Yesterday’s training class went really really well! We worked a lot on loose leash walking, which was great for us, as we really need the work.We also worked on attention-getting exercises, like holding treats in two fists stretched to your sides and rewarding the dogs for making eye contact with you instead of looking at the treats.
The way our class is set up there are a lot of volunteer trainers there every class, so there is always someone available to help you one on one. The trainers all have great tips and are very willing to answer questions. The trainers remembered Pearl from the couple of classes we took right after we got her and they all told us what a beautiful dog she had grown into and how well she was doing. They are very positive and encouraging there and the difference between this atmosphere and the classes we did in between at other place made my husband and I appreciate even more how good a job they do. This time around we are less overwhelmed and more able to step back and see the progress Pearl is making (and we are making… juggling clicker, leash, and treats is hard!). I think Pearl really enjoyed herself as well and when she got home she was actually tired.
The best part of class was how well Pearl did on leash in a room full of other dogs on leash. She got distracted by the other dogs sometimes and barked at another dog once or twice, but she was always easily redirected and never totally “lost it.” I was so proud of her!
During one part of the class, the instructors showed us some good training tools that she recommends. The trainer said that the Freedom Harness was her new favorite product for dogs that pull and I was so excited (I did a lot of research before choosing the Freedom Harness and I feel like my choice of harness was validated by an “expert” haha). The other thing they suggested was something that I first learned about from this post at Success Just Clicks- food tubes. I was intrigued by what I read in the post, but I was just too lazy to get around to ordering them online. I got to try one during class and it was so great, especially since Pearl often nips my fingers when I am giving her a treat. The trainers last night told me that they sold food tubes at REI (duh, why didn’t I think of that?) and I was so excited that I went out and bought a couple today and on our evening walk tonight I used one filled with peanut butter. WOW. Pearl stayed focused on me the entire time and was easily redirected from lunging at the three dogs we encountered during the walk- a MIRACLE- she didn’t even bark once. Other than when we saw the other dogs she literally did not pull once. Now I need to work on stretching out the time/distance between clicks. We still have a long way to go but it’s pretty nice once in awhile to feel like you’ve had a breakthrough and be able to celebrate that. I feel like Pearl and I should get to celebrate tonight.