Something that came up in the Muttley thread (which I wish would just end, Paul is having enough difficulty with this decision, but I do agree that the hike was a very poor choice). I've never come across any Basic obedience class that temperament tests dogs before class starts.
I've been running classes for 16 years, and taking them for over 30. The first class I took was with my own dog aggressive dog, so it's not like I haven't had to deal with that stuff from day one.

Most of my students have had no to little contact with me when they register for class. I always invite people to come watch class, ask me questions, etc, but pre-entrance testing? Nope. Unless someone has a very specific concern, it's never been necessary.

I get a lot of overtly (and clandestine) dog aggressive dogs, yet I've never had a situation like this one. Many different breeds, none judged by their breed, but also not thinking they're all warm and fuzzy.
With a Basic class, it's assumed the dog (and part of the time, the people) have had no training to speak of. We provide handouts on issues mentioned, but also realize we don't live with the dog or owner, and don't know all that goes on. I've been surprised by things I've been told the last week of class, that has never been mentioned before!
Has anyone come across a Basic level class that interviews dogs before they can enroll? I've seen some that will only take "friendly" dogs (geez - isn't that simple!), but none that give pre-entry tests.

Janet Boss
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
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Has anyone come across a Basic level class that interviews dogs before they can enroll? I've seen some that will only take "friendly" dogs (geez - isn't that simple!), but none that give pre-entry tests.

I've been in classes where the instructor took a page from horse shows and asked that people who had dogs who were "not good with other dogs" (leaving it up to the owner to interpret what that means) should tie a red ribbon to their dog's collar. I've taken classes a number of different places and have never seen someone do pre-class screening for dogs with problems.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Prouder than ever to be a member of the reality-based community
Something that came up in the Muttley thread (which I wish would just end, Paul is having enough difficulty with ... will only take "friendly" dogs (geez - isn't that simple!), but none that give pre-entry tests. Janet Boss www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com

I'm signing up for a class which offers an initial consultation where they evaluate my dog and I together before placing us. I'm not sure how long they will spend with us, though. It is included in the training class fees, though I don't pay until we are actually starting whatever class they end up recommending. This is at a kennel/training facility that is fully staffed. I imagine this is very time consuming, but as a student, I'm looking forward to the one-on-one with an instructor. As an instructor, I'd be looking for red flags somehow.

If evaluation are not practical for you and your partner, perhaps some more in depth questions on the application might be prudent? But you will have to be specific, since people are dumb. For example, instead of asking "has your dog displayed any signs of aggression" ask "has your dog ever bitten anyone" with a space for clarification if the answer is yes. Maybe some more detailed questions to follow. Ask the same question in reference to other dogs. Of course some people will lie...
This is a tough subject, and I imagine a very emotional one for most people. If I were in a class and someone else's dog viciously attacked mine, I'd have to be stopped from harming not only the dog, but also the handler... I have experience with my dog being on the receiving end of dog aggression, though, and so I have a hair trigger on these issues now. I feel bad for you as an instructor, because the people in your class look to you for 'control' when in fact it is they who are responsible for the control of their dogs, even though you are teaching them.
Has anyone come across a Basic level class that interviews dogs before they can enroll? I've seen some that will only take "friendly" dogs (geez - isn't that simple!), but none that give pre-entry tests.

We were asked to answer some questions before we started a "family dog" class. That was basic obedience. I don't have the questions anymore, but I remember we were asked both during the first class (no dogs) and the second class (with dogs) about any problems, including aggression.

If someone said they had an aggressive dog, the trainer asked more questions to see what the owners thought "aggression" meant.
Something that came up in the Muttley thread (which I wish would just end, Paul is having enough difficulty with ... will only take "friendly" dogs (geez - isn't that simple!), but none that give pre-entry tests. Janet Boss www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com==[/nq]Before I joined my obedience class a couple of years ago, my trainer asked me to bring my dog to his house first, so that he could assess the dog. I am assuming he wanted to see if she would fit in with the rest of the class that was already ongoing. There was also another potential newcomer to the group with her young lab at the same time I was there. He told us what we could expect from the class, and then he did a demo with his two police trained German Shepherd dogs.

It was quite exciting to watch them. He asked us if we were interested in signing up for the class. I paid him at that time signed some papers, and that is when he told me I should have one of those double latch attachments for my dog's collar and prong collar, in case the prong collar came off. The next time I met him was at the class, which had about 20 people and dogs in it. He held his lessons in an elementary school field. It was summer time.

In the winter, he held his classes inside a YMCA building.
Janet,
My very first obedience class sounds much like your operation. It was operated out of a school gym. I will never forget my instructor. She started me on a path to title 3 of my dogs in obedience (CDX). No, there was absolutely NO interview prior to the class. The application was simply the basics...Your name etc...your dog's name etc..In fact Spencer my St Bernard took a clump of hair out of this most annoying little fluffy dog in front of us while we were supposed to be walking in a circle around the ring. It was me and my dog's fault not the fluffy little dog. He was going for the tail and ended up with hair. It was an attack but not a killer move. I think he was bored and that fluff ball looked enticing. Anyway she told us to sit out and observe, a little socializing and we were back at it a week later.

Only now I kept an eye on him. He had never shown any aggression before or since. I am in no way comparing Spencer to Muttley just trying to answer your question about obedience training classes for pets/beginners and my experience with the application process. Of course that was many years ago.
I have a suggestion, perhaps it would be a good idea to have a break stick on hand if you are dealing with possible PBT mixes, a pail of water might be of use too regardless of the breed. I am not criticizing you in any way. You may already have both of the above on hand or they may never be of any use but I thought it was worth mentioning. Good luck with your classes and your work to prevent breed bans.

Be Free,
Judy
Has anyone come across a Basic level class that interviews dogs before they can enroll?

Mine didn't, and I think there is a presumption there that if the dog has problems, the owner would bring it up. I know that our obedience instructor stayed way past class to address anything from jumping up to dog aggression and the problems that we encountered with Khan. As far as I know, there was one dog there who was dog aggressive, and it was pretty clear to just about everyone that the dog was seriously dog aggressive (American Bulldog, in case anyone is wondering). Yes, the instructor knew about it ahead of time, and had figured out a way that would allow the dog to work in the presence of dogs without triggering him.
Suja
Has anyone come across a Basic level class that interviews dogs before they can enroll?

Interview pesonally? No. However, our application form asks questions about the dog. Has he bitten a person or another dog? Is he dog friendly or not, have they had any aggression problems, etc. Also, we DO insist that we speak by phone or email at the very least before a dog enrolls the first time. This is mostly to make sure they are getting into a class that suits their needs and experience. However, there are often also a lot of verbal/written cues that can give you an idea if the dog is a potential problem.
We have a written policy that we may ask a dog to be excused if it is uncontrollable. For those who email or phone with a dog that's already a problem, we refer them to a local canine behaviorist and/or meet with them to evaluate the situation before we decide if we'll let them in.

As part of the email confirmation before class starts, we remind people repeatedly to have the dog on a well fitted collar, and to give lots and lots of room to other dogs. Newbies are often totally clueless about space issues, posturing, eyeing, etc. Especially the first few classes, we keep an extra sharp eye out (though of course the whole absolutely-no-warning thing you encountered would have surprised us too). We also have very, very small class sizes (usually 8 or 10) often with two instructors.
We have had one dog fight, no dog hurt badly enough to require any sort of treatment. We have had two people bites, one a fear aggression nip that resulted in the dog getting extensive behavioral redirection, I now consider the dog safe. Another which was a totally unprovoked bite (the dog was walking by a person who had their back turned to the dog talking to another person, and he simply leapt up and nailed her on the arm). That dog was dead within a day.
Interview pesonally? No. However, our application form asks questions about the dog. Has he bitten a person or another dog? ... another person, and he simply leapt up and nailed her on the arm). That dog was dead within a day.==[/nq]I think dogs do get stressed in those training classes. I felt at that time that my dog was. I felt that she became very stubborn when in the class, and didn't respond to commands as easily as she did when she was home; a couple of times, she didn't respond at all, and she is never like that. She definitely was not the same dog there that she was at home. Now, I just have to tell her to do something once and she does it. In the training classes, the dogs are in a group with a lot of strange dogs, which causes tension, and being forced to do things they don't want to do.

My dog was two years old at the time. There was a huge German Shepherd in the class with a rather bad temperament, and at one point I was standing next to that dog with my dog in the sit position forming a large circle with the rest of the class. There was a lady with a young lab, and she let her pup loose and the pup ran around the outside of the large circle two or three times. As we were all standing around the circle with our dogs at a sit on a loose leash.

The German Shepherd growled and he and my dog lunged for the lab the third time it came around us. The lab ended up ok. It was very upsetting. The trainer then yelled at the lady with the lab pup to never ever let her dog run loose again like that around the other dogs. I was so relieved nothing happened to that pup. I thought we would get reprimanded, but instead he reprimanded the lady with the pup.
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