Photo 65/365
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
cortneyandjon in 365_2019, dog training, pets

Gimli, or really all of us, graduated from puppy class tonight. Puppy class for us was a little like public school is for Calvin—he is doing most of his learning still through home but takes a couple of classes at the public school for the experience and the fun. Well, we still get most of our training tips for Gimli from Zak George via YouTube, but taking puppy class was a means of enrichment for Gimli, and a source of distraction training as well. And I won't lie, the having him do as well as he did at puppy class was very affirming.

Training is going very well at home. We are still doing at least three focused training sessions a day, ideally one session with each of us. He's very solid on all the basic commands and we've had to start adding more tricks to his repertoire to keep him engaged. So far he's got shake, high five, spin, chill, roll over, speak, and weave (between the legs) down pat. We are also introducing distance commands (a method for practicing for distractions), and we've started taking some of our training sessions outside on the long (30 foot) lead. He's a rock star. He loves to learn new things, loves to please, and really, really loves his food. 

Our biggest challenge with Gimli is his really high energy level. Since he's not yet supposed to go for really long walks, we are tackling this issue with increased enrichment, which looks like all those training sessions and new treats, at least one outing per day (a store, a park, etc.), and lots of puzzle feeding. We no longer feed Gimli in a standard bowl. Instead, he gets his meals scattered on the floor, rolled up in a towel, in a treat ball, in a Kong, in any number of interesting ways that require him to think in order to get the food. But for all these workouts, being around visitors, new people, strangers, or other dogs is a major challenge simply because he gets so excited he just cannot mind his manners. So we got to public parks or pet stores multiple times a week to practice those skills and I am trying my hardest not to get discouraged, but it's a really tough job!

Still...here we are, graduated at the top of our puppy class.

Article originally appeared on Cortney and Jon Ophoff's Family Site (http://www.theophoffs.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.