After obedience training ended I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself…or Maybelle. We were a couple of lost souls floating around out there without anywhere to go on Tuesday nights.
We’d learned all we could from that particular class, but I didn’t feel like I’d gotten what I really needed. More than anything I wanted help on teaching her how to approach dogs appropriately while on leash. The problem with our tiny class was that she was used to the other dogs after a class or two and was not particularly excited about them. So greeting them was not a problem.
Teaching more commands didn’t seem useful to me. I have the basics for what I need to teach her most things, I just don’t always have a great environment to practice them in. Our emergency recall has worked in a couple different situations. Once, in a fenced in area, she was going ape on a squirrel in a corner. Calling her name was not working so I figured it was as good a time as any to try her recall word for real. I said, “Maybelle, NOW!” And she spun around and came running to me, eager to get her 30 seconds worth of treats. That was still a very contained situation but I used it again a few weeks ago while we were out in the woods with Tulla and Charlie. Maybelle had chased Charlie way up the path, and around a corner. I couldn’t see her anymore. So I used it again. I could see her so I can’t be sure that’s what made her turn around, but when they came running back she was way ahead of Charlie — not the norm — so I assumed she wasn’t just following him.
But finding someone to practice polite, on-leash greetings with is a bit different. I walk by homes with barking dogs and practice getting her to focus on me, but that’s just not the same. So I started thinking about herding classes, or agility. Something for us to do together, build a relationship, and give her a job. Then one of my cats got bit in the tail by an unknown assailant and the money for classes went to the vet.
Now I’m starting to think, again, about what to do now that obedience class is over. I enjoy learning and so does Maybelle. Since she can’t read, we can’t join a book club. So I found something through a local rescue organization that interested me. Not only is itaffordable, but it’s “different.” The Walking Club seems more up our alley — practicing our skills in a real world setting.
But what about you? After your basic obedience classes, did you continue training?