Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Annoying Dog Training Lady

I took my ADHD puppy Fiona to her first obedience class a couple days ago.

The class actually started the week before, but we were happily yelling at our children many hundreds of miles away and could not be there for the first class.

Not wanting my little canine to appear ignorant, I took the time to give her three or four short (5 - 10 minutes) training sessions on my own to bring her up to speed. Nothing fancy. Just yer basics like sit, stay, heel, come. She actually did quite well and picked everything up super-duper fast. Only troubling thing was that she seemed to have no use for praise. She would do a good sit and I would get all stupid, telling her what a brilliant dog she was. She would heel and I would dance around like an idiot telling her what a good dog, good dog she was.

She would just stare at me.

My Aussie? If he gets even a drop of praise, even the hint of an eye twinkle or a smile? He explodes with happiness. Finoa on the other hand, looks up at me dancing a jig and is like,

Is there something else I can do for you? Are we done here?

It is very annoying to have a dog that is smart but couldn't care less about being your humble and obedient servant.

So anyway, I take her to this class yesterday and apparently all that we missed last week was sit. Today they were going to focus on teaching down and walking on a loose leash.

Walking on a loose leash? I've never had that lesson in an obedience class. You teach heel. But I listened, hoping to learn something new.

What she wanted to have us do was to walk our dogs, but when the dog pulled the leash taut, we were just supposed to stop. To stop and wait until the dog let up enough so the leash had some slack in it. Then walk again and repeat. The hope being, I guess, that the dog would learn if they pull on the leash, the walk would be temporarily suspended. But it seems to me what is being taught is that when the dog pulls on its leash THE HUMAN BEING IN CHARGE has to stop what he or she is doing and wait for THE DOG to settle before the walk can resume.

Backwards. In my humble opinion.

I mean, what's next? Picking up after my dog when it takes a sh.....

Oh, never mind.

Anyway. So the rest of the class started being walked by their crazed hounds and I walked over to the instructor and asked would it be OK to work on heeling since we had already started at home.

She didn't want to tell me what to do, says she, I could have her heel if that's what I wanted to do, but she liked to teach this loose leash concept first.

So I went for it. And rest assured my dog beat up all the other dogs. She walked at heel on a loose leash, because I don't abide with dogs pulling against their collars. She sat at my side when I stopped, she picked up the pace when I did, the whole nine yards. She needed some corrections here and there, of course, but then so did all the others when they were just walking hither and yon wherever they felt like going.

Other people were all like, "Has your dog already had lessons?" and "Wow, how is she walking so nice?" and other blush-worthy words of praise. I almost tinkled.

But the instructor? Not a word. I think she was miffed that my dog looked so awesomely amazing even though we weren't doing what she instructed. Hmph.

Like I said. Annoying.

Sit. Stay. Click.
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Good dog.

Image courtesy:
Dog Obedience Training... By: Ron Masse, Certified Dog Obedience Trainer

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