Hi! Sorry it took me so long to post!
Two days ago Dannyboy and I attended our very first obedience class. Going into it I was very nervous because I didn’t know how he’d react to having other dogs so close by, nor did I think I’d be able to actually keep his focus. I am, however, VERY happy to say that we made it through with minimal glitches!
We first walked in: four chairs were set up in different spaces all facing each other. I tried to sit there and have him sit with me but he was too anxious, especially with three other dogs nearby. But I did my best to keep his focus by walking him around the chair and having him sit or lie down for treats.
Once class began: There were two dog training instructors. One was more of a sidekick-assistant and the other lady was definitely more in charge. Robin, the head trainer, used the dog across from me to demonstrate how to have the dog (on the leash, of course) sort of pace back and forth with you as you made a kissy-noise and gave him a treat. This was to get the dogs in the mindset of training and also get them moving around/being distracted then snapping into what we need them to focus on.
As class progressed: Robin used a different person’s dog to demonstrate how to make him face you and sit. Then lay down. Then transition into sit again by bringing the treat back over their heads. After practicing this a few times with our own respective dogs, we did a different exercise. I led my dog to another dog-and-handler team and once my dog started to notice the other dog and hone in on him or her I took a treat and waved it in front of his face. Then I moved my hand so as to lure him away from the other dog, back in the opposite direction, and finally gave him the treat. We did this a bunch of times to practice impulse control.
Also: In class, we did another impulse-control exercise. We put treats on the floor, cupped our hands over it, and when the dog finally stopped digging for it, I let him have it. Another point was I told Danny to sit and then politely wait to be hand-fed (without jumping up to pry my hand open). He was very good at this! He waited almost every time, watching my hand move around until it lowered to his head and opened.
As a result: I’m very confident that Danny and I will fly past this level. He seems to have done a very good job this past Saturday–despite his typically unkind behavior toward other dogs–and I can’t wait for our next Level One course on Wednesday!