Thursday, September 13, 2007

Week Two at Training Class

Wednesday night saw the second night of the training class. In addition to the two pups from last week, there was also a German Shepherd puppy. Ellie is, by far, the smallest of the pups there.

This week saw the introduction of teaching the pup to pay attention, and to loose-leash walking. The loose leash waking was quite funny in a way. Ellie walks on a loose leash three times a day, all the way to the park, then in it when she's not playing, and all the way home again. In class, she was asked to walk just three paces. She looked a little perplexed at being asked to do something so simple. Her loose-leash walking to heel is, without any doubt, her best command.

However, the next part of the class was some controlled introduction to other dogs. The dogs were effectively paired-up, so Ellie was paired up with the Doberman puppy. When two dogs were meeting up, all other dogs and their owners were put out of the way, to reduce distractions and stress for the pups.

This seems to be Ellie's weakest area. I've already been concerned once or twice about her reaction to other dogs, and the training class hasn't helped my concerns. She was the only dog to bark at the other dog, and the only one to want to hide away. The instructor has told us not to worry, and she has also given us her phone number, so that we can arrange to walk Ellie with her adult dogs, which are 100% reliable. She feels that she needs to learn some confidence from adult dogs. I've no idea why she's funny with other dogs. She certainly hasn't had any incidents with them since we've had her, aside from the Chocolate Labrador I suppose. Maybe it's a size thing, as she is the smallest dog in the class.

When we play in the park and she spots other dogs, she will bark and growl. However, I usually just continue to play with her and she stops. When we meet other dogs close-up, it does seem to depend on the breed. She met a retriever yesterday morning, up close and personal, as we passed one-another on the leash. All she wanted to do was hide behind my legs. On the evening walk, we met another two dogs, which came running up to her, while she was on leash. With them, she seemed fine. They sniffed, and she was a little nervous, but not too bad.

Anyway, we've called the instructor and left a message, so that we can begin to arrange some walks with her dogs. We can't afford to let this issue grow or go untreated, as there are so many other dogs around here. I suppose it's important to keep remembering that she is still only fifteen weeks old. But we certainly need to keep our eye on it.

Otherwise, she's doing great. She's now on twenty minutes alone in the crate and she's finding it so easy that she just falls asleep.

I watched a really inspirational video yesterday.

The author, Yolle555 is the most natural trainer I think I've ever seen. It's worth watching her other videos, particularly those with her Border Collie, Bu. It's impossible to watch them and not feel inspired to work with your own dog.

Another video of her dogs growing up with her. It shows how natural she is with her dogs.

If I can have just 10% of the relationship that she seems to have with her dog(s) then I'd be a very happy camper.

Ellie continues to grow at a phenomenal rate, as does her fur. Her fur is getting coarser and coarser as the weeks pass now. I guess she's preparing for the winter months. Dawn will barely recognise her when she next sees her! In fact Dawn will be better placed to see the changes in her than we are, as we're with her every day, and barely notice the changes.

She's eating well, and her appetite grows as she is playing and walking more and more each day. Next week, she'll start the daily walk that takes her into a more busy town area. We'll be walking from the house to the Pets at Home store each day. That will do her good as it's busy without being too busy for her.

We're looking at taking her to the vet's tomorrow to get her weighed. Of course, we could weigh her at home very easily but we want to take her to the vet each couple of weeks to do it so that she can start to become familiar with the vet building.

Bless her. Earlier this evening, I laid on the living room floor with her. She climbed into my lap, rolled onto her back, and fell asleep on me, her legs akimbo to the world! There's never a camera around when you need one.

We've been rattling our brain as to what trick to teach her for week five of the training class. It's a harmless little competition thing. So we've started teaching her to twirl. That gives us three weeks. Hell, she can walk to heel so I'm sure she can master a twirl. I am so competitive! :)

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