Obedience class – Beginner 4

Our fourth obedience class was mainly housekeeping and maintenance rather than learning new commands. But these classes have been quite good for socialisation.

Socialisation

Artemis and another puppy-dog were playing quite sweetly, lying on the ground together. Then Artemis appeared to be baring her teeth and I think she growled very quietly, and then she barked.

Both dogs were playing quite sweetly at first – almost submissively – showing their bellies to each other wanting a scratch, I suppose. But as the puppy-dog (a Labrador) is bigger than Artemis (a Spaniel), the other dog must have pawed at Artemis, which to her must appear to be a massive paw. So she got a bit freaked out and barked.

I called Artemis over; I didn’t pull on the lead as I didn’t want her thinking this was a bad interaction. Artemis came over to me and forgot about the other puppy-dog, so it was de-escalated and fine in the end.

Come vs heel

Today I learnt the difference between “come” and “heel”.

The come command is when the dog sits in front of you, whilst the heel command is when the dog sits glued to your left side.

This wasn’t actually meant to be taught, I just called Artemis to “come” nearer to me, to which the trainer asked if I wanted her to be in front of me or to my left. I answered that I hadn’t decided yet, then she advised that we should think about where we want the dogs to be positioned before we ask them for a command.

Wait

More steps were introduced to 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, say “wait”, step forwards and then back to dog, say “wait”, step right in front of dog’s paws and then back to dog, say “wait”, step forwards as far as the lead and then back to dog. So five movements all together.

Stepping backwards and forwards is breaking eye contact with the dog. Though when we’ve been doing this command at home and I step backwards, Artemis is looking over her shoulder trying to find me.

We were advised that when we take each step, to take the hand holding the treat with you, because when we step away further our hands won’t stretch to the dog’s nose. Essentially, we don’t want to do the steps and have the hand holding the treat still right in front of the dog’s nose.

I’ve been practising this command at home and when I do it I don’t have a treat in my hand, so that’s not so much of an issue. Though doing the “wait” steps outside required treats, so I will have to remember to take that hand with me at each step.

Conclusion

A housekeeping class today. But I’m glad that Artemis has the opportunity to sniff and socialise with other dogs in a safe environment. On walks, I try not to let her get too close to other dogs, especially when she’s on lead and the other dog is off lead.

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