Vito starts obedience school!

Today Vito had an evaluation at our training club to see what level he would be placed in. I've decided that it really is time for Vito to actually be in a class, doing obedience stuff around the distraction of a new place, with new dogs, etc. Up until now he has only done the trick class (and I taught it) when he was 3 months and then agility class. I mean Vito is 8 months now, so it is about time! So Vito's test began.

It turns out that he's amazing :) Basically the instructor said I could go to any level I wanted with him! I decided to start with level 3 (there's 3 levels and then the advanced class that Lance is in for competition ready dogs). While I could have done advanced, I really like the level 3 instructor and feel that I can learn more from her than anyone else. Plus I really don't think he needs to do all of the open and utility level exercises yet (not in a class setting at least) and just practice doing heel work with the distractions will be hard enough. Just because he "knows" everything taught in level 3 doesn't mean that he doesn't need the practice!

I somewhat wish though that I would have chose the advanced class. Apparently Lance was, and is still, the only dog that has ever come in for an eval and placed directly into advanced! He had to be 9 or 10 months old when I started his first obedience class at the club and it was advanced! So it would have been cool to brag that I had the only 2 dogs that have accomplished that :)
The only down side of the class is the timing. Vito's class will start half an hour after Lance's agility class is finished on Thursday nights. I plan on using the manners minder now and crating Vito, but unfortunately he hasn't had any practice with that at the club yet. With his anxiety, if it doesn't work out as planned, Vito could be a shaking, panicky mess when I release him from his kennel. Fingers are crossed that the manners minder goes well! At least he has some practice being kenneled and getting treated there whenever Adam can come to Lance's class; otherwise Vito has been dropped off at daycare on those nights.

Honey the Great Dane  – ( July 3, 2009 at 6:19 AM )  

I have to say - am not surprised that Vito sailed through the tests...I remember watching your YouTube vidoes of him doing his tricks as a tiny puppy and being speechless with amazement - he is really superdog!!! :-)

Am looking forward to hearing more about your classes.

By the way, you talk a lot about a "manners minder" - what is that?


Laura  – ( July 3, 2009 at 11:49 AM )  

A manners minder is a remote reward training system. It basically holds the dog's kibble and can dispense it on a variable or fixed time schedule from every 3 seconds to every 5 minutes, or it allows you to dispense it with a remote. Like the clicker, it emits a tone before food comes out so you can use it to train distance cues. It was first developed by Sophia Yin to work on door manners.

You can see the other post I did yesterday on it:

Ninso  – ( July 17, 2009 at 4:55 PM )  

Haha! Not exactly! Lok placed directly into advanced on his eval last fall! We did one advanced class, and then Rally, and then the tricks class, and now I'm concentrating on Jun--I was told Jun could go into Level 3, but I knew she wasn't ready for it, so I started the wild woman off in Level 2, and I'm glad I did.

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