Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Training - Day 2

Another rough night of sleep for Amelia, and thefore me... and probably Bobo too.... On top of that, Owen might be coming down with something, so it may be a tough couple of weeks. But we're getting by ok so far.

Yesterday, the only command we really worked on was "sit". The idea was more to familiarize us with the mechanics of giving commands in general, and to for us to get used to the dogs and vice versa.

Today started with a long Q&A session. Pretty much everybody had questions after spending our first night with the dogs. The personalities of the dogs are definitely starting to come out too.

After that we moved on to a couple more commands - down, and heel. As someone who has been through obedience training with a dog when I was younger, I have to say that this was like a dream to me. All the hard work is already done. Once you get the dog's attention, they sit when you say sit, they lie down when you say down, and they stay put until they're released. ("Sit" and "down" both come with an implied "stay" with these dogs. You tell them "free" when they're allowed to get up and move around.)

Of course, every dog made mistakes or tested boundaries. Jeremy, the trainer, pointed out that at this point the dogs view us the way a 7th grader views a subsitute teacher. They are only going to obey consistently when we've gained their respect. But at least in our case, Bobo is a very willing worker. Once we get his attention and he realizes it's time to work, he does very well with his commands.

Tomorrow we start on tracking - outside in a cold drizzle, more than likely. That will defintely be our biggest challenge so far. But that's also one of the biggest reasons we're here, so we're looking forward to learning how that works.

A few photos from today...

"Treat? Treat? Treat? Treat?"

Amelia, inadvertently playing the role of
"Distraction" - a role she was born to play.

It's been a hard day's night,
and I've been working like a dog
It's been a hard day's night,
I should be sleeping like a log