Friday, September 7, 2012

Basic Obedience: Week 5

Last week we told you about our week 4 basic obedience class that prompted Athena's training boot camp this week (ok, to be honest we didn't do a very good job of implementing boot camp...).  So, yesterday we headed out to Petco for our fifth basic obedience class since adopting Athena.  I was a bit nervous about it seeing as last week was the first time that we were in class with other dogs and Athena did NOT perform at the top of her class like we would have hoped (she acted like she didn't know what "down" was!).  But.....

Athena ROCKED it in last night's class!!!!!

There was one other dog in the class last night who was a 9 month old Boston Terrier/Boxer mix.  Athena and him hit it off great and they spent a good amount of time before and after class playing together.  We are still very cautious when Athena meets new dogs because of her 'dog aggressive' label given by her previous owner (more about that here).  Last week in class Athena didn't get to play with the other dogs, but last night she played and played and played with her new friend!  She was in doggy heaven!!  We were ecstatic that she made a friend who matched her energy level.  There were even times when Athena actually wanted to take a break from playing and the other dog kept going in for more.  Usually it's Athena who won't let her playmate take a breather!
Trying to catch my breath after a long play sesh!
Week 5:

As far as training, we worked some more on distractions with long down/stays inside of the store.  Athena actually did down/stays the entire time (last week she was way too distracted to do "down").  Of course when a big distraction came her way (like a squeaky toy being thrown in front of her face) she would stand up and we would have to give her the "leave it" command and direct her back into a down/stay.  But overall, B and I were very impressed with Athena's progress from last week.  

Oh yeah...it might be cheating not to tell you that we bumped up the food reward last night.  Instead of giving Athena her favorite Nutro Crunchy Treats that she will do anything for unless she is in a group training class with millions of distractions, we gave her pieces of hot dog.  That's right, we bumped from a level one treat to a level three so that we would be at the top of the class.  You gotta do what you gotta do!
Show me the hot dog!
Week 5 Homework:
  • Keep practicing basic commands with new types of distractions
  • Practice commands in new locations (at the park, on walks, at home, in a pet store, at Home Depot, etc.)
Hopefully next week's class will be just as stellar as yesterday's was.  We have loved having Athena in a training class because it gives us the confidence to train her on our own at home, provides her with socialization, and helps her to overcome some of her fears of new situations.

Check out Athena's progress in basic obedience class here and here.

Also, thanks to everyone who commented on last week's basic obedience post to tell us stories about their first group training classes and to give us encouragement that Athena would get better =)

-A

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