|Letty and her rubber chicken|
Letty and I both enjoyed her first puppy class. I was a bit concerned about how she would handle all the dogs, but she did well and had a wonderful time, especially during the free time when the pups could run and play together.
I admit to being a dog snob, and I love watching beautiful purebred puppies. We arrived early to watch the class before us, currently on week 5 of the 6-week class. Between the two classes there were many lovely pups destined for show careers, as well as a number of obviously well-bred purebreds. What a variety! Letty's classmates included a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Standard Poodle, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, a Pug, and two Goldens. I noticed a lovely Bullmastiff in the earlier class, and recognised a number of show people in that class. Each class had about 15 puppies and two instructors.
Our first night was spent working on getting pups to respond to their names, teaching sits, and coming close enough to be grabbed by the collar, the groundwork for coming when called. Everything was done with treats, small tidbits dispensed by the owners as well as the trainers. Every time the trainers came by Letty was expecting more treats of course. We started just the basics for controlled lead walking which will be Letty's toughest exercise as she already wants to be out in front of me, leading the way. You could identify all the little show pups who were already conditioned to pockets - they know where the treats are kept! Letty kept free baiting for the trainers, watching them, squaring up, and waiting for a reward. She handled everything very well and was totally comfortable about the other pups.
The most interesting part was the puppy play time, where the pups were divided into larger/older and smaller/younger groups. I was given my choice and went with the larger pups because Letty is used to playing with Dals and Shepherds. Right choice. She was the star of the show, the most playful and interested in other dogs. We certainly resolved the nervousness with other dogs! Letty and her largest classmate, a handsome red curly dog who was probably a Goldendoodle, had a wonderful time racing, leaping, and dodging amongst their slower moving classmates. I suspect that next week the Standard Poodle boy will join in too, but he was just a bit overwhelmed last night. Like her father, Letty used body language to invite other pups to play with them.
The last few minutes were spent "passing the puppy", standing in a large circle, greeting the person to our left, telling them our puppy's name and handing them the leash. We talked to our new charges, gave them treats, and passed them on. Again, Letty thought that was great fun, something I never expected her to enjoy.
Our instructor is a show/performance person who told me several times how much she liked Letty, and what a great attitude she had. Guess we found just the right place to train. Can't wait 'til next week!