Saturday, February 21, 2009

Basic Obedience - 1

We attended class one of basic dog obedience last night and I think the next 7 sessions will be just as fun and stressful as the first. Only four other dogs showed up so we’ll be able to get more one on one attention from the Dog Whisper Trainer. Another class size measurement is, the other three ranged from Giant to Large and ours comes in as a noisy small. The noisy part is where the stressor comes into play.

Little Ziggy started barking as each dog entered the training room and he continued to bark for the next 10 minutes straight. Thanks to the owner of the sweet black faced German Sheppard, Zig went nose to nose with him for a few seconds and when the Sheppard lifted his paw to play, Zig went teeth to nose. The owner quickly reeled in his dog, looked at me like I did something wrong and Ziggy went back to barking. DW told me to turn Ziggy towards me. I picked his 12 lbs up by his harness and turned him around like a crane to face me. He turns his head around so now both his butt and mouth are barking at the dogs. Ok DW, now what. DW comes over and stands in front of Ziggy with a crumble treat in his fingers. He says some DW-stuff and Ziggy gets the crumbs and stays quiet for a while. Next is the sit action. DW hands out to the humans our own training clickers. The idea is when the dog does good, click the clicker and quickly give the dog a treat; sounds easy.

DW shows the sit on the dog that doesn’t like to sit, Ziggy. DW has a crumb in-between his fingers, and then puts his fingers at the end of Zig’s nose, as Zig follows the fingers up and back, he sits! Wow, it worked. DW did it three more times with Ziggy. DW has all of us go out into the store where we are to each pick an isle to practice the sit. I have the leash and clapper in on hand, crumbs in the other and try the finger to the nose move. Ziggy backs up. Try again, he backs up, try again, he backs up. The Wife gets behind Ziggy to block the backup move, Ziggy’s butt turns left. The Wife tells me to hold her purse at which point everything screeches to a halt as I bolt upright, stare at her and then look at my already full hands…not to mention the fact of after all these years together she should know I don’t hold purses! I don't know how. She puts it on the ground and starts pushing Ziggy’s butt to the ground. Ziggy’s back legs stay locked, I’m getting a back ache from bending over, we start the giggles and the Wife says she’s going to pee her pants. OK enough! Somehow we finish up the first class and head on home with our homework assignment and Ziggy passed out in the back seat.


Dar said...

I just saw a little clip on tv last night about clicker training, how when it finally works, the dog associates the sound with a reward, (even when you no longer give it) and has a rush of endorphins. Keep it up, it will be worth it.

small town dyke said...

Sounds like fun. Our big dog does well with the basics, its our little one is the stuborn one. the only trick she really will do is look pretty

Dragon said...

LOL sounds like a fun adventure. This GW sounds pretty good though. Maybe there is hope for ziggy.

Dawg said...

Clickers work!

Keep at it, and try to make it fun. My girls are trained to do various things, with treat, of course.

Jude said...

Dragon, I think the DW is training us peeps more than he's training the pups, so I hope there's hope for Ok, so I'll work on the clicker thing, sounds like from all that you guys have said that it's a good thing. It's just funny walking around the house in anticipation of Ziggy being good or bad, armed with spray bottle #2 (he ate #1), bits of crumbly food in my pants and a clicker up my butt. He did a good "watch me" twice today. But then he peed on the Wife's sneaker's when she came Oh, and I just took hemp twine (for macrame) out of his mouth. Yeah, he'll be fine, someday.