Obedience class: Week 3 (aka, Dahlia the food hound) - The Book of Ramblings
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Thu, Jul. 17th, 2008 09:17 am
Obedience class: Week 3 (aka, Dahlia the food hound)

On Tuesday we took Dahlia off to obedience class again. She had a LOOONG nap in the afternoon, so she was much more lively at class this time. Not that she was as hyper as any of the other dogs there, but she was definitely more alert and active. And she was all about cleaning up any crumbs dropped on the floor during training, which was pretty amusing.

We started off class with just getting the dogs to sit and pay attention -- prepare them for "working." We then did a switch up where each of us took someone else's dog and got them to look and sit and tried to get them to behave a bit better. We got Bacon, an American Staffordshire Terrier. Bacon is an incredibly affectionate, sweet dog, but he's also REALLY hyper and active. After spending the first little bit just trying to get him to stay more still, I finally got him to look at me and then sit down. He was VERY attentive at that point, though still kind of nuts. He's definitely a lot more hyper than we would want to deal with. The woman who got Dahlia (Bacon's owner), was like "wow I got to enjoy just petting your dog instead of having a dog in my face all the time." Yeah...Dahlia's cool.

We worked on "leave it" after that and I was amazed at how quickly she learned this! The first thing we did was show her a treat and then fold our hand around it while saying "leave it." When she turned her nose away or relaxed or did anything other than try to sniff your hand or get the treat, you gave it to her. The first time we did it, she sniffed for a few seconds and then stopped. The second time, she just looked at us like "ok mom, I get it." Then we had to do it with holding their collar while putting the treat on the ground...same thing, when she relaxed, we gave her a treat we were holding in our hand and picked up the other one. The concept is that sometimes there is going to be something on the ground she wants that we don't want her to get -- and she's NEVER going to get it, hence not giving her the treat on the ground. She got that one pretty quickly too.

Then we worked on stay. Dahlia already has this pretty well down. I make her sit and stay whenever I leave in the morning and whenever we come back from a walk (the door swings toward us, so she has to stay far enough away from it that I can open it easily). Our goal is to work up to 30 seconds this week and eventually beyond that. I think she can actually handle that. I've been doing it for several seconds now and she's just stayed and stared at me. She looks SO border collie when she does it too. We're using the word "break" to get her out of the stay and that's still taking some work. Sometimes she's insistent on just STAYING rather than moving so we're getting her to move at the end of it.

Our only issue came with walking. We were told how to start training them to heel. And then we were sent off into our own aisle. Well, Dahlia would NOT pay attention at ALL to us...she wanted to sniff things, had no interest in our treats anymore. Colleen eventually came by and brought out some of her so-called "doggie crack." And amazingly, she worked for that! So we walked her up and down the aisle some and then brought her back to the training area.

Overall, she did really well. Since then, we've been working on her with all of this and she's doing BRILLIANT. We're able to put a treat on the ground, say leave it, and have her look up at us. We're able to make her sit and stay...and I'm able to make her leave things on the walk with the leave it command. She's an awesomely smart doggie and is catching on so quickly. I've been taking walks with a little bit of treats in my hand and I have her undivided attention. The true challenge will come when we face down another doggie. I hope I can get her distracted from the dog and paying attention to me instead. I'm really very excited at how she's doing!

Colleen says that Dahlia is a total food hound. She was SO interested in everything she did as long as she had some treats in her hand. Food really works well for this dog!

On a strange sidenote, Colleen has Dahlia pegged as a timid, somewhat clingy dog. She thinks that she doesn't want to leave our side (she actually will, she's just stubborn) and I don't really consider her timid. She's a pretty confident dog, just hates loud noises. And getting shocked. Oh poor girl! David went to show her a treat and touched her nose and she got a shock. For a little bit after that, David couldn't put his hand near her nose without her flinching back a little but out of nervousness. But I still don't really think she's a timid dog, per se. Maybe more cautious than some others, but not timid.

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Thu, Jul. 17th, 2008 11:31 am (UTC)

I haven't been commenting, but I do love your Dahlia posts, and I'm getting a huge kick out of how much you love your puppy. She's beautiful!

Thu, Jul. 17th, 2008 11:34 am (UTC)

I'm glad you're enjoying them...there's not much else going on to talk about unless I start bitching about politics and Bush and all that stuff again. I'm really just tired of that! LOL

She's gorgeous and such a joy. Everyday she amazes me.

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