Tucker Goes to School
The class started with basic introductions. I had to verify that Tuck had all of his immunizations. Class soon started with an attention exercise. The instructor demonstrated that it is important for the dog to pay attention to its master before anything is to be taught. Thus began that "watch" command. It started with using a treat to get the dogs attention and then to put the treat (fortunately a hot dog) and have the dog take it from a spot on your face. That is where the watch/attention comes from. The attention shifted from the hands to the face. When I saw the trainer do this, I thought she was nuts as she had Tucker take a hot dog from her mouth. She then looked at me, handed me a handful of hotdog pieces and told me it was my turn. After several times of doing this, I started to notice how much his whiskers tickled my face! I couldn't believe I was allowing my dog to do this, but he learned to focus.
Next on the was taking a treat...Eassssssy. The instructor stressed the tone of our voices is very important. Tucker picked this one up easy as well. This was followed up quickly by the basic commands of sit, then sit and down. We soon worked up to a trot around the room, focusing on the focus command...having the dog look at us as we walked. I was really impressed with how fast he was picking things up, but then again, he is a really smart dog.
The last thing was sitting and staying. The trick was to have Tucker stay at my left side. I would instruct him to sit, then stay. I would then pivot to the front of him then back, rewarding him if did indeed stay. That was the hardest for him to grasp, but he got the general idea after a few tries.
The class ended by a trot around the room combining all of the commands learned that day. Tucker did really well. The trainer even complimented his intelligence and said that he was picking the commands up quick. At that time, I could relate to a bumper sticker I see often that reads, "my Labrador Retriever is smarter than your honor student." I think I got a special dog here.
When the kids, Elaine and I were all together at home, I demonstrated what we learned. They were impressed. I guess my $110 will be worth it in the end! That in addtion to the $140 it will cost to have him fixed next week! While my wallet will be lighter than usual, not that it is full by any stretch of imagination, it is all worth it in the end.
Sorry I don't have any pictures. My one hand held the leash and my other hand held the pieces of hot dogs for rewards.