Wednesday, October 10, 2007

First Night of Bronze Training

Ellie attended her first night of training for the Bronze Canine Good Citizen Award last night. It is so much better than the puppy training, and the instructor, Christine, is more demanding and exacting in her requirements. Though even she deserted her usual rule for dogs, and allowed Ellie to jump about at her when they first met. Ellie seems to have a gift for getting the attention of anyone she wants. However, that out of the way, it was very quickly down to business.

There are more dogs in this class, and all of them are far more adult than Ellie, but that has never stopped her before, and it appears to make no difference now. There is also much more interaction between the dogs on this course, as that is part of the test - to be able to walk on a loose leash around other dogs and people. I'm pleased to report that she got on well with all of the other dogs.

We learned to bring her in to a sitting position, between the legs, which we are naming "pull-in", as it is like pulling the dog in with both hands, only by using food as a lure. This will, apparently, prove to be very useful later on.

We then practised stays. The Bronze requirement is that the dog can stay for one minute, and so, on this course, they train for two minutes, so that when it comes to exam time, the dog should have no problems.

When I train her to stay out on the field, I don't go by time, I go by distance, but I shall start taking my stopwatch with me. At present, in the field, I can walk away for fifteen paces and walk around in a semi-circle in front of her at that distance, without any problem whatsoever.

Ellie got to play on a full agility set last night, with the instructor telling us that you have to imagine the sand is deep water, and you have to work out how to get your dog from one end to the other without getting wet. As per usual, Ellie showed no fear, and got straight into it, including running through a full tunnel.

We can just tell that this course is going to suit Ellie down to the ground. I know all owners must believe it of their own dog, but Ellie really did perform perfectly at the class, even getting praise from the instructor, because we have taught her to automatically sit when we stop while heeling. Well, actually, she sits when we tell her "stop", but it amounts to the same thing. I taught this as I want to always to be able to stop her in an emergency. The fact that she sits is more accident than anything else. All I wanted was that she stop dead in her tracks. It was she who chose to make it a sit-stop. Fine with me...

The course is a rolling course, and goes on until the dog is ready to take the exam. As always, we'll be working with her on a daily basis to give her as much help as possible.

She finally seems to have accepted being brushed now, and doesn't try to gnaw away at the brush. This is good as it's important for the Bronze award.

Overall, a really really enjoyable course and an excellent instructor who really takes the time to look at the smallest detail. Will try to get a photo or two next time.

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