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Training the Tough Stuff: Part 3

Class has been over for several weeks now. I miss it and Maybelle probably does as well. I admit, I just like dog training. I’m sure part of it is that it’s a good outlet for my inner control freak tendencies. But there’s also something cool about learning how your dog thinks and seeing it respond.

During the second to last class she had a good day with the trainer’s new dog. He’d come to class once before but May wouldn’t let him get close at all without popping off. She was willing to accept him by the second class though, and we parallel walked without much trouble. I thought this was especially interesting because I suspect he is just the kind of dog she tries to bully–a submissive male.

On our last day we were meandering through the park, and the only other dog still left in class was up ahead of us. When class first began this huge mastiff mix wouldn’t get anywhere near the rest of class. She was so dog reactive — and so strong — it took two people to control her. But on the last day she was maybe 30 feet ahead of us, and barely noticed we were there. But at one point she started to strain against the end of her leash, which set Maybelle off into a brief barking fit. Nothing major but she definitely wanted to let the dog know she had her eye on her.

The trainer said, “Out of control dogs are definitely a  trigger for her.”  Read the rest of this entry

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Talking Sense About “Dangerous” Dogs

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Finally, someone speaking some sense when it comes to dangerous dogs.

Basic Obedience: Second Class

This week we started off by practicing walking/heeling. I’ll admit right now that I jumped ahead.

Maybelle and I had been working on her walking for weeks, so this week I read ahead in our training booklet and started working on teaching her “heel the position” and then transferred that to our walking. Because she’s super smart she picked it up very quickly and by the time we got to class she was way ahead of the pack, especially the nutter dog.  Read the rest of this entry

Basic Obedience: First Class

When it came to obedience classes, I was torn. Maybelle knew most of her basic commands before I even took her home from the Humane Society. In the room where they let you get to know the dog I took a cookie out of a jar, asked her to sit and she did it instantly. I asked for her paw and she gave it readily. She was obviously a smartypants. When I got her home it became more and more clear that someone had spent a lot of time training her. She’s pretty respectful of doorways and lets me go through first. She doesn’t get excited everytime I grab the leash, and it quickly became obvious that she had at cursory knowledge of how to “heel”–or she picked it up super quick. Who can tell?

But as time went on I found a few behaviors we needed help with. When we go hiking and are constantly meeting new dogs, she pulls and tugs. And though she knows darn well how to come when called, she tunes me out when, say, the lady across the road is in her front yard with her Pomeranians, or May has worked herself up into a herding frenzy. So I called up the obedience school that works with the Humane Society and asked what would happen if we signed up for basic but May was bored out of her mind. They said they would see how she does with distraction and then, if appropriate, move us to the intermediate class. So, I signed up.  Read the rest of this entry