Monday, March 10, 2008

The Magic Of Puppy Class

First off, I've just updated my flickr pictures. Theodore at week 10 and week 11 are now there. Who knew you could only have 3 sets unless you "upgrade", which means pay?? That's so lame! So I've tagged all the pictures with how old he is if you want to filter it that way.

This weekend we made leaps and bounds of progress with Theo. He had his first puppy kindergarten class Saturday morning and it was magical! He loved it, we loved it. It was just great. The training facility is right by the vet I'm going to. The main trainer is very familiar with Corgis (I think she has a Cardigan), which was so helpful during class. For example, when I had trouble getting Theo to do "down" (I still can't get him to do it), she explained that Corgis can't really do down like other dogs do. She calls it the "Corgi fold". Hehe. He learned "leave it" like a pro, and it's already come in handy walking him around the neighborhood. Apparently my disgustingly rude neighbors like to leave their cigarette butts all over the ground. Theo likes to try and eat them, so him learning "leave it" was perfect. We also learned "go to your place". He learned that the towel is his place, but he didn't quite pick up the command yet. Most of the other commands he already knows. He sits like a pro, he comes but still not consistently. He gets distracted, which is understandable, I think. He also already knows "watch me", though we use "look at me". We also did some leash work, but all we learned was how to correct a wandering puppy. We didn't learn anything for puppies who won't walk, so we've got some work to do there. Hehe.

We also learned some good habits. Several times a day I now let Theo put my finger in his mouth. When he bites down a little hard (like any pressure at all), and I say "Ouch!" and pull my finger away. I do this several times in one session. I've tried this before when he hurts, but not in this "exercise" fashion. This way it's reinforcement over and over again, rather than once in a while. He's picking it up much more quickly now. Also, several times in the day I pick him up and lay him on his back. At first Theo hated this. He still hates it, actually, but I can actually get him to do it now. He'll squirm a little bit and then settle down quite nicely. This has really helped him get used to being handled by us. He's also a lot closer to me now because of it. I noticed that now when he plays with his toys, he'll put his paws on my leg, or crawl in my lap.

He made friends with Katie, a Springer Spaniel puppy with the softest fur I've ever felt! But when the bigger puppies started pouring in, he got very scared and detached himself from the group a bit. What a loner! There was one dog that just really wanted to play with Theo and Theo was just scared to death of her (see picture to the right). It was too funny. He also kept getting whacked in the face by a big lab's tail. But even with being scared, it was so obviously a great experience for him. He, in just that short amount of time, learned so much about interacting with other puppies. It was an invaluable experience, and I'm really looking forward to five more weeks!

That hour and a half training session, working with Theo and having him play with other dogs, was such a great experience. He was so much better behaved the whole rest of the day. He was so mellow and so obedient. It was just great, and this was only a puppy kindergarten class! I can't recommend puppy classes for your puppies more. We made more progress with Theo in 2 hours than we did in 2 weeks.


Ivy & Bryson said...

So happy you guys had a great experience with puppy class! A great class really does more than just teaching your dog skills/behavior, it also help strengthen your bond with them through the exercises.

That's why after basic obedience, we kept on taking classes with Bryson. We continue to grow closer when we have a common goal we're working towards. And you know corgis love being rewarded!

BTW, Bryson also has the issue of being afraid of bigger dogs (we call it his "short man syndrome"), and he still gets constantly slapped by whipping labrador tails! Something corgis all have to get used to :)

JuLo said...

Hehe. I guess it's better to get whacked in the head with a tail than whacked in the head with a cow's hoof. Either way, it's better than a poke in the eye with a pointed stick. ;)