Vito's first obedience class

Today was Vito's first ever obedience class! There are 7 other dogs in his level 3 class, 4 golden retrievers, 2 yellow labs, vito, and one black/white border collie. So Vito wasn't the odd man in the bunch :) Most of the dogs are around 2yrs, but one of the goldens is just a tiny bit older than Vito at 8.5months. All have gone through the other levels at the club before, and half are repeating this level (it's not uncommon for dogs to repeat level 3 since the next level is for any dog close to competing in novice or actually doing open/utility).

I was very proud of how he did today. Going into the new environment with him I planned to just let him sniff and just click/treat eye contact whenever he voluntarily offered it, but I couldn't get him to stop starring at me even when I tried to release him away! So very quickly I progressed to doing real work with him :)

Looking back, I realized that I need to stop when we are doing heel work since Vito simply can't heel for that many steps between sits. Even though I was trying to shove treats into his mouth rapid fire, he starts to forge and crab out. I know the instructor will understand if we only do 5-10 steps and then halt, repeat, so I just need to step and do it!

For the rest of the class I was very good about modifying things when needed. On the recall I wanted to work on his formal come, so instead of going the entire ring and calling like the others did (with most not having nice sits) I only went 10 feet and called. Since Vito also hasn't done a ton of long sits and downs, I treated him a ton during the 1 min sit stay even though he can surpass a minute without a treat at home. On the 3min down stay I also shoved food in his mouth and decided to release Vito 2minutes in to reward his great behavior. And on the stand for exam I had planned to only have the instructor walk around Vito, rewarding him for looking at me, but since he didn't move his eyes off me for even 1/2 second, I decided to let her do a quick pat down of Vito. So for the first time ever, Vito did a stand for exam with someone other than mom (never mind I was right by his side)!

So yay for me actually doing some baby steps with my dog and not pushing too hard!

Oh, and he also is officially 30lbs! Yay for my little midget toller, now let's try and break 35lbs :P

ClassyChassy  – ( July 10, 2009 at 7:08 AM )  

Nice post and hurray for Baby Steps! They work!!!

Honey the Great Dane  – ( July 11, 2009 at 2:08 AM )  

Yay for Vito! I can see that you're easily going to be the star of the class! :-)

Ninso  – ( July 17, 2009 at 4:49 PM )  

Hi from the black and white border collie in the class! Vito rocks! It is sooo hard not to push them too fast, isnt' it?

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