Monday, August 11, 2014

Miss Hollywood's Dog Obedience Class ~ Week #2

Today Miss Hollywood attended her 2nd obedience class.  Before I share with you how well she did, and so that you can truly appreciate her progress today, you really need to read my post about how horrible the first class went (I titled that post 'Dog Training or Dog Torture?')  Much of the progress was due to the one-on-one session she was able to do on Friday with Kathy the instructor working with both of us.
Miss Hollywood, exhausted after class.
Since the Friday session I have been working with her in different settings so that some distractions were around us, but not so much that I couldn't bring her back to our work.  The DogNation treats made all the difference, she really likes them so I can wave one in front of her nose and usually pull her attention right back to me.

Today we stopped in a wooded area just before hitting the busy city so Hollywood could stretch her legs after the hour long drive, and potty before we got to the class.  Then once we got into the downtown area, we walked around the vacant bank landscaping (don't worry BofA I didn't leave any doggy deposits *wink*). Then we sat on the bench out front for a few minutes to let her acclimate to the people, dogs, and cars going by.  Once she was okay with that we made the one block trek to the class, crossing one busy intersection along the way.

When we arrived at the class, there were still people inside from the previous class so we waited outside.  As people, and occasionally people with dogs, walked by I would tell Hollywood to sit and stay as they approached, and I put myself between her and them.  I think this made her feel safe.  Each time as they passed us I would praise her for not running towards them, jumping up and generally acting like a fool that she normally does when people and animals walk by her.  She did fantastic!

The big test was still to come, once inside the classroom with all the other dogs and their people so near her, would she be able to focus on me and not make a complete fool of herself (again)?  The instructor called us inside when it was time, she already had our area prepared with barriers around us so Hollywood would not be distracted by seeing the other dogs.  We were right up front though, so she did get to see everyone enter and go by us on their way to their positions in the room.

After going through a few lessons, the instructor could see that Hollywood was doing so well.  She was only mildly distracted by the sounds of the other dogs in the room, so she removed one section of the barrier, allowing Hollywood to see the one dog nearest to us.  With the start of the next lesson I was able to quickly regain her focus away from that dog and complete the lesson.  She was doing so well that the instructor decided to use Hollywood to demonstrate the next lesson she would be teaching us.  She picked up what she was suppose to do perfectly!  I was so proud of her, I know I was beaming.

Halfway through the class the teacher removed the barrier cover so Hollywood could see everything in the room, but the wire wall was still up.  After a few more lessons, she removed even that barrier so now Hollywood was right out there just like all the other dogs.  I felt so happy (and relieved) that she did such a wonderful job in class today.  I think her confidence has really been boosted with this training.

I can't wait to watch her progress throughout the six weeks of class.  Have you ever taken your dog to obedience classes? Do you feel it made training your dog easier in the classroom setting or more difficult because of the distractions in the class with other dogs? After the first class I would have firmly said more difficult, but now I have to say that I think it helps because she learns to focus even with distractions.

Keeper of 1 husband, 2 grandkids, 3 dogs,
3 cats, and 17 Chickens!
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