Thought I would ask some advice.
Jacob (newly adopted, 4yo Mastiff x) has settled in well at home, and I have been taking him to the local dog training club each week. I know what I'm asking is probably all very basic stuff, but he's my first dog, and so I'm learning on the fly.
Jacob is capable of good focus (when there's treats to be had), and knows his basic sit/drop/stand/heel, but as soon as there are other dogs around... forget it.
Last night it got to the point that I couldn't even get to the table to sign up -- as soon as I had him quiet and approached the table, someone else would approach with their dog, he would lunge and bark (usually playfully, but not always) and I'd have to withdraw to regain his attention and start over. It was frustrating. I looked at the beginner group lining up (which we are repeating due to his lack of concentration), and they were all tiny and/or puppies, and I decided to not try to join the class, for all our sakes. (Actually, I initially thought "bugger this, I'm going home", considered a bit of a sob, but I gathered myself together and decided to get over myself and make the most of it.)
So, I spent the hour walking in the empty corner of the field with Jacob, doing heel and sit and drop, lots of direction changes, some sit/recall at the length of the leash, and made up a little game based on his dinner ritual, where I had him sit, walked to the leash's length, put a treat on my shoe, and made him look at me until I released him to come get the treat. I've been working on encouraging him to walk on a loose leash this week, stopping when he pulled ahead, and rewarding when he turned, made eye contact and sat. So I did this around the oval as well, closer and further from the classes. Every time I stopped, I wanted him making eye contact. If he got excited, I'd walk backwards with kissy sounds and the like, until he turned, made eye contact and sat.
He was much calmer by the end of the classes (although I intentionally stayed away from any of the dogs that I know set him off), and I let him have a meet/greet with a collie that he knows. He adores her, and she ignores him, so it keeps things calm(ish).
So... can people advise other exercises that I can do on my own during training club? I don't want to give up the classes, and I understand that my needs fall outside the class grouping environment, so I'm happy to work on this on my own, but don't want to bore Jacob silly in the meantime.
(I have booked in to see a professional trainer, but there are a few more weeks before our appointment, so I have a few more classes before then and would like to make the most of them.)