Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Puppy Class

Boy how time flies.  I said I would write about our experience in puppy class and what an experience it was.  Thought process when entering class…to teach the puppy manners and how to behave.  What I very quickly learned was that this was not really a puppy class, this was a people class to make us the pack leader, especially because we have a Yorkie. Learning to be the pack leader is better for the puppy and much better for everyone in the household.  We were extremely fortunate that our puppy was only 7.5 lbs when she started the class and ended the classes at 9.9 lbs, so we considered her very manageable. Little Duke (as we called him) was Gadgets pal and a very beautiful golden retriever puppy weighting in at substantially more than Gadget.  They always greeted each other with excitement and were ready to play, even though he towered over Gadget she was ready to take on the challenge.  It was very fun watching them play.  We would allow them to play for a few minutes before class than then it was down to work.

Our instructor, Kiah Babcock was there to guide us through the training.   This cute, easy going, little bit of a thing was focused and ready to teach us her vast wealth of knowledge.  Her real life examples of her own pet’s issues and training challenges gave us encouragement that we too could make it through the puppy stage, and if the dog ate the couch it was really our fault for leaving them alone long enough to eat the couch.  No one wanted to hear that part. The other thing we learned is that just taking them to puppy training wouldn’t train your puppy.  It also takes work, unless you plan to spend the time, everyday, to practice the teachings of the class don’t waste your money.  Being patient and consistent was the name of the game.  Wish they had these types of classes when our two legged kids were small.  I wouldn’t have so much gray hair now.

Each week Kiah would add to our list of things to practice: loose leash walking, sit, down, come when called, drop it, combination commands, leave it commands.  I especially liked the “leave it” command.  Gadget liked eating my socks...only when I remembered to pick up after myself it was not a problem.  Now if I tell her to “Leave it” she will drop the object and won’t touch it again.  This command has come in handy when on walks. People drop a lot of stuff that could make a dog sick like chocolate, cigarette butts, as well as finding bugs and stuff that look interesting to her.  If I have told her to leave it she just walks past.  So cool! 

Last night was testing and graduation.  All we had to do is loose leash walk with an easy turn around back to the start, a sit when we stop walking, along with a stay sit or down with a come when called and to close with a sit, down, sit command.  That’s the easy part…the other part of the test is how well you correct and praise and release at the right time! All of that works perfectly when you are at home, but in the pet store there are people and other dogs and you have to be heard across the room!  I guess I was nervous because it took Gadget longer than usual to calm down in the store, but we made it through testing with flying colors and she got her diploma!
Testing...Get Ready for walk and come when called.

Now we just need to keep up with the daily training and figure out when we can get her into her, or should I say my, next step in training. 

Thank you Kiah, we will be back to say hi soon.  KV