So this was our third obedience class and there were only four of us in this class, so there was more attention provided by the trainer.
Walking to heel
I noticed when we were practising heelwork and walking around a circle anti clockwise that Artemis was sniffing the grass. Perhaps because whenever we walk her lately we click and treat her when she’s sniffing or when she is loose leash walking, so she might interpret that sniffing the ground (instead of just loose leash walking) is what triggers the reward.
Interestingly, the trainer had us play as dogs and she the walker, and dragged and spun us around to replicate how humans usually drag their dogs on walks.
From this I learnt to walk forwards, and if I want to turn, say “Artemis heel” to let the dog know I wish to change directions. Artemis might not understand, but instructing her would increase the chances of her understanding.
Praise and release
I also learnt how to praise and release.
Praise is saying “well done”.
Release is the phrase that’s said to let the dog know she can now play or rest and that work is over.
The release phrases suggested were “chill”, “off you go”, “relax”, and there were a few others. In the end I opted for “off you go” after the trainer reassured me that “off you go” as a release command sounds very different to a monosyllabic “off” command to ask the dog to not jump on you.
Also, the hubby and I do use “chill” and “relax” in normal daily conversation and the trainer advised not to use a phrase for the release command that is spoken in normal daily conversation.
I also learnt to present, where the dog sits directly in front of you and their front paws are touching your toes – just like in dog shows. This new command wasn’t too bad.
And then we learnt the wait command. So we start with a sit in the heel position, say “wait”, side step to the right and then back to dog, say “wait”, step backward and then back to dog, then praise and release.
The trainer said to always treat when the dog is still in the position that you want her to be in, and then you praise.
We also learnt the stay command.
For the stay command, you get the dog to stay, you do your thing, and then come back and release – that’s the end of working. It’s more permanent, so to speak.
For the wait command, it’s more flexible. You get your dog to wait and then you’re going to give them another command afterwards.
The trainer said that we should start doing these commands outside on our walks because it’s great doing it inside the house, but we obviously want to do it outside on walks because that’s where it’s going to be most beneficial.
High value treats
Prior to entering the field for the class, one of the other dog owners kindly gave Artemis a treat, a very high value and smelly treat. So for the rest of the class Artemis kept staring at the nice lady, hoping for another nice smelly treat!
Artemis was actually quite well behaved considering the fact that I only gave her kibble during the class. After the class, the nice lady kindly gave me one more treat so that I could give it to Artemis. I thanked her and thought that was very nice of her!
Having looked at the high value and very smelly treat I now know what Artemis really likes!
Learning lots of new commands this session! Also learning the nuances between wait and stay, and remembering the difference between heelwork and walking. I also know the kind of high value treats that Artemis likes, but I’m glad that she can also be ok with kibble.