Monday, October 3, 2011

Therapy Dog Class Week 4

Chopper was really on his best behavior the other night before class - almost made it the whole way to class without his blindfold thingamajig without barking (a semi on the 405 was just too much to resist). So I was pretty pleased with him before we even started class.

One of the new activities we tried were walking around in a circle with treats in the middle of the room. Poor old hungry Chopper tried to veer toward those treats a few times but the treats I had were a given (versus him stealing a giant bully stick that I would likely be able to pull out of his mouth) so after a few half-hearted attempts he was compliant with just walking beside me like the good dog he sometimes pretends to be. One of the other dogs though is afraid of pig ears and another one played it cool until the end and then shot toward a piece of chicken like a speeding bullet. In the end none of the dogs got any of the treats.

Last week we also started learning "down" with "head down." Chopper didn't seem to really get it - he did it a few times but sometimes he would crawl toward me instead (my hand was in the same place with the treat as when he does that so I can see the confusion). But this week I said "down" then I said "head down" and he put his head all the way on the floor. I thought it was just a coincidence that he laid down like that. Then I tried again, and he got it right again. I kept doing it and he kept putting his head down and looking up at me with his big eyes. I looked around and everyone else was on the floor trying to coax their dogs to put their heads down. Some went on their sides, some on their backs, one would make his head hover right above the ground but Chopper seemed to be the only one who could do it with a command while I was standing. Way to go Chopper!

We also practiced the supervised separation again. Normally two dogs do this at a time and since we first took the CGC class Chopper has gone with the trainer and the other dog has gone with the front desk person who helps out during this part of class. For the last few weeks Chopper has been getting treats from her every time we come to class - just for sitting. He's been so good about this (and he was in such a good mood) that I though it was time for her to supervise him and the trainer agreed. So the hand off happened and I left her with a lot of treats. At first Chopper tried to follow me (which he had stopped doing with the trainer) but I just told him he was fine and left. It took a lot of self-control to not peak in the room. When I was called back there was Chopper sitting and getting treats and giving his paw. He had somehow managed to get his Gentle Leader off without the person noticing though. He's sneaky. But there was no screaming or whining (like he does at the groomer's) or refusing to walk (like he does at the vet's). If only the vet would come to class every week.

I'm pretty sure we did more than that during class that was new but it's Monday and those were the highlights. We've signed up for Agility League after this class ends which goes almost until Christmas - so we'll be busy busy!