Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dog School

Monday was Argie's night to start school and he did wonderfully well.  Wish I had a picture of the expression on his face as we were heeling along with a group of silly teen-aged dogs, an "exactly WHY are we doing this?"  kind of expression.  He knows the exercises and did them willingly in class.  Project for this week is working on straight sits and fronts.  Because I have tendinitis in my left shoulder (thanks to the dogs of course, and all the times they have attempted to rip off my arms in pursuit of a squirrel) that will be aggravated by this, Argus is being trained on a prong collar.  Nope, it's not cruel when used properly and we refer to prongs as "power steering for dogs".  Ah, a great topic for a blog post!

Letty on the other hand will be trained on a simple buckle collar.  She's small and still a light-weight and doesn't pull much, but I'll still have to be careful.  Every time I keep a pup my shoulder gives me trouble, so I have to work around that.  Letty knows a number of commands already, sit, down, stay, stand, walk, and come, but we shall see if she remembers anything in the stress/excitement of a class.  I don't normally take my pups to puppy class, doing my socialization at pet stores and dog shows, but we have no more shows coming up and Letty needs more work.

My pups are generally what I would call "foolishly friendly" and love all people and most dogs.  The biggest problem I have is to keep them from mugging everyone they meet.  Argus has always loved everyone and all dogs, and most of his kids are like that.  Letty is not wired that way and takes a few minutes to make up to strangers.  I could "feel" that in her body from the time she was 3 weeks old, when it was quite obvious that she had already categorized people as "Sue" and "everyone else".   She's fine about situations and is not sound sensitive, just does not care to have people reaching for her.  The fact that she is so incredibly cute means that everyone reaches for her!  She really prefers her space.   She's the same way about dogs, although has gotten much better about strange dogs.  Letty does remember her friends though and covers them with kisses.  Our goal is to get her to assume that everyone is her friend.  Pups under the age of 4 months are incredibly trainable, so we are working to "modify" this part of her personality.  Puppy training classes are a wonderful tool.

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