Scout’s second puppy class went really well. She was dying to get out of the house, so she was pretty excited when we arrived. We were the first there, so the trainer spent some time with us, reviewing how Scout was doing. We’ve admittedly been lax on working with her since her surgery, so she hasn’t picked up the Stand command yet. The trainer showed me what I was doing wrong (hand position seems to be something I need to work on), and we practiced a bit while he watched and corrected me. I’m still not sure why Scout needs to know this, but if it means giving her a mental challenge, I’m game.
The rest of the class went smoothly. Scout did very well at looking at us when we asked her to for a full 20 seconds. Then we practiced come, and Scout also did well at this. We discovered she LOVES string cheese, so we’ll pick some of that up to use as a training incentive. Who would have thought? Part of the challenge when training is figuring out what motivates your dog, and apparently for Scout if it’s not peanut butter, then it’s string cheese.
Finally, at the end of the class, we worked on walking. Scout did very well with the trainer’s technique for Heeling: I walk with my knees slightly bent, holding my left hand directly at the seam of my jeans, palm backward, a bit of string cheese grasped between my fingers. This position lets Scout keep her nose right on the treat while we walk. After a few steps, I give her the cheese and tons of praise, and then repeat.
Part of what I learned, besides my hand position’s needing work, is that B and I move a bit too quickly. Scout picks things up and we think we can dive ahead. This may be our mistake with leash training. Scout did very well at Heeling when she was younger, so we stopped using treats or incentives, thinking she’d mastered it. We apparently moved too quickly, because Scout stopped Heeling and started pulling. From now on, we’ve been instructed to use more treats and praise, and move slower. Will do. And hopefully, this, along with some string cheese, will help us teach Scout to walk better.
Oh yeah. This has nothing to do with the class, but this weekend I fell asleep on the living room floor, and both Scout and Zoey curled up with me.
B snapped this photo. I can’t believe the girls were this close to one another! Progress!