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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Puppy Class!

Class begins with some free time fun. Topa is the biggest puppy there.

Topa warming up a bit to the idea of a strange dog in her face. Her initial reaction was a calm stance but bared teeth. The other pups got the picture loud and clear and backed away.

Wimzi showing excellent eye contact while heeling at 10 weeks old!

Wimzi's sit for a treat.

Wimzi redeemed her little naughty self this morning at puppy class. After quickly working through her initial fear of bigger dogs that didn't look like her or act like her, she blended right in. She was much more focused than I had anticipated for her first class and for a 10 week old puppy. She kept very good eye contact when in a relatively acceptable puppy "heel" position and soon began to sit whenever we stopped. There were extra long play periods for those short puppy attention spans which helped her stayed focused when working.

Topa was to attend the next class but was invited to join in the socialization fun of Wimzi's puppy class. She was actually a bit more concerned and bothered about having strange dogs in her face. Hedlund Huskies don't tend to appreciate or tolerate obnoxious behavior by those they don't know well, even when they are puppies like Topa.

Topa's beginning obedience class was up next and she was very happy to get out of the crate at ring side. She stood motionless and drooling, pressed against the wire crate door for Wimzi's entire class. She was not happy about being in this crate and between two dogs she didn't know yet. She ignored treats so I just left her to calm herself while I would occasionally check in with her as we walked nearby. She has had what we thought was motion sickness all winter during trips in the dog truck. When we would go to retrieve her from her crate, the straw would be soaked as if someone had doused it with a gallon of water. We tried various things that didn't work and hoped she would out grow it. She has done just fine in that same crate in the truck over night and in a crate in the house over night so, again, we assumed it was motion sickness. On the way to our class today, she didn't drool but did throw up, again adding support to our theory. An observation by the instructor of Leader of the Pack Canine Center indicated that it might not be motion sickness after all. She suggested that we treat it as nervousness; an uneasiness about what is happening or where she is going. This could be a training issue and not a physiological issue at all. This means we have a training strategy to work on. More to come....

Topa, although distracted, as puppies typically are, did a wonderful job at her first obedience class. She did not pull on the leash when in heel position and sat whenever asked. She does go out a bit further on the leash while in heel position than I would like so I'll be working with her on this by using a tasty treat to "bait" her in closer to me. When she has remained in the appropriate spot for a short period of time then she will receive the treat and a word of praise. The treat offering will become intermittent then will go away all together once she is on track but the verbal praise will remain. She's not to keen on "down" at this point. Practice, practice.

Next week, Topa will get a rest and it will be White Feather's turn to go to class with Wimzi.

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