Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Puppy class, Knightley's new best friend, a very very tired pup

Knightley and Riot,  two playful male pups, only two days
apart in age, about the same size and fluffiness. Let the
games begin.
12 weeks 3 days old

So today was Knightley's second puppy class, and he got to romp with his best friend again, Riot the Australian Shepherd. He played and played until he completely flopped onto the floor and couldn't move. We did some training too, but the part I love Knightley to have is the opportunity to play. There were two other dogs there today, both "jugs", jack russell x pug. Cute little dogs, and both a bit older than Knightley and Riot. It was perfect though - the two bigger dogs played together, and the two smaller dogs (despite the fact Knightley being a Golden Retriever will make him bigger than Riot significantly, I think the slow growth plan has kept him smallish so he's about Riot's size, just with much bigger paws!).

Knightley and Riot going for it at my feet. Last week
Riot always won, this week Knightley more than
held his own - helped by the fact Riot had spent the
morning with other dogs.
All the puppies together. One of the "jugs" getting in
on the rough and tumble Knightley and Riot act. 
He wasn't particularly impressive in terms of following cues, once again, but in that atmosphere I am not all that surprised. Still, it is a shame the instructor doesn't see him at anything like his best, but perhaps I need to let go of that mindset a bit. I think there was some improvement today,  in terms of being under threshold, as he was able to take food some more, although just having the dogs around was such a huge distraction. We visited the training place yesterday to try to get him more used to it so that he would be able to focus on us. I am not sure if it helped..... He would sometimes sit, sometimes down. Everything else was seriously hit and miss, and I don't like using cues when they are likely to be ignored. By the time the instructor got around to 'teaching' us touch (which we obviously know), he was so tired, he could barely be bothered to move his head, although even then he would still play with Riot.

We learnt 'watch' (in the training levels, but not something I have done yet), but I didn't like the way the instructor taught it. Some of the things he does I agree with, other things I think he must be really good at these beginner puppy classes with really young puppies, but probably hasn't read much of the doggy literature out there. For instance, he was asking for a good 5 seconds, or maybe even 8 or so seconds of eye contact before treating the pups. In my opinion that is crazy for a puppy. I would treat at even 1 or 2 seconds, and then the puppy would understand what it was doing right. Then you could start increasing it. Of course Knightley is not used to jumping up suddenly to such a high time expectation, I do things like that slowly with my clicker. He couldn't concentrate on the instructor for more than a second or two, kept on looking away, and yet he was given a treat for it. Not reinforcing what is wanted clearly, in my opinion.
Lying immovable on the cool floor, completely exhausted,
whilst we were meant to be practicing touch and watch.
He wouldn't move, not even for roast chicken. Poor puppy.

Anyway, we did our touch with some white tape on the end of a ruler, instead of having to teach the basics, like the rest of the class. He was really getting tired at that stage, but he did a few good touches - enough to show he could do it, before totally collapsing. It was the hottest day so far of spring, a little over 29c (about 85f), not hot by Canberra standards but it has been a rapid increase in temperature and that contributed to Knightley feeling completely exhausted by the time we got home.

Next week is our last week of puppy class, and it has been a great experience, mostly for the socialisation as we have learnt relatively little. It certainly gives us a quiet Sunday when he comes home! Five hours after getting home, he is still sleeping soundly, I had to even wake him up for his lunch!

I am planning to take him to another puppy class that accepts puppies only after 16 weeks old, and that is run by my vet. I think they are mostly socialisation and help with problems though, with little training. I guess we'll see. We'll have several weeks to practice our stuff before going to a new class. We'll also start to widen our socialisation experiences. My husband suggested a cafe, and if we can find the right one I think that would be a good idea. Knightley is a star wherever he goes, he can't be resisted!

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