Obedience And Respect
I have a really important question that I cannot seem to find anyone to answer. Or else I am just too dumb to understand the answer. Maybe I am not asking it correctly. I will try to explain. My pup is currently in her FIFTH pup obedience class (she is now 11 months old). These have been at four different organizations that offer basic obedience classes in my area. I practice with her several times daily. She is perfect at the obedience commands while inside the house, she is great in the fenced backyard. She is good on a quiet street. She totally ignores me around other people and especially around other dogs... I mean she pulls, barks, whines, acts nutty. In the classes, once I drag her past other dogs and people and into the actual classroom, she is Super Obedient Dog most of the time but barks or lunges toward the other dogs the rest of the time. (She's not aggressive - just wants to play).
I know that the problem is that she does not really respect me nor see me as her leader. So my question is HOW do I actually train her to see me this way? She knows all the basic commands and quite a few tricks. She's quite happy to do them for me at home, in fact she is very impressive, but she is disobedient in public. The "watch me" command – which she immediately obeys at home and in class, is totally ignored whenever there is a distraction. I have been to watch the members of the Dog Obedience Club work with their dogs on their practice night. The dogs watch only the owner. They are very happy and enjoy the work. They ignore the other dogs and the other people. What did their owners do differently? I cannot find a class that addresses just how one gets to that point. At this rate, my dog could never pass the Canine Good Citizen Test.
One of the classes we took was called "MEET AND GREET", so I thought we would concentrate on MEETing and GREETing people and people with dogs. But it was the same old SIT, DOWN, follow the yummy treat... with just a little bit of walking by other people... with meat in front of the dog's nose. The really frustrating thing is that she is getting WORSE!! in public.
The only advice I have received so far is MORE EXERCISE. She gets plenty of exercise; that's not the solution. Is there anything that I can do? The Aussie that I had from 1995 to 2008 was not like this around dogs and people. I cannot help but wonder if the training method is the reason. I didn't take classes with my first Aussie. On my own I used the Monks of New Skete method with her. That was the old "jerk the leash" correction, no treats method. With my new Aussie, all the classes and my at-home work are positive reinforcement with treats method. I prefer this clicker and positive reinforcement method, but I am on the verge of considering reverting to the old method. I really hate to do that, but I've got to find something that works. Does anyone have any suggestions?