Silas is in his second round of obedience class, about halfway through.
No, not the second level of obedience class. The second try at level one. He was only six months old the first time we tried, so I have to cut him some slack. This time is going much better. I’m not entirely sure why. Or, rather, I’m not sure what the primary cause is. He’s older, the class is smaller, and his training facility wised up to the use of some visual barriers within the classroom. I like to think Silas has become wise in the intervening six months and would have improved anyway, but I suspect the structural changes are the most important.
I’m putting all this down here because Silas knows the material for Obedience I backwards and forwards. (In what will likely become a refrain for this blog: while he is at home, and while everything is going his way.) That really takes the urgency away from the homework. We put him back in class to get him some experience working in “hard” environments, because there is a serious chasm between his home behavior and his public behavior. Plus, he’s getting very, very timid with strangers, so it was high time to get him some structured exposure.
Our homework this week is to work on name recognition, eye contact, sit and down with some duration and distractions, not jumping up on people, leave it, and wait.
The particular challenges from that list are “wait” and not jumping up. Silas is too scared to practice wait in class. I blocked him from going out the door once or twice, and then he was running the other way for all he was worth. At home we have 1) the back door, where we already have a frustrating time getting him to decide if he wants to go out or not and 2) the front door, which is really overwhelming for him. I think we’ll try the back door. He doesn’t have a tendency to rush out of it, and maybe a “routine” will get him to stop standing halfway out, letting bugs in. Jumping up on people is probably something I’ll save for class–his reactions to strangers have been a little fraught lately. I’d rather him not learn the skill than to get more practice barking at people.
I’ll let you know how it goes.