Friday, October 22, 2010

Puppy Class #1

Dog Blog Post #143: The irony of having a blog is that when you actually have something to write about, you rarely have time to write it.

Thus, despite having a bundle of joy at home generating Precious Moments by the bucket-full, these pages have remained sadly quiet.

Yeah, I know, whine, whine, whine...

Henry went to his first Puppy Class last night. There were puppies of all shapes and sizes there, eight in all, varying in age from 10 weeks to 5 months. Henry was probably one of the younger pups there at 12 weeks old.

I suppose I should be honest here and admit that I don't actually think I am going to learn much about training a puppy in this class. Yes, Wendy might surprise me with a tidbit here or there, but on the whole, as this is my third puppy, I think I've at least got the basics down.

So why am I going? Because, while I stated long ago that classes are to train owners, not dogs, that doesn't apply to puppies. There are many lessons for Henry to learn in Puppy Class, some of which aren't even specifically being taught.

Take last night.

Last night Henry learned (or at least experienced) that just because he can see another puppy, doesn't mean he gets to play with it. This is a hard lesson for a friendly Golden Retriever, and it will probably take many, many, many classes before he actually accepts that to be true.

Of course, Beau never did.

Henry learned that Sit-n-Stare is just as rewarding in Puppy Class as it is at home or at the indoor sports place.

Henry discovered that hot dogs are amazingly tasty things.

Henry affirmed that he doesn't like rain drops hitting him on the head, that bark is fun to chew on, and that puppies are fun to play with.

I also learned a lot about Henry. I learned that he will sit calmly on my lap so I can put my jacket over him and avoid the worst of the rain drops. I learned that he will return when he hits the end of the leash while trying to visit other puppies. I learned that he has lovely focus, even when distracted, and very good name recognition.

While there, we practiced Sits (he's an old pro at that - I could just hear him thinking "Oh, that's puppy stuff, mom. I'm a big boy now!") and I threw in some downs to keep him thinking. We worked on name calling (the good kind... "Henry!"), I witnessed demo dogs superior shaping and moon-walking skills, and Henry got to sample Instructor treats.

Puppy play time was a hit, of course. He seemed particularly focused on the larger dogs, including the above mentioned demo dog (9 year old Golden Retriever) and the 5 month old golden puppy.

Once again, I found him not nearly as interested in playing as I would have thought - perhaps, with Uncle Zachary at home, his play needs are being sufficiently met. That was true for Zachary as well.

Beau never got enough playing with others, but he was an only dog at that point.

Henry did seem rather worried when Wendy's assistant put her hands behind her back. We were all rather perplexed by this, as there seemed to be no logical reason for it. He's met tons and tons of people and this is the first time I've seen such a reaction, but as I don't want it to blossom into anything else, I'm going to request everyone he meets for the next few days to, at some point, put their hands behind their backs so he realizes there is nothing untoward about it.

It was getting pretty dark at that point, and the assistant was dressed all in black, so perhaps he was just seeing things a bit "funny".

Thus ended Puppy Class #1. I think it deserves 4.5 stars on the success meter, as he lost a point for the behind-the-back thing.

The one thing I didn't remember to do was show Wendy the really cool peanut-butter packs that hubby found for backpacking. They are nearly as good as the old Skippy Squeeze tubes were!

Ah well, I guess that will have to wait until next week.


Wendy Krehbiel said...

Ooh! I want to see the peanut butter tubes!

Henry did awesome at class... And I agree, very unlikely that you will learn much about dog training, given your previous experience and knowledge. Great that you are able to see the benefits for Henry!

BZ Dogs said...

They aren't tubes, they are more like squares, or squatty rectangles. Think flatter, larger, heavier weight, catsup packets. I think they hold 2Tbsp and (best of all) are organic/old fashioned. I haven't tried them under "class conditions" - we'll see how it goes this week. They are still in my bait bag.

Are we going to work on recalls this week?

BTW: Henry has been around tons more people, no issues. What happened with your assistant remains a mystery. :(