Saturday, January 21, 2006

We had our first puppy class today. I actually convinced Scotty to come along to watch. It was held in the new Animal Friends building (which is amazing!) and there were about 10-12 puppies of various breeds and ages. Lola was very unsure of what was going on. I carried her in b/c we haven't done much leash work yet & I don't want any part of her learning to pull on leash. We got ourselves situated and listened to the rules. I was happy to see some friendly faces. Penny & Sherman have taken many classes at AF and Lori & Lilian were both there. Sue, the instructor, participated in the first class Penny ever took, but she was only there one day.

This was my first puppy class ever. All of the other classes I've participated in, either as student or assistant have been teen or adult classes. We started out with the Settle command. Hmmm...very much like Margot Wood's Sit on the Dog. Margot's is for a min of 30 minutes 2x per day though. We broke this down into small time periods. Lola had a very hard time settling. Here she is throwing a temper tantrum:

She was more interested in the other puppies, play bowing and barking at them. But after a while she finally got it and it was time for the first puppy play session.

We let the puppies off leash & the most bizzare thing happened. Lola was petrified. I mean really scared. For most of the time she hit the deck when approached by another puppy or hid under the chair. I got up & walked away from her b/c I didn't want to encourage this fear, but I kept a close eye on her in case it got too much. The other puppies seemed to find her boring & really just left her alone. After 5 minutes or so, we leashed up the puppies and continued w/ class.

The next thing on the agenda was to teach a marker word. I use both the clicker & "yes!" at home. "Yes" seemed to work better in this environment, so we stuck with that. Sue had us work on attention using the puppy's name. I've already done some work w/ her on this at home & she has really done a great job. In the class situation, however, not so good. I had about a 40% success rate in calling her name & her stopping what she was doing and looking at me.

We then started to work on Sit. Lola already knows this very well & we had no trouble w/ this. They teach sit using luring and this was initially how I taught it. Lola has to sit for most everything at home so we get lots of practice.

My homework for the week:
* Attention w/ distractions
* Settle
(*set by AF...they also want us to work on using the marker word & sits, which we already have a good start with)
more work on leash (right now, Lola prefers chewing on it or acts like a fish outta water)
start downs
lots of recalls

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