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We are the only ones in class!
Since it’s the first class of the new level, we basically went over what we’d be covering and reviewed
some of the stuff from Level 1. Again, Risa’s attention was hard to win at first. But, once I got it, I
had it for most of the night.
We learned how to teach some new tricks: crawl and roll over. Risa did okay with crawl but now so
great with rolling over. Ris’ trainer was going to show us how to teach high five and wave, but Risa
already knows those. We proved it too.
I think we’re going to have some trouble doing one of the exercises: ‘Go wild and freeze.’ Basically,
you have to get your dog wound up and then ask them to stop what they’re doing and sit. To wind
them up, we’re supposed to play tug. But Risa will still not play with toys in class. We even stuffed
her tug with food and barely got any interest out of her. I think I need to take a video of Risa
playing tug and bring it to class. I don’t think her trainer believes me when I say Ris will play with
My favorite part of the night was when we did recalls from distractions. Ris’ trainer had a ball, food,
and a squeaky toy and stood in the middle of the room. She managed to get Ris to come over to
her once. When Ris did, I let her stay there for a bit then called her back to me and she got
rewarded. After that, she didn’t want much to do with what our trainer had. A couple times she
walked partway over and came right back to me. But most of the time she just sat there staring at
me. What can I say? She’s certainly not in trouble seeing as that’s what I want her to do!
We need to do a bit of homework. Risa has ‘sit’ and ‘down’ pretty well but she still needs to work on
‘stand.’ I also need to work with her on walking alongside me on both sides. This has been a long-
standing problem though she doesn’t pull on the leash as much now. Risa’s recalls are good, even
with the added distractions. She had to walk past a row of cones and later some toys too. We also
started work on ‘stay.’
I tried to add another trick to her repertoire but it didn’t go so well. Risa wasn’t too cooperative
learning ‘bow.’ I did get to try it with the trainer’s dog and had success. Our trainer even tried to
get Risa to bow but without much luck. I did learn 3 different ways to teach it at least. Ha ha. I also
found out that Risa already knows some of the stuff we’ll be learning in our Level 3 class! I guess
that’s what happens when one reads books on dog training. Ris already knows fairly well how to
‘down’ and ‘sit’ while I am sitting on the ground.
Since it was nice out, we went and did some heelwork in the parking lot. It wasn’t obedience-style
heeling. Mainly just walking close to me while paying attention. With the added distractions of
outdoors, I ended up losing Risa’s focus a bit. So our trainer told me to walk all crazy (left, right,
forward, backward, quick turns) which caused Risa to get pulled around. Eventually, Risa focused
her attention back to me. There were still a few occasions where I needed to walk wonky again to
re-focus her but it worked.
Because Risa wasn’t doing very well at heelwork, we didn’t do any rally activities tonite. Instead, we
did agility. She got to do some actual jumps tonite (at elbow height). Initially, she was a bit unsure
of jumping that high so it took some encouraging by both of us to get her to do it. Eventually we
got to have some fun and my smiley girl was doing it correctly.
Risa did very well tonite. Not that I was too surprised. Well, maybe I was a bit surprised. She still
has that tendency to forget I exist.
She did great when her trainer approached her like a stranger on the street would. Risa sat right
down without jumping up once. Of course, it’s a bit easier to train this when you have a scaredy
dog who is too afraid to go near people, let alone jump on them.
We still need to work on perfecting ‘stand.’ She is doing better. She will stand on command but
likes to sit down almost immediately afterwards.
For her recall with distractions, she did wonderfully. We had 6 orange cones out there, her medium
Cuz toy, a stuffed squeaky, a rope tuggie, and a ball. Risa didn’t even look at them. She just
trotted right to me when I called her, sat down, and let me grab her collar.
Last week, our heel-walking was bad. It was much better this week. I’d been working on it almost
every day since last class. We started off inside at first. I did have to crazy walk at first to get her
focused but it didn’t take long before she knew this was businesss. I walked her on the left and the
right. We worked on doing circles turning away and into her. We added walking slow which Ris did
very well with. Then we added ‘halt’ which isn’t really a command. It’s just teaching them to sit
when you stop walking.
Then we headed outside. Since there were more distractions, we weren’t planning on having Risa
do the halt. I crazy walked twice to get Ris back on track when we started. She also got her toes
stepped on when she walked out in front of me. Aside from that, she did extremely well. In fact,
because she was doing so well, we decided to do the halt afterall. And Risa did it without any
We had a small miracle in class tonite as well. Risa finally played with a toy in the classroom.
Granted, it was when our trainer had left the room so she didn’t see it. But it happened!
The two of us arrived early for class and walked in on the end of the Level 1 class that was still
going on. We were allowed to sit in the corner and wait patiently for them to finish up. And we got
to be examples to the other class. We showed ‘hug’ where you give your dog permission to put
their paws on you. Now Risa never does this when I want her to but she did tonite! We also
demonstrated our food bowl manners where Risa sits and waits patiently until I say ‘take it’ and then
Risa can eat it. I like when we can be the examples. I like showing off what my dog can do,
especially knowing how she used to be.
After the Level 1 class finished up, Risa got some cheese from one of the owners in that class.
Risa knows her from our freestyle classes and Risa allowed herself to be petted. She may only
have met her a couple times, but seemed to determine this person was a good one and let her pet
her without hesitation. There was also a guy sitting in on the Level 1 class and our trainer wanted
him to give Risa some treats. She instructed him to stay back and toss Risa some treats. As soon
as the man approached Risa, she went right up to him and took the treats out of his hand. So
much for the scaredy dog. She did flinch when he tried to pet her, even though our instructor had
told him not to.
We skipped over some of the stuff on our syllabus because we already know Ris is good at it. So
we started with recalls. The trainer set out the 6 cones as well as a food bowl, some toys, and a
rawhide chew. I put Risa in a sit/wait and walked to the other end. I called her to me and she
stopped to sniff a toy. I took a step or two towards her, got her attention, and she continued on her
way to me. The second time we did it without her wearing a leash. I told her to sit/wait and walked
away. I called her to me and she came running. She sat as I requested, let me hook the leash
onto her collar, and then got her treats. Next class we’ll probably put some food out there too
(which is usually not done until Level 3).
Next we did some puppy pushups: sit/down/stand. Risa is doing much better but we still need to
work on ‘stand’ some more. After those, we worked on stays. Ris does very well with stays,
probably because she is so good at waiting. She held her sit/stay and down/stay for 20 seconds.
We were just going to do a 15 second one but since she did so well, we increased it. Once I got
her to stand, she stayed in a stand/stay for 10 seconds.
Again, we got to do some agility stuff. We focused on jumps, including the tire jump. The jumps
were set up perpendicular to one another (in a pinwheel) and then did some figure eights around
one jump. There was a fair amount of handler error but we both did great. And had fun!