Friday, April 25, 2008

Leaps And Bounds

That's the kind of progress that Theo has made in his training. He had his first Puppy Elementary class last night, and he did wonderfully. First off, the class was full of dogs 3 times Theo's size. The one dog (yeap, only one) that was his size also happened to be vicious and mean. I thought Theo would react the same way he did when our puppy kindergarten class was full of hyper, large dogs: run, hide, and cry. But he didn't! He actually played with them! I am so proud of him. At one point he had a golden retriever pinned to the ground, playfully going for the jugular. My little ferocious beast! I still can't believe it, but he was keeping up with a golden, a lab mix, a pointer (a HUGE one!), and a vizla!

Then when it was time for our basic obedience, Theo again was much improved from the last class. He'll now do "down" without a food lure (though he still requires a hand lure, I'm working on just the verbal command now). He'll do down stay right up until the point when I start walking back to him. And he was walking great on his leash. He didn't pull, and even better, he didn't get distracted by wanting to play with the other dogs. It was like night and day from puppy kindergarten!

And finally, we played with some agility/other equipment. He walked up and down stairs, up and down a ramp, through a small tunnel under the stairs, he jumped over a bar set off the ground, and he learned how to sit-stay in a "doggy tent". It was obvious that he was having a total blast the whole time, which was the real reward.

I hope this isn't a fluke and Theo is this great every week. I don't know what brought on such vast and speedy improvement, but I'll take it! I'd like to think that all the training and socialization I've busted my butt to get him is really paying off. I take some time every day (usually several times a day) to have a fun, rambunctious (but biting-free) play session with him. He's like a baby! I make funny noises and faces at him, I blow air on his tummy, and I give him lots of scratches and belly rubs. I wonder if this, plus making sure he continually meets new dogs (from the neighborhood, dog park, Brownie, etc.) has helped him overcome his nervousness around other dogs. I'd like to think so!

PS: Man, my blog is boring lately with no pictures! I can't wait until Husband finally gets home tonight with my laptop. I imagine our first greetings will go something like this: "Hi honey, welcome home. Now gimme my laptop!"

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