Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting Good Manners

Krispy is on week #3 of Good Manners class. It is full of challenges. To start with she has no interest in treats as a motivator to follow commands. She ignores them when I hold them directly in front of her nose. She has yet to take even one during class, but she will take a few if she’s hungry when we practice…sometimes…. Second, she’s progressively less terrified by the other dogs in class with each session. She shook like a leaf through most of the first group class and always kept an eye on the exit, which she pulled hard towards most of the session. She isn’t the smallest one, but she’s definitely the shortest in the group. (The “down” command is completely foreign to her, and I can commiserate. I mean, really, she’s already down close to the ground! Why would she want to get closer?) And “sit” is hit and miss. Sometimes she will and sometimes she won’t. But this week she was a bit calmer with the classmates being in the same room with her. So we are making a bit of progress. And she always does well with the “Come” command since she wants to be near me. She even held her seat quite well for “Stay” as I walked around her.

The bottom line is that I think she’s very distracted by all the noises, people and dogs swirling around her in the foreign location. But she’ll have to get used to that. And she’s quite responsive of many of the commands (or does them on her own without command) on her own time. I think the biggest hurdle is translation: She’s bright and gets what she’s supposed to do instinctively. But now she has to translate what she knows to match the language of commands, which is very complicated to her. One day the switch will go on and she’ll get it all like Star Trek’s universal translator.

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