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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chapter 8 -- Training Adventures

Now that all the puppies are in their forever homes, it's time to focus on the puppies that we kept.  Elphie and Dolly love the clicker, like to play with each other, and are quick to pick up on things.  They both are a little reluctant to do a lot of "offering" behaviors -- experimenting to see what will get us to click and treat them.  I think this is our fault.  I am a big proponent of teaching attention and focus and I think these two puppies are so good at paying attention to us that they are not trying to do other things to get the click/treat.  They also love people and other dogs so much (again, a factor of us -- we worked so hard at socializing them when they were younger), they don't necessarily love toys.  Meagan really wants to try flyball with Elphie and Dolly is really good at scent discrimination, so playing with toys would be a good thing to have in our training "toolbox."

And so, to try and see what we can do to provide a more well-rounded education for our puppies, we are taking PreSports class and a Tricks class at Fortunate Fido in the Cleveland area.  We have known Ginger (the owner) for a long time through trials and we had the instructor, Susanna, for our puppy class we took when the puppies were little.  It is definitely a win-win situation!  (If only we didn't have to drive an hour and a half each way for class!)

We are building foundation behaviors like stay/wait, retrieve, take it, leave it, come, targeting, different obstacles -- and also building a bond with our puppies.  The puppies are learning to work around each other and also other people and dogs.  They are also learning to offer behaviors (yay! a goal in taking these classes).  They are not so interested in toys in class, but we are continuing to work on that.

Classes are almost over and I am going to be so sad to see them end!  They are so much fun for all of us.  This week our homework is to work on a trick to share with the class next week.  Elphie is working on pushing an "easy button" and Dolly is working on pushing a child's shopping cart.  Very fun!  For PreSports, the goal is to get the girls excited and pumped with their puppies!  Maybe because they are teenagers in a class of adults, they are very quiet and don't get overly excited with their puppies -- Susanna really wants them to work on that.  Maybe I should "sugar" up the girls before we go to class next week?!?!?  (Just kidding Susanna -- I wouldn't do that to you or the class!)

Elphie getting focused and ready for class to start.

Dolly giving Ken the "I'm Ready to Roll" stare down.

Elphie working on the ladder -- this helps dogs better understand their whole body (hey!  I have back legs!)

What's next? (Dolly)

Elphie working on Peek-A-Boo.

Peek-A-Boo Dolly!    

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