Basic training has started

That’s right! Despite feeling desperately fragile following gastro, Rose and I tore ourselves from bed early on Saturday morning and made it down to our first training class. It was enlightening and hopeful, paced very simply when it comes to homework- our first 2 weeks assignment is to get our dogs to sit and watch us. I think I would have found it all an information overload if I hasn’t been watching clips about clicker training and positive reinforcement over the past few weeks, but everytime I’m allowed to stop doing something I don’t like- like being told to ignore her when I first come home because it over excites her, and get to hug her instead, it’s heart warming. It’s not just about rote training an animal to sit or stay, it’s a completely different way of living and communicating with one… I wish I had started earlier. Thankfully Zoe has been resilient despite my bungling and is taking to the training extremely quickly.

It’s awesome that Rose is on board too, both of us using the same commands and approach will help Zoe a lot too. Today we took home a very exciting new piece of equipment:
This is Zoe’s new treat bag and clicker! Gave it a try tonight and I’m getting great results. The clicker really does help to make clear what behavior you’re rewarding. The treat bag is by far easier than carrying a snap lock or Tupperware container around. The difference in Zoe just in the past couple of weeks since the trainer is pretty amazing. She’s so much quieter around the house, less agitated, hasn’t chewed anything she’s not allowed to- I can leave shoes on the floor and hang washing outside! It’s an astonishing turn around.

There a lot yet to do, she’s madly over excited about visitors and cats, pulling on the lead is still a problem, and she’s mouthy when she’s playing which isn’t fun, but the change we’ve seen in such a short time is frankly remarkable. She’s getting more walks, I’ve found a local butcher who sells great dog meat and bones, and I’m running an extra freezer full of dog treats and raw frozen soups for her. She’s never left alone without a toy and a treat, and I’ve bought a new toy so I can rotate her three favorite ones. Fritz is working great as a high value treat, dry crackers working well for a low value treat. We’ve taking the pressure off the lead training and walks because I need some guidance to adjust the technique, it’s clear to me she doesn’t understand what I’m trying to teach her, and stopping all the time is simply reducing her opportunities for exercise. Next class we take her in with us and introduce her to the class, grounds, and trainers. In the meantime, she’s learning sit and watch, up, down, and drop, and doing very with them.

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