The honeymoon phase is over for me and the “new” instructor in our obedience class. Last night (2nd class) was about attention; how do you get it, how do you keep it, and how do you let the dog know that it is his/her responsibility to “watch” you until you say otherwise. According to our instructor, if the dog looks away, you should “pop” him or her with the leash so that s/he will think a “gremlin bit” him/her, and that the only time the gremlin doesn’t bite is when the dog is looking at the handler. I don’t “pop” my dog, ever. Unfortunately for me, Devi and I had to be the first in the class to heel past the instructor as she shoved a giant stuffed lion in the dog’s face as a distraction. Devi, of course, looked at it. I did nothing, just waited for her attention to return to me. The instructor told me I wasn’t doing it right, and I explained that there was a disconnect between where my dog is (there’s a giant stuffed lion in my face, must look!) and where you want her to be (ignore all distractions), and that I wasn’t comfortable bridging that with corrections. I thought I did a good job of summarizing my issue while not saying anything negative about the instructor or her methods.
Apparently, the instructor did not agree. She told me, and I quote, “you will never succeed in this sport if you don’t use physical corrections.” She then stopped the entire class, pointed at me, and said “She wants to use positive methods only. She is going to NQ at every trial she enters.” The instructor then turned back to me and said “Please continue to enter our trials. We want to take your money.” I said nothing, but as you might imagine, I was fuming! How DARE she! I still haven’t decided whether I want to go back or not. I think she does have some good advice on handling, which is why I didn’t just leave last night, but is it worth being held up to everyone as an example of what not to do?