. We took our time walking home (learning makes my boy sooo tired!). When we got home, he crawled up on the couch with dad and Boney and fell asleep instantly.
Do any of you ever doubt your gut feeling when it comes to what is best for your dog(s)?