Thursday, September 6, 2007

Six Minutes Down and First Class

Ellie attended her first training class last night. The instructor was exceptionally good in ensuring that the pups weren't stressed in their introduction to the training arena. Each puppy and handler were guided into the area individually so that the puppy could see and sniff it without having to worry about the other dogs too.

Eventually, after all the dogs had been shown around the training began. At no point did the dogs actually need to meet up with one another or scramble about together at close distance. They only really encountered one another at a safe distance. Ellie was very good, and largely disinterested in the two other dogs, after her initial playful growl.

The training was very good and we've learned some new techniques. This week was about the sit, down, and stay (for one pace only), and clicker training, which we have been using anyway. The other two dogs in the class were a Doberman and a Black Labrador. An adult Golden Retriever was bought in to make up the numbers a little and give a little more dog presence for the pups to adapt to.

All in all, we think it's going to be a very positive experience for us and for Ellie. And more importantly, she gets new experiences, meets new people, and new dogs.

I took her to the park this morning to do her heel work. As usual, she performed it flawlessly. I'm going to have to start rewarding her only when she looks at me now, as she is actually getting too good at it.

On this afternoon's park walk she experienced a few distractions while heeling. The first was a parent and toddler. She naturally wanted to play with the toddler and veered off towards it. I gave a heel and she quickly followed again. The next distraction was a large Golden Retriever being walked (or rather the owner was being walked) a few metres away from us. I kept heeling with Ellie, changing directions at random. She made a couple of initial barks at the Retriever and then ran back into my legs, but after that, as I continued with the heel work, she just started to ignore it.

She must be good as the neighbour commented yesterday that she had seen us walking back from the park and couldn't believe that Ellie, a wee puppy, who we've had for less than two weeks, is walking to heel so well, while her own two dogs pull like steam-trains. Practise, practise, practise...

Also, during her walks, I now take her through a short passage of main road, where she gets to experience all sorts of traffic, ranging from bicycles to huge trucks. She now seems to be completely unphased by them and as far as I can tell, doesn't even notice them going by.

Yesterday I made the mistake of giving her a drink of milk mixed with her water. For a start she drank the whole lot in one go and then spent the rest of the day peeing. And today her toileting is runny to say the least. I won't make that mistake again!

Bless her, like us, she was so hot in the night. She woke me at 12:55, so I let her out. She peed and then I took her back up. She was so hot that she couldn't get comfortable and spent the next twenty minutes fidgeting, presumably trying to find a cool spot. I had decided that if she went much longer, I would either sleep downstairs with her, where it was cooler, or just run a quick cool shower over her. I opened the window, and she seemed to settle for that, and drifted off to sleep again.

her six minutes being crated alone this morning went perfectly well. I popped her in, closed the door, and sat in the dining room. Not a peep from her. When I went back in, she was laying down and so I left her in there. She fell asleep shortly after that. So eight minutes tomorrow.

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