Obedience 101.4

AKA:  We did it!

If I learned one thing (and really, I learned much), it’s that a dog’s obedience is tremendously more about the human issuing the commands than about the canine receiving (or not) them.  Sissy is welcome to move up to the next level, but we’ll have to look at our schedule for September before we sign up. 

You can’t tell, but that’s Sissy doing her “stay.”  I think she was the only dog in the class to do the “walk twice around” stay without treat motivation.  That offsets the fact that DOWN still doesn’t interest her at all. 

That’s the certificate and the toy Sissy selected as her prize.  She has trouble making most squeaky toys squeak, but she did proudly tote her prize around!

Oh – and Abby passed too, so all bets are off.  The whole class passed, actually.

Don’t forget to check out the other Dogs on Thursday too.  Happy Little Friday!

Obedience 101.2

Welcome to Dogs on Thursday and the report on Sissy’s second night of school.  Yesterday’s class added “Wait”,”Leave it” and “Down” to the list.  “Wait” was something Sissy had heard before, but that hand in her face really gets her attention.  I was SHOCKED at how well and how quickly she took to “Leave it” since the process included treats, but bless her heart, she’d just turn her head and wait for the “Yes!  Good girl!” and then the treat.  Karen (instructor) said she uses “Leave it” as a multi-purpose, don’t do what you’re thinking about doing command with her dogs, and the Knight likes that idea, and had some success with Sissy and the trashcan beside his recliner last night. 

Oh – but you want pictures, right?  Abby had a GREAT night last night, and her shyness/fearfulness was markedly improved, so it’s only fitting that the only photo I snapped was of her, ready to go home.  Isn’t she a doll?  But don’t reach for her head… she hates that.  Karen said all dogs hate to be patted on the head because it’s a really aggressive gesture for stupid humans to make.  Of course, she caught me bopping Sissy on the head twice…  I need this class far more than Sissy does!

Now, “Down”, performed here so casually by Shadow, is another story.   Karen told Best Thing and me before she even began describing the training process for this command that Abby might NEVER really learn it, and that Sissy would be a challenge, just because of her long neck, head and body.  Karen even worked with us some, but we never got Sissy to do more than put her nose to the floor and scoot one front paw forward. 

Help me out here.  My last dog class prior to this one was in 1980.  We used choke collars and gently manipulated the dogs into position.  Karen uses treats and NO touching.  I wish I had Sissy and a photographer here to show you the method, but instead, you’ll have to hope I paint a good word picture.

  1. Hold your right hand flat, but draw the thumb under the index finger.
  2. Line the space between thumb and index finger with treats.
  3. With dog in the sit position, SLOWLY lower flat hand, so nose follows hand to the floor.  (Give treat and praise here.)
  4. Inch hand backwards as nose follows, until the dog’s butt pops up or a true DOWN happens.  (Give treat and praise if butt doesn’t pop up.)
  5. Repeat, and say “DOWN” when the down happens, followed immediately by “YES!!” (Karen’s answer to a clicker?), and a treat.

Now, with Sissy, she’s licking my fingers/treats the whole way, so it’s a race to see whether the treat(s) slip out before her butt pops up, because down sure as heck isn’t happening.  Karen said only to try with treats for three days, and if that doesn’t work, forget it until our next class.  Of course, I’d rather gleen your knowledge and take Sissy back looking like we do something other than bow before her throne all week…

Thanks for reading through all of this.  As a reward, my new favorite photo of my pups:

Love that Mugsy is winking at me…  Actually, that’s his bad eye and it was still rather sensitive to light that morning, but he will wink at us sometimes, so we’ll just pretend that’s the case. 

Happy Little Friday!

Obedience 101.1

Yeah, I think this is just the first of many classes for us…

I wish I could lock up your computers with a post filled with photos of Sissy and her cute classmates.  Heck, I wish I had just ONE shot of Sissy and/or Abby in class.  The Knight hurried home and went along, and even had the camera in hand most of the time, but he spent a lot of time helping me and Best Thing (BT) correctly reproduce the things the instructor demonstrated.  So instead, you get a happy shot of the new student and her first gas station experience.  (No, the Knight wasn’t being rude; I just snapped that photo in the instant where he turned to check on the pump.)

So, the first day of school report…

Sissy and Abby have a class full of cute, young dogs.  Abby was on one edge of the horseshoe, then Sissy, Shamis (shA-mis?) – a beautiful wheaton terrier Sissy is very fond of, then a couple of terrier mixes, a lab mix, and two pitbull mixes.  I’ll try to catch more names and photos as the class goes on, and I hope I didn’t miss anyone.  The instructor is great.  (Scroll to the bottom to see Karen.)  She uses only positive reinforcement – hot dog bits as class treats – and she too had to tell Sissy how cute she is, even though she seems more immune to her wiles than we are.

Everything has a hand signal, and she warned us we might have a silent class or portion thereof.  Last night, we learned “Look”, “Find it” (Sissy’s personal favorite), “Sit” and “Touch” (which Sissy thinks is a waste of her time once the treats stop).   Karen also stopped me on the way out to suggest that we invest in a Gentle Walker harness.  No problem, aside from the fact we prefer harnesses, but your pre-class instructions said flat leash and collar…  So, I’ll be online trying to find a PURPLE version of said harness, which MJ has already announced won’t exist…

We were asked for goals when we introduced ourselves.  The Knight just wants her to stop pulling, which I think the above mentioned harness will do almost on its own.  I want my sweet girl to have manners.  We’ll see how it goes.

Happy Dogs on Thursday  to everyone!  Don’t forget to check out the other blogs and cute dogs.

Oh – and if you’re wondering about that rough-looking spot on her ear, that’s because it’s her binky.  When she’s bored or at all stressed, the ear goes in her mouth and she just gnaws on it.  The vet seems to think that once we get her diet straight and as she finishes maturing, this too shall pass.

Thanks too for all the needle advice.  Stay tuned…  I have something up my sleeve and hope to share it with you soon.

Also, for those local…  Did you know It’s a Stitch has been (or is being?) sold?  Anyone have more information?  That’s really the most convenient LYS for me, so I’m hoping for an infusion of classes, new product lines, and more…

Here’s to a great Little Friday for all of us!