Obedience class: Week 4 (aka, Dahlia the class clown) - The Book of Ramblings
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Wed, Jul. 23rd, 2008 04:09 pm
Obedience class: Week 4 (aka, Dahlia the class clown)

Last night was week 4 of obedience class. Things are going really well and I'm so pleased! I'm learning a lot, maybe even more than Dahlia.

We started off the night by going to one of the aisles and practicing our loose leash walking. Dahlia did a great job at first, walking closely at my side, up and down the aisle, paying complete attention to me. It's funny, but I noticed she doesn't pay nearly as much attention to David and tends to run out further in front of him much of the time. I don't think it's that I'm any closer bonded to her...I just think he gives her more leeway on walks (sometimes using the long leash, though he's stopped with that for the most part) and so she comes to expect that. Her only bad part of walking was when someone came down the aisle with their dog and spent some time looking at the merchandise. Ahhh distractions! I worked on trying to get her attention with treats and it somewhat worked. Better than usual at least!

Colleen came down our aisle and what we were working on was "leave it" when we're on a walk. She tossed a treat down ahead of where we were and I was to say "leave it" and keep her away from it. It took me a couple times to get the pattern down...especially the moving past the food thing. I'm used to stopping and making her sit there, mostly because the treats I toss down are my own and I want to pick them up when she walks off. Oops! But I finally got it and Dahlia did it with flying colours.

David did it a few times and he got it ok eventually too.

We then went back into the class area to tackle our next new thing: down. This is one I've NEVER known how people do. I've figured out sit and stay on my own. But down? I had a general idea of how it was done but hadn't really worked it out in my mind. She started by showing us how to do it on Apolla, the boxer. She began by saying something like "We usually begin this from a sit." Dahlia, who was paying so much attention (hey, she was holding food), immediately sat down as soon as she heard the word sit. It was perfectly timed "...begin this from a sit," Dahlia's butt hits the ground. The class lost it and Colleen, who wasn't paying attention to Dahlia, missed the entire joke. Dahlia had this big silly grin on her face like "I did good" and Colleen felt obligated to give her a treat. Silly goofy dog!

So we started with holding the treat under her nose and letting her lick and eat at it a bit. Then we lowered it until it was right in between her legs. The awkward position eventually should force her to lay down to get at it. It did with her, though it took a little bit the first time. As soon as she was down, she got the treat. We did it several times and eventually she was laying down right away, though still with the treat as a lure. I was most impressed at how quickly she got it. We're now going to work on it every day and hopefully she'll get down soon.

She's still not at 100% as far as all her commands go, but she's doing really well. She sits about 95% of the time, with or without a treat. She leaves things maybe about 75% of the time...not bad for just learning the command! I haven't had a problem with her laying down on a walk since I started leave it. She gets stay about 90% of the time if you stay within a few feet of her. If you try to walk further away, she'll try to come to you, though she does it in such a way that you can see the wheel turning, almost see her thinking "am I supposed to come to her or still stay?" She'll get it eventually. I want to work at getting her to do a stay from a distance.

I'm really excited about how this class is going -- enough that I think I may continue on to the intermediate training after this ends. I'd rather do it closer to where I live, but I really like Colleen so I might stick with going all the way to Liverpool.

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Wed, Jul. 23rd, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)

I'm so glad you found her. I really need to meet Dahlia one of these days. :)

Thu, Jul. 24th, 2008 08:29 am (UTC)

She's only 2 or 3, so we have plenty of years with her. I'm sure you'll get to meet her someday. She's so totally awesome.

I wish we could get together sometime. I totally miss hanging out with you! It's been WAY too f'in long!

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Lisa Eskra
Thu, Jul. 24th, 2008 07:00 am (UTC)

If only Hope could be so well behaved! Dahlia is so awesome. =)

Thu, Jul. 24th, 2008 08:30 am (UTC)

I have NO idea how we lucked out this much. I picked her because she seemed calm and mellow, but I didn't expect her to be this good. She's a bit stubborn at times and she goes a little nuts on the leash when other dogs are nearby (she just wants to greet them SO BAD). But she's really awesome most of the time. Colleen (our trainer) told us we got the perfect rescue dog. I think she should be the poster child for rescue.

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