'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

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Puppy Training Class #3.

Bit late posting this, but I forgot to write it up. Oops. This is the fourth class of ten technically, but the third now that I've attended. And, now, the second that Lola has been to without being sick. Whoo! It looks like she's over her car sickness now, as she's been in five trips since the last time she was ill.

Lola enjoyed herself immensely, as usual. We were practising recall (all dogs, including L, came immediately upon being called or whistled; Lola only veered from the beaten path by turning and looking to the chair I'd been sat on, and I had to call her name to let her know where I was before she came charging over to me), sit/stays (which we haven't done before, and quite frankly we suck at them) and heelwork.

Urgh, the heelwork. Some aspects of the class really annoy me. When your puppy pulls, the trainer said, quickly walk backwards, yanking the dog's lead in a multitude of short, sharp bursts. That's not a correction though: that is just cruel. Apparently doing this would only hit the muscle on the back of the dog's neck, but try telling that to Cerys, who had a tucked head, was yawning and was frantically licking her lips even as her tail hesitantly wagged. Wagging tail or not, she obviously wasn't happy - and when the trainer bent to stroke and praise her, Cerys sank to the floor over her feet in pathetic, giddy relief. It was horrible to watch.

We also didn't let the dogs off, due to the extreme coldness in the class area - its a church, and so the heating has to be on constantly to keep the chill off the air. People were obviously itching to leave though, and so we were allowed to leave ten minutes early. We haven't got another lesson until Jan 10th, and our homework for the next couple of weeks is: heelwork (not a problem for L--she walks great to heel, without needing extremely harsh aversive corrections), recall from a distance, sit/stays for a minute and control at the door. I'm not using the whole 'slam the door in your dog's face hurr because the alpha goes through first lol!' approach to control at the door, but rather NILIF - if the dogs don't sit and wait, they don't get to go through the door, and they have to wait until released to continue through.

Some of the dogs at the class are so adorable. The Springer Spaniel Molly, for instance, is the cutest and most obedient little thing - and you can tell the bond between her and her family is genuine and based on love and trust, not punishment and cruel dominance theory.

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