Training, Week of August 13

The report from Saturday’s obedience class is mostly great. Last Saturday was the best class ever, but there was only one other dog in class. This weekend we were back to our usual four, including one directly across from us. (Last weekend the trainer insisted that I move Silas out of the corner. I wasn’t sure he could take it, but he did fine. It’s good to be reminded that it is okay to push him a little.) And it was still pretty darned great. We had to skip waiting at the door, because the doors at class all lead to scary places, but we’re working on it at home.

The only real hitch was that at about the 45 minute mark, Silas crawled under a stack of chairs and didn’t want to come out. He had hit the end of his tolerance. I was a little surprised by it, because he’d been doing so well up until he suddenly shut down. The instructor said I should just act happy and get him to come out and finish the lessons, but I know my dog. We did one more thing, then I sat in the floor with him and he put his head in my lap, just being calm and relatively happy in the classroom space.

I was actually thrilled with two parts of this outcome, in a weird way. First, I could and did appropriately assess the situation and act on my own feelings. Six months ago I would have felt like a “failure” that my anxious dog could “only” handle three-quarters of class. Secondly, Silas trusted me enough to come hang out with me, rather than going back under the chairs or checking out in some other way. We’ve both grown since our last round of classes.

This week we’re just improving/practicing the same behaviors from last week. Saturday is our last class, so it’s supposed to be a fun day for “showing off” what we’ve learned, plus a trick that we selected and taught at home.

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2 thoughts on “Training, Week of August 13

  1. Thanks! I’ll confess, this trainer is really new to leading the classes. Which means I (bad student!) don’t feel as much pressure to do exactly what she says. She does know that Silas’s problem is more the class environment than the material, so I don’t think it bothers her.

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