April 14th 2012 1:51 pm
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Week three of CGC class! We headed out to our local AKC-affiliated club at 8:30 this morning. On the way over, we stopped at the dog park, where Jack played very nicely with a Pug.
Jack was VERY distracted by one of the assistant trainer's Cavaliers. It took me several minutes to get him working for me again. Once we were in motion, though, things went great. His heeling was much improved today - the more verbal encouragement and praise he gets, the better he heels. We had a few unsuccessful left 360s, but it was okay. Jack was the demo dog for the class today. First the instructor tried to handle him (to demo attentive heeling) but she has a somewhat unusual gait, and Jack doesn't know her very well, so he wouldn't work for her. No big loss - with me handling, he demoed stand-stay and sit and walk around the dog today.
Stand stays are not the greatest, so that and heeling will be the major focus of this week's practice. Also on the agenda are restrained recalls. Jack has a pretty good recall, but practice doesn't hurt.
Heeling! We are continuing to practice heeling just to get used to it, with great rewards, as I don't want to burn him out on it. My instructor always has us do left turns/circles/spirals first, since they're supposed to be easier, but I've found them to be much harder. Practice makes perfect, though, and the more time he spends heeling the easier it will be.
He almost started another disastrous stare-off with a Pit today, but with quick thinking and body blocking I got him back to work. Hopping on a platform and being groomed is his favorite part of class, I suspect, so no trouble with the grooming test! Our first "official" supervised separation went great today - some concern, but none of the whining or barking that I expected.
After class, we drove around the lake checking out boat landings, and had to give a pair of joggers a ride to the hospital. Jack ignored them completely. Granted, they were possibly the most nonthreatening, touristy yuppies ever, but I was proud of him nonetheless. Last time we picked up someone in distress, it was a very tall, athletic fellow and Jack got pretty growly at his equally tall and athletic companions. I don't consider him growling at strange men in the dark a negative trait, but it's nice to know that he's got some sense of who is and who is not a shady character and I won't need to start crating him/stop letting strangers in the car.
we went downtown, to State Street. This is a busy, busy city street, full of pedestrians, street musicians, vespas, bikes, skateboarders and more, with shops everywhere. Jack did GREAT in the street. He didn't approach anyone without permission, but he was happy to accept water from a nice man when allowed to. We had lunch on the patio of an East African restaurant so the dog could be out with us. He begged a little (hot chicken at eye level? who could blame him?) but as soon as it was clear we weren't sharing, he laid quietly under the table for the rest of the meal.
It was a long, long day for a dog who leads a quiet suburban life. I haven't heard a peep out of him for hours and I probably won't for several more.
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