She gently told us that our goal for the class was to find the distance at which we could work with Bingo and he would listen to us with a slack leash but that he would also be aware of the other dogs. If we were giving him more then 2-3 corrections, we were to move back farther. If he did great, move closer. And keep doing that until we gradually got him to move into the circle of acceptance (although she didn't call it the circle of acceptance. I just made that up. 8-).
"Try not to think of it as banishment," she said, but it was still a bit hard to take (see circle of acceptance comment above ;-). Especially as there were several puppies all being nice and sitting in the circle. But there is no whining in obedience class, so we moved to the outer limits. Fortunately, some other puppies joined us in the outer ring.
It was a surreal experience. There we were, in the back, watching a placid group of puppies walking in a circle, sitting and being nice, while Bingo and I played surreptitious guerrilla obedience training:
"Bingo, Sit. Good Boy." Gentle pat on the head. (We also learned that he gets WAY TOO excited and we have to be very calm when we give praise. So, make that zen surreptitious guerrilla obedience training.)
Sneak a look at the puppies.
Check Bingo. Is the leash slack? Is he watching? Inch forward.
"Bingo, Sit. Good boy." Pat, pat.
Check out the puppies. Is the leash slack; is he watching them? Inch forward.
Crap! Correction. Correction. Inch backward. Try again.
We did guerrilla obedience training all night, slowly sneaking up to the main circle of acceptance puppies until we were about 10 feet away. Jennifer said he did a great job.
This video actually shows success. Bingo is the closest he got to the other dogs all night. He maintained a down stay, was in full view of the other puppies and was watching them but there is a slack leash and he is making the decision not to be a butthead. Next week, we will try for 5 feet, but this process can't be rushed, so we'll see what he can do.