Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our First Obedience Class

Tonight was the first class of an 8-week course in obedience. I say our first class because the training is as much for the dog owner as for the dog. The instructor explained this first 8 week session is really about teaching the owners how to train. That's not to say that there won't be any dog training going on. That will happen too, but slowly and in the correct way, with lots of patience and consistent practice. A few minutes at a time several times a day. A puppy's attention span is only a few minutes at a time so 2 - 5 minutes is plenty.

Tonight's class was mostly introductions and going over some basics. Josh, our instructor, is having us focus on getting our pups to respond to their name. Homework is also to work on sit and down.

The class was smaller than expected, with only three dogs tonight. Josh, our instructor, said seven dogs had registered. Since Trixie is a small breed, Papillon, I wondered if the class would be separated according to the breed size. It wasn't. In addition to Trixie, our class consisted of a five month old female Boxer that did extremely well considering how active Boxers are. And a seven month old that looked Ilka a Vizsla / Lab mix, named Chicken Nugget. (He's called Nugget)

Puppies being puppies, there was some barking, lots of sniffing and a bit of jumping. I am rather glad that there wasn't a full class. At home Trixie will go out in the backyard and bark until the neighbor dogs come out. They then proceed to bark at each other for a little while, then run back and forth on either side of the fence until they get tired. I knew she was the one that often started things at home. What I didn't expect was that she was doing the same thing in class but more subtly. She would lay quietly, or sniff around a bit. But then she would move toward the middle of the room and plant her feel and stare at "Nugget". She didn't bark, she made no sound at all, just a stare. Nugget would react by standing up and barking and trying to chase her. Yeah the smallest dog in the place was the trouble maker. Go figure.

Homework = Name,Sit, Down, and definitely more exercise just before the next class.

I hope to post each week to keep a record of how things are going in these classes. It will be nice to look back at the end of the eight weeks to see just how far we have come.


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