Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Liz's New Class

So I found a new class to take Liz to. The goal: just working around other dogs and helping her develope confidence and learn how to control herself around other dogs and people, and I felt like somewhere other then agility would help her do that. So I went to class, the instructor is named Lynne, and we had it ok'd that if the class was too far off my training philosophy we would just do our own thing around the other dogs. Soooo I was very pleased with the first class and I was very pleased with Liz. The first thing they do in the class is an hour of free play with all the dogs. I was very leery about that, but it seemed very well supervised and they didnt seem to put up with any dogs being rude, so I deceided to let Liz try the group. She did great, she was nervous entering the group but quickly settled in. She did her little nervous zoomie but the instructor did not let the other dogs chase her or pack up, so Liz quickly settled in. Of course Liz did the complete fence check, LOL, some things never change. After an hour the dogs were very quiet and had really burned off a lot of their energy. So during the class the only thing that I wasnt totally on board with was the fact that the class was almost an hour of behaviors that it seems like asked a lot of concentration from the dogs. It wasnt broken up with some sort of exercise where they did some faster movement to break it up. maybe because of the free play first, or ??? but, Liz did really well even though it was so a lot of concentration. I did stop between exercises and play with her,and she was relaxed enough to tug and get really wild, but she was a trooper. So there were a couple of interesting exercises. One was an exercise where the instructor had meat, good steak and tried to lure Liz attention away from watching me with eye contact, she made sure Liz was not able to get the treat and then I would give her a really good treat when she looked back at me. By the end of the evening she could hardly get Liz attention even when she brought dogs right by her and when she would stroke Liz's tail or poke her gently. It was pretty neat. Then there was a lot of work with the dogs all sitting right next to each other doing sit stays, and there were some exercises where the dogs would all walk with attention on their owners while they walked very close to dogs coming at them and everyone walking by each other almost crashing. It reminded me of some of the control unleashed parallel games, or some of the work I have done in reactive dog classes. The class is a long way away, which is a pain but I think this is really going to mesh well with our training goals, so we are going to sign up for a session. I think I will bring another dog next week though to rotate into the class if the concentration gets to be too much for Liz, I do not want to push it to where she goes over the edge, but she did remarkably well. The funniest part of the class was the other students came in and I didnt see any treats or toys, they must have just had handfuls of food in their pockets or I just didnt see their "stuff". I walked in with my plastic bag FULL of toys and food. I had my little mix of rollover, natural hot dogs, kibble, kong tots, roast turkey breast and ham. Then I had a package of pastromi I was trying out, which was a hit, I used that for the attention game that class started out with, then I had liverworst that I used at the end of the class when it was getting harder for Liz to pay attention (I got my fingers bit a few times for that one, guess that was a hit), then I had string cheese for the stay work. I guess I took the instructor seriously when she told me to bring my best treats, LOL! I had several toys, all her favorites, so those were in my bag. Anyway, I felt a bit freakish walking in with all my gear.

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