Yesterday I started Puppy K with Spot, or as I am calling her, my surrogate puppy. Katrin is helping Holly by doing some puppy raising. We had hoped to do so as well, but John became so attached to Hush that he vetoed any plans of puppy raising in the near future.
Back to the story of Spot. Katrin had a Puppy K class starting and asked if I would be willing to take Spot to it. Um, hell yeah! I would love to.
Yesterday was class #1 and Spot was a super star, in my opinion. She is SO bright. She has known me since she was 5 weeks old, but I am not a daily presence in her life and I have not done any training with her. None-the-less she worked her little tush off for me – in a new and stimulating environment with 4 other puppies! Bravo, girlie!!
We worked on attention, self control, sit, down, door manners, and politely greeting other dogs. There are several components to Katrin’s puppy class that I think are unusual and beneficial to puppies and their new owners. I think she focuses more on attention and self-control than your typical puppy k class. The way she is teaching “down” this session is with just a hand signal – no luring, at all. Very challenging for both the puppies and the owners as it requires a great deal of patience and then capturing the desired behavior. Spot was excellent with this. She has been working on this with Katrin, but was offering a bark before laying down. Yesterday with me she would not “down” initially, but I just waited and waited. She realized it didn’t matter that I wasn’t her Auntie Katrin, that we were in a new building and that there were all these other potential playmates around – she could still down. I got one bark out of her, which I did not reward and many proper downs. We also did some puppy push-ups.
The other unusual aspect is the polite greetings. Rather than having puppy play time, we took the puppies out for potty break and then asking one puppy to sit beside its handler, another handler walked up on loose leash with their puppy. If both puppies maintained their cool, the puppy who approached was then given the verbal cue “Go visit.” With the oldest puppy being 14 weeks old you might think this would be difficult for them, for the most part, it really wasn’t!
Ms. Spot-dot did have a bit of a hissy fit during the crate ride home. I think she was over tired after a stimulating hour and perhaps not used to traveling by herself.
All in all a very fun morning!