Gus started puppy classes, while Kodee and I began human training at the beginning of the month. We’ve learned a lot about each other and Gus in the three weeks we’ve been attending class. The class is once a week, but training is 10-12 times every day for at least 5-10 minutes every training session.
What the Dogs are Learning:
Now Gus is the puppy that attends the class, but we’ve taken the things we learn during class and teach them to the rest of the pack. They can never be too old to learn tricks and good manners. So here’s what we’ve been working on!
The Name Game- Getting the dogs to respond to THEIR name, not to the sound of us calling one of them and all three of them bombarding us on the couch.
Sit-Down-Stand (with hand signals but without verbal cues)- First the dogs have to learn what they are physically expected to do when you give them a hand signal, they don’t understand English the way we do (if that wasn’t obvious already) so we have to meet them halfway and start with hand signals.
Sit-Down-Stand (with hand signals and with verbal cues)- When you add cues there needs to be a pause between the hand signal and verbal cue. This is something that was necessary for Gus and Dusty, but not her royal highness Panda. Gus was able to associate the hand signal with the verbal cue quicker than we expected him to. By the end of the week, we no longer had to use both the signal and cue for “Sit” together, we only had to use one or the other.
The Elevator Game- Patiently waiting while treats or toys are being held above their head. All fours remain on the ground at all times and no reaching for the treats or toys early.
Eye Contact- This was a new concept for Gus because he’s always struggled with looking at us in the eyes. He’s so hyperactive he forgets that he has to “ask” for permission with eye contact. This was also something that Panda didn’t need any work on.
Name Game/”Leave-It” and Eye Contact- Working with associating names with eye contact or when we say “leave it,” it is simply for them to let us scope out what they’re going for or what he has so we can either give it back or trade the object they have with a toy.
New Trick- Right now Gus is currently teaching himself how to pretend fall asleep so when Mom and Dad aren’t looking he can scoot their way and eat whatever they have. Mom and Dad are currently teaching Gus how to shake and spin in a circle.
What the Humans are Learning
Humans have a lot to learn about their dogs and it’s not as easy as we think it is. They have their own personalities and needs, just like a child. Except children understand English and their favorite word usually is “No.” Dogs, on the other hand, can’t say “No,” so they just give you the cold shoulder after the vets or groomers (*hint hint* My mom might just know something about that *hint hint*).
Not a surprising week, Gus barks a lot at other dogs during class and doesn’t like any humans, except Dad, because it was most definitely Mom’s idea to put him in puppy class and Dad had nothing to do with that decision. Gus was learning quickly but with distractions around such as the littles (the little dogs Dusty and Panda), he is hesitant and uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad were struggling in class on how to handle a hyperactive dog.
Just like momma, Gus has anxiety. We were already aware of his separation anxiety. Little did we know his paranoia around strangers or other dogs is his form of social anxiety. As we look for ways to help him deal with his anxiety, he continues to learn quickly but now he needs to apply them outside of the house. The littles are fond of training because they know they’ll get treats just for being eight pounds of cuteness. Mom and Dad are also realizing that sometimes being a doggie Mom and Dad can be the most rewarding thing in the world or can make you wish your dog could speak English.
What to Expect Next Week:
Love and Training, Training and Love
Continuing with his training is a must since he’s made so much progress thus far, but I’m glad we’re taking this class. We’ve learned more little quirks about our puppers than we wouldn’t have without this training. The littles love their own time for training and we love it too. Ever since we got Gus, he rules the household since he just happens to be seven times the size of our littles. We get to spend time watching the littles do their head tilts and dancing to get a free treat.
After learning about Gus’ anxiety now we can fully understand how to help him day to day by properly catering to those needs in our training. It’s made me feel closer to him because now we have something in common, besides our good looks, and I know that I can be his human that helps him deal with being scared of other dogs. With that being said, I’ll sign off here by saying, I love him and I’m so glad now I have a deeper understanding and connection with him so we can work together on his training.