Friday, August 31, 2012

Basic Obedience: Week 4

For the past month Athena has been enrolled in a basic obedience class at our local Petco.  See our post about weeks 1-3 training here.

Last week we skipped our training class because B had a class at the same time and we like to be at the training class together.  So, today we resumed our training sessions and attended our 4th class (out of 6 total).

We were pretty excited about being back in class because we bumped into the intermediate/advanced class which meant that we got to be in a training class with other dogs.  I feel like a parent whose kid got on the honor roll!  Go Athena!

Even though we got the advancement...it doesn't mean that Athena was at the top of class!  There were two other dogs in the class: a 6 month old Australian Shepherd and a 7 month old Boxer-- both are very high energy dogs, but both were pretty rockin' when it came to the day's lesson.

Since we are still wary of Athena's 'dog aggressive' label given by her previous owners (who only had her for 2 weeks), our trainer knew that we wanted to take the dog introductions slowly.  Athena got to meet the two other dogs while on leash.  The Australian Shepherd owner didn't seem very comfortable with Athena meeting her dog and even said, "we don't need any more vet bills!"  I guess I would be cautious too if I heard that another dog is possibly dog aggressive.

But, after some quick introductions we got right to training.  Here's what we worked on in class:

Week 4: 

  • DISTRACTIONS!
So apparently everything Athena knows goes out the door when two other dogs join her in class.   At least the trainer told us that her behavior was normal for a dog's first time in class with other dogs.  We totally looked like the owners who don't do their homework and don't practice any commands with their dog at home.  Athena really didn't want to listen to anything we said (even with totally tasty treats dangling in front of her face) and she acted like she had never heard the word 'down' in her life.  I will just say that the experience was challenging.  And if I thought that it was challenging, I can't even imagine how Athena felt.  Not to worry though, when we got home I gave Athena lots of loves to let her know that I love her even though she has doggy ADHD.

Anyways...the hour of class consisted of us practicing down/stays in the training room while the trainer distracted our dogs and got them to move around the room while other dogs stayed.  Next, we moved out into the store and were presented with some major distractions while we practiced down/stay.  Athena really refused to be in a down position...so we just practiced sit/stay most of the time.

Week 4 Homework:
  • Practice 'leave it'-- this once mastered command doesn't work so well when distractions are present
  • Practice 'down'-- diva dog doesn't like to down in the presence of other dogs
  • Implement doggy boot camp-- ok, this is self-assigned homework, but Athena better be ready for some major practicing in highly distractible situations this week because her parents are teachers and therefore like to be at the top of the class!
Overall, week 4 class was bleh.  Could have been better, could have been worse.  But, I'm proud of my little girl for being so stealer in her first month of being with us!!

-A

7 comments:

  1. Working in a class environment is great for this very reason! It certainly is challenging, but what's a challenge except for an opportunity to overcome it! You and Athena are working hard, so you'll get past this in no time!

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    1. We were very excited that we were moved into a class with other dogs because 'being less excited around dogs' is an area that we really need to work on! Athena just wants to play so bad that she doesn't even know what to do with herself! Hopefully she will just keep improving as we continue our training classes. Thanks for your support!

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  2. The first group class pretty much always sucks. When we took Hurley to basic obedience class he barked and whined for 45 minutes straight. Straight! It was awful and I didn't know if we'd be able to get through the 5 week class but his vocalization was only that once and he was much better the rest of the classes. So hang in there! Athena will get better!

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    1. Hopefully things will go a bit better next week at class =) Glad to hear that Hurley was able to make it through the 5 week class even after his very vocal first class!

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  3. Reading this makes me proud of you and forever guilty of the fact that we've had Hades for almost two years and Braylon for a year and a half and never taken them to formal training. Are you horrified yet? And not because they are perfect...they both battle leash reactivity and only know a handful of commands. The only training we ever did was have a trainer come to our house to work with us on greeting company. Anyway... good for Athena! What a pretty little lady! Plus, I love the name! I look forward to reading about dog ownership in Portland--I have this romantic fantasy that it would be a great place to move, for which I have no basis, so I'd like to see if that's true. :)

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    1. We wanted to get Athena into training right away because we are both new to dog ownership and even though we could have probably taught her the same things that she's learning in class in our own home, it makes us just feel a little better to have a trainer who we can talk to on a weekly basis. We were very lucky to have private training sessions for the first three weeks, so we got a lot of one-on-one attention and got all of our specific questions answered (I'm sure this doesn't happen very often when taking classes from Petco). I think that we will continue to have Athena in training classes for another couple of months as we try to eliminate some of her undesirable behaviors =)

      By the way, thanks for stopping by the blog =) We love living in Portland and would love to have some friends with dogs here, so let us know if you ever decide to move!!!

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