Our obedience school graduate

(I feel like “obedience school” is kind of a harsh, traditional word for it, but I’m not sure what the appropriate synonym is. Training class? Whatever.)

Our little obedience school graduate. Still acts like a psycho. #germanshepherd #soproudofguion

Little Edie graduated from her basic obedience class last night!

It was fun taking this class with a different dog; we took it with Pyrrha a few weeks after we got her, and the class was a struggle for poor, shy Pyr. We had to spend the whole class behind a door, as she just couldn’t handle the room full of other dogs. Just getting Pyrrha into a calm mindset to actually train was challenge enough; some weeks, she couldn’t get there, and we’d just focus on helping her relax in the classroom.

Eden, however, has been a different story; she’s gregarious, eager to work, and such a quick learner. She may have been the craziest dog in class, but I of course think she was also the smartest. Ha! It helps that she is extremely food motivated, and we always brought her to class without having had dinner. In class, she’s willing to do anything — I’ll do back-flips! Speak Portuguese! Solve a differential equation! — to get that treat.

She’s learned a number of commands in class, but we need to be better about generalizing those behaviors and practicing them at home. Training with a partner makes this easier; I can go work with Pyrrha, and Guion can work with Eden in a different room. Training solo has been a bit harder, because the exiled dog always seems to know what’s up (Someone is getting treats in there, and it’s not me!).

Things we learned in class that I’d like to keep working on:

  • Not jumping on people. She still goes WILD whenever we have guests over, and this has been a hard one to teach. Because even if we instruct people to turn their backs to her and not look at her, they still get mauled. Eden is able to throw out a sit during these greetings, but it’s certainly not her first reaction still. I don’t even need a sit; I’m fine so long as all four paws are on the ground. But we need to take charge of this, because it’s a nuisance.
  • Go to your mat. I think we need another mat in the house, because right now, we’re training this on the same mat, and I know Pyrrha wouldn’t like sharing it with Edie.
  • Stay. She’s definitely figuring this one out, but we need to practice a whole lot more before this is rock-solid.
  • Leave it. Eden has shown incredible self-control with this command in class, but it’s a harder thing to practice at home or on walks, so we need to be more vigilant about that.
  • Bravo! Teaching her to offer a bow. Just a cute trick, and I think she could learn it. Luring is most useful with this command, but I know capturing is preferable, so I need to remember to have treats on hand when they get let out of their crates to do their morning stretches.

Being in a class is always so motivating to me. I wish we had the funds to take them year-round. Eden really thrives in a classroom environment, so I think we’d like to take another class with her. Intermediate obedience or agility could be really fun with her. I don’t think she’ll ever be an agility star (she doesn’t have that border collie quickness), but I think she’d really enjoy it.

Have you taken your dogs to obedience classes? How did they go?

12 thoughts on “Our obedience school graduate

  1. Shelby did sooo many training classes. She started at 10 weeks and took I think 4 (?) 6 week classes, intro, intermediate, intermediate at a different club, advanced and beginning agility, then we started doing the herding thing. I really liked taking her to classes but like Pyrrha the environment was too much for her and I think we pushed her too hard. We did a 6 week class with Panzer with a different trainer that was focused on reactivity and I think that was a better environment (he was behind a screen most of the class) and he learned a lot 🙂 Congratulations Eden!

  2. Congrats Eden! She is so adorable in that photo with Guion!

    Aren’t classes so motivating? I wish I could take them year round, too. They’re exciting and I enjoy getting to see the other types of dogs and handlers.

  3. It feels so good when they “get it”! Yay! Congrats! Coco was to reactive around other dogs for a class, but we took what we could from the trainers and taught her ourselves.

  4. I love taking Ace to training classes, but they are a bit expensive for me to do year round. I try to take him once a year or so mostly because we both love it so much. So glad Eden learned a lot in her class. What a cutie!

  5. Killian was an absolute nightmare in obedience class. He always wanted to play with the other dogs and since Great Dane pups grow up so quickly, we soon had a dog of about 40 to 50 kg trying to drag our arm off…
    We then got help from one of the instructors at the local dog school who is also a behaviour therapist for dogs and she was the only one who managed to help us! We had to build up training with Killian first in very quiet environments, and then step by step in busier places. And now we can even take him to the dog park without any problems. I’d never thought we would get that far with him!

    Ophelia is – when it comes to obedience training – the most perfect dog you could ask for: she gives you her full attention, she loves to work for you, she does everything you ask without thinking twice about it and with a very enthousiastic flick of the tail. 🙂

    What a difference there can be between two dogs eh? 😉

  6. Congratulations. Zoey and Scout graduated from puppy class last week. They had a great time. It was interesting watching one pick up on something right away while it took the other a few more tries. There was no rhyme or reason to it.

    We didn’t get to bow (almost, but not quite), but we did get to wave. That one is too cute. Zoey is over it, but I still like to do it.

  7. We’ve taken three of our four to obedience class. Morgan excels at it and LOVES to do the work, Bunny does well as long as there’s a payoff and actually graduated at the top of her class, Küster continues to be a work in progress. I’m not allowed to go with them to class because I’m too distracting! lol He does well with it as long as it’s a class where there’s a lot of action and not a lot of sitting still listening to someone talk. Flattery hasn’t been to class yet, but she’ll get there one of these days. We just have some other things to take care of first.

  8. Yay congrats! I am always in some sort of obedience class or another with at least one of the dogs… I haven’t done a basic class in a while so doing puppy with Kelinn has been fun!

  9. I LOVE the Bravo trick! Fozzie learned that one in his Doggie dance class and he still loves to show it off. It would be a good one to show Lars too.

  10. My GSD was a jumper too. I stopped letting him greet people right at the door. Asking him to wait maybe 10-15 ft. away then releasing to “sniff” (or “touch”) when the person reached him eliminated almost all jumping cases. If there are a lot of guests and it’s super exciting, he will still jump so I just put him on a leash and ask him to heel for maybe 5 minutes while the guests walk around. The time is enough for him to calm down.

    I did take my GSD to a few introductory puppy classes at a Schutzhund club. One of the things the trainer recommended was to make sit and down automatic stays. I never did this with previous dogs but I’ve found it to be extremely useful with impulse control and general safety. Also, do you play any scent detection/tracking games with your pups? Once they get the hang of finding something on command, it can really be a quick, fun, soothing way to mentally exhaust them!

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