Intermediate obedience: Week 1 (aka Dahlia the confused) - The Book of Ramblings
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Tue, Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:17 pm
Intermediate obedience: Week 1 (aka Dahlia the confused)

So we're back at our obedience classes again. We decided to sign up and do intermediate obedience classes at Petsmart with the same instructor we had before. We really like Colleen. And Dahlia really likes her too.

It turns out that this class has only TWO doggies in it. Yay for that. The only bad thing? It's quiet, calm, well-behaved Dahlia and a crazy 7 month old labradoodle puppy named Schmootzy. Schmootzy is cute as hell and is really smart, but she's nuts. She wants to play and of course, Dahlia's reaction is "omfg get off me you little child!" Hmm...not good for poor Schmootzy. Dahlia mostly stays out of the kid's way.

We started off with a few "puppy calisthenics"...just running her through basic sits, stays, downs, and whatnot. Dahlia is great with this stuff, especially if there is doggy crack involved!

Then we launched into something new. The first thing we did was "wait." The concept here is to get the dog to sit and wait so you can walk out the door (or down the stairs) and have the dog follow you on command. David decided to do it first and poor Dahlia got SO confused. He was, ultimately, doing it all wrong. The way you were supposed to do it was walk to near the door and tell the dog sit. You then wave your hand from one side to the other in front of their face and say "wait." Since we're new to it, we need to face the dog and make sure she stays put. Well, she wouldn't for David. He waved his hand in this HUGE arc that just made her want to go get whatever treat was in his hand. He kept trying to get her to do it over and over again and she was getting more and more confused and he was clearly getting frustrated. So I decided to try it instead.

I got to near the door, made her sit, said, "wait," and did the signal. The first time she moved quickly and we started over. This time I did it, stepped out and turned to face her. She shifted a bit forward and I said "eh-eh" (or however you want to write it). She sat back down. She tried it again, another "eh-eh" and then she stayed put. I released her and she walked through the door to her treat. I was pretty impressed with her. David tried it again and she really just was somewhat confused. Poor kid. He told me today she was doing ok with it but I think last night she was just balking at his doing anything with her.

We did loose leash walking and she's brilliant at that with me at Petsmart (not so much at home! LOL). Very attentive and great. I think this guy that I ran into beforehand with his big yellow lab really hit the nail on the head. He said "the problem with training here is they can't do the live squirrel test." Yes. This! Exactly! The distractions are just not enough. But...we do our best.

Afterward we did stays with a bit more distance and time. The way Colleen introduced this was to get the dog into a sit-stay and then step to the side, to the middle, to the other side, and then back to the middle. Treat. Then step back one step and then back to the beginning. Treat. Keep doing that and then start more steps back or more time at the one step away. She can handle this. She did really well when Colleen did it. And she did ok when I tried it at home. If I step two steps away she follows me though. I just have to get good at timing my vocal corrections "eh-eh" to get her to stay in place. We'll get there! I have no doubt of it.

Overall she did REALLY well. I'm looking forward to next week's class!

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