Not been on the forum for a while as I have ceased my studies UFN (for past few months at least!!) due to many life issues taking over, expected and unexpected.
I agree re: Family counselling!
I started my own classes last September (did anyone elses take ages to 'take off'? Only just breaking even still! Have only puppies and enough to run one class this course. Still it means an early night!).
Well, on the current course are an older couple who have a puppy. The husband wanted the dog, the wife was not keen. She (I believe)is still very much grieving for their last dog who passed away 6 months ago. The husband is waiting a serious operation and wanted a dog for company (he walks the dog, the dog sleeps in his bedroom ). The wife is being nipped non-stop by this puppy's razor teeth, being jumped on all night while 'mum' wants to settle to watch TV. The husband did not want to come to classes as: "He is shy and won't get up in public and do any of the training". The wife was almost in tears and having a nervous breakdown and beginning to monopolize the class.
So, basically to see the puppy's behaviour for myself I visited them one night and really, the puppy is being a puppy, but the wife is SO animated in her interaction with the dog her waving arms and agitated voice, it just stimulates the dog more and more! It was pointed out that puppy was 'normal' and just being a puppy (she thought that she had an aggressive puppy on her hands...literally!). Puppy does not bite/pester hubby as much as he just sits there quietly and handles the puppy more quietly. It was pointed out to the wife that she needed to alter her body language to calm puppy down and gave them things to keep puppy occupied 'away' from them and also racing all over the settee/chairs like an agility course attacking the woman's flailing arms in the process!
Plus I advised them they had two options really, decide whether a young puppy is the best option for them or as hubby wants, keep the puppy but accept it will go through these various developmental stages and they have to work with it, for several months at least!
In the next class, hubby was up doing more of the training and the wife sat more quietly, though she still got a bit stressed when trying any training.
Mind you, I really do not think that this puppy is the best dog for them at their time in life (early>mid 70's) as I think the wife is worried if anything happens to hubby before or after his 'op' and she is left looking after the dog. However, hubby is insistent on keeping it. The puppy is more relaxed and attentive at home, but I am not convinced Hall based classes are suiteable (it took pup ages to come out from under the chair first week) last week the puppy was constantly panting, tension in its face, totally switched off to food, its owners and me, in any attempt to carry out any training. Though the pup is over-attached to hubby in the home and on walks (the pup pees in the home when hubby just goes outside to put the rubbish out!)the pup does not attempt to obtain any reassurance or attention to the owners in class. When they dropped the lead in error once, the pup ran to the other puppies and just stood there as if she wanted to interact but the other puppies had to make the first move.
I am really undecided about this little one, classes are stressing her out at present, but she needs to build confidence meeting other dogs and learning to become a bit more independent of the husband. She is too young to go on another trainer's 'social walks' as the duration of walks are too long for a puppy. The wife gets stressed that the dog swtiches off in class and nips her 'non-stop' in the home.
If the pup is still too stressed next week I will suggest to knock classes on the head, carry out home training and try to increase the dogs they meet on walks (pup is now about 18weeks old). Plus it might save the wife having a nervous breakdown (she is a very emotional and dramatic person when talking etc.).
Some owners can be very emotionally draining and time consuming on us sometimes can't they?
Best Regards and my sympathies Olwen!