Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holly Goes to School

Since the middle of October, we've taken Holly to the local PetSmart for her first Basic Obedience class. This was new for us too as we never took any of our three previous dogs to class -- Rick just had them trained for hunting purposes. Holly did pretty good with most of her lessons and the teacher told us that she was pleased with how much Holly had progressed since her first week at class. I was happy with her progress too -- especially since we started classes less than 2 weeks after Holly came to live with us.

Holly was the "big girl" in class -- all of her classmates were much smaller than she is. Here Holly's checking to make sure Buster didn't miss any treats. Buster was a rescue dog too. He was a really cute little dog.
Here Holly's checking to see if she can barge in on the game with Pickwick and Eddie. Pickwick was a very quiet little guy and somewhat trained when he came to class. His mom had already attended training classes previously with Pickwick's big brother. Eddie was a holy terror on his first night of class. He barked all the time and totally ignored his mom and dad. He really benefited from obedience classes and was quite a friendly and well-trained little dog by the end of class.

Here's Holly with all 3 of her classmates. See what I meant about her being a "big girl?" You should have seen how these little dogs all freaked out the first time Holly barked in class! (She has a really loud bark!)

Our final test was last Monday. I was a little worried about Holly passing, but she did just fine. She excels at "sit" and "down," so I knew we'd do fine with that. She even did well with "leave it," although Eddie snuck in and stole the treat from the floor that Holly wasn't supposed to have. Holly did fine with her "sit and stay" as I opened and stepped out the door. Then it was time for the part of the test I was really worried about: loose leash walking around the store. Holly gets really excited when we go to PetSmart and pulls so hard on her leash, but I had her outside in the afternoon chasing a ball for about an hour, so when the time for her walkabout finally arrived, she was pretty worn out and she did fine. Congratulations Graduate!

As long as we were in the school mode, I stopped at PetSmart on my way home from work the next day and signed Holly up for Intermediate Obedience class. We'll start back to school on December 12th. This class is going to be a lot tougher, but hopefully Holly (and, more importantly, I) will be up to the challenge.


Mary said...

Congratulations to Holly and especially to you and Rick! I've been through obedience school with our Cocker Spaniel back in 91 and not much has changed since then. Oh, I remember putting her in a down-stay on the driveway and I'd keep walking up the street until I was out of her sight but she stayed! I should have had Chloe trained but although she was smart enough to advance and do well, she'd say "No way. I'm no doing it." LOL!

Keep Holly with it, Ruthie! Obedience makes for a nice and easy dog.


RuthieJ said...

Thanks Mare. The long sit/stay takes place in the intermediate class. I'm really worried about that -- Holly doesn't like to let us out of her sight -- ever! Danielle (our teacher) says it's 50% teaching the dog & the other 50% is teaching me! Hopefully we'll all have a fun time and learn some good new skills!

Prairie Cat said...

Glad to hear that your little one passed! I doubt that our dog would do very well... she's a great dog, but I think that is only because she has 9 acres to run around and play on. If we tried confining her to a room to sit and stay, the outcome would probably be disastrous!

stephen said...

Congratulations on graduating.

One of the outcomes from a training class I'd noticed, while in attendance with a friend and his pup, is that it establishes a stronger bond.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Prairie Cat,
I'm glad she passed too. Our last dog never had much of a chance to socialize with other dogs and the older she got the less tolerant she got. I want Holly to be able to get along with all dogs and people, so getting her into a class has been a good first step -- getting her to obey my commands will be an extra bonus!

Thanks Stephen. That's exactly what Holly's teacher said too! She commented on how much more attentive Holly had become to us -- and in only 6 weeks of training. I really like the improvement in her behavior.

BirdingCristina said...

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Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Holly and both of you on graduation. I noticed at Thanksgiving how well she listens and she wants to please everyone. Good luck Holly in the next class, your a smart dog.


Taos Sunflower said...

Good job, Holly!!! (PS I was always the biggest one in class, too...)

Mollie said...

What a great story about Holly and you (!) graduating from Beginning Obedience School & how well she did.

I think getting a dog to stay is really important--inside and out of a building. If Holly decided to follow you across the road, for example, and some traffic is coming, if she knows how to stay, that dog is one very alive dog. It's happened with my dog when we were out walking & somehow the leash handle slipped from my hand, but she just kept running---across the street. I told her to stay and she did. Sorry if I'm rambling. You are the pack leader (or that's what they want) so they will try to do their best by you. Have fun.

Sounds like Holly is a super dog and a very lucky dog with caring "parents." And has the perfect name for the Hollydays!

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Cristina. I've seen those little penguin jumpers and maybe after Christmas when I'm caught up on my knitting projects I can whip up a couple of them.

Thanks Mom. This next class is a challenge -- probably more for me than Holly, but we'll keep working at it.

Thanks Martie.

Thanks Mollie. Getting her to stay is a challenge because she wants to be by at least one of us all the time. But Holly has a good teacher and she's also pretty smart, so it's more a matter of us learning and teaching her the proper commands (and of course, lots and lots of chicken jerky treats!!)