Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Starting Over

So last night was the first day of Theo's new obedience class. Since he finished the two puppy classes, this class was his first real big dog obedience class (not all the dogs in this class went through the puppy classes, since obviously not everyone gets dogs as puppies). I thought it would be more of the same classes that we've been doing...but I was, somewhat unfortunately, wrong.

In the puppy classes, about half the class was spent with the puppies just playing with each other. Socialization is important (and giving energetic puppies an outlet is important to tired fur-parents!), and I think it's been the classes that opened Theo up to other dogs. In the new class the dogs have to stay on lease and on task the whole class. In the puppy classes we learned a bunch of commands (sit, down, stand, up, off, etc.) all at once and practiced them a small amount each class. In the new class we only learned sit and did a little walking on the leash...for an hour! We don't even learn down until next class! Theo knows all those commands, so he seemed a little bored (oh wait, that was me), not to mention there were playful pups just feet from him for an hour that he wasn't allowed to play with at all!

It's not a totally bad thing though. Theo is pretty inconsistent. He knows all those commands like a pro, but he doesn't always do what I tell him. For example, we spent a ton of time on sit. Whenever I told Theo to sit, he laid down. It's bad because he wouldn't do what I told him to, but it's good because he generally knew what I wanted. He probably thought he'd try to get an extra big treat for doing one better. By the end of the class I had him back to sitting, thankfully.

At first I was a little insulted the trainer suggested I take Theo to this class rather than skip him ahead to the next one. Especially since he was doing so wonderfully the last couple puppy classes! Why weren't we ready!? I guess since the classes now are so structured, maybe we'll do more complex things towards the end that I haven't done with Theo yet. Maybe he isn't quite there for the next class yet. I'm going to look on the bright side. This is an opportunity to really hone his training. Sure, he has all those basic commands down, but I don't want to stop at the "good enough" point (which I am totally at right now!). Right now Theo is well trained enough to impress people who don't have dogs of their own, but not well enough to impress anyone else who has gone through dog training, and definitely not enough for him to get his Canine Good Citizen certificate (a dream of mine!). The next 6 weeks I'm going to hunker down and get us trained!


Fairchild said...

Yeah! Good for you, and a great attitude too!
CorGeeks unite!

MoonMystic said...

Good job! Getting them to sit after they learn to lie down is always an issue. In their little minds they hear, "sit...down" and down they go. You did right. Just reinforce the sit and then start to separate the two. It will be easier when you learn "stand" to "down."

JuLo said...

We learned stand in the very first puppy class, but Theo has never picked it up. It's the weirdest thing, but he won't stand. He'll just pop up for a minute and then sit back down.

Lynn said...

I really need to sign up lucy for a class. Whenever we tell her to sit, she does "sit pretty", aka beg. She knows she gets a treat when she does sit pretty, so she skips right to it!

Maybe Theo just likes sitting? Lucy doesn't really do stand unless you wiggle a treat in front of her nose!

JuLo said...

I think Theo does like sitting in that situation. He either sits or when I try and lure him into stand with a treat, he just jumps up on my legs and lunges at the treat. lol! It's impossible! Though I guess of all the commands not to want to do, stand is probably the one I need him to know the least.

I've found that when they don't go into exactly the position you want, you have to use the treat in front of their face to get them to move where you want them to go, and then give them the treat. That worked somewhat for Theo.