Poodle is learning to be more obedient. However, I don’t necessarily think we have a disobedient poodle. In fact, most of the time he does what I want even before I have a chance to say it out loud. So he’s more like a mind-reading poodle. For example, I don’t have to tell him to eat because he is all over the dog bowl when I serve him, I don’t have to say “outside” because he is already halfway out the door when I am in the middle of opening it, and I don’t have to ask for hugs and kisses when I get home because he’s already in attack, scratch, and slobber mode when I walk through the door.
It’s all very loving and I don’t think Simon has actually hurt anyone or anything during his extreme fits of excitement, but others may think differently and we want our poodle to be as sweet and tolerable as possible.
Last week we began a six-week puppy obedience training course at Buddy’s Chance off North Lamar Blvd. Two experienced dog trainers and enthusiasts run the place and do a great job offering a variety of classes for dogs with all kinds of issues like separation anxiety, littermate issues, aggression, and food guarding. Read more about the types of training classes.
Our class consists of five puppies and their owners: a mix from the shelter, a mini dachshund, a maltese, an Airedale terrier, and Simon. All the dogs are sweet, but I sort of favor the Airedale terrier named Abby because she’s the sweetest and prettiest thing next to Simon.
The session begins with 10 minutes of puppy play, which looks more like a game of cowboys and Indians between Simon and the large mix while the Airedale terrier prances around aimlessly and the maltese and dachshund quiver furiously under their owners’ chairs until the madness stops. With about 20 to 25 minutes left in the class, we manage to quickly and efficiently cover the “sit” and “here” commands. This involves a lot of treats and patience, but it’s pretty easy to get your dog to do what you want when you have delicious chicken-flavored bits or string cheese particles as bait.
As a first-time pet owner, obedience training has taught me a lot, like not to coddle and pet a puppy when he is jumping and licking all over you. I can’t help that I love the excited panting and squealing when a new person gives the pup attention. It would take me two hands to count the number of times the lead trainer told me not to pet one of the dogs during the training exercises. “I can’t help it if they like me!” I kept repeating back at her. I guess it is just as much human training as it is for puppies.
We spend the week after each class doing homework. This involves going through each of the exercises every day and introducing our pets to 15 new people a week. So I literally started taking Simon everywhere to interact with folks: the video store, to get ice cream – almost anywhere I could wiggle him into we went. All in all, my poodle gets around Austin.
This week we are working on “down” and “don’t run after people when they walk away from you.” Can you whittle that down to a one-word command for me? Thanks.
Share your puppy training stories with me. The more people I know who’ve gone through this same kind of thing, the merrier I will be.
5501 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78751