Mickey and I are on week 2 of a 5 week basic dog obedience class. Week 1 we learned "sit" and "down". Sit was a piece of cake. Down was much harder. The teacher uses a lure technique, where you have the dog sit, then slide the treat down and in front of the dog, luring the dog to lie down. Mickey is so polite that when I'd pull the treat in front of him, he'd say "awww, she's taking the treat away. How sad" and he'd stay in his sit position with hurt eyes. It took us a while, but he's got "down" now.
This week we covered "stay" and polite walking on a loose leash. Mickey got "stay" immediately, and does just great on the leash in class. That's because class distractions don't hold a candle to ranch distractions. He's totally focused on me in class, but the ranch is full of wascally wabbits and ground squirrels. Polite loose leash walking here is a challenge!
Only about half the dogs came back to class 2 - the instructor doesn't have a very pleasant teaching manner with humans but she's good with dogs. Mickey seems to enjoy class, so we're in it for the long haul. We are down to a nice size group of 6 dogs. The star is undoubtedly an adorable Shih Tzu. This dog knows all her commands in English, doggy hand signals, and American Sign Language. And she has a huge bag of tricks to boot. There is a beautiful black collie that yap-yap-yaps, a huge young yellow Lab and a playful gorgeous Akita. The Akita's owner has done an amazing job getting that dog's attention. In the first class, the dog was paying attention to anything but the owner. Now the dog still has puppy moments, but he has some really nice work too. The class terror is a big unruly boxer. He's so aggressive that they put a barrier on either side of him. I feel sorry for the owner because this is a dog that could bite. The teacher's good about keeping the dog away from others. When we do group walking exercises, she takes the dog from the owner and stands in the middle. The dog is very strong. Mickey and I know where he is at all times, and make it our business to keep far away.
So class is going really well, and more importantly, Mickey has learned good ranch manners. He knows he's not allowed in the horse's stalls (safety) and will wait right by the doors as I clean the stalls. He's not allowed in the room where I feed cats, and I can leave the door open without him running in and eating cat food. He's a good little dog. I'm so glad he chose us.
That's shavings (horse bedding) in the photo, not something Mickey did!