Obedience: First Class

Well, we had our first class on Sunday and I think it went well. The biggest thing I’m learning about dog training is that there are a lot of schools of thought on how it should be done, etc., and it’s VERY overwhelming sometimes. I mentioned before that I was reading a book on training and it has been really good and helpful, and there are a lot of similarities between what I’ve read and what our trainer is teaching us, but there are also differences and now I’m having to choose what I believe to be best for Ginger and I.

There are five dogs in our class right now, but I believe one is moving to another class, so there will only be four next week I assume. Ginger is the oldest and biggest of them all. The other three dogs are all around 6 months old. There is a cocker spaniel, a corgi, and a boxer. There are also the trainer’s two sheltie dogs that she uses as her demo dogs. They’re both (obviously) extremely well-behaved and super cute when they prance around.

We started off last night working on controlled walking which basically means a very short leash for the dog so that they have to walk right beside you, and when you stop, they sit down. I’ve been working on this with Ginger since our orientation and while she can do pretty well with it, she has a hard time sitting for very long, especially in new environments.

I should back up for a moment and mention that Ginger was caught “staring” at the corgi and I had to break her attention. Apparently that’s not a good thing, although Ginger typically stares at everything. It’s something I like about her, it’s almost as if you can see her little mind churning through her eyes. I never thought that it was a bad thing, but I guess it’s frowned upon. :-/

We walked around the room several times, with stops in-between. Ginger was doing well up until she caught sight of the trainers dogs and something about them made her growl a bit which is pretty uncommon with her. The trainer told me that since one of her dogs is white, it happens relatively often because they can see her through the kennel but can’t quite make out what she is. Regardless, it set me on edge and I know in order for Ginger to not be nervous, I can’t be nervous, but I am. I’m still learning what’s appropriate and what’s not, and I really, really, REALLY hate getting in trouble, so I try and avoid it at all costs.

We next learned sit-stay commands, and then began working on the basic fundamentals of the come command. Needless to say, we have a lot of homework this week.

All in all it was good, and I’m excited to work with Ginger, but I almost wonder if I should do a couple private lessons with her to really have the teacher all to myself. Sometimes, it’s hard in a class, even as small as five, to really get the attention you need or want, especially when you’re dealing with puppies because they do require work. The other thing is that not only are we teaching the dogs, but we’re being taught as well, so it’s just an overwhelming experience.

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