So we have taken the fur ball to obedience class, because Artemis surprisingly responds to commands – anything for a treat.
In this first beginner class we learnt how to hold the lead, walk to heel, and turn about.
Holding the lead
So it turns out I’ve been holding the lead wrong! I was aware that the dog is meant to be on your left, but I wasn’t aware that you’re meant to hold the end of the lead in your right hand and loosely hold the slack of the lead in your left hand.
This allows you to loosen or tighten the lead, and therefore adjusting distance the between you and the dog, quite easily with the left hand.
We practised walking to heel anti clockwise in a circle, and then switched direction 180 to walking clockwise in a circle – this is “about turn”.
Ideally you’re meant to pause, say “heel” to communicate to your dog you’re changing direction, then turn in a spot anti clockwise 180, and then continue walking to heel in the opposite direction.
I found it a little difficult keeping Artemis to my left, as there were apparently some really interesting cones and boxes that required lots of sniffing. I looked in those boxes – it was just water bottles!
Walking to heel
When walking to heel, I was advised to hold the treat right up to the dog’s nose so the attention is on the treat and on you, instead of other distractions.
With Artemis, as she is so quick, apparently I have to move slowly. To get her in the correct heel position (sat on my left), I had to treat and slowly lure her around on my left to end up with her facing forwards. And when her shoulder is by my leg, then I lift up my treat hand so she sits to my left.
When I practised this, saying “Artemis heel”, she just sat directly in front of me! Great sit, but not in the right place.
The final part of this lesson was “down”. And I was glad that the hubby had already started teaching this to Artemis.
I learnt to reward “down” when the dog is still lying down. Sometimes Artemis is really fast at getting up after a down command, as she knows she’s going to get a treat. Got to nip in there to treat her when she’s still in the correct down position.
Learnt lots and Artemis is clever, just impatient. Also this class gives her a great socialisation opportunity too, which I’m quite pleased with.