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Sunday, September 18, 2011

School Days

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!

14 comments:

Janet said...

Mickey looks like a really intelligent dog-the type that just wants to please ! When I took our Jess to dog classes she was brilliant -it just didn`t transfer to outdoor life- so I know where you are coming from regarding the squirrels and the rabbits !!
It`s the people more often that not that need the training -the animals more often than not have it sussed !

Sharon said...

He's catching on really well, I wish my Jill could go, but I just don't have the strength anymore. Jack learned all that stuff and Jill is doing her best to mess the old guy up!

Mickey seems to be very intelligent and the course may just make him a perfect ranch dog. He's already well on his way, it seems!

in2paints said...

What a good boy, Mickey! :)

Dreaming said...

I bet class is a lot of fun and I totally understand about responding in class, but not with the distractions at home! Tucker's instructor couldn't understand what we meant when we said he wouldn't come when called. He did it all the time in class! Never at home!
I love that Mickey is so good about the stalls and the cat's haven. Good Mickey!

Lori Skoog said...

Mickey you sweet puppy!

Texan said...

Sounds like you guys are doing great! ... That Boxer, being a Boxer owner for the last 20 yrs, Something is a miss there. Aggression is not a normal Boxer trait. Class clown and play play play is their usual MO and hyper high strung yep LOL...Now they can be protective of their owners my first Boxer all 94lbs of him well he would have gone to the end of the earth over me, but he wasn't inappropriate with it. Hope this class will help out the Boxer and owner learn how to relate to each other. Funny we can teach dogs so many things we do not mean to. :O).
Mickey is simply adorable!

Dream Valley Ranch said...

Oh my-I have been waiting for a Mickey update and this made my day!! I showed the pictures and read the story to my hubby and he said "if I saw him at the shelter I would have to being him home!"' Mickey has a big fan club :)

He is simply adorable. I'm glad he chose you, too!
Thanks for the update!!

Dream Valley Ranch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liesl said...

Oh my! Would love to do something like this with Minkie!!! So nice to have the pups learn something all the time!

Ruffles said...

Micky looks like a nice looking pup ;)! Sounds like your having heaps of fun at your classes!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Mickey looks so enthusiastic. He must be loving school...look at that big grin in the 2nd picture! Cute doggy!

John Gray said...

I only went to one class
the owners got on my nerves so I never bothered going again!!!

Flartus said...

Terry, I'm finally getting back to you re: herbs. There are 3 ways Miss Chef and I could think of preserving them. 1. chop them fine, put them in an ice cube tray, then add water and freeze. You can add them to soups and sauces this way. 2. Miss Chef has read about drying herbs in the microwave...you'll have to google that, though, since we've never done it. 3. You can make a surprisingly effective dehydrator from a box fan and furnace filters--I saw it on Alton Brown and used it before we got our dehydrator. There's a summary of the show at http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/season7/Herbs/HerbalPreservation.htm. If you scroll down to Scene 12, there's a small picture with the description of how he does it. Miss Chef and I swear by Alton Brown; she even recommends her culinary students watch Good Eats.

Message me back if you need any more clarification! (My email is flartus at hotmail dot com.)

Louise said...

You know, I think that dogs know when they have been in danger, and do respond with gratitude to the ones who take them in. Mickey sounds like a wonderful little dog. I just love the bright-eyed ones, who want so badly to be good, and to do what their people want them to do.