Sofi’s 1st Day of Puppy K

Today Sofi and I got up bright and early for our first session of Puppy Kindergarten.  We’re taking it at Paw’s Crossing, and I couldn’t be happier with the set up.

Tanya, the trainer, has over 16 years of training experience, and she uses a very real-world approach.  She doesn’t reward the commands with treats, but rather with positive reinforcement and praise.  It makes so much more sense to me because when we’re out in the real world, I may not always have a treat with me to lure Sofi into doing what I’d like to her to do.  One of the Lillybits moms was surprised that the dogs would respond without a treat, but I just told her, “Sofi doesn’t expect a treat, so she’s not missing it.”  Plus, she loves all the attention, praise, and pats she gets this way.

The class only has 3 students – Oden, a crazy 5-month-old Jack Russel Terrier mix who can’t sit still, Zephy, a 7 1/2-month-old cocker spaniel/poodle mix who is scared of his own shadow and cowers at every turn, and Sofi, the well-adjusted Lillybits.  🙂  Truly, Sofi was the best of the bunch because she didn’t have any issues, other than the normal puppy distractions.

Tanya said that the main focus of the class is to learn some commands but to also have the puppies build up their confidence (and I’m sure for the owners to build their confidence, as well).  She handled the challenging class with ease, and was able to give us individualized attention, which I appreciated.

I also learned that when Sofi “shakes it out” (as if she’s wet and needs to dry off her fur), she’s actually releasing tension.  She did it a few times in the class after some interaction with Oden the Ornery.  Tanya said that it was excellent that Sofi already had that coping mechanism, because it meant she wouldn’t get overly anxious or frustrated.  She said it was something she was going to teach Zephy.  I think it’s fascinating to learn that Sofi knows how to shake off her tension, and as my sister said, I wish I could do that!  🙂  I think I’m going to be learning so much about Sofi and dogs in general, and I can’t wait.

Today we learned “sit,” “wait,” and “come” and Sofi did well with all 3.  Tanya did notice that Sofi doesn’t really like the leash, and recommended that I put it on her while we’re in the house, just so she gets used to wearing it.  The plan is to practice these commands while we’re out on our daily walk.  We can use “wait” as we go out the front door, “sit” throughout the walk, and “come” at the end of the walk, after she’s a bit tired out.

I even asked Tanya about Sofi’s penchant for pulling the toilet paper off its holder, tearing it up, and putting it all over the room.  I told her that Sofi never does it when I’m there, but only when she’s alone.  Tanya said that the Bichon in Sofi makes her a smart girl who’s figured out that she can only play with the toilet paper when I’m not around, and so she suggested that I boobie-trap the toilet paper.  She suggested putting some pennies into an empty soda can that I tape shut.  Then I can lay the can on the toilet paper roll just so, and then when Miss Sofi goes to pull a piece down, she’ll be in for a huge surprise.  I’m sure she’ll get so scared that she won’t try that again.  And just to be sure, I’ll leave it boobie-trapped for a while.  I love this idea!! (Not to mention the fact that I can put the toilet paper back on its rung again where it belongs!).

After the training, Sofi was one tired-out little girl, just as Tanya predicted.  She said that puppies get more tired by using brain power than they do when they are physically active.  Since a tired puppy is a good puppy, I’m all for that!

I learned A LOT today, Mom!

%d bloggers like this: