First Dog Obedience Class
Ellie had a blast at the first dog obedience class. Although she is one of the older dogs in the dog obedience class she was very receptive to everything that was going on. Ellie was excited to meet some new pups.
What to Bring to Dog Obedience Class
We were required to bring a limited slip collar or a martingale collar, a mat for the dog, a pouch of treats, a five to six feet long lead and a favorite toy not a ball.
I had to go out and purchase the martingale collar and my treat pouch, for my larger dogs, is a nail bag for carpenters bought from the home store. There are newer designed collars called limited slip collars that will close on a dog’s neck but only so far and will not close all the way like a chain slip collar.
For the treats I took some advice from a dvd I have on Natural Dog Training and soaked some of Ellie’s kibble in just enough water to cover. It took several hours but the kibble absorbed the water and softened the bites. I think the point is to have treats that will get the dog’s attention, be a small bite and soft so the dog keeps attention on the training and not eating. Then I cut up some hot dogs, first in half then some smaller pieces out of the halves. I took a half a cup of food and three hot dogs and still ran out of treats at the end of the hour long session. I will have a backup of something store bought next time, just in case.
Everything else I had. Ellie is a retriever and really does not care about soft toys. It is ball, ball, and ball for her. I have a Hurley by West Paw design that I took for the toy. Treats were more than enough to keep her attention and the other dogs were good distractions.
What we worked on in the first dog obedience class
Out of all the dogs there half were under a year but all over six months old. The rest were a couple of years old and the oldest was a little over four.
The first exercise in the dog obedience class we worked on was learning how to charge a word or a click from a clicker by use of treats. There needs to be some way of telling the dog they have done the behavior correctly. The timing is everything and has to be spot on.
Next we worked on rewarding the dog when they looked at the handler face. You wait until the dog looks up, reward and click or say the charged word from the first exercise. I used “yes” as the word.
Next we worked with the “sit” command. The sit is lured by is pulled over the head of the dog from nose towards the tail which will naturally put the dog in a sit position. The exercise started without verbal commands as most of these exercises do but quickly followed up with the verbal “sit”, a reward and a “yes”.
The “name game” is calling the dog’s name and rewarding for them coming to you. This a good start to the “recall” command. Something we need to work a lot on.
To do the “back away” start to walk with the dog. When the dog pulls the handlers stops and gently pulls backwards pulling on the dog lightly. No tugs or correction moves like a snap of the leash off to the side. You want the dog to change direction naturally following the handler.
“Leave it” was the next command we worked on. Take a treat in my closed, right hand and I let Ellie sniff it. Immediately she wants it. With closed fist I kept it in front of her until she lost interest (pretty quickly) and zinged her with a reward that was in the other hand behind my back and a “yes”. She never gets the treat in the right hand. We continued this until she would leave the right hand with the treat alone and then we start opening the hand to keep her attention, closing the hand if she approached.
Finally the last exercise of the class was the “place” command. You stand with your dog around the mat we brought and when the dog simply touches the mat you reward. Working up to a sit on the mat and working in the command “place” when they successfully get on the mat.
Homework was to practice every day only five to ten minutes at a time during the week.
First Dog Obedience Class Impressions
Ellie and I worked a couple times during the week. I did work with Otis the younger of my two dogs as well. A little anxious, he bit my thumb. He will go to the next session of dog obedience class.
Ellie is a fast learner and at 2.5 years old she doesn’t seem to be too old. She is very excitable which I find works as a good challenge when training. The other challenges are my timing with the reward. An experienced trainer to offer feedback is the reason for enrolling in dog obedience class. This part of the training is something I just could not get a handle on. We are doing much better with personal guidance.
There were two instructors, one lead and an assistant. The area has padding on the floor and is very well setup for these type of classes.