Monday, July 18, 2011

Back to School

I went back to school last Thursday night and already I've failed. My husband, Nate & I enrolled Lucy in dog training classes. Lucy is our 6 month old chiweegle (chiwhawha/dachshund/beagle) I guess the first lesson is that dog training is really about parent doesn't have much to do with the dog. So, Nate and I are being trained on how to have a more obedient dog. What did I learn? I need to buy stock in dog treats because we are going to use a LOT of them. Our instructor was giving her dog treats constantly. And, we learned that you have to give the treat a 1/2 second after your dog exhibits the behavior you want to see. How it normally happens with me is that I give Lucy a command, she does it, and I say "good girl" and then I start hunting for the treats. 3 minutes later (which in dog land, evidently, is an absolute eternity), I have found the treat and I'm giving it to Lucy. Evidently, according to the instructor, Lucy is clueless about why I'm giving her a treat after that long span of time. However, in my defense, Lucy does follow me around waiting for the treat, so I think that's a sign that she has a much longer memory than most dogs...or at least, that's how I'm choosing to look at it. So, I guess I'm supposed to carry treats around all the time. Which might have explained the fanny pack that the instructor was wearing in class. Indeed, she has a fanny pack filled with treats and during training, she is giving out treats left and right from that fanny pack. I bought her spiel hook, line & sinker. To the point that I made Nate stop at the pet store on our way home and we bought everything that the instructor had encouraged us to get. I don't know what kind of racket she has going on with the pet store, but if they don't have some sort of agreement, they should!  Friday morning, I diligently got out the homework we have for the week and I started training her. I had to train her that the clicker we received (free with the class) means that she did a good job and that she gets a treat. The instructor said to click and treat about 15-20 times and that should be good. By the 20th time I think Lucy was so stuffed with treats and so tired of the noise that she just cowered and wanted to get away from it. We went away for the weekend. I took our homework along and the treats and the clicker. We didn't even pull any of it out. We didn't work on the whole list of things we need to teach her by Thursday. And I came home worried about what we have to accomplish by this week's class. As we were unpacking last night from the weekend away, Nate unpacked the clicker and clicked it a couple of times. Lucy, who was nowhere around him, came running. I breathed a sigh of relief as I know she has definitely learned that "click" means treat. That is one smart dog! We'll see what happens and what we can accomplish by Thursday!

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