'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Puppy Training Class #2.

Class 3 of ten, yeah, but it's only the second one I've been to.

First thing, before we went to the puppy class, me and Lola spent 20 minutes at Jenny's, where Lola played (amazingly, for her; she came out of her shell really fast) with Millie, and even approached Jenny's dad for food tidbits. Her and Millie seem quite matched on energy levels; they ran around chasing each other for five minutes or so, though neither seemed entirely sure about the other yet. That'll come in time, though.

On the way to the puppy training class, Lola didn't throw up! I'd brought two towels & a carrier bag to put any sick-covered ones in (after last time having sick on my knee; what a great first impression), and they were unneeded; not only did L not be sick on the way in, neither did she be sick on the car ride back. It's about a twenty minute trip either way, so that was really good!

At the training class, L rekindled her love with Bedlington Terrier Lennox by trying to play biteyface with him. Needless to say, we sat at the other side of the room from Lennox & his trainer so as not to have the pups constantly trying to play. Instead, she was trying to play with Springer Spaniel Molly, who looked half alarmed and half curious; Molly's a little dog-shy, so Lola leaping at her face was possibly not the best option that my little pup could have chosen.

We were doing recall & manners at this session. For recall, we each took turns standing at one side of the room (with the other dogs on the other sides between us and our dogs--on lead and held by the trainer, Jean) and then called our dogs and commanded to come here! Lola, despite *no* training on this, actually did quite well; she came skittering over to me immediately, curious to see why I was crouched down and calling her, haha.

After recall practice, we did manners at the door and gate. This was... not something I was at all impressed with. Several of the dogs (Cerys the Welsh Springer Spaniel, Alfie the Tibetan Terrier and Lennox the Bedlington Terrier) were taken to a door in the room, with the intention being that they learned not to go through a door before the trainer. Jean would stand there - and then slam the door in the dog's face if it dared to move forward. One dog caught a paw and yelped. I was not at all happy--the explaining of this was not for a dog to calmly walk through a door or gate, under control of the handler, but rather that the dog learn to let the 'alpha' go through first--but this is the only training class in the area, soooo. Lola doesn't get picked for these things because she's so cute and tiny, but I won't be practising these door manners. I'll be using R+ at home over the next week, treating & commanding for going through doors, to do the same thing without hurting my dog.

Then, we had to practice/show off our dog's ability to sit beside us and stay whilst we stood up, motionless. There were two problems with this for me. Firstly, because L is so young (she's only had her second injections today), she hasn't been anywhere but our house really, so her commands are not proofed enough for this situation. Secondly, again because of Lola's age/size, most of our training still revolves around me being crouched or knelt when asking her to sit or down, when I had to stand up and say the command she just looked at me askance. This all basically resulted in me standing there, foolish (we couldn't use treat lures, had to just get the dogs to do it), and repeating myself to try and get Lola to a) not pay attention to the other dogs, b) sit, and c) stay sitting. She popped into a sit once, and I heavily praised/stroked for it, but she popped up again a few seconds later and that was that.

Eurgh, so annoying.

After class finished (not long after that!), Lola and Lennox were able to play for five minutes on-lead - leaping up at each other, Lola tumbling over, biteyface fun, etc. Next week, we get to let the dogs (except Poppy, the fear-aggressive older Daschund) off lead to play for 5-10 minutes at the end of the class, and I'm really looking forward to that! I just wish they'd stop with all the dominance shit, and that they'd also tell us what we'd be doing before we got there; it's not nice arriving and learning your dog should have a reliable recall by now. Humph.

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