Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Obedience class can teach more than just obedience

Last night was our last Basic Life Skills class with Sublime Canine. I knew going into the classes that I wasn't going to take much away from the actual lessons as I had already taught Kobi his basic obedience skills and he excelled with learning them. What I really wanted out of it was proofing, that he was able to preform these skills in a new high excitement situation. The basics like sit and down weren't to hard for him, but staying or focus exercises proved to be more difficult to get him to preform them when there were other dogs and people around. Kobi is what our trainer calls a "spirited puppy". All he wants is to socialize. To him people and dogs mean play time. Kobi needed to work one being able to calm down around people and dogs and that just because dogs are present, that doesn't mean it's play time. Our first week was pretty tough, he spent most of the night barking and pulling towards other dogs and people. The second week was a nightmare, it seemed as though he was entering another fear period and was terrified of everything and everyone that night. The third week was much like the first, no real improvement made. Then for our fourth week was when I started making the liver treats, we also got him to wear his Halti that night as well. I'm not sure what the cause  was but it was as if we had a whole new dog. He still struggled to not bark at other dogs, but he was making an active effort to not bark. He was able to stay on command, even when other dogs walked right up to him. He walked politely on his leash, and he even rolled onto his side a few times. Our fifth session was again fantastic, he was showing no signs of regression and was getting better at calming himself. Last night was our sixth and final class. I was expecting him to have difficulty as he had been reactive to noises all day at home. Instead Kobi spent a good majority of last night sprawled on his back. He would lie right on his back and stretch his legs all the way out, giving him the nickname RoadKill. Over our six weeks in obedience class, Kobi learned to control some of his excitement and desire to play with everyone. I still believe obedience classes are a must for those who need help learning the techniques for training their dogs, they are also a great way to get kids involved in a dogs training. However, just because your dog is fantastic at learning at home and you make an active effort in their training, doesn't mean that classes don't still have a benefit. Obedience class helped to boost Kobi's confidence, that he doesn't need to control every situation and that not every time another dog shows up that it's play time. I will be continuing classes with Sublime Canine in their Advanced Life Skills class then will be joining their Agility Foundations class to teach Kobi an on off switch for exciting situations. In the mean time between classes I've been given permission to come and work in a side pen while classes are going on to continue working on his impulse control. So if you've ever thought that obedience class wasn't for you, think again, it teaches more than just the obvious.

1 comment:

  1. That's so great Kobi had a breakthrough! Funny how they do that sometimes inexplicably.

    I fully agree that classes are great for experienced dogs and trainers as well as novices--there is always something new for dogs and humans to learn!