Monday, July 26, 2010

Missy graduated!

Okay, so it was just Doggy Manners One, but it was still an accomplishment. I'm pretty capable of training my dogs myself, but having a professional trainer not only helps me key in on the best way to work with each dog, but also gives me an observer who can help me fix the little things I'm doing that make it all harder. 

In Doggy Manners One, the dogs learned the following things: eye contact, name recognition, sit, down, targeting, stay, waiting at doors, walking politely on leash, come when called, leave it, and some other useful stuff. We were also given a lot of great information on training, housebreaking, nutrition, and other things that affect our pets. It was an 8 week course, and the trainer uses all positive methods for training, which is ideal for us, as three of the four dogs we have were abused before coming to live with us. After seeing how well the clicker works on these dogs, I'd highly recommend it for anybody. 

Missy is still working on the polite leash walking, but is doing much much better. She did an excellent job tonight of paying attention to me, in spite of several big distractions, including dogs running right up to her. The Mate was able to come to class to see what it's like, and we're going to take Krissie and Jupiter through the same class as soon as she starts another one. Granted, I've been working with them, and they know the basics a bit, but working with distractions is very helpful. The only problem is if The Mate can make the classes every week. His back gets super sore very easily. 

Regardless, I think it was a great investment to take Missy through the class. The kids each got to come with me on different nights, and then all together before they went off with their Dad, so they also got to learn some things. And The Mate was able to see how much good it did for Missy, and how positive in general the atmosphere was for training. 

Speaking of accomplishments, Krissie got loose today, and went speeding over to the neighbor's fence to sniff around. Instead of being a little stinker and running when I called her... she came running right to me, sliding like a baseball player to wind up at my feet. I praised her big-time for that, and gave her lots of kisses, and will be working hard on getting her to come when called at the dog park or other places she can run loose. And also we'll be putting some big effort into getting Jupiter to come when called always, especially if he turns into The Mate's service dog. He's smart enough, and seems to have the right aptitude, so it's looking like that will happen down the road. It will be a long process though. I've still got to get him microchipped just in case. 

Well, I'm going to make a late night run to the dog park to let these dogs burn off some of this extra energy. It's been too hot to go in the daytime, but it cools off enough at night to make it perfect for them to get out and run. Hopefully then they will settle down for a nice sleep tonight, and we can all get some rest. I've got a lot to get done tomorrow, and I want to get it out of the way at a decent hour.