This Week, And Second Puppy Class

We had our second puppy class. My expectations are to get basic things in hand, and I think that those expectations will e met. Even so, I’m a little bothered. I’m thinking maybe our trainer isn’t really an out of the box thinker. It’s OK, some people aren’t. I am one of them in some respects, so it isn’t really an indictment or condemnation or something like that, it’s just a thing.

During part of class, she tells me that she’s been looking into service dogs, and they aren’t really started on formal service dog task training until they’re 18-24 months old. OK, I know this is traditionally the case, or really, usually guide dog school starts around 14-15 months a lot of the time. How would I not know this? I’ve had three program trained guide dogs…did they just fall out of the sky? Did I just get three dogs and no background? And, I might want to get some professional help, and she doesn’t know how I’d train the dog to go around obstacles. Good thing I don’t expect to have to do this right now. Seriously, I have a lot of time to work on this. I don’t happen to agree that I need a professional guide dog trainer to help me, since I know a bunch of smart people who have done this before I have. Meaning to cast no aspersions on professional guide dog trainers (Hi Christie!) I don’t think I’ll get too stuck and if I do, I know I have a lot of help to get un-stuck. I don’t believe I need some professional to hold my hand, once I get a start on communicating properly with my dog. But that this trainer thinks I might need professional help indicates one of two things to my mind:

1) I’m not a very good student. While I think this is a possibility, I don’t think it’s a great possibility. Maybe I’m thicker than I think I am, but I think I’ll do all right.

2) The trainer isn’t really sure how to work with me, and thinks maybe I’m going to be limited in what/how far I can go in working with my dog. This seems to me to be a bit more likely. I’m not sure how to best address this, and anyway, it’s a six week class at a pretty low price, relatively speaking, so I reckon I’ll get the most I can out of it and go on.

I’m honestly not sure why this is a worry at this point anyway, since Hilda is only three months old for goodness sake. Gotta walk before you can run, gotta crawl before you can walk.

When I brought up our steps backward in housebreaking, the trainer said “Maybe take her out more often”, and reward when she goes in appropriate places. OK, I can get that. I think she just thinks that places to go that aren’t appropriate *are* appropriate. School proves that she can hold it. I gave her a chance to go after class, in the grass near the place that classes are held, and she didn’t go. When we got home, however, she did. Enough that I actually heard it. Anyway, I mentioned that the trick was knowing exactly when she went. (Sometimes it’s very quick.) Well…maybe I can get someone to go out with me and tell me exactly when she’s going. OK…who? She suggested alena. Great idea, except Alena would probably tell me, except well after she’d finished. So this is just something I’ll have to keep plugging away at. It’s a process.

We’re working on sits and downs with stay. We’ve been doing this a bit already. I was amused…Hilda would go down for me with a lure, and she didn’t want to at first for the trainer.

With the hand touches, I mentioned she’d do them once I had her attention. Well, says trainer, that’s the point, you use that to get their attention. Yeah, I get it. That’s the ultimate goal. But what about when she’s paying attention to something else? I understand the ultimate goal, and we’re working toward that. Not there yet.

Next week, we’ll work on “Come” and loose leash walking. She uses a tunnel to help with come. These are a couple things that will be helpful.

Sometimes, I wonder what made me think i could do this thing. Except, maybe I’m crazy, but I still think I can.

Puppy class!

Well, pretty good puppy class, with lots of handouts. This trainer is an Ian Dunbar fan, which, I’ve read at least one of his books, and he talks sense. One kind of interesting thing is that she’s not a fan of the clicker, preferring instead to use a verbal marker. Ironically, her reason for not liking the clicker is the same reason often given for why people do like the clicker, that is, “I find that people don’t click at the right time, and reinforce the wrong things”. I just don’t like them because they’re so bleeding’ loud! Seriously, dogs have good hearing, why do we need such loud clickers?

Anyway, first session, the third member of class wasn’t able to come, so just two of us. We did lots of intro lecture stuff, and practiced teaching a hand touch and rewarding for letting us interrupt their play.

In other news, Hilda can actually sit for a good 5-10 seconds waiting for the release to eat. I barely need to just remind her with a brief “wait” or touch on her chest to remind her. I haven’t had to pick up the bowl at all the past couple feedings.