Max and I just got home from our third week of puppy classes. Even though we’ve only learned a few commands so far, Max is already making great progress. These classes are really intended to train the owners, who can then practice training with their dogs at home. We are taught everything from how to properly use a training collar to how to use the tone of our voices to communicate with our dogs. Max has really responded to my increased confidence, and he learns quickly.
Although I was initially concerned about using a choke collar on Max, I tried it out on my arm first and found that it doesn’t hurt at all and will mainly be used to get his attention. So far, it has worked miracles. We practice “heel” on our daily walks as well as “sit” when we stop to let cars or bicycles pass. I walk with the leash loose and when I tighten the collar, he knows to pay attention and listen to the command. He usually responds immediately now, which is a vast improvement.
The classes also give us a chance to meet other puppies and their owners. Max already has a new friend, Bella, who likes to play with him before class starts. I like to talk to Bella’s mom about puppy behaviors like chewing and jumping. It’s nice to talk with someone who is going through the same thing and has the same frustrations. It’s also fun to watch Max play. When I see Max with all of the other dogs, I see how he has his own distinct personality. It’s also a relief to see his behavior in contrast to some of the other dogs. I feel so lucky that Max tries hard to learn the commands and pay attention. He also is one of the quietest dogs in class, and rarely barks. After class, I always tell him how proud I am of him.
In tonight’s class we practiced “heel” and “sit”, which we had learned last week, and we started to work on “stay”. While “heel” and “sit” came fairly easily to Max, “stay” is much more challenging. He really hasn’t grasped the concept of what he is supposed to do. Hopefully it will get easier when I practice with him over the week.