Mean instructor?

Running, catching, leaping; this is the forum to discuss dog sports and agility training with other active pups!


Kids?- Please...mommy- loves ME best!
Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 10:44am PST 
Hi guys!

I started doing agility with my girl a couple of months ago. We were doing great (especially once my hubby built some of the equipment for the front yard) and then we got a new instructor for our class. I didn't care one way or the other, but she's AWFUL! We're in a beginner's class, but my dog is quite quick on picking up on stuff, so she's a little better than the rest. This instructor is constantly belittling my dog, and telling me I can't use clickers because it hurts her (the instructors!) ears, and making snide and rude comments about my dog! It's not even like we're annoying. I've tried contacting the place to see if there are any other instructors, or if we could get a refund if we drop out (we DO have some homemade stuff we could use, but it'd be nice to have someone help us!) and it's no use. This is the only agility place within about a 45 minute drive for us, too, so we can't go to a different facility. Anyone ever have someone be so outright MEAN to your dog?!?! I've paid for this class and don't want to waste money, but I dread going there....anyone have any advice? frown Thanks for the help!!!!
Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 11:56am PST 
I have Charks in a couple of agility classes. It's FUN for us. F-U-N. Charks gets rewarded with tugs and treats. I click where it works and don't bother when dealing with motion. The classes... we vocally cheer each other during runs. We support one another (and this includes the instructors). So Charka gets her rewards... and _I_ get my rewards. Dog is happy AND _I_ am happy. In agility this really matters. You are flinging all kinds of information at your dog. Oh, we know about all those overt directional commands... posture, movement, hand signals, vocal commands. You're also communicating your emotional state. Think about the last time YOU messed up and how your dog reacted. Dog is not real terrific at blame... so when you signal 'darn, I messed that up'... dog will read it as their failure. How they deal with it is a function of the dog... but it IS real.

So. Dog's emotional state is important AND it depends on yours. This long story is to tell you that, if you are getting emotionally battered, you will communicate it to your canine partner and your performance will suffer. If you can let your instructor's words roll off your back, all is well. If not... I'd pack up and leave by the nearest exit. I cannot envision how one teaches/learns agility other than pure positive reinforcement... and that means positive reinforcement of both canine AND human.

Edited by author Thu Nov 8, '12 11:57am PST

Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 1:39pm PST 
I'd leave. Refund or not. To be treated that way, regardless of whether it's just comments or not, is TERRIBLE customer service(it's still a business), and quite frankly, I won't tolerate such disrespect of me OR my dog. I hope you do whatever suits you best.

If she works for a company, I'd make a complaint at the very least.

Miyu CGC

Bow down to the- Princess Brat!
Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 9:37pm PST 
I'm with Czarks and Charlie. We also take a beginner/intermediate agility class, and it is always, always fun. Miyu has a blast, and I have a blast. I love the trainer, and I love the other people that come to class. We are all supportive of each other, and we cheer when somebody has a good run. It sucks that there's nowhere else you can go, but... you shouldn't have to put up with crap like that. I say get out before it ruins things for you and your dog.

And the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I'm in customer service and hate giving such advice, but in times like this I think it's warranted. Make a LOT of noise, be firm and insistent and angry. Enough until they give you your money back. This is ridiculous.

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Fri Nov 9, '12 9:56am PST 
Totally agree that class should be fun for both you & your dog.
When you signed up for the class was there a description of how it would be taught? It sounds like your first instructor was great. The second one sounds like a female dog wink. If the class is based on positive methods, then you need to let it be known that the meanie is using negative methods..with you, and that has an effect on your dog! Take this all the way up the chain, until you get to the owner. Be quiet, polite, but firm. Know what kind of resolution you want. Is it a refund for the classes you will not take? Is it a replacement of the instructor? Be realistic. It may be that the owner is unaware of how the class is being run, and may appreciate the feedback. Use *I statements..do not say "she is rude"...phrase it as "I feel hurt when I hear comments about my dog". Or "I really enjoyed the first classes I took here, but lately I am not feeling as happy."
Do not be deterred or placated until you get some solution worked out.
btw...this advice worked for me just last week. my bank's computer system was down across the entire nation. It took me 42 minutes on my cell, but eventually I was credited with a day's pay for my inconvenience.
Savannah Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
Barked: Sat Nov 10, '12 7:10am PST 
I know the kind of thing you are dealing with, even though we haven't done agility. When I took my Lab to puppy class we had a great time, so I signed up for beginning obedience. Same dog, same me - different teacher.

She spent almost an hour doing a one on one with a misbehaving dog while the rest of us just sat there. She tried to get me to use a prong collar with big boisterous Savvy. In the course of the class, Savvy hit "Lab Adolescence" and we got sat in the corner, so as not to be a distraction. I would have at least thought I'd get a little individual help, but she just ignored us and concentrated on the small cute dogs. Walked out on the final class when Savvy got bored and rolled me out of my chair. After we left, she knocked me over and stood in my purse looking for treats. That's a Lab for you. And I love her to bits. But still resent not getting some guidance in class.

Quit and complain. Demand a refund. Find a group of like minded pet owners and coach each other.

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Mon Nov 19, '12 12:34pm PST 
I agree w Czarka, classes for my dogs are fun. if they are not, I walk away. Life is too short.

Member Since
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 6:18pm PST 
I would totally leave. If the instructor is being plain rude to you, that's totally unacceptable. And why would he belittle your dog when he is doing well? It's kind of annoying and irritating to think that he wouldn't allow you clickers just because it hurts his ears. I mean, clickers aren't for him though, it's for the dogs. Some people are just so mean.