Ellie attended her weekly training class last night. There was the usual practising what had been learned the week before, as well as the introduction of some puppy-friendly agility equipment (as in no jumping). There were two small tents, where the handlers were asked to get the puppy to walk in and lie down. Ellie excelled at this without any real coaxing needed. Then there was "walking the plank". She wasn't too keen on this at the start, until the instrctor advised placing food along it, and encouraging her to take the food. That solved any inhibitions she might have had! She was over it like a shot, repeatedly.
The instructor, Anna, did actually advise us that obedience wise, we didn't really need to be on the course. We advised that we do practise an awful lot at home, and we do actually appreciate that that much of what is taught there, we can and do teach at home. However, the socialisation and advice is invaluable and for that reason we wouldn't miss it.
There are only two weeks left on this course. After that, we are going to sign her up for the Good Citizen Puppy Foundation course, so she can earn her first certificate, and then, presuming she fares well at that, the Bronze certificate, and so forth.
We have another walk pencilled in with the instructor for Tuesday morning, so that she can learn a little more from another adult dog. Talking of which...
I think I've figured out what Ellie's problem is with other dogs. She actually doesn't seem to mind other dogs, so long as they are perfectly under control. However, it's those dogs which seem to be pulling ahead of their handler, or are barking uncontrollably that she really doesn't like. I suppose it must be like us encountering drunk people. Their unpredictability can make us nervous about them getting too close. I'm presuming that is how Ellie feels about these "out of control" dogs, and that as she matures, she will learn to handle them differently.
I do know that I can walk right by well-behaved dogs without any incident whatsoever. We've seen this many times. Talking of walking...
An old lady stopped me on my way back from our morning 'town walk' this morning. "I've been wathing you from behind. You're doing really well with her.", she told me. Good ol' Ellie, you can't help but be proud of her when she helps initiate such positive comments from the public. I still have to pinch myself to remember that she's still only sixteen weeks, and we've only had her four weeks.
Her personality is really starting to come through now too. One thing stands out with her, above all else -- she absolutely loves her sleep! She loves her sleep and her lie-ins in the morning! If you get up to let her out, she'll oblige but she then wants to get back to bed. Lazy mare!
Yesterday, we woke up to find me laying face down in the bed, with Ellie laying along the full length of my back. At night she nestles around my legs, on the quilt. She can be quite a shy, even nervous at times, dog, but we're told this is not unusual for Border Collies, but at other times, she'll stop and demand attention from anyone and everyone. She does love being in the great outdoors, and she loves to know when she's doing well. She'll look up at you several times throughout a walk to find out if she's doing well.
She has now learned the trick we were teaching her -- the spin around. It needs refining a little but she's certainly got it. We've also been playing "find" games with her. I hide her ball around the house, cup my hands, let her sniff and say "find". She has yet to fail to find it. I still say that for as long as we are happy to work with her and give her new experiences, she will be happy to reward us with her obedience and really loving nature. I've never known a dog so pleased to see people in the mornings. You can't help but wake up in a good mood.
Last night, as I was walking her, we walked past the tennis courts where several children were getting their training classes. She ran up to the fencing where the children were and they made a big fuss of her. What amazed me was, despite all the fuss she was getting, when I called "Ellie, come", she did -- first time! Wow. Her recall is pretty good though as we use it each and every time she plays ball on the field. So she's used to "come" meaning "more play". I love training that isn't really training -- at least as far as the dog is concerned.